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Sep 21 · 213
Didn't Ask
Josie Stewart Sep 21
Oh it's been a long time,
Not nearly long enough.
I never wanted you to cry.
I never meant to harm our love.

I didn't ask for you to go.
I didn't ask for you to be.
I didn't ask for you to rush.
I just needed you to want me.

What happened to the sun?
It seemed so suddenly to fade.
When you cried I didn't run,
But it seems you slipped away.

I wasn't looking to replace you, and
I greatly hoped it wouldn't break you, but
I found the things that I was missing.
You didn't have to go.
I just needed you to want me.
Sep 9 · 798
Why I stopped calling
I'm not your prodigal son;
I'm your abandoned daughter.
Don't wait around for me to return.
I won't.

I gave and gave because I was a child
Hoping for love I received conditionally.
When I stopped giving, you left.
That says more about you than me.

You worship a God in your image.
One who asks for all.
You say he loves unconditionally,
But that's what you said about you.

You worship an abuser,
And in his name you abuse.
You pray for repentance
But are unwilling to change yourself.

I know you miss me.
You want me back so I can give,
And a part of you really does care.
Your actions matter more.

You could love me again
If you wanted.
I haven't hidden myself from you.
I'm still here.

You can't expect me to come
Crawling back to you.
The fattened calf you'd offer only
If I approached on your terms.

That's not the forgiving father.
That's a parent still grasping
For control of their child.
I don't need your food.

If you wanted to learn,
Maybe even consider
You could be wrong,
I might call you again.

You won't even use my name.
Like the neighbors of your savior,
You say, isn't this our son?
I'm unwelcome in your home.

So I've finally done it.
I did what I knew I had to.
I shook the dust from my sandals,
And I left.
Jun 10 · 231
Children in the Dark
Josie Stewart Jun 10
The world is a dark and complicated morass,
Wherein countless lost children pass
In and out of the shadows and greet each other with a smile or a nod.

Isolated, lonely little hearts playing
With complex emotions in a word staying
Abreast of all the troubling events for better or worse.

Light and laughter dwells but a moment
In tender unions just before fears foment
A cascade of ****** worries filling up the eternal halls.

Then a single flame at first finds another
Huddling in the dark over scraps Mother
Left for kindling a fire in the depths of destitution.

At first the two but soon three and more
Shelter the faltering fire taking hold for
Reviving communion among the distanced souls.

As more join a bonfire starts and talking
Not just of pleasantries you hear while walking,
But of sincere connection between scared children discovering they can conquer the dark.

Some children still pass in the dark hall,
Knowing not the darkness nor how small
They really are in the scope of the full extent of the world.

But every once in a while, more often as it grows,
A child stops and really sees what the others chose
In banding about a fire fueled by the scraps of a difficult time.
Written June 10, 2020
May 18 · 252
Falling in place
Josie Stewart May 18
It's funny how focusing on me
Makes all else fall in place.
When others' needs are all I see,
I lose myself in that space.
had this sitting in my drafts, never finished it, decided it's good enough to release on its own
Apr 24 · 684
Why?
Josie Stewart Apr 24
Why do I exist?
Why do I care?
Why do I love?
Why can't I stop?
Why can't I *****?
Why can't I scream?
Why am I soft?
Why am I odd?
Why am I here?

Why does everyone love me, when they can't stay?
Why won't I just go away?
Apr 9 · 269
Denied
The land that nursed me will not restore me.
The land that reared me would break me down.
Where I came of age would jail and ****** me.
The land that trained me would deny me care.

I'm cut off from my past, from every home:
Denied entry to memory and forced to tears.
I was raised to wander and driven to roam.
I can't return, I can't relive, I cannot dream.
Mar 29 · 347
Blood and Bile
Josie Stewart Mar 29
When the smear of filth spreads across the wall,
Dragged by yet another bilious hand,
I wish that they would in an instant fall,
Dropping dead in the very spot they stand.

I feel no guilt though I am not a violent soul.
I mourn the casualties of their callous hate.
Longing only to end the crushing toll,
I curse their lives and hope bloodthirsty history to sate.
Mar 19 · 75
Dysphoric Taste
Josie Stewart Mar 19
Shimmering, calm at the surface.
A gentle ripple emanating outward.
The taste clear and quenching.

Clouded, disturbed within.
A single drop of lye enters.
The bitter sharp and revolting.

The delicious overrun by an acrid moment.
A glass is broken across our backs.
The shards take hold and we wince.
We hoist the world upon our shoulders.
It drives the shards in deep, like tacks.

We suffer the pain of cultured hate.
The daggers destined for our flesh.
Still they expect we lift the empire,
And with our wounds support its weight.

Whether they praise us for being brave,
Or curse our kind to an early death,
They all demand our labor to drive
Production until we hit the grave.
Mar 5 · 268
Sometimes
sometimes

She thinks about digging it up.
She wonders why she doesn't.
The climate is overbearing.
Why shouldn't she?

sometimes

There is only one answer.
She has but one thing stopping her.
The fruit is delicate and unripe.
She can't spoil it.

sometimes

It really hurts to work.
It takes a lot of care to keep growing.
The environment is toxic.
How does she do it?

Sometimes, all that keeps her going is one small thing, too precious to let suffer.
Feb 20 · 319
Untamed Desire
Josie Stewart Feb 20
I danced in the field of daisies.
I sang of the beautiful day.
With my feet cozy in the clover,
I asked the field if I could stay.

The circle of mushrooms around me:
I wanted to make it my home.
I knelt softly to the earth,
And I worried that I was alone.

The waves in the grass were a beauty.
My heart raced at the touch of the wind.
I want to care for her forever,
If a place in her midst she will lend.
Jan 15 · 158
If You Were Here
Josie Stewart Jan 15
If you were here, would the day be brighter?
Would we all laugh and play together?
Or would today be hard for you?
Would it be hard to have your sixth birthday during quarantine?

If you were here, would I get to hold you today like I did once so long ago?
Would you have come running to jump in my bed and wake me up for the day?
Or would I be coming to your room with a sweet breakfast and a soft smile to cheer you up?

If you were here today, would you be excited the year was halfway through?
Or would the approaching start of the school year remind you that friends are still so far away?

It doesn't hurt as much when this time of year comes around anymore, but I still wonder how today would be different if you were here.
Written July 30, 2020, dedicated to Jamie
Jan 5 · 170
Hold Me Today
Yesterday I couldn't think,
And I wondered what I'd have done
If you'd been there.

Today it seemed that in a blink
I'd finished it all before I'd begun.
And were you there?

Tomorrow might take us to the brink.
I hope to hold you when it's run,
If you'll be there.

But we don't know when I might sink,
So take the chance that we have won
And hold me today.
Dec 2020 · 321
Shine Through
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
Looking back on this turbulent year,
I see so many beautiful colors
which shine through any passing fear,
or incessant trials whether small or large.
I often get caught up in momentary
hardships, losing sight of all the glories
but if I neglect the good it carries
I may miss the opportunity for memories.
Written December 7, 2020
Dec 2020 · 223
A Joyous Lament
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
The pain of sweet laughter followed by longing
Is a bewildering sensation that snakes itself around me.
When feeling so spent that nothing tense satisfies,
I settle for the momentary joy followed by the dull ache.

The ache itself should be intimately familiar,
But somehow it feels like a fresh wound every time.
Why must I process my feelings this way?
In every heartbeat is a new opportunity to sting.

Shouldn't I appreciate the opportunity to feel?
Shouldn't I celebrate joy that I so miss?
Perhaps two things are true of the human condition:
Longing and loss--inextricably intertwined.
Dec 2020 · 258
Into the Light
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
My life is oft haunting,
Unbearably daunting,
I don't even feel it;
It's freakishly taunting.
Whenever I close the door,
You make it open.
The light always shines through,
Though my life is broken.

So when I fall in the dark,
You're there to save me.
You'll guide me forever;
You'll mold and reshape me.

Still I'm left wondering
If you're still pondering
My lowly existence.
Who would consider me?
Whenever I choose the wrong,
You can make it right.
The light always shines through,
Though I am in the night.

So when I fall in the dark,
You're there to save me.
You'll guide me forever;
You'll mold and reshape me.

But I still feel doubt and pain.
My friends have left me here…

But now I can see truth—
There's more than enough proof;
She's right in the open.
God, I deserve reproof!
Whenever I pushed away,
You came back to me.
The light always shines through,
Even when I'm weary.

So when I fall in the dark,
You're there to save me.
You'll guide me forever;
You'll mold and reshape me.

I may yet forget you,
But you will still save me.
My life is in your hands,
You'll always avail me…
Written September 19, 2007, rewritten 2020
Dec 2020 · 358
There, But Not
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
Why did you reject me?
Will you ever accept me?
You knew I was hurting,
But I didn't stop burning
Myself out keeping you happy.

You left me on my own,
Abandoned at home.
I shared so many signs,
But you were resigned
To celebrate my stoic demeanor.

You knew me only in part,
As I buried my heart,
And walled off my mind
So you'd never find
Out I was an abomination.

Now that I am free--
At last wholly me,
You abandon me again,
Say I'm living in sin,
And shut out the chance to know me.
Dec 2020 · 181
Visible
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
Visibility is a choice,
But it's a choice I make for me
And for my siblings without a voice.

Many years I let my secrets brew,
Bubbling up an intense anxiety.
I trusted little with few.

I can't do that anymore.
I've bared my soul to the world,
And I won't shut that door.

Friends and family confided
In me their own pains--
Their inner world benighted.

Some said I empowered
Them to show themselves:
Seeing how I flowered.

Years I feared being me
Would hurt those I loved.
Instead I set them free.
Dec 2020 · 127
Untitled
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
In the stillness

Murmur

Chimes

A soft melody of the breeze

A mind awoken

Two asleep

In the stillness, I find you.

In the stillness, I find me.

In the stillness, I am.
Written in 2016, rediscovered in 2020 after years sitting in Facebook drafts, intentionally left untitled
Dec 2020 · 221
Still Life
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
A dusty planet on the shelf,
A muse contented with herself,
A stallion charging to nowhere,
An oil lamp needing repair--

These four and more were holding fast,
Hanging above the fire’s blast,
Idols of a motive force,
Forever halted in their course.

A breeze traced o’er their lifeless forms,
Stirring dust but not their norms,
Yet their forms were stirring souls,
Igniting hearts bent on their goals.
Written in 2018
Dec 2020 · 217
Still It Rains
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
After the rain, the birds sing.
The distant train whines and the chimes ring.
Letters fall off the page.
Spam goes into the cage.
Time passes slow, as the birds sing.

After the rush, the wind stills.
The playful cat leaps to the window sill.
Words spring to the mind.
Breath is not easy to find.
Time passes slow, as it rains still.
Written in 2018
Dec 2020 · 131
Moment
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
At last,

My stresses wane for but a moment.
Overcoming worry with silence,
My heart eases to a softer beat.
Everything around me becomes still.
Nothing but the pressing future can disturb me.
The past is finally laid to rest.

This is the time to recuperate.
On this moment I stake my claim to a portion of tranquility.

Before I move to my next goal,
Relaxation must come.
Endless worries are circumferenced by brief breaks.
A temporal paradox in the body of a mere mortal.
This will never end until eternal rest has come.
Handing down from generation to generation, worry upon worry,
Eons of troubles built upon the backs of all, released for but a moment.
Written in 2011
Dec 2020 · 161
The Tree of Life
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
You                          can't
    I       see                   why   is
   everything so            fuzzy  unclear
murky  disassociated       branching       reaching out
far beyond what we         I can see       way beyond the sky
reaching out                     far out                   way out
we can't seem                    sense cannot         be made
fuzzy, disassociated   murky, I'm not sure, but maybe
just maybe there is a chance that it will all pull
    together and the pieces will come in place
      to form a beautiful picture. Some things
        Well some things just aren't clear from
            far away, high up, way beyond.
             You may even not be able to
                make sense of your life.
                     But if you keep
                     waiting on life,
                      life will keep
                     waiting on you.
                      It will all be
                     standing still.
                     Standing up.
                     Like a tall tree
                     trunk, bark and
                      all that lies
                     within the grasp
                     of the branches.
                 Stop for a second and
              Stand back, take a look at
             All that lies before you in its
       Beauty   Wonder  Awesome   Power
Written in 2010
Dec 2020 · 123
Hope
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
And just when it seems all Hope is lost
Prayers become reality
and Light comes
again
Written in 2010
Dec 2020 · 170
the box
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
closed, contained
shut out from the
world

alone, ashamed
the self-inflicted
curse

longing for the
light

gripping to the
edges

of cardboard

that is what it is like to be
in a cardboard box
enclosed
in

out!
she wants
to get out of closure
and all in all to have closure

but she holds her self in
she holds her self in, still
holding self in still, broken
still holding in herself and

...she cannot remember why
closed, in a box

wet cardboard smells, doesn't it?
wet, warped, salt-soaked
wet with tears

if someone else held you in
it would be fine to complain
cry out
stop

you force yourself in
you cannot complain
yell help
out

others will hear your cry
they will try to help
you are not alone

but if you keep holding
the box will keep
it is a keep

the keep of your despair holds you in
you cannot get out
unless

you
let
go

not to forget
not to hate
not to lose love

instead to remember them
to love them again

those left out in the rain
those whose box is not held on by their own strength

you hold the keys to their liberation
but to free you must first be free

so if your tears and carnality weigh you down
then seek within to free you
and you will
if you
let
go

and so, perhaps hearing
perhaps letting her fingers loosing
perhaps throwing away the box and stretching
perhaps stretching in the sun, and seeing the light again

i can hope
i can pray
and it may help

let there be no more souls
trapped in
in the box
boxed in
the inbox
hitting refresh
waiting
f o r
me
Originally written in 2010, rewritten 2020
Dec 2020 · 111
flitting reminders
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
she thinks i miss her not
she's wrong
everyday
is a

reminder

maybe
she could
rest some if
she would think of better
Written in 2010
Dec 2020 · 160
Starfruit Widow
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
Wither the flowers,
Fade the wood,
Count down the hours
To the hooded winter.

He robs you of daylight—
Sun pass on,
Cloud eat the fruitbright.
End the day with the wind.

Lo! What woman comes
With starfruit.
Sweet child, sweet fruit sums
Summer dress spring.

Sing me the spring song—
Sing, little widow,
Sad tales of winter gone,
Lemonade songs of summer groom.
Written in 2009
Dec 2020 · 163
Come Forth
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
Rise, get up,

Move, old body of mine.

Someone is calling.

It is not yet my time.


Lost, asleep—

Sleep no more.

Strength springs up.

I rise.
Originally written in 2009, rewritten in 2020
Dec 2020 · 108
Yay Sweet Happiness
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
Yay, sweet happiness, send a summer day.
Yay, sweet happiness, send a summer rain.
Watch the show, take it slow, then back to work I go.
Written in 2009
Dec 2020 · 166
Rain Song
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
Drip, drop, rain.
Drip, drop, rain--
Listen as the rain falls:
Falling on the new walls.
Cool returned; Heat gone.
Wash away the pain.
Written in 2009
Dec 2020 · 71
And So It Is
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
Life without Faith is dead.

Faith without works is dead.

Works without Hope are dead.

Hope without a Source is dead.

A ray of light on a cloudy day is no good when the window is tinted.

And so it is...
Written in 2009, prior to my deconstruction from evangelicalism, left unedited
Dec 2020 · 360
Love
Josie Stewart Dec 2020
The sweet sound of a tiny splash sending ripples through the whole pond.

The quaint smell of a book freshly opened.

The taste of the morning dew lingering in the air.

What is love?


Waking to a beautiful day.

Climbing to the top of a mountain.

Writing the long awaited story.

What is love?


Singing whether a worm or a crowd is your audience.

Crying because someone catches your tears.

Thinking that someone else is thinking of you.

What is love?


Friends and family.

Sweetheart.

Stillness.

What is love?


Love is a promise.


Love is.
Originally written in 2009, rewritten 2020

— The End —