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 Jul 2022 Caroline Stradley
It’s a dark night.
And I sit here,
Cigarette choking me.
But I realise I have learnt so much.
One thing I realised,
Through the tortured delusions,
Is that I am strong.
You taught me strength.
To crawl through the mud,
Dust my bones from the ashes,
They didn’t dissolve in the flames set alight by you.
You taught me,
I can unbury my head,
Push out the heavy smoke
And breathe.
Especially when the lights are gone
And nothing seems tangible.
You taught me to grab a hold,
And pull myself out.
Was it taught,
Or was the light always there?
Why do you speak
in capitals
and love in lower case?
 Jul 2022 Caroline Stradley
It was my birthday.
And the first thing i could say to my coworkers when I saw them after was
“I didn’t cry”

And it’s true.
For the first time in 25 years
I can genuinely say I’m happy
And I had an amazing day.

I didn’t cry,
I smiled and laughed,
Had fun
And felt like myself.
Free, happy, unshackled.

I’m happy.
It took a while,
It took some tears,
It took pain,
It took blood,
But I am happy.
So extremely me
And so ******* happy.
This is the second draft of this because this website buckled and didn’t save the first
 Jul 2022 Caroline Stradley
I’m like a carnival ring toss prize.
Except modified to be easier won.
Claimed, played with, cared for
And then dropped
But with a limb torn off and pocketed.
All before they’ve left the booth.
So I get grabbed by the attendant,
And strung back up to be won and discarded again.
People easily get bored,
I’m already broken,
So why not take a piece?
 May 2014 Caroline Stradley
i could sit in awe of you for ages
but that is not what you want
 May 2014 Caroline Stradley
oh, sweet little darling,
who are you pretending to be?
what do you have to hide?
don't be afraid to show me,
oh, precious princess,
these endearments make you want to die
but I wish you'd just confess
you've told me everything else, oh apple of my eye
no need to hide behind
whatever lying disguise
that you decided you needed
this time.
this is ****
 Apr 2014 Caroline Stradley
To you, To she, He and we.
To all whom I have met,
Thank you for teaching me
That I cannot make friends
And keep them, longer
Than 6 months.
Tonight is a bad night
My fingers cannot scale a melody
or take a rule across lands, to the sea
and back again. My fingers have never
pressed these strings into sounds worthwhile,
nor have they ever held a person's hand
and not felt utterly incapable of human touch.
These fingers know only strength in binding;
in fidget and rhyme, as I try to structure confusion
into something marketable. If nothing else though,
these fingers can roll a mean joint, and hold a
beer bottle so precisely to these lips.
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