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©2017 Jonathan Parker-Bryant

I am tethered to an anchor.
The tide rises and he holds me fast,
Grinning as the waters rise
And soon I must drown.

Through the dark sea, a light.
A hand reaching through the waves.
To save me.
To save me.
The anchor strikes out
Whispering lies, hoping to foster doubt
To drive the hand away.
So the anchor can keep me to itself
Even drowned and dead.

How can I escape?
To be with love and hope
I must free myself or perish
The anchor desires death and cold oblivion
I yearn for life and warmth.
In your arms, free
Free from the anchor’s embrace.
Relationships change and sometimes escaping them is harder than one imagines. And the water rises. . . .
I've been static for so long
Trapped in my own amber
Now free all I want to do is run
All I want to do is live
Is it better to run too fast, too far?
Or to stay safe in amber?
All I want to do is you.

Trapped in my own amber
I let the world pass me by
I watched the years roll on
My mother died. So did my dogs.
I miss the dogs more.
Will she forgive me?

Even if I run where will I go?
Amber doesn't provide job skills
Or look good on a resume.
Maybe I should just run
Not caring where I go
If I stop, the amber may return
I can feel it chasing me

If I stop to think
The doubts return
Half-***, idiot, lazy
Worthless, greedy, cruel
The doubts are gifts from Mom
I was the cruel one.
Just a kid.
I miss my dogs.

I want to run to you
To run with you
I think that I can keep up
If you don't sprint
The wind and the sun remind me
What it's like to be alive
I think I can get through anything.
If I keep thinking about my dogs.

When I was a boy I liked camping
The mountains and the redwoods
Were fantasy realms made real
Reading by firelight never hurt my eyes
The smells and the sounds gave me peace
Alone in my tent I could dream
And do what boys do
When we were camping
My mom didn't yell
So maybe it wasn't me

I have someone new that I want to camp with
To hold by the firelight and let them read to me
To hike the wild trails and see their face
The first time they realize the tree
They're standing next to is a thousand years old
But birds chirp in my ear
"Don't trust them, they're not real"
Their voices are thick and syrupy
I do my best to ignore them

I still hear my mother's voice
Yelling the same things as always
When I'm tired or the black dog bites
I hear her in my mind and feel her words strike home
Maybe it was me after all
It wasn't
It was never me
I wish that I could miss her

You're calling me now
The new voice
We all try to escape our mothers
Most of us fail
Free of the amber I run with you
And we escape together.
Leaving birds and mothers behind
"Let's get a dog" I say.
You answer - "Let's get two."

© 2016
From last year. I still don't miss my mother as I think I should. The new voice isn't as new, but we're still making good our escape. Together.

Don't let life trap you.
The Scream

All my prayers have gone unanswered.
All my pleas have gone unheard.
The demons from you past have found you.
They take bites from your flesh.
You do not notice the damage.
All I can do is watch.
What separates us is too vast
I scream to draw their attention
I call on them to attack me
They laugh at my helplessness, my sorrow
I scream because I don't know what else to do
I scream because I love you
I scream because I'm scared
Terrified of losing you
Because we are good together
And that frightens you
I can't turn away, can't avert my gaze
I reach out for you, thinking that somehow
Maybe I can pull you to safety or least close enough to protect
I scream for you
I die for you
You think the demons are your friends
You turn away, you laugh as they consume you
And still I cannot turn away
I scream for you to remember
I scream
I scream
I scream
Through tears I scream
I scream for you
Because my prayers have gone unanswered
My pleas have gone unheard.
I have failed you
I scream that I love you
I scream
Until all there is, is my scream

Jonathan Parker Bryant
An angst-y, uncertain period in a relationship inspired this. My angst was unnecessary, as is often the case.
I see you hurting and I want to help but I can't because I'm a *******.
I love you so I should be able to do something, anything, but I can't.
You say it's because I'm so far away, but I know that it's because I'm a *******.
Exhausted, you went to bed. I stared at the screen where you were
Where you were is still beautiful, more beautiful than anything I ever see for real.
Eventually I start googling myself, checking every name I've ever lied. I mean lived.
There's nothing there, not on google or bing or duckduckgo.
I'm not even enough of anything to anyone anywhere to be on duckduckgo?
How ******* pathetic is that?
I should be helping you but all I ever do is make you more stressed, more anxious, more upset.
You say I don't, that I give you strength, that I'm important to you.
But I know. I'm a *******.
Maybe you'd be happier without me. Maybe you'd be better off.
You tell me I'm being silly when I say **** like that.
Maybe you're just being kind.
What do I give you, what do I do for you?
I write you a love letter every night for you to read every morning.
I tell you I love you a hundred times a day.
I tell you you're beautiful every time I see you because every time I see you, you are beautiful.
I don't understand why you don't believe me.
Except that I'm nothing. So maybe I'll end it all and set you free. Crushed painkillers and good scotch.
Maybe some tranquilizers so my mind can be tranquil for once.
But I can't even do that, the nothing that I am; I don't have the courage or cowardice or whatever it takes to end myself.
Because what if I'm wrong? What if there is something that you see that I can't?
Besides, I can't leave you. I love you. I'm sorry.
I crawl into bed and feel the tears soak into my pillow.
I try to come up with a way to explain everything wrong with me so that you'll realize why I have to go.
I imagine your answers, I imagine your face as we talk.
I just want to stop hurting, to stop missing you when I have no right to miss you so much.
You're so beautiful. How can you not know?
Now, I'm thinking about kissing you.
And tomorrow doesn't seem so bad.
Maybe tomorrow will be better, maybe I'll see in me what you tell me is there.
And maybe you'll let yourself be beautiful to me.
And we'll have a chance.
copyright May 19, 2016
We talk about such strange things.
Sloths as kings of beasts.
Everyday nightmares from which we alone awake.
Mistakes that haunt or pursue us.
Such strange things for those in love.
Candy clouds and storms of thunder
Together making sense.
So different but you feel a part of me
Without you I cannot be whole.
I write you poems and letters every day.
Telling you my every thought, every fear, every hope for us.
Love is harder for you.
You send me a song whose title or lyric speak for you
Relying on me to understand what you mean but cannot say.
I treasure each song. I've a playlist of your love.
You write pages on pain and loneliness and alienation
On love you are a minimalist, trusting saying less will say more
Trusting me to understand what you feel but cannot say.
It works. My overwrought prose and verse, your silences.
Because we're are in love.
I am comfortable in your silences.
copyright March 6, 2016.

The playlist continues to grow and the silences still speak volumes. We're so different, yet somehow it works. That's a very cool thing. I still write poems and letters every day and am still comfortable in his silences.
  Apr 2016 Jonathan P Bryant
Just Melz
There's nothing more romantic
          in my eyes
        Than holding your hand
   And talking about our lives
          Because in my mind
The only thing better than the fantasy
        Is the intimacy I feel
  When it's just you and me
Sapiosexual: Finding someone's intelligence to be their most sexually attractive feature.

For DaSH, the sexiest and smartest man I know. <3
Fortune Cookies, Froth, and Fribble

Words always fail me but words are all I have
I used to think that I could write
Red marks and red checks cured me of that.
Disabused me of the notion that I had anything worth saying.
So, I'd write in secret, a prisoner of the gulag of conventional thought.
And when I was done, I'd reread what I wrote and smile.
Then I would destroy the evidence before the red marks appeared.
Stories, songs, poems, and plays.
A thousand characters born and died with only my witness.
Voices silenced when all they wanted was someone to hear.
So it went for years. My words wrapped and killed at birth.
Finally so desperate not to be silent I let the writing live.
Cursed birth name forgot, cast aside to write
As a name without fear, not hunted by red arrows.
Something caught your eye, something touched you.
You told me I wasn't horrible, that I didn't ****.
Others said the same.
Writing candy clouds, fribble, and froth.
The deeper message hinted but never said
Just when I think I can, I read something forgotten from another
Their sunlight dissolves my candy clouds.
I pretend to write. I'm a fortune cookie. A formula.
But people like their fortune cookies.
Don't they?
4/1/16 Copyright
When I was in grade school, we were assigned to write a story that was related to our current area of study - Pioneers and the westward expansion. I wanted to write about a trapper bringing his furs to a western fort to sell. I asked my teacher if I could write the trapper and the soldier he spoke with with their accents. Dropping the 'g' from words, using 'ain't', and the like. My teacher said that was fine.

I wrote the story and was very proud of how I wrote the interaction between the two characters. When the paper was returned, it was covered with red marks. Every time the trapper dropped a 'g', saying "droppin'" for example, it was a red mark and a penalty to the grade. When I asked my teacher about the marks and what he had told me, he shrugged. He said it was a good paper and had been fun to read, but the grade of "D" stuck.
    For a long time after that, years and decades, I didn't show what I wrote to anyone. I wrote and shredded or burned what I wrote.
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