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12h · 196
stay strong
God knows I've tried
to give my all.

All I wanted was to
find love, but every
brush with reality

turned into a shattered

I ask myself why
do I even try,

When I end up
searching for love,

I just get myself
hurt every time.

I keep wondering why
I even try at all.

I remember the pain
Of heartbreak under
My sleeve,

a year of turmoil,
that leaves me

If I will find love
at all.

There were lessons
I have learned, and

God knows I've tried
to give my all.

All I can say is:

I'm trying my best to
stay strong.
1d · 119
deep blue
I was looking for

But all I got
was something

I tried to let
my heart open,

But I had to close it,

Before it got ripped
From my soul.

I mistakened
Vulnerability for love,

Thinking I would find

Instead, I found myself
lost again,

in the deep blue ocean.

Like a one-night stand,
I knew it wasn’t going
to last forever,

I thought there was
something there,

But I was looking
in the wrong place,
at the wrong time.

And that
was when
I realized,

I was never
going to be

together with you.
5d · 190
break me in two
Before we even met,
I wondered if it was

Wise to make the jump
And be led
On and fall in love,

When all that was
On the table was
Lust, entangled

With words that
Made me believe
you wanted more.

I tried my best
To open these

Make the best
Out of something

Because you didn’t
Want more.

I tried to give
Myself every reason

To not believe
In love again

And now I’m certain
It’ll be awhile,

Because I’d rather
Be lonely than

To have my heart
Led on and broken
With you.
6d · 279
life on autopilot
Living life on

Wishing I wasn’t
Going insane.

Look around me
And everything

Stays the same.

The neuropathways
In my brain

Have the wires
Crossed and

Messages that
Always change.

I’m left to
Figure it out
On my own,

Miscommunications and
Exiled from a
Place I used to call home.

I just don’t get why,
I keep trying to change,

But life pulls me to
The other side

To a place where
the stars never
had a chance to
making my way past
the hurt and the skeleton

desperately wanting to
let go of this pain.

watching the sun
rise as the ghost
hide in the shadows,

reappear at dusk,
haunting me again.

I know that heartbreak
is just another memory,

and I’m trying not to
give up now.

I want someone to give
me a chance, and finally

break free from this chain,
that I can’t free myself from.
7d · 300
i'll be fine
Lately, I feel
Out of it these

Life seems to
Drag me down
And I know

In the end,
I’ll be fine.

I remember those
Winter days,

Nearly ten years ago,
When we met in a haze.

Lust turned to love,
And over the years,
we burned out,

Just like the flickering of
The flames in a silent film,

Never making a sound.

Now I live with
The memories,
That plague my mind,

Playing track-by-track,
Just like a CD, singing

The good and the bad times.

I look around
The corner

Between St. Louis
And the town that
I live in,

Remembering how I
Used to drive past

The city lights,
Months after the crash.

I remember how it
Haunted me,
Every single time.

Now I’m stuck
In an endless cycle,
Far from fine.

It seems life
Likes to drag
me down,

Just like the
Memories that plague
My mind.

I’m doing everything
I can to be more than
Sep 20 · 177
Joshua Phelps Sep 20
I want to trade my days
Away for
Something better.

I want to let go
Of the light
So I can repair,

Falling in the
Black, desolate,
Void and

Stuck in this
Fixation on

I wish I didn’t care,

But a part of me
That died left the
Feeling that lingers on,

And now I’m numb
and in disrepair.

With every new perspective,
I wish that I didn’t let the past
Pull me in every direction.

I know there’s no reason to
Focus on the matters

But all I see is old reflections.

Hearts drift away,
And I remember
Just like it was yesterday.

Memories are never
Gone, but sparks
Get crossed, and now I’m
dead and gone.

I wish I didn’t care.
I wish I could repair.

But right now,
I’m feeling numb,
And in disrepair.
Joshua Phelps Sep 19
I hate to admit
That dissociation
Is a friend of mine.

Putting myself on autopilot,
Just so I can survive.

Separating from reality,
Because simply living
Is all I’ve got this time.

I wish you could
See me in the state
That I’m in now

Broken, bruised,
So critical.

It’s absolutely pitiful.

I’m tired of feeling low,
But I keep dragging myself

Sinking and
Caught in the undertow.

Someone wake
Me from this
Mental charade

Because I’m tired
Of all the games,
And the iron bars that
Keep holding me down.

It’s hard to thrive,
When I can’t figure
Out how to figure
Myself out.

Happy anniversary,
Trauma, guilt and

The past is very
Critical and I
Just want out.

I keep waiting
For an answer, but

I know I’m the only
One who lets myself
Down one more time.

I hate to admit
That dissociation
Is a friend of mine.

And I’m sorry,
If I disconnect

Please don’t give
Up on me now

I just need someone
To make me feel alive
One last time.
Sep 18 · 427
saying sorry
Joshua Phelps Sep 18
Didn’t use to
hesitate for
a single second,

Jumping to

And headfirst
into all the

I never doubted
a word you said,

Even if the words
I said weren’t so

I never
learned to put


Lived my
life, hiding
in fear of

It’s not an
easy thing to

I know all
the things
I’ve done.

Saying sorry won’t
make it all come undone.
Sometimes apologizing isn't enough. I'm still learning to let go, and realize that not everything can be mended. Sometimes you have to leave it broken, so you can pick up your own pieces.
Joshua Phelps Sep 17
Like shattered pieces
On the floor,

I lay broken
and pulled apart,

Mirrored reflections,
Beckon patterns of
Being alone.

Like the
Patterns in the static,

Turning into
A bad lullaby,

Let the flames
In this hell
Take me out
So I

Burn out,
Brighter than
The sun.

If this was an

I hope I find
My peace tonight.

Fractured pieces
Can't heal

If the deal is
Signed by fate,
sealed, and sent

Just like the
Letters to a
Love lost.
Sep 17 · 407
letters to a love lost
Joshua Phelps Sep 17
Hypnotized and,
Captivated by the
Love that led
To a blindness.

The images,
By the once
Warming glow

Lay buried, just
Like a love lost,
So cold.

Once untangled,
Estranged souls

A bond formed,
And we became
entangled by

Love, loss, and regrets.

And it all took
A toll.

Never able
To save ourselves,

We went deeper
In our thoughts

And we ended up,
Digging so far,

That both of us,
Eventually fell

Like letters to
A loved one,
That used to
Have the heart

You wrote to me,
And I wrote to you
With a heavy heart.

Once hypnotized
And captivated by the
Love that led
To a blindness.

I sit here in silence,
Surrounded by a deep,
dark sadness

Still wondering why,
I still haven’t gotten
Over all this madness.
Some songs I listen to really get me going emotionally. Especially during a dark period in my life.

It will mark one year since my downfall from grace, and with that downfall, was a former relationship of around 9 years.

Sometimes I romanticize the past, knowing well there were flaws in-between, and tell-tale signs it was headed towards a breakup.  

And it frustrates me, nearly a year later, why I haven't fully gotten over it.

I'm starting to think it never goes away.
Sep 15 · 605
it is what it is
Joshua Phelps Sep 15
Can’t control
What you can’t

Outside forces,
Coming after

Inside, chaos
Multiplied by

It is what it is,
Another breakdown
in order.

Wake up and
Everything’s the

Still wanting

But the only
Change I see,

Are the scenarios
In my dreams.

It is what it is,
Another day,
Another dream.

Can’t control
What I can’t

It is what it is,
I guess I’ll wait,
Sep 12 · 266
something about you
Joshua Phelps Sep 12
I’ve given myself
A million little reasons

I don’t deserve
The comfort, but
Not a day goes

I wish I was  
In your arms

I’ve given myself,
A million little reasons

Just to avoid the  
Rising tide

Emotional chemicals,
Mixing, sending my soul  
In overdrive.

Overwhelmed, and  
realized tortured  

Hoping my heart
Can learn to love
Amid this lull.  

I’ve given myself,
A million little reasons

But there’s something
About you that makes
Me want to  

Sep 11 · 329
no one likes a sad man
Joshua Phelps Sep 11
Just slept another
day away,

Forgot to see the
sun rise.

Thought it was

But I guess
I was mistaken
this time.

Got out the wrong
side of the bed,

Put on my
disguise, again.

No one likes
a sad man,

What’s to say
I’m fine?

Time seems to
pass everyone by

And I wish it
would speed up
in this lifetime.

But the hands
on the clock,

Only moves so far,
just like the sands
in the hourglass
of time.

Just slept another
day away,

Watched the sun,
Come creeping up,

Wore the face of
grief, and regret
under forced
smiles and alibis.

No one likes a sad man.

Why even try?
if you stay in
your own head

the memories,
faded, might

leave you
in dread.

just torturing

simply feeling
hopeless, and
angry instead.

it's not worth
putting yourself
through this

even if life's
a little complicated.

look with your
eyes, not
all hope is lost.

even in the
darkest places,

the light will
shine bright
when you need
it most.
turns out memories
aren't just silly dreams.

feels like yesterday,
before we went our
separate ways,

words i thought
i'd never say

broken at every turn,
and lost along the way.

then just like the time
slips idly by,

i watched you
slip away, memories
of yesterday, fading into
the sun.

Just like photographs,
still frames in my head,
it's hard to move forward
when i have so much to say.

but at least i can say,
i've had a good run

turns out memories
aren't just silly dreams

feels like yesterday,
before we went our
separate ways

and i know
mistakes were made
along the way.

but in order
to move forward in

i know there's
hurt somewhere between
yesterday and today.

it's not over at 30,
and i know my time
isn't done.

love comes and goes,
but i don't want to be
the one who got away

when i think
i may have finally
found the one.

turns out memories,
aren't just silly dreams

and i know we've
gone our separate ways

but just like how time
moves forward, i know

that new memories
can be made
along the way.
Heartstrings frayed and  

Scarred, and afraid
to weather the storms.

But to heal,  
you know you’ve got to swim
to better days ahead.

All you can do
is all you can,

A push comes to

and within time,
the feeling of

saves you from  
being buried within.
Sep 6 · 356
black & white
I used to see
the world in  
black and white

Always thinking of  
the best or the worst,
falling apart.

But here I am, surviving  
and I'm hoping to save myself

Always followed
by my footsteps,

I’m haunted by a
never-ending dream
that puts reality to the test.

Haunted by the ghost of a
past state  

I hope to never
become again.

I’ve hit my lowest  
of lows, and all I  

Need is some reassurance,
that everything will be  
more than fine

Because I don’t  
want to fall apart

I used to see
the world in
black and white.

Always thinking of  
the best or worst,

But lately, it feels
I was handed a lifeline

and my world suddenly

When I met you.

I used to see
the world
in black and white

But together,
we'll color the world,
one hopeful brush at a time.
Sep 4 · 273
afraid to hurt
a million miles apart

where do i start  
when all my thoughts  
are clouded by nightmares  
and daydreams  
of a world  
that feels like a fantasy?

how am i supposed to know  
what's ahead?  
where do we go from here  
when we both have different paths?  
how long will this last?

it tears me apart  
and i want to tell you everything

i want to tell you that

i missed every opportunity  
but i became yours  
when i met you first

all i am  
and who i've been  
through the worst

i don't want to spend my life  
afraid to hurt.

separated by town and city,  
a million miles apart

a journey, bittersweet  
from the start.

i want to tell you everything,

and i'll let you in,  
even if it feels like  
we're drifting apart.
Sep 3 · 233
change your heart
it's not,
too late
to feel again

even the broken
can be restored
and given a second chance.

just sit back
and relax.

good things will
come to those
who patiently wait for fate.

you thought that
was the end
of your world

but the end,
is just the

and those
good things
are never-ending

it's not,
too late
to feel again.

change your
heart and

and don't
drown in the
depths of time sublime.
Remember that one,
autumn when you
thought you lost
it all?

Your heart was
in the worst,
state it has
ever been

A drug-filled
binge that
took you for
a never-ending


You broke down,
and then your
heart broke in

Because you saw
it was
the end of me
and you.

You clutched
the photos
close to your chest

Because you
couldn’t hang on
to what has been.

You felt lost inside,
and you couldn’t
control the downward

You trapped
yourself in.

Now one year
after and you’ve
let go of false
hopes and illusions.

Scared and
afraid to make
changes and leap

Into the arms of
another soul

Remember that one,
October when you

Thought you lost
it all?

You haven’t hit rock bottom
and I know it feels
like you lost it all.

Keep your head up, kid.

Stand tall.
it's a bittersweet
moment, to leave a
page in the making

a hopeful, beautiful

filled with
and life's lessons.

haunted by a
tragic story
from the beginning,
to the midsummer's

you caught me
right at the moment
when i felt
a little less than.

there's weight in
these lines,
and sometimes
it's hard
to take in.

the words,
just out of focus,
but clear in my

it's a bittersweet
to leave a page
in the making.

i can't wait
to see you
Almost a year later,
I still wish I
hadn't lost my focus.

I let the
Lens focus
on the wrong things,

In the wrong places,
And it’s all just a

An accidental shutter,
Now the picture's
faded, and

It's hard for me to
discover what life’s
meant to be

When it’s just me

Out in this vast,
dark world,
feeling lonely.

Burning out,
Just like a dying star,

Feeling temporary,
I'm barely
holding on.

Just being alive
doesn’t feel alright.

Feeling out of place
and overexposed,

Just like the
Polaroid on my chest.

Looking at the smiles,
A bittersweet moment,

A moment in which
I hope I don’t regress.

I know it’s hard to progress,

And I know I just need
to convince myself and
trust the process.

I know this won’t
last forever.

Photos capture
And I must remember

This isn't the end
of my chapter.

The world moves forward,
and moments last forever,
and hurt is only temporary.
Aug 25 · 119
simmer down
Joshua Phelps Aug 25
Lay the first strike
Because you just
Want to cause a scene

Once so gentle, serene
You kept taking my

Taking all the weight
Pushing on my shoulders
You kept on crushing

I don’t know who
Gets to suffer worst

Because I'm out of breath
And I'm nowhere near first

And where are you?
You’re nowhere to be seen

You’re hiding,
Complacent, living like

Everyone owns you
Every explanation

Even if you
Never gave them  
Anything in return

Simmer down,
Because karma’s  
Gonna get you first

Treat people without  
their worth

And they’ll be the ones
To leave you first

So lay the first strike,
I don’t wanna hear  
Any of it  

You’ve taken my energy,
But not everything
Is gone,  
and ripped in pieces

Simmer down
Because karma’s
A silent enemy,
That doesn’t
Give up, no.
Aug 24 · 164
the record
Joshua Phelps Aug 24
Lift the needle
From the record

It's time we
Settle this

Because if
We keep playing
The music we
Call life

The grooves
Will distort

And I'll be

Scratched and
Endlessly spinning
On track four

Aching, and yearning
to progress
My way past you

I seek to find
My way

To a new track,
'A New State of

But I can't
Seem to get
Out of this
Current state

(You played me
This time)

Not knowing
how to stop

I'm stuck in a

Forever stuck on replay

(I just want a

Where I'm not
Dying inside

I just want to
Be fine today)

The diamond needle
Digs deeper

In the grooves
Making the vinyl

And all that's left
Is a shell of myself
In this preserved state

Lift the needle
From the record

I'm tired of being
Played on a broken
Aug 23 · 557
Joshua Phelps Aug 23
Void in a world
Where everyone is
At their own throats

Tearing each other
Apart, visualizing

They're the only
One that's suffered

And you're the
One crying

In a twist, they
Twist and take
The knife

And stab
Right back

They just want
To see who
Can bleed more

And see
If you come
Running back

With your

Bruised and
Under attack

You try to lift
yourself up

But you forgot
How to feel

And you've reached
critical mass

You just
want to break down

From all
the surroundings

And what
brought you hell

Don't let them get closer

You can't be too careful
Joshua Phelps Aug 23
Tell me,
When did
Life get so heavy?

October, fall
Into the cold
Catacombs of winter

A tumultuous spring
That lead to
A searing summer

Seems everything
Around me is on fire

And I'm waiting
For someone
To douse the flames

And shake me
From this fever

I wonder
When the tides
Will change

Because I don't
Know how much
I can take

When I'm only living
Just to survive

It's like someone hit pause
And now I'm on life support,
Barely alive.
Aug 19 · 335
forgive yourself
Joshua Phelps Aug 19
there is chemistry
in everything

even love
and loss

has purpose
and meaning

it was no accident
(maybe it wasn't
meant to be)

the bond
tried to hold

but a guilty
conscious lead
to a total collapse

and you never
fully recovered

it's wishful thinking
thinking of
keepsake memories

always fearful
of what's to come,
maker of misery

there is chemistry
in everything

even hopeless lovers
can find their peace

maybe one day
you'll learn
to live

maybe one day
you'll make amends

but for now

you've got to
stop living
in the shadows
and forgive

don't let your
past regrets
seal your fate

forgive yourself
before it's too
Aug 17 · 309
so vague
Joshua Phelps Aug 17
that's enough

i just want to
see you run

visions of you

and i keep running
into this curse

so vague,
so much pain

it juts gets
so much worse

holding our
in vain

i'm left,
stuck in
the rain

and my heart
now breaks

swept, carried

into the ground
where you won't
see me again

that's enough

i've had enough
of the worst

so vague,
stay away

holding your memories
holding my pain.
i'm throwing it back.

it's yours to claim.
Grieving over a love lost certainly doesn't go the way we plan it. There are good days, and there are bad days. And that's okay. Emotions aren't a linear course.
Aug 17 · 461
try, honestly
Joshua Phelps Aug 17
Just got robbed another time,
And I
Wish it was something as simple,
As someone taking my bike.

But life throws me
for a loop

I'm a f-ck up
And I'd like to just
for once, die

I'm a train-wreck
About to lose it
Near platform five
and Self-Pity Avenue

Someone get on the phone,
And tell them what I've done,
Because only others can
tell my story

Take out all the fun,
and leave me staring at
the sun.

I'm a f-ck up,
I know **** well
What I've done.

I'm not dead and

Roll the cameras,
3, 2, 1
Fade to white

Pan to the right,
And now I'm in sight

Read the paper today
The report says
I'm a wreck

What's new, today?

Interrogated again,
They asked me some
questions and took
some photographs

Long story short,
i was truly f-cked.

Looking almost gaunt,
I'm looking around,
And everyone's looking at me

(Am I alright?)

It seems they
Better call the doc

Because they just captured
The day I almost went dark.

Believe me when I say this,
I've seen better days,
and this isn't it.
Not by a long-shot.

And so, I end up
flipping through
the pages and I

See the reckless
Behaviors and antics

The hospital stays,
Complete and total

I'm tired of it all,
and it's all
So f-ckin' tragic.

Used to be up at 4 a.m.
Kept myself going

Hyped up on hard drugs
And ramped up in overdrive.
Not even wanting to quit.

Now I'm up at night,
******, one habit to the next
And all I do is cry.

I'm a mess, I'm a wreck
And sometimes, I just want to die

But today,
Just for you

I'd like to, for once
Stay alive, not give up,
and try, honestly
If you or a loved one are feeling suicidal, please reach out. This poem talks about dying in the metaphorical sense. Reach out, be a friend, and help those in need.
Joshua Phelps Aug 17
When I woke up,
From this fever dream
It still felt like yesterday.

Drinking coffee,
Looking up to the sky

And smoking
happy little cigarettes

You still haunt me,

It’s true.

Maybe one day,
I’ll stop living
Under you

Stressed, another ****
Summertime vibes, and
I’m feeling low.

I don’t know
What to do.

Maybe one day,
I’ll stop living
Under you.

I can’t tell,
What’s up
From down

And the people
don’t understand
Or how it’s come to

There are days,
Where I feel numb

And there are days,
When I feel alone

I hope one day,
I’ll get out
From under you.
Joshua Phelps Aug 17
Rose-tinted lenses
Have you lost your senses?

Watching on
projector lenses

once vivid and clear

Now muddled,
from years

Of damage done

You lost your senses
This time around.

But you’re not
One and done.

Remember when
You convinced yourself

To live in the now?

(Here is now,
Now is never tomorrow)

But life threw you down,
And consequences lead to reality

You ended up stuck
in the past year

Lured in by promises
That allured to failures

(Forgive yourself for once
And be your own savior)

You feel the
tensions surround,
And you’re backed
In a corner

Your eyes see red,
The lights go out,
Another page-turner.

Welcome to the start
Of a world war
Never won

You come to and
Hide in the battlefield
Afraid to say your goodbyes

Afraid to ****, or be killed
Once protected, now vulnerable

And still
Your heart grows cold,
Hard like steel.

You want to claw
Out of the trenches
But you’re too scared
To lose.

But you know,
In order to outrun your demons,
You’ve gotta outrun them, too.
Joshua Phelps Aug 17
Build up those walls
No one's gonna
Break 'em down

You'll do just fine
By yourself

You were so preoccupied
That you failed to see
The enemy inside

It's like the lights
Simply went out
And you blacked out

You bit the hand
That fed you

You lit a match
And burned it
All down to the ground

When the smoke cleared
You soon found out
It was more you
Could handle

And you broke
All the way down

So build up those walls

You'll do just fine,
Breaking them down.

When it's all over with,
No one's gonna be around.
Joshua Phelps Aug 17
losing a significant other
is like someone
losing their own life

you separate from
mind, body, and soul

Nobody helps you,
And it's like being stuck
in permafrost

Your spirit ends up lost,
Clinging to nobody
And you grow
weary and tired

Because you're sick
of the same old story.

It's like going through
the five stages of grief

But it's never in order, completely.

There's denial,
Anger and bargaining
with yourself.

Convincing yourself
And others,
That it's alright

But alone,
you suffer in silence
And are at one with

After some semblance,
Life lessons, trials and
tribulations, you desire
hope and acceptance

But today isn't your day,
And the chain of emotions sway.

Just like the pendulum on a
grandfather clock

You swing back and forth,
Hoping that time
just stops.
Aug 2021 · 384
Joshua Phelps Aug 2021
are you listening?

can you hear me?

can you hear,
can you see
what's going on
around us?

Do you hear the sirens
that are going off
in every direction?

Everyone is leaving,
Everyone except you.

For you,
the sirens
fall on deaf ears

and you stay,
right where you are
watching the disaster unfold, in awe

The embers begin to flick and flare out
travelling down this stretch of road

and here you are, without a care
Blissfully unaware, the fire
is already taking hold in this town.

can you hear me? are you listening now?

You feel a tug of the arm,
Signaling it's time to go.

your reluctance is telling
But you know you can't stay.

You know that
you have to go.

Memories last forever.

But for you,
You know
the hardest part

Is starting over.
inspired by "bed head" by Manchester Orchestra
Nov 2020 · 479
World War III
Joshua Phelps Nov 2020
There’s a fire on top of the rooftops,
Bombs are falling from planes nearby,
people are scrambling for cover,
And help is M.I.A.

Debris falls all around us,
Bricks tumble, our hearts fumble.

We ask ourselves: Will we make it out alive?

We fear for our lives,
We fear for our families,
But the enemy doesn’t care.

We’re gonna need more than a prayer
To get through this hell
that is World War III.

We know there’s no time to wait,
We have to keep going,
Or we may be another target,
Another casualty
of heartbreak.

As we hear the surrounding screams,
We dare not look back,
As the enemy closes in around us

The sounds of gunshots
Bounce off the walls,
And one by one, the loved ones around us,
like dominoes, take the fall.

We dodge, we duck
For cover.

They shoot, fire,
And another casualty
Another loved one

Our hearts beat faster and faster,
As our hopes of survival are quashed.

Adrenaline courses in our veins,
And time starts to slow down.

We begin to wonder
And ask ourselves once more:
Will we make it out of this hell?

We didn’t ask for this.
We didn’t want this war.

But here we are,
fighting just to survive.

We don’t eat, and we don’t sleep,
All we do is run away
And hope we live to see another night.
This poem is loosely based on collective wars going in the world. The Syrian civil war was the main source of inspiration for this submission. More information about the war can be found here:
Nov 2020 · 415
The Horizon
Joshua Phelps Nov 2020
The path we take is like a long, winding road.
Twist and turns leads us in the face of danger,
But the danger is no stranger to us.

We’ve been down this road before.
We’ve been through hell and back.

Yet somehow, even though this experience.
Is different from the rest,
We’re scared.

We fear for our lives.
And those around us.

We want relief. We want normalcy.
But we know we must wait.
We must endure, we must persist,
And we must carry on.

We can see the horizon ahead.

Like a light at the end of the tunnel,
We know we’re not far from freedom.

We know if we push forward,
We can escape from this hell,
This purgatory we’ve been trapped in
For several years.

The end is in sight,
And this time
we will make it out.
The coronavirus pandemic has taken a turn for the worst. Hospitals are filling to capacity, families are losing their loved ones, and many are scared for their own lives. Due to partisan politics, relief won't happen anytime soon, but we must cling on to hope. Vaccines will soon be rolling out later this year for the first responders, and general availability for the rest of us in the Spring. There is a light at the end of this tunnel. We must push forward and make it out of this hell.
Sep 2020 · 265
Suicide September
Joshua Phelps Sep 2020
One year since your passing,
I didn't know I still wasn't ready to say goodbye.

Unlike the other lives lost in years past,
Yours cut me deeper than the rest.

Like watching an older version of myself,
Carry out a wish I could never fully attempt,
It left me mortified, scared I may follow in your footsteps.

Months later, dreams came and went.
I'd often wake up, wondering why I'd envision myself
Jumping off the Eads Bridge.

I never thought I'd be having these thoughts again.

They say history repeats itself.
But I promise you: I won't repeat the same mistakes.
I won't become a part of the past.
My brother took his life on Sept. 8, 2019, two days before World Suicide Prevention Day. The title "Suicide September" is a cryptic reminder of the month my brother took his life and the year that followed the moment I realized I'm still not okay.

But I will be.
Aug 2020 · 202
Human Interaction
Joshua Phelps Aug 2020
The months fly by,
And my heart longs
for your touch again

Something as basic
As human interaction,
Now gone right before our eyes.

Hindered by a pandemic
We try our best
To keep each other safe
and to keep each other alive.

It's like our life is playing by like
A movie on the screen.

Separated by choice,
Out of necessity,
We fight to stay alive,
In a world taken over by the virus.

The pain cuts through every day,
And I fight hard to rise above the waters.

It's getting harder to stay away from you.

My heart still longs for you after all this time.
And I miss you terribly.

I understand we must stay apart for now,
But I don't know how long I can last.

My emotions are like a sinking ship.
I'm fighting to stay afloat.

Without you, I'm doing the best I can,
To keep me from drowning in this sea of despair.
When the coronavirus pandemic made rounds around the U.S. earlier this year, my friend I decided it was best we stay apart to protect ourselves. He's high-risk, and I'm at moderate risk.

We were very close, and last year, it was on a somewhat intimate level before we decided it was best to remain friends.

I miss him so much.
Jul 2020 · 251
Pandemic World
Joshua Phelps Jul 2020
Devastated by personal and political turmoil
The world, now in month seven of an outbreak,
Face tensions that have increased almost tenfold,
Since the virus took over.

Riddled with anxiety and uncertainty,
The people of the world watch in fear,
As the numbers climb, and people they love
Pass away from an illness
That took many innocent lives this year.

Feeling trapped,
Ensnared in the confines of their homes,
They're left to their own devices, viewing articles,
About a virus that scientists have yet to eradicate

Riddled with fear and doubt,
The people of the world wonder:
When will the world return to normal again?
Instead of posting links of how I've begun to lost hope, I tried to write this in a general perspective of how we're all feeling during the coronavirus pandemic. In the U.S., poor governmental response has left many without hope.

I hope something changes and a light shines our way to see out of this darkness that enshrouds us.
Joshua Phelps Jun 2020
Just when I think I left the past behind,
My demons finally caught up to me.

Self-destructive tendencies,
Manic, mental, inability
To overcome this disease that plagues me.

It's cyclical,
It's haunting,
And it's exhausting.

I want to feel whole again.
I want to be happy.
I want to feel okay again.

I don't want to head down this road once more.

It seems I'm following a self-fulfilling prophecy,
Because all I seem to do is crave a substance,
That I know will only bring temporary happiness.

Dear Diary, I'm here to say,
I'm back once again, my thoughts in disarray.

I promise I'm trying.

I'm trying to overcome this years-long battle.

Dear Diary, I have to be honest with myself,
And honest with others,
Otherwise, what's to say I am trying to get better?

This writing is a testament, a statement,
A promise.

Dear Diary, this will be my last letter.
I've had enough.
Jun 2020 · 567
The Great Pause
Joshua Phelps Jun 2020
We all have goals,
We all strive to obtain them

We try our best to stick to the path,
And avoid obstacles at all costs.

But we realize that life isn't always a straight line.

Sometimes it hands us a curveball,
And our direction veers off course.

Once again, we're back at where we started.
And that's okay.

It may not be what we wanted,
And it may not be what we asked for
But we make the best of what we've got.
And try, try again

In these uncertain times,
Self-reflection isn't unheard of;
It's almost like a great pause.

With the world around us slowing to a crawl,
The stress and anxiety are getting to us all.
We find that brief moment of clarity,
A revelation that, maybe, we're not lost after all.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, I realize that I'm not the only one going through a major shift in life right now. We're all going through this. We will get through this.
Feb 2020 · 121
Good Enough
Joshua Phelps Feb 2020
As the seconds turn to minutes,
The minutes into hours.
I move along the fibers of time,
Hoping I'll make it through the day.

As the days pass by,
It's getting harder to
Convince me
That I'm okay.

I tell myself:
It's only temporary.

But this sinking feeling
Comes in like a tidal wave,
Crashing over me.

Some days I feel
I can conquer the world,
Other days I feel
I'm not good enough.

Sometimes I feel I'm not fit for this life.

Everybody makes mistakes
but all I do is ***** it up.

Just when I think I'm okay,
There's a constant reminder
I'm living under a guise.

I'm not happy.
And I'm not okay.

I crash under the stress
And crawl back in my mental cave.

I feel like I'll never be good enough.

I feel like I'll never succeed.

I hope one day I can break free,
Of this mental torture consuming me.
Inspired by the ballad version of "The Drug in Me is You" by Falling in Reverse. I have to stop listening to sad songs. It really messes with my emotions. However, in this case, I had to write my thoughts down.

I'm going through life, adjusting to new jobs, and adjusting to that work-school-life balance. It's bringing back old memories – and I have this constant fear of failure.

Everyone isn't perfect and I'm no exception. But sometimes I feel like I **** up more than everybody else.
Feb 2020 · 286
Divided, We Stand
Joshua Phelps Feb 2020
Welcome to the home of the free,
The land of the divided

Welcome to a land filled with greed,
The one-percent who have the need
To silence dissent, keep those below them
Complacent in a system that favors money
Over ethics and honesty

Welcome to a nation full of deceit,
Land of misinformation and misery.

Welcome to a nation where the wheels
spin propaganda for a leader.

Welcome to a nation where a leader  
Forgoes democracy and takes a page
From a communist and dictator,
Crowning himself King of the ages.

Who needs dignity when you've got vanity?
Who needs honesty when you're a liar?

Welcome to a nation where truth doesn't matter
Welcome to a country on fire.

Divided, we stand, divided we fall.

America the Beautiful, America the tall.

Who will be there to save us all?
Inspired by Sixx: A.M.'s "Barbarians." What a strange timeline we live in these days.
Dec 2019 · 146
The Letter
Joshua Phelps Dec 2019
If time heals all wounds,
And time is essential
when it comes to love

Why, after all this time,
Do I still love you?

It's been months
And I can't get you out of my head.

We went different ways,
and now it seems
I'm doing everything I can
To hide my feelings in plain sight.

April went to September,
And September went to December,
And I can't bring myself to tell you
How I really feel.

I don't want to lose you
And I'm afraid you don't love me
The way I love you.

They say time heals all wounds.

How long will it take,
Before I get over you?
As much as I'd hate to admit this: I'm in love with a friend.

I don't want to lose him.
I need to move on and let go.

I'll continue to be his friend.
I don't think it's wise for me to continue having these feelings.

Poem inspired by "Old Wounds" by PVRIS.
Nov 2019 · 266
Trial and Error
Joshua Phelps Nov 2019
Over the past few months,
I've realized nobody is perfect.
Not even myself.

I've realized it's okay to fumble.
It's okay to fall.

It's okay let my emotions
Get the best of me.

It's okay to be angry.
It's okay to be sad.

And I've realized
It's okay to slip up
And fall off the tracks.

I know I'll get right back on the path,
And head towards the direction
The direction towards redemption
And the acceptance of self,
Instead of seeking approval from others.

I know I've made mistakes in the past.
And I've made mistakes in the present day.

For far too long,
I've lived my life,
With a cloud of regrets
Hanging over me.

I can't let the past or present,
Dictate how I live my life.

To move forward,
I have to learn to love myself,
Instead of seeking love from others.

I must learn to forgive myself,
So I can forgive others.

Life is filled with trial and error,
We're all trying to find ways
To find solutions to problems
Instead of trying to fix ourselves.

Today is the day
I work on fixing myself.

I can't live my life
Focusing on the past.

It's time to enjoy life.

It's time to move forward.
This poem is a direct response to my poem from yesterday. In the poem, "Dear Diary: I'm an Addict (Part II)," I write about my mental addictions and seeking help. This poem realizes that, even though I'm not perfect and make mistakes, there is hope. I will learn to love myself eventually. I will learn to forgive myself.

Today begins the day I admit my addictions and seek help.
Joshua Phelps Nov 2019
I said I won't let my demons haunt me
And every day, I lie to myself
Saying I'm getting better.

I address the problems
That only seems to affect the surface.
I ignore the underlying issue,
that I refuse to bring up from my inner hell.

I'm ignoring a part of myself,
That monster that wants to destroy
Everything in its path.

I'm ignoring a part of myself,
The monster, who's an addict.

I try to keep the beast away,
And somehow, he tempts me.

I've been sober for years,
Yet there's one voice in my head
That tells me to stop resisting temptation.

The monster in my mind,
Tells me, "Just one more time."

I want to run away.
Yet I can't seem to escape him.
Not this time.

The monster is always there,
In my head, haunting me.

I won't let him win.

Dear diary, it's been two years since I last wrote to you.

I'm still an addict,
at least in my head.

My self-destructive tendencies,
Fed by the monster who wants me dead,
Will lead me down a dark path,
If I don't do something now.

I'm treading a fine line.
One misstep and I lose everything
I fought to live for.

One misstep, and I lose the ones I love.

I can't let him win.

Dear diary, I can't take this anymore.
I'm finally admitting that I need help.
Inspired by Falling in Reverse's "Popular Monster."

Several weeks ago, I admitted to my counselor I still think about doing hard drugs even though it has been years since I've done any.

My counselor suggested I go to some narcotics anonymous meetings. I'm going to message her for some resources.
Nov 2019 · 181
The Greatest Mystery
Joshua Phelps Nov 2019
Life's greatest mysteries
Are hard to understand.
Some question life after death,
Others question the past.

The greatest mystery to me
One I can't wrap my head around,
Is how you fell in love with me.

I'm impossible and stubborn.
You're understanding and patient.

I'm self-destructive and tear myself down.
And when I'm near my breaking point and falling apart,
Somehow you're always there
To pick up the pieces and put me back together.

You see right through the walls,
The walls I built around myself.

You look past my flaws when I can't look past them myself.
You tell me I'm perfect just the way I am,
When all I see is a monster hiding underneath.

I don't know how someone like you met someone like me.

And I'm grateful that you've given me a chance to be with you.

Because of you:
You gave me a reason to believe.
You gave me a reason to fight,
and to conquer my demons.
You gave me a reason to exist,
When I didn't want to live anymore.

If love is the greatest mystery,
I don't want to question anything else.
I'll spend a lifetime decoding
The messages to spend a lifetime with you.
This poem was inspired by Quietdrive's "World War U."

During my counseling session, I was asked what I do for self-care. Poetry is one of those outlets for me. It helps me get my emotions out that I can't normally say in person.

I may not be perfect, and I make mistakes. I'm grateful I'm given the chance to be loved, even when there are times I don't love myself.
Nov 2019 · 179
Moving On
Joshua Phelps Nov 2019
There were times when
I looked up to you

There were times when
I thought I had a brother
Who gave a **** about me.

Somewhere down the road,
Emotions veered off course
And you became another stranger

You became a stranger to me,
and everyone that loved you.

You turned into a monster,
Drinking down your emotions,
Morphing them into hate

You were mad at the world,
And angry at everyone around you.

You resorted to violence,
because that was the only time
you felt you could get your point across.

You abandoned your father,
Your son, your daughter
When things didn't go your way.

You moved, you started a new family.
And when it went south,
You decided enough was enough, taking your own life.

You lived your life
With the notion
that everyone was against you

It was you against the world.

No one would listen,
No one gave you a chance.
No one believed in you.

I gave you a chance.
Your father gave you several.

You abandoned your kids,
and they still came crawling back.

Your sisters didn't give up hope,
and you still believed you were public enemy number one.

Now that you're gone,
It's almost like you've abandoned us again.

There are no more chances to make amends.

In spite of that, there is room for forgiveness.

I forgive you for leaving me.
For leaving your son, your daughter,
Your father, your mother,
And your sisters behind.

Your demons got the best of you.

I won't let mine get the best of me.

I forgive you for everything you've done to me,
And those who loved you.

I won't forget you.
And neither will they.

I have to accept you're gone.
You're never coming back.
There's nothing I can do
to bring you back to life.

I have to accept it
and move on.
Inspired by Paramore's "Monster."

Songs inspire me to write.

I keep a weekly diary of my thoughts.

On week 5, I wrote a poem about my brother. I was angry. I had to get my feelings out.

On week 7, I revisited that poem and decided not to ignore my feelings.
I had to write it out. I had to lash out. I had to vent.
Sep 2019 · 208
Feel Again
Joshua Phelps Sep 2019
For far too long,
I kept my emotions bottled up inside.

I kept telling those I love I’m okay,
Even though I’m falling apart.

When I got that call on a Sunday night,
I did my best to keep it all together.
But the cracks in my heart started to bleed
And I couldn’t take it any longer.

I’ve lost my sister,
My friend, my father and now my brother.

I went my entire life not telling them
I’m sorry or how much I cared about them.

It seems life has a way of reminding me time is short.

I don’t want to go through life regretting everything.
And I don’t want to lose anyone else without telling them
How much they mean to me.

My whole life is filled with regret
And I know I can’t change that.

All I can hope, and all I can do
Is to be a better person
And right my wrongs, tell those around me
How much I love them.

It took losing someone
…to make me feel again.
inspired by "Actual Pain" by Good Charlotte.

Good Charlotte was one of the bands I found out by my brother who took his life Sept. 8.
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