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charley gwenn Mar 2019
ghost of flesh
movement on empty sheets
gone from a place i am gone from
motel off the highway

lipstick and spit
on my skin, in my mind
in the past, forever ago
a thousand, million years ago
dead bones of a dinosaur
younger than the years i feel you gone
calcified grief

dancing in the dark
like twin graves
young and dead, the two of us
myself walking still
yet to realize my fate
like wily coyote walking over a cliff
i have yet to look down and fall
a cursed sarcophagus
that will never quite close
your death keeps me here

how do i live
when all i can do is survive
how do i survive
without you here to guide me
my darkened lighthouse
you helped me once through the storm
and now i am lost in it
without even a compass
to guide me back to some shore
i can no longer call home

you are gone
and i never had the chance to tell you
i was so in love with you
i loved you so much
more than anyone maybe
i had never felt so safe
with someone
or with myself
than i did with you
but you are gone
and you can never hear my words again
and i can never hear yours

ghost of flesh
ghost of heart
mind and body and soul
and hands that held me
and eyes that saw strength in me
and the softest mouth
that kissed the truth right out of mine

you did so right by me
and i wish to god
that i could just have done the same
for you
all i can do now is try to do right
in the wrecked aftermath
the fallout-ridden blast zone you left behind
all i can do is try to preserve you
and talk about you so ******* much
that the world cant ever forget you lived

ghost of flesh
perfect beautiful heart
a young god on a ****** planet
strong and brave and eternal
my lighthouse
charley gwenn Mar 2019
there is a hole where you once were
a distinct absence that i feel
as though it were something there
instead of something that isn't
a place where a person
that understood me
and that i was not afraid to show myself to
that i felt safe with
and that i felt safe with myself with
once lived and breathed
and died and was carved away
this person is gone, she is a scar
i throw innumerable paper presidents
at hollow pursuits
like rain at the *******
in an attempt to fill the void
empty calories
candy and plastic
a child playing at adulthood
an adult playing at being whole
i am not whole and i will not be whole
but the hole in me has shattered me apart
reflections in the broken glass
show me a person more broken than them
i crawl through the days like a revenant
alive but barely human
how close am i to who i was
when i met you?
how close am i to doing what i did then?
i don't know how to force emotion
out of my deadened heart
without pay up front
i feel lost
in a great dark wood
that never ends
no light in the distance
no moon or stars to guide my way
just endless dark trees
i cry out to any who can hear
but it feels as though i am the last speaker
of a long lost language
your name now etched into stone
is a dying tongue gone from the earth
if i don't keep talking about you
and who you were
and what you meant to me
will the world forget you ever lived?
will history turn away
from the now ancient bones
of those that i loved?
the blood on the hands of the heroes
now crusted into dust and flaked away
pristine and innocent
deeds undone and forgotten
why did the smarter
and stronger of us
have to be the one to die young?
without you
i am the last of our kind
charley gwenn Dec 2018
the burden weighs terribly
columns upon columns
of concrete and steel
upon a broken back of bone
living can be a terrible curse
when death is indiscriminate
your face is burned into my brain
smiling in the pictures
i was able to find
of your teenage self
the only pictures left of you
but a terrible fear grips me
that your real face will fade
and i will remember
only the pictures
pain ripples through
my disquieted mind
as i struggle to reach
above the rough waves
to dry land
where you once were
but are no longer
grief is an island
and i am stranded
and it is a prison
but the gate is not locked
and the key to my cell
is in my own hand
i just do not want to look at it
as life goes on
without my cell mate
i accumulate injuries
one after another
enemy after enemy
after friend after lover
the bruises fade
but there is something more
my body ages
but the scars do not
i move through the days
weeks and months
i watch the calendar wither
but i do not feel time
how am i meant to heal?
your name claws at my throat
just to hear somebody say it out loud
i want to stay here
in this cold empty place
the prison
the island
alone with your ghost
if i leave
i leave the last pieces of you
grief has become my home
and i want to stay
i am constrained to this place
i defy the laws of reality
i disagree with nature
you should be here
i don't want to learn from this
allow me not to grow
just this once
allow me to stay in this small place
with my dead friend
for just this moment
for just one moment longer
let me hold the key
staying in grief
charley gwenn Dec 2018
as the sun sets on the past
and night has settled in the city i was born
why must i now be stuck here
in this lonely town
here in the present?
i knew how to cope
with the wounds of the past
of an endangered childhood
i knew how to soothe and mend them
but this adult body, this woman's soul
wrecked as it is
i do not know how to repair it
when i was hurt as a child, i was alone
and over many years
navigating the darkness
by the echoes of the sounds above me
as i made myself strong, i was also alone
but when i was hurt so recently
as to still feel the barbs so fresh
november was only one year ago
and already it is leaving again
when i was hurt, then
i was not alone
but i did not know how to be hurt like that
i do not know how to let people care
i do not know how to believe
that others really love this creature
this frightened animal
pretending at humanity
i do not know how to accept the love
so readily offered to me
and to believe that my friends
would really protect me if they could
because it's never happened that way
i am always my only shield
and my only sword
i am always the only soldier
on a lonely battlefield
i am so used to being alone
that i do not know how to see
that i am not anymore
and maybe never have been
the truth is eclipsed by bruises
that swell with blood and shut my eyes
cut me like rocky, because i need to see
there are people in this world
that can love frightened animals
she is gone now
she walked this earth only months ago
there must be more out there
i just have to let them in
no one is born into this world to be alone
charley gwenn Dec 2018
i am beside myself
but i wish it was you beside me
but you will not be here beside me again
you are lost and gone forever
dreadful sorry
but the world is not
they did not flinch
when your light flickered out
just change the lightbulb
replaceable people
eraseable lead
senators can't look back
when a crusade is on the march
bodies in the street are invisible
cross the street and look the other way
on and ever onward
justice is absolute
and a small sprout of ginger
never stood a chance
under the weight of heavy boots
i am a forgiving person
in a general sense
but it is a finite resource now
and i have none in my heart
for the ones who pull triggers
and sign bills
in inkwells of young blood
"when they go low"
i guard my shins
and sweep the ******* leg
i am done with civility
i have been past that point
since paramedics called the time of death
and wiped down your bathroom floor
i have been sharing psychology resources
and teaching my friends to throw punches
in a way that will hurt less
i am making of myself a commander
of survival and resistance against death
i will make sure my friends can endure
the things that destroyed you
i will be a wall against the coming wave
a sword among the shields
and i have to be this
or the jaws of death
begin to shut around me
i cannot be swallowed by this
i cannot be crushed
i will cut my way out of the monster
and make my way out of the darkness
i have to survive
and tell your story to any who will listen
i have to live
to keep your light alive
in mine
a certain politician's victory was rough on me back in november of this year.
charley gwenn Oct 2018
age is just a number
at least
that's what you think
when you're young
every teenager
thinks they're mature enough
to be treated like any adult

age is just a number
a number lower than 18
many nights when i was young
i snuck out of my room
and many of those nights
i broke the law
but breaking the law
goes both ways

age is just a number
to be negotiated
another chip on the table
like handcuffs or rope
is just a number
the age of consent
is just
a number

if eight years from 17
is not long enough to outgrow
being a criminal
is there hope for anybody?
i understand, i think, why it cuts so deep
to be called something like that
when you aspire to be Superman
you do not want to be like the men
who paid for your teenaged body

i don't know if i even really believe or if
i just want to protect myself
from the day that i prove
to everyone that i hold close to me
that it's true, it's all true
and they run screaming

maybe if i can convince them now
i can save myself that hurt
please, please,
just understand
i really am a lowlife ****, honest!
please, just
stay away

but there's a reason
that nobody believes me
there's a reason
everybody has had a different story
a different argument against it
a completely different view of me
i am so many things to so many people
how can that even be?

the age of consent is
just a number
but it is a law
for a valuable
and important reason
and the law that i broke
is just so much smaller

if i am a criminal
as much as somebody
who sleeps with teenagers
then "criminal" is a word
devoid of meaning
is my cousin a criminal
for being born in the wrong country?
was ginger a criminal for living her life?

many righteous and good things
were once illegal
the law has never had anything
to do with morality
it is coincidence when they coincide
if people like me
and, especially, people like ginger
have to be called criminals
while society fixes its heart
then i will wear the label with her

age is just a number
at least
that's what you think when you're young
many teenagers make mistakes
i shouldn't have to carry the mark of mine
when i hurt nobody but me
but i will wear it
i will wear it with pride
charley gwenn Oct 2018
tongue in teeth
eyes shut tight
clothes on in the shower
back from the brink
back from somewhere
a dead friend's childhood home

the lies i tell myself
just so i can get by
become less convincing
every time i tell them
i know all the signs
my tells are obvious
and i know
when my heart's not in it

i am only 25 years old
but already it feels like
my body has lost something
a sense of youthfulness or beauty
that i had when i was 17
and do not have now
that strange men would crave
why can't i feel that way again?
would i even want that again?

the people ive trusted
and who were worthy of that trust
who treated me well and cared for me
have been so few
and never have any of them
shared their hearts with me
the way i wanted to share mine

how can i believe in my own worth
and value as a person
when i believe i am an object
of ****** pleasure
who has no more pleasure to offer?
what value do i have then?
what am i then?
what worth is there to be found
in a doll that is no longer beautiful?

make me clean again, lord
make me whole
make me beautiful
this is why i don't believe in god
if he is real, the ****** abandoned me
like most men do
i have had only my friends and family
and the professional help i could pay for
to save my soul

your mother called me a deadbeat
a criminal and a lowlife
(did she feel the same way about you?)
she said i wasted my youth and my life
that i didn't love you
or i would have tried to save you
from the life you chose
like she tried to

but you never needed saving
from your death, but not your way of life
i was never cut out for it
but i was in it for the wrong reasons
i was trying to hurt myself
in order to feel anything i could
while you were trying to thrive
she'll never understand you
you didn't want salvation from her
you only wanted your mother back

she's a cursed woman
and i wish i understood this
before i let her words cut me so deep
she's drowning in an ocean of grief
and doesn't know how to do anything
but strike everyone else down with blame

i tried my best to change her mind
to turn her heart with my own
i hope you would understand, ginger
it seemed her heart had hardened
turned to stone and shut away
i could not change her at all

i still go to bed with your ghost
i wanted to give you rest
i wanted to protect you
i dont know where this leaves us my friend
some hearts can't be turned
but i will not betray mine
charley gwenn Oct 2018
i want to speak my heart
and be understood without misconception
i want to carve out the truth
with the precision of a surgeon
an infinite decimal
i want to speak from a gentle nature
but with a shining sword of truth
and bravely

i want to give voice
to the love inside me
that is in truth raw and powerful and wild
but i do not want to frighten you away
i want only for you to hear the strength
the calm
the rage
the great and unimaginable pain
and the boundless affection
that echo in the chambers of my heart

when i choose to share my body with another
it happens in one of two ways
recklessly, and dangerously, and stupidly,
and probably with a man,
and probably when i feel very vulnerable
and probably i pretended i was drunk
and probably i regret it and probably
probably i never tell anybody about it

or, rarely, it happens with enthusiasm
and with a full readiness
absent from most experiences in my life
eagerness and heart
and i do not float through the galaxy
as my body lies back on earth
******* the pain away

i am not dreaming
i am here and i am awake

and i want nothing more
than to want you
and for you to want me
and to make you tremble
like the streets of southern california
when a fault line shifts
with a fierceness like the spirit of god
moving through church
i want to make you feel
and i want you to feel me with you

i have not been able
to share myself with another person
without fear of being exploited
in eight years
i hardly remember what it feels like
to be so dumb and wild and free

i was forced into living this life
jumped into it by a gang
of nurses and doctors and midwives
i was never given a choice
nor a weapon to defend myself
though i would face terror after terror
alone in the darkness
with nothing to light my way

i cannot trust men not to hurt me
i can't even trust women not to do the same
am i ever going to be able
to open my heart again?
first thing i've written in months that isn't about death
charley gwenn Oct 2018
though your body
is buried in the earth in arizona
i go to bed with your ghost
every night now
the rain does not respect the state border
so why should you
lost in the rain
charley gwenn Oct 2018
This city was not the same without you when you left
And this world now will never be the same either
A permanent scar has been left on the earth
Where they removed you from it
And a scar has been left on me as well
Where they took you from me
But it was not you who held the knife

You were left alone in this world
But Caroline did not leave you
And I am now also standing
By myself in the dark
But you were not the one who left
You were both taken
By a hateful world that could not accept
That *** can be a way of living
And a way of life

Are men whose wives died
When they were now so old
That they felt they could never find anyone again
Never worthy of sharing a bed again?
Are men with physical disabilities
Debilitating anxieties
Childhood traumas
Or any other thing that makes them
Unable to find a meaningful and lasting relationship
Undeserving of physical love?

They never listened to you because
They were scared of you
And if they heard your words
It would break this whole world apart
Their whole perfect world

I do not know where people go
When they leave the city
When they leave the world
But I know what is left behind
I remember everything differently now
The memories and versions of you
I thought were the most important
Became eclipsed by older, ancient beings

The earliest memories and encounters
The first, original, most primordial Ginger
Prevails as the version I remember most
The questions about why I was in this life so young
And who hurt me and that I didn't deserve to carry myself like this
For the rest of my life
Completely alone
The kiss that changed everything
The threesomes that men had paid for but felt
So special to me because you felt so safe
That safe feeling was everything to me
Those memories are everything to me

Your memory is fragile now
It stands at risk, in danger
Your ghost hangs in peril
And I don't know how to protect you
But I will preserve you
Any way that I can

I do not know where people go
When they leave the city
Maybe into the sky
But I will not let you be lost in the rain
more poems about ginger, and caroline. all written since july.
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