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Heather Jan 2023
it strikes several time a day
—the dread—
carves me out like a soft squash
my torso becomes a vast painful cavity
the will to live stares morosely down,
frayed wires of puppet strings snap about my head
the soul holds me paralyzed over the void
lest I throw myself in
     it is not my time

I don’t remember how the episode passes
I just know that it does
and I am free to move again
mechanical and numb through the day
at least, for a few more hours
clmathew Oct 2021
~I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.

—Portia Nelson, "Autobiography in Five Short Chapters"

My own four experiences with holes
written October 5th, 2021

I walk down a road
I fall into a hole
This happens a few times
I stop walking down roads.

I get tired of being stuck in one place
I decide to try again.
I walk down a road
A different road than before
I know holes can happen
I keep my eyes on my feet
Just in case.

I walk down roads
I carefully keep a list
of roads with holes
It is always in my mind
Is this a safe road?
Will it be safe today?

I walk down a road with a friend
I forget to check if it's a safe road
We are talking and laughing
Then I realize
This is that very first road
the one with that big hole.

Did we not notice and walk around it?
Did we float over it?
Is the hole gone?
Will it come back?

So many questions.
All I really know is
I am grateful for
the moments of not worrying about holes
while laughing with a friend.
The outline of the original poem was in the back of my mind. All I remembered was the holes and eventually going around them. I wrote mine and then read the original. The original is pretty wonderful. I love analogies and this one just suited me for some of my experiences with ptsd triggers.
Dani Apr 2021
Why do you haunt me ghost
Lingering, lurking, and watching your host
Around every joyful corner you linger
From every happy window you watch
And from ever peripheral shadow you lurk
You do not own me
Yet you dangle a key
As if to show my captivity
In chains I am bound
As memories fly around
Nightmare is a better name
For this haunting game
Day lit terrors before my eyes
Sunny momentarily, til you cover the skies
A dark lit confusion
Met with desperation

All the unspoken screams
Still rattle in my head
Fear fills what were once dreams
Panic now owns my bed
A bed I wish to share
With kindness and love
But you lay there and stare
Just Grace Oct 2020
All my desires
they saturate me like
a towel wrung out too many times
drowning in unknown "solutions"
my heart twisted limp to the point where
the water just flows over me

It tells me that
what’s left to do is the ***** work
the clean up
the kind that might even leave
an even bigger mess

there is hope that
with a shrug and a smug grin
and a passionate rage
someone is brave enough to tear
this place of pain down
burn through the house of empty dreams
and lofty, stubborn hopes
Sarah Flynn Oct 2020
the scent of eucalyptus
smells like trauma

and rooms with purple walls
are challenging to breathe in

and occasionally, I meet
someone whose voice
flies straight through
my ears and rushes
to my memories.
I can't hear them.
I can only hear my past.

I know that
to anyone who
doesn't know me,
I am confusing.

you can tie me up
and **** me hard.
I like the pain.

but touch my feet,
and I will attack you.

and I won't warn you.
I won't tell you that once,
an ex broke nine of my toes
so I couldn't run away.
you'll never know.

you can smoke
standing next to me.
it wont bother me.
I smoke too.

but move your hand
a little too fast
while you're holding
a lit cigarette or joint,
and I will attack you.

and I won't warn you.
I won't show you
the cigarette burn scars
that he left on my skin.
you'll never know.

you can take me to a
concert where the bass
shakes the floor.
I'd love that.
the noise doesn't
bother me at all.

but there are some tunes
that practicing musicians
sometimes play on the drums.
play those, and
I will attack you.

and I won't warn you.
I won't tell you that
my ****** was in a band.
he was their drummer;
maybe he still is.
you'll never know.

I panicked once
in my sleep, and the man
who I fell in love with
tried to comfort me.
I didn't recognize him.

by the time I did,
he had blood on his shirt
dripping from his nose.
I had blood on my knuckles.

I didn't want to hurt him.
I don't want to hurt
anyone who I love.
I don't want to attack you, or
have to warn you that I might.'

I'm not violent, I swear.
that isn't me.
I would never hurt you.

but for a moment,
when I hear or taste or
smell or see something
that triggers me,
that isn't me.

it's my body, yes,
but it's not me inside.
I have retreated deep
inside of myself,
and all that's left
is a hollow shell
made of my skin.

for a moment, I become
a person trying to survive a
threat that is no longer there.

for a moment, I won't know
that it's you. I won't see you or
feel you or hear you talking to me.

because for a moment,
you smell like trauma.

for a moment, you make it
challenging to breathe.

for a moment,
my brain won't register
that you are you.

all you are to me
in those moments
is another danger.

I don't want to hurt you.
it's the opposite.

I want to escape so that
you can't hurt me.
Mark Toney Aug 2020

Trying to relax
on my high-rise roof
I notice you across the street on
your balcony seemingly aloof
listening to vintage Carly Simon
          "... you say we can keep our love alive"

You stare my way and enthusiastically waive
          "Babe all I know is what I see"

I hesitate, smile and then return the gesture
          "The couples cling and claw"

As if on cue you stand and press against the railing
         "and drown in love's debris"

Still smiling as my heart beats faster
          "... we'll soar like two birds through the clouds"

"What's your name?" you playfully cry out
          "But soon you'll cage me on your shelf"

"Who wants to know?" is my surprising reply
          "I'll never learn to be just me first by myself"

Suddenly flashbacks hijack my thinking
          "... it's time we moved in together
          and raised a family of our own, you and me"
Why is this happening?  Why am I sinking?
          "... that's the way I've always heard it should be
          you want to marry me, we’ll marry"

I hear your beseeching, unintelligible shouts as I retreat
Painful memories open like an oubliette under my feet—
            ­                 n

Lost and languishing in isolation's labyrinth

© 2020 by Mark Toney. All rights reserved.
8/8/2020 - Poetry form: Narrative - Italicized lyrics from the song “That’s the Way I’ve Always heard It Should Be” (1971) written by Carly Simon and Jacob Brackman - © 2020 by Mark Toney. All rights reserved.
John McCafferty Jul 2020
Where are the source of your thoughts
Contesting emotional triggers
Consider those eyelids to flicker
Additional context adds stress
As different paths stretch us apart
Sleep deep within these sheets

Another drill to overcome
The next hurdle and then some
Distracted by less with
small progressive steps

A learning tool for all
Dig away at the molehills
Digress with flexed biceps
Reminded to incorporate rest
(@PoeticTetra - instagram/twitter)
kennedy Jun 2020
Confrontations of candor
Bittersweet release
Relentless ghosts whisper
“The devil is in the details”

Chemical haze; colored sands of stark contrast
I can’t seem to sift through
Tight grips
White knuckled grasping
It runs through my fingertips regardless

A heart stitched together with scar tissue
Thick, white lines etched carefully on thighs
If my heart grows
Will I find stretch marks there, too?

Silky smooth tracing
With bony fingertips
The birth of fresh skin cells
Each year more and more
Skin dissolves into dust from before
It runs through my fingertips regardless

The girl with the protruding rib cage
With fire just behind
Blue-green, ever-shifting eyes
She branded passion into her arms
With a lit cigarette

Eyes that only saw black or white
Torment suffered red
Pain inflicted blue
Fused into monochrome shades of slate

Digging up her grave
Clawing at the dirt and sand
Until blood runs down soft hands
Struggling to separate the two
Dry, dry sand
It slips through my fingertips regardless
Orakhal Jun 2020
who hurt you most
be muses to the soul

pressing  buttons
you be wearing
of an un-declaring
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