ISBN 978-0-9941077-6-3 (EPUB)
ISBN 978-0-9941077-7-0 (Kindle)
© Copyright 2014 N Titi Publishing
All rights as specified below.
This is a not-for-profit poetry anthology. This publication is not for sale, but published for free distribution in its entirety. No parts of it may be reproduced or shared. No exchange of money has occurred between the publisher and the authors and no entity will be allowed to offer it for sale.
N Titi Publishing holds copyright of the anthology, but all individual works are copyrighted as listed below by the individual authors and no poems may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without prior written permission from the author.
This is a work of fiction and any references to real people or events are coincidental. The publisher is not responsible for the contents of the websites of the individual authors.
Helpless © 2014 by Anonymous
Death of an Individual © 2012 by Anonymous
untitled © 2014 by Aster X.
Chair of Truth © 2014 by Joanne Baltodano
Ana © 2014 by Joanne Baltodano
untitled © 2012 by EKB
Bi-Polar © 2014 by K.J. Miller
Free © 2014 by K.J. Miller
Fighting © 2014 by K.J. Miller
Wish © 2014 by K.J. Miller
War © 2014 by K.J. Miller
A Pipe Dream © 2014 by Lena Siemiesz
Bodied © 2014 by Lena Siemiesz
Canyoneering © 2014 by Lena Siemiesz
Eclipse © 2014 by Lena Siemiesz
The Island of Surtsey © 2014 by Lena Siemiesz
The Percussion © 2014 by Lena Siemiesz
Diabeat-It © 2014 by Calloway Simmons
Judgment Hurts © 2013 by Nōnen Títi
Sprung from the Heart © 2014 by Nōnen Títi
Behind the Invisible Wall © 2014 by Nōnen Títi
cover © 2014 by Djanko
Ebook conversion 2014 by meBooks
Introduction – Sprung from the Heart
untitled (by EKB)
Chair of Truth
A Pipe Dream
untitled (by Aster X.)
The Island of Surtsey
Death of an Individual
Behind the Invisible Wall
Sprung from the heart
that so often
what has no words.
Sprung from the well
the deepest self;
Sprung from the heart,
the words are free
to carry a message
that is shared:
to not be alone.
Sprung into poetry
because, locked up,
the heart to break.
Throughout human history and in every culture, art has been the medium to best express our deepest emotions – those that surface in times of turmoil – and poetry is often a natural means of this expression, even by those who do not call themselves poets. This anthology tries to capture those emotions.
The idea was originally inspired by two people very close to my own heart who had turned to poetry to help them cope with emotional pain. In an attempt to give weight to the feelings that accompany contemporary problems, such as chronic illnesses, bullying, eating disorders and thoughts of suicide or self-harm, this anthology is a collection of the writings of those struggling with them – to share the sentiments so others may know they are not alone – as it is a true understanding we need to deal with emotional problems, not cold facts and figures.
I would like to thank Djanko and Lianna for giving their time and skills to make this publication look good, and to express my gratitude to all those who have trusted me with their feelings and creative works. I wish you all the strength you need in your struggles and all my love to help you through this.
Fire, it burns within my soul,
screaming to get free of me.
It leaps and flits from place to place,
ever changing my emotions.
Then the ice comes, and freezes,
cool wind blowing through me.
It chills and stops my feelings,
ever making me grow numb.
Fire and ice mix, causing a numbing burn,
and then I know.
The hot and cool sensations overtake me,
and I have lost control.
I really like this feeling, feel home in it.
It’s uncanny, like an oasis at dusk
in a vampire ghost town.
Or maybe it’s in the way I like bitter things
even when my whole body shudders,
because I feel it tastes more real.
It’s delicious the way For Emma brings me back to the saddest part of any stretch of days– Or was it years? And maybe it keeps going and revisiting this space is not a return, or even a lapse, but the loud eclipse of what always was,
perhaps before even my time,
before everything Father did not say and Mother didn’t need to.
When it occurs, you’re not meant to look at the sky, directly at the happening, with a naked eye, a precaution that gave children an understanding of how cardboard can frame a function
like “Crazy Carl” grew up and made a home out of it,
and his fur, grey now, is always in a tuft of weather.
If God allows for Carl, why not naked eyes towards space?
Each time, to get closer to mystery, I’ll risk the loss of sight,
To no obvious gain
I’m at the train station now.
I’ve never seen anyone wave goodbye so wildly it approaches hello, or at least you forgot something! Such a cheerful goodbye, I don’t recognize it. No one has ever done me such a bidding.
Other people are never quite resolved to leave me in either mood. They see I’m the imprint of something real, or complete, or at least sure and straight in its sinking.
They are haunted by the invisible protrusion that shapes me, though they covet to know it, or be it.
My heart is a weed among ruins. It envelops the hardness like ivy. It eats rock, rich mica-flecked granite. I was lured to your obsidian weight, beyond wish, your marble black, glistening, almost blue.
not getting out of bed
until four pm or even seven
but see i didn’t know that
until my mother
broke my heart by
leaning on it.
you should never have to see
your parents cry
she has that darkblackspace
in her mind too, the doctor said
but now i can’t tell her
i have it too
because the only thing worse
than seeing your parents cry
is making them cry
now i’m not eating again
because walking downstairs
to see happy faces
and faking a smile
makes me feel emptier
than a day of water.
i hope you never know
what it is to be hungry
on the inside
walls of your heart.
EKB (AGE 18)
I awaken and smile.
I’m in my safe place; my meadow.
I rise and collect myself
And in the distance I see a theatre.
Interest piqued my soul and I made my way into the theatre.
It was ominous yet I see one desolate wooden chair.
I sit down in it with curiosity for what’s to emerge on the screen.
I recognize myself.
As I continue to watch I see this beautiful and lively girl.
With confidence and self-worth.
I connect with the message that recovery is worth it.
She had persevered.
In that precise moment I feel someone grasp my hand.
I peek down and see this mischievous twiggy creature.
I named him ED and he made me feel accepted.
A feeling I strived for my entire life.
With a sense of security
I glance back up at the screen and I have diminished.
There is a naked girl… fragile girl.
Who is she? I don’t recognize this girl.
ED squeezes my hand a little tighter
Implying that I am okay and then the screen transforms again.
A close-up of this girl with tears streaming down her face.
An emptiness in her eyes and soul.
Help me! She screams with a piercing voice of misery.
In that moment I know my truth.
That miserable girl who lives through whispering lies.
That girl is me.
I dearly glance down at ED
I grab his hand and walk back to my meadow.
I am not ready to let go of the acceptance and security ED provides
Lies or not, he still remains at my side.
Romancing the Road to Recovery
“Do you really think it is weakness that yields to temptation?
I tell you that there are terrible temptations which it requires strength,
strength and courage to yield to.” -Oscar Wilde
Because there isn’t a way to ask,
“What have you done with your body?”
I watched you take shape, like the endless
unveiling of a painted Russian doll.
The last figure; the stark white of your eyeball
Yet, I can’t forget the smallest piece of you;
the pearl skin of your teeth, hovering
over a dull heart pump–
hiding behind the closing of your mouth.
Had you designed this all, or,
I thought then, “What if your exoskeleton
Your body hard and small
Your eyes retained the only roundness in you,
crowning every desire you ever knew
a hunger only hunger could satiate.
What voices in your mind
overrule your intellect?
What feeling in your soul
lock out all common sense?
What power is in you
that blocks my reaching hand?
What is it I can do
to help you understand?
Starving in a place of plenty,
my perfect child; a skeleton.
You know that I reach out to you.
Why reject all my attempts?
How can you think you’re undeserving
of food, this basic need
while I have tried to give you all,
gave you life’s very seed?
In pain and anger, hurt and shame
you watch; I watch you too.
Helpless, rejected, taking blame
But baby, tell me what to do!
I watch you hide from life, from love
not letting anybody near
And yet, deep down you must know that
for you I’m always here.
Some time ago, my life was called much harder just to live
was told my Pancreas made no more Insulin to give…
Began to see the room
Emergency became my tour
What reason for my sickness with no hope to find a cure…
The kids around; some cruel they be, cared not to understand
my reasons why I could not do all things our growth demands…
This sin of illness called a Juvenile Diabetic was
the weight I had to deal with…
with no reason why its cause…
Was teased about the sheets I’d wet while slumber sugar’s high
All of the pokes from needles that will sometimes make me cry…
The constant tests of blood and pee to see what I may eat
The torture of those Halloweens I could not ‘Treat or Treat’…
So weak inside from all the things I go through just to live
A chance to grow up normal is a bread that God won’t give…
But then again as time progressed, I got to know a place
called Camp NYDA where smiles were found on each Diabetic face…
This camp showed me I’m not alone – and trails I could surmount
Amazed there were so many kids like me… too many to count…
The caring guidance we received gave hope to recognize
What can and should be done to keep us healthy, strong, alive…
No longer fearing what I am… but learning to control
the Ketones and high sugar blood and urine sometimes show…
It’s hard to live as a Type 1 Diabetic, this is true
But knowledge makes my trails succeed, and errors mainly few…
I Talk… I Run… I Play… Have FUN – Much Happier I be
I took control of what I am – a Sick kid running Free…
And all the things I do to keep my sugars under tap
has made a stronger man complete life’s race… Yes, Ever Lap!
“For the first time I actually felt
like I owned my skin,
like it was me and I was it”
-Hypatia Belicia Cabral, Junot Dîaz
I remember the tan weight of your lids,
how the extra curves of your lips
formed the roadway of a brimming trip,
a line I’d put my future on.
I remember holding, not willing, hanging,
from the high confidence of your shoulders
how words seemed to leak from every
part of your body, but it was you who said it
in the end
carefully decoded my dialogue with God
as if my freckles connected into constellations
up my arms, and the closeness of breath ran
proportionate with truth,
like whispers in ears.
The air between us filled the edges
I’ve creased inward all my life.
Books tell me heroin does better–
but I’m not addicted to heroin.
So many times I didn’t respond soon enough.
I blame the high viscosity of experience
I trudged through just trying to catch words
from to your mouth, which made
me, malleable like the raw matter of blown glass
a recipe requiring then only your breath
Perhaps I’m still spinning on the craftsman’s rod
or else flung off, –finished,
shedding glitter like a year of dead skin
Now, I hold my hands curved up like empty bowls
my clothes are rags, my body
leavens the weight,
my body a vacuum-packed organ set
not your hand but traces upon it now, and
no mirror compares to the refraction of your eyes
from the earth I’m made of
The kitchen seems five miles away
My towel weighs ten pounds
And the end
lies six feet under
Bang, blast, boom, pow,
those are the sounds heard.
Screaming, yelling, planes overhead,
more sounds heard.
Bloody, blurred visions
are all that can be seen.
A mix of terror, anxiety and excitement
is all that is felt.
Flashes of light
brighten the sky any time of day.
Retreat or fight;
the only two options.
For days this continues:
no food, no water, no sleep.
The screams lessen
as each day passes.
The sounds dim
as more and more die.
Finally the lights in the sky stop,
and everything is dark no matter what time of day.
At sea, on the island of Surtsey, in my sea dress
laced with weeds, I’ve staked a little land.
The outline reaches where
I flung wide my hands
and turned like a gypsy
in a circle.
I look out over the horizon of water I cut
and coursed through to get here, like a bladed rotor;
different tongues on a word wheel, and chant
a gypsy hymn, drawing an orb around the soft head
of my past.
I am alone here. When I look down, every precious
thing I have lost is washed up on the shore dripping
The peeled silver eye of moonstone,
the deep red heat of your hand,
sopped in their sea-bearing.
And all the people who knew me as a child
are out there bobbing in a wind and water
In the light of the sun, they wink their thoughts of me.
And I can only see it now, from Surtsey, all together
the faded mirage of every day done and gone.
And I need a net large enough, that can catch color, and I think
of how not enough feeds too much.
Alone, the sun and the soft sand are enough.
They are mine.
Still, If I could swallow every mistake and misword
like smashed green glass, I’d do it so you could see past. So I could bob with you.
It is dark now on my Island, sweet Surtsey, and the silence speaks
in black, and I think of death or the meaning of one life.
I strip the dry bark of a tree at night,
hold it to the slit light of the stars in the fifth house of destiny–
it reads rot.
When I hold it to my ear, it whispers in words of stained silk–
The sea holds and I drop like a flash of boiled blue.
I rifle quick moments
to scribble these words
that shatter my thoughts.
Thoughts that mean more
than behaviours displayed.
Convictions that are a perpetual disturbance.
Thoughts that whisper in my perception of self
Until I ultimately disappear.
Romancing the Road to Recovery
So serene and curious
when you were newly born,
open to meet the big wide world;
trusting, shining, warm.
So full of zest for life and joy
a toddler, always on the go,
ready to experience it all;
an abundant loving show.
So smart you were at five and six
eager to learn, hear and see
soaking up knowledge everywhere
daring, individual, free.
Then school started.
Now your eyes are dull,
your posture hunched
you hide away at home;
defensive, silent, stunned.
Where’s my baby?
that beautiful soul
they killed –
And now they’re giving you the blame
deride, justify, defend;
assert that you deserve this shame
for not being just like them.
Cowering in the corner,
way too scared to move.
The dog curls up beside me,
shaking as much as me.
I can hear them yelling
and it makes me sick.
To think they call this love
makes me never want it.
Makes me want to hold my heart
and never give it to anyone.
Makes me want to live alone,
makes me never want to care.
At twilight, when the sky is neither light or dark
My heart senses the weight of you
I could explain it, I could justify it all.
But I’d rather blame myself–
How I couldn’t decipher which territory to perform
On either side of your borderline
And so, I botched it.
My person now switches from second to third
as I set sail from an island
Was that who he was then?
The objective one who finally ended it?
The one, free of emotion and thus response
Or something more sinister
There is an art to being ignored–
I’m flailing on its mute canvas like a frantic fly
In the web of a spider, not quite hungry yet
He couldn’t look at me
when he mentioned his father
And how could I expect he
build love on a foundation of loss
Like a cliff meets the sea.
I wish he saw salvation, not storms,
in my eyes,
where he coveted a wickedness
he couldn’t understand,
a softness that swallows.
like Daddy’s right shoulder blade, round and blunt
when he walked away,
every time hoping, but fearing, he’ll return
We go canyoneering to spy on waterfalls.
The tread of wet stone
Only our feet grace
from harnessed heights
all the way down
we dread the actual falling,
we have little courage for the thing itself
At bottom, experience is only the nascent blur of memory
which holds little promise
Sometimes majesty is too terrible
and succumbing would force us to change
the way we love
which we’ve inherited
and it feels so right, in pain
like my father’s fists
In the same way, I’m addicted to you
like the back of your father’s head
standing here now, your scent still on me,
I know you now more deeply than ever.
At the sharpest ridges of your rock precipice
your wordlessness is my love letter.
Her skin stings,
Slap, slap, kick,
again and again,
she curls into a ball.
He walks away,
disgusted and angry,
she lays there.
Too scared to move,
too scared to breathe,
listening for his footsteps.
Thirty minutes pass,
she hears the front door,
she hears his car.
Another thirty minutes pass,
she finally gets up,
aching from every hit.
She creeps down the stairs,
she slides on her shoes,
she exits the door.
Her feet hit the ground,
immediately she feels free,
so she runs.
and runs and runs,
and doesn’t look back.
of having done wrong
grasps at straws
grown from science
– without root –
that blame the food, the hormones,
anything that points at the child will do.
they have missed clues
sparked by fashion
– flawed logic –
of disorders, bad homes,
anything that says, “It wasn’t me.”
with faith in correlations
forged by cold facts
– wishful thinking –
in status, statistics,
anything that proves what they can do.
trusting parents, teachers, experts,
accept the labels
– accusations –
for looks, behaviour,
until they break and start to shoot.
behind an invisible wall
– the excuses –
for bullying, self-harm,
untouchables behind a wall of ignorance.
I don’t think it can be said in a word
how one wrong step can lead you to fall
out of your life like death in a dream;
like my dream where I show a gunned man my hand
and then watch it descend into darkness like night,
like one spiraling limb from light—it was only one.
There’s more than one way to write ‘one;’
As a number and as its conceptual word.
A single anchor sinks into the sea of every night
If you run from or after the darkness you will fall.
Free your fingers and the man might blow off your hand.
But alas that’s the story behind every dream.
Reality is the imperialist othering of a dream
and its worlds and nations. I had one
once when the wrist-side notches of my hand
were tethered to a rope which kept its word
in a knot tied to an airplane, minute-physics from fall
I hung suspended from a plane’s tail all night.
Visions enter or exit my mind each night.
It just depends how you conceive of a dream,
which depends upon the weight of a fall
from consciousness, which is one
with unconsciousness; it’s each word
that makes them different. Without day there’s no night.
I have stared in wonder at my hands,
seen them reach round the full belly of night,
felt them pinch the soft corner of a just word
and trace the velvet outline of a dream.
In the middle of my mind there is one;
it smells of crushed colored trees in the heat of Fall
How many ideas can you bring to the word fall?
Can you hold any of them in your hand
like the weight of the wind in your hand forms one
gaseous ball from a free fall. --You can have night
too, like chocolate cake splintered with the shrapnel of a dream
that exploded into fragments composed of word.
The grits in my coffee are word-
bits. The sight at the end of my vision is a dream-
fixation, channeled through the round body of night.
I wish I had a minute
to sit and be in calm and peace,
I wish I had a minute
to let go and just release.
I wish I had a minute
to think a little of myself,
I wish I had a minute,
no more feelings on the shelf.
I wish I had a minute
to close my eyes and sing,
I wish I had a minute
to more than cater to my King.
I wish I had a minute
where no one was around,
I wish I had a minute
to just lie upon the ground.
I wish I had a minute
to get some clarity,
I wish I had a minute,
a minute just for me.
It scars and destroys
creates anger and hate
Judge me not
for your morals
to my soul.
And if you must
– judge –
for you are human,
then keep to
what you think,
for freedom is not
saying what you wish
It is having the choice
to speak – or not –
It causes pain
it stops one eating
keeps another doing so,
it causes abuse
for you are no better
THANK YOU FOR READING.
This anthology of poetry comes directly from the heart of its contributors, all of whom are struggling with emotional or physical problems. All submitted their poems to share with the world in the hope that it might help create more understanding for their inner stirrings. Many are young writers, the victim of bullying or dealing with anorexia or obesity. Others have lived with Type 1 diabetes their entire life. Others simply share their feeling different. The contributions to the anthology helped support the writing of its companion fictional book Soup and Bread and it is presented free of charge to create awareness and respect for those who are suffering alone or in silence. Let us listen to their heart.