This month’s theme is loneliness and isolation.
“Deer in the City” by Katie Elmer
Graceful legs wander the cold concrete
Delicate ears flick to sounds on the street
A splash of brown in a grey city dream
Isolated on pavement full of roaring machines
Surrounded by screaming life but alone as could be
Away from the whispering rustle of leaves
Here was where it realized that loneliness came
In loudest places all the same
But most importantly it learned never to forsake
The fellowship that comes from a quiet place
“Its changing faces” by Madi McCoun
Loneliness is a predator.
It primps and preens and waits
for tired, weary, wandering souls
to make its sorry prey.
Loneliness is a poison.
The prickly,stinging,sharp kind
that settles in the veins
too often self applied.
Loneliness is an anesthetic.
That mind numbing substance administered
while fear and pain cut through,
you don’t even feel alive.
Loneliness is a mirror
The corrupt, vile, abhorrent sort
that reflects what you can’t run from
the truth, that loneliness is you.
“SELVES” by Grace Walker
This road is walked by selves.
Selfish silly selves
Selve’s and me’s and my’s and I’s
The road is filled by tight-shut eyes.
They whisper, they laugh
No, they don’t do that.
What do you expect?
That peculiar sect
The kind that get together
And together, they’re alone.
The kind that talks and talks and talks
And talks their endless mindless drone.
talk, blabber, empty jabber.
Spewing lips and sinking souls
Leaking emptier than holes.
But eyes, dull eyes, fakes lens of glass
Stare into those each other has
Yes, it seems, into each other
But really, they see no other.
What do you expect?
They’re just silly
“Isolation’s Honed Edge” by Brandon Nguyen
Here she rises with the twilight glow.
Here she falls and lingers as fog.
Here her song treads dreaded below
As you writhe within the flowing chords.
Sightless eyes dream in vain
For a time, for someone you might have known.
These waking hours claim the mind;
These waking hours rend the soul
Flightless in the hateful rain,
The eldritch music turns in kind-
Only to break once more;
And return you to your pain.
Family mine, I see your strife
You suffer, burn and tear against your own
Know I pray for a better life
This I pray, give you sight
“ballerina music box” by Sophia Rozzi
She is sitting at her desk
Solemnly sighing still
Frigid hands hug her knees in tight
And her eyes are sat like rocks
In her head
The ballerina music box
Plays its refrain over
The soft chimes echo off of
And through her body
She tells herself that it will
Never get better
She tells herself that
There is no where for her to go
She tells herself that she simply
Has no way out
The ballerina music box
Continues to play.
Its song drags on
She wants to tell herself that
she is a God
But her happiness is hollow
That godly feeling has run out
Now all she can say is
I have never felt so alone
The ballerina music box
Playing its refrain until
Freedom’s Last Breath .
“God Forgive Me” by Levi Rogers
Growing up in the 1940s, life, as well as one would expect, was
nothing like nowadays. Those times were much simpler; I can still
remember playing marbles in the street, and listening to Louis
Armstrong’s When the Saints booming in my head. My father was a
preacher until he was drafted into the war. He wasn’t the
brightest man so he was enlisted as infantry and there he died
in the Battle of the Kasserine Pass. Times got really tough for
me and momma. I felt extremely alone; mom was gone all the time
working her life away. Moving to a lower income home I lost all
my friends. One thing stayed with me and that was daddy’s old
fashion preaching. I’ve been a Christian all my life, I’ve known
nothing else and, that’s the way I liked it me, momma and Jesus.
Continuing my fathers' path, I enlisted into Vietnam in 1965. I
was 25 years old. I took the job of infantry to honor my father
whom I loved. Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion in the 16th
Infantry Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division; that was my home and
that was my family. During the day me and my company often ran
the search and destroy missions and at night ambushes. Search
and destroy simply meant we were deployed into a heavily
contested area and eliminated the enemy. Often we would be away
from base, up to two weeks at a time, relying heavily on c rations.
Life there was rough and dreadful. I watched close friends die
in my arms. The things we had to do were unspeakable things that
none of us are proud of, things that will follow us to the grave.
Their ghosts still haunt me today, friend and foe.
May 3rd. While
on base I was in my barrack reading a letter from back home
informing me that my mother had a heart attack and was currently
in the hospital. I requested leave and was scheduled two weeks out
for a one week leave. I received another letter a few days before
I was scheduled to leave. I didn’t make it; she died in the
hospital alone. At that moment all I could feel was anger. How
could God let her die? She was the best woman to walk this earth,
she worked her life away for me and she had to suffer and die
early. It wasn’t fair. I decided to pick myself up and go to
honor my great mother, so I attended the funeral. It was a lovely
service held in our home church with the preacher that replaced
my father all those years ago. Her nurse was there and gave me a
letter she wrote moments before she died. I never knew my momma
had such a beautiful way of writing. That night I walked around
the small town and thought about life before my father died. I
thought back to when life was perfect.
May 25th. My first day back we continued with our daily routine and
it was almost as if nothing happened. Exactly one month later I
took a bullet to the neck while running a search and destroy
mission. I don’t remember anything after that, just darkness and
loneliness. I was sent home on disability. I was lucky, I healed
and began my own life. I fell in love, got a good job as an
accountant and bought a home and an automobile. Life was good
until 2005 when I suffered a brain stem stroke apparently due to
that cursed bullet that grazed it all those years ago. From this
seizure, I contracted Locked-In syndrome, in other words,
awareness, mental functions, and eyes were not affected but my
whole body was shut down. I cursed God out of my life. If he
loved me so why did he give me this life full of death and
disappointment? Now I was truly alone.
So my life as a vegetable began, my mind trapped in a useless
body with no way to express myself and forced to live on. My dear
wife did everything for me: fed me, (through tubes of
course), changed me, wiped me, and spoke for me. She was living my life,
she was living two lives; what a strong woman. She knew I heard
her, and she knew I could understand but I just couldn’t express myself
like I wanted to. Every time we went anywhere people bombarded
me and apologized to my wife and pitied me, unaware I knew
everything they were saying. My wife knew better than to feed
their curiosity and walked on. The ghosts tortured me, they knew
I was trapped in my mind. I saw them everywhere; friends and
enemies when I slept, when I was out with my wife, everywhere the
ghosts followed, and unable to escape their cursed grasp I felt like
I was losing my mind. But that was all I had left in this life so
I built a wall within it. My mind was my home and my eyes were
the windows. I watched everyone living their mediocre lives and if
only they knew they wouldn’t complain, and they’d live their life
one day they could be like me and then they’d realize you don’t
know what you have till it’s gone. I loved my wife and I
appreciated what she did for my day in and day out, but I decided
I’d live in my mind. She would always be with me and of course, I
would always be watching her beauty, but this world had no more
to offer me. In my mind I was not alone; in my mind my father was
there, my mother was there, all the friends from my childhood,
and all the friends I made in the war who were now dead and
buried, but they were alive in my mind. Their life was perfect.
This is what heaven must be like I thought to myself.
I got to know myself through this sickness, being “locked-in”
wasn’t that bad. What if we all lived a little more in our heads?
What a world we would have if we took that life and made it
happen? Oh what a wonderful life it would be. Everyone looked at
me as if I was alone within my body but they had no clue what a
journey I was having; there no one died and no one was sick, and everyone
was nice. It was perfect. Once again I thought of heaven and
decided if it’s as good as this I want to go. That night I asked
God to Forgive me and he did. That night I passed away
and left for glory. I guess you could say I didn’t escape
daddy’s preaching and I’m so glad. If I could have told
everyone I could I would’ve to have them a message before I
died. That message would’ve gone something like this.
Life was meant to be lived, not to be a casual walk. Your mind
was meant to be explored; you were given those thoughts for a
reason, so express them before you no longer can make the world
around you better. Life was meant to be lived alone. Don’t be
scared by death, honor them and love them forever but don’t dwell
because that’s when you begin to die yourself. There is so much my life
could teach and there is so much I missed, but know I have lived
my best life. I’ve lost friends and I’ve lost family but oh what a
life I’ve lived. I found out the secret of life; what will you do
with yours? Of course, no one will ever know my story, it will
die with me, I am of course stuck in my mind, but it’s nice to
imagine what it would be like if everyone could read this. Oh,
the things you can do in your mind and if we just all took a
trip there once in awhile we could change this world of
isolation for the best. I experienced heaven before death and
the world could have it now but it’s an effort. I wish I could
tell you all this but I can’t so I’m going on to live my next
life, I’m going out marching like a saint like that old song we
used to listen to by Louis Armstrong all those years ago.