On the Edge

Trigger warning!
Photo by Spencer Selover from Pexels

Constantly shifting and parrying
One small misstep
Is all it takes to fall
When you are
On the edge

A thin line betwixt darknesses
The only light tread
In this weave of nightmares
Bright hope is scarce
When you are
On the edge

Unending battles and skirmishes
No path to ceasefire
Scraped raw, skinless
When you are clinging
To a sharp edge

Trapped in loops of the past
Shackled by demons
No space to break free
When you are balancing
On the edge

Blind to joy, trust, peace
Deaf to caring words and hearts
Mute the screams, silence the tears, hide the pain
Drowning in a well of sadness
Unable to reach out or be reached
When you are living
On the edge

©RedCat

Written for myself and others I care for. Who like me is battling depression, old trauma wounds and mental health issues.

I wanted to share how it feels to live on that edge. When the edge is all there seems to be. When there is no light on the horizon. That’s why there’s a trigger warning. Because from that place you don’t feel hope. Can’t imagine a happy ending.

Another poem about edges I written is – After.


Photo by Tom Verdoot from Pexels

Shared with dVerse — Poetics — Edges and Fringes.

Where tonight’s mission, should we choose to accept it, is to spark on one of these paths:

  1. Write a poem using the word edge;
  2. Write a poem that keeps Millikin’s question above in mind.
  3. Write a poem using the word fringe;
  4. Write a poem from the fringe, however you define it.

Obviously I choose number 1.


Photo by Daniela Constantini from Pexels

After

Trigger warning!

I

After trauma, borderlines grow sharp
Like blood in the waters to a hungry shark

What was once fields of exploration
Now minefields of trigger detonations

In the beginning was boldness and lust for life
Today’s there’s fear driven meekness,
drawing another breath a daily strife

II

After abuse the heart grow brittle hard
Like shattered porcelain glued together shard by shard

What once held a child’s ability to love and trust
Now a lonely desert of full of crushed dream dust

Once there were hope and the seed of true self-compassion and love
Today there’s a sad lost soul floundering about like a wing clipped dove.

©RedCat

Depressed Diet

Panic-attack by George Grie

As the sun slowly rise
I wake, from dreams of my demise
Anxieties of every kind
Flooding through my mind
For breakfast, there’s the usual dark potion
Full of self loathing and suicidal ideation
During the day there’s the usual snacks
Triggers and hailing panic attacks
Lunch is often light
Too stressed to eat a bite
When it’s time for afternoon tea
All I wanna do is run and flee
In the evening I swallow screams for dinner
My soul-thread growing ever thinner
At night, alone in the dark, I despair
Waiting to be taken by sweat-soaking nightmares

© REDCAT
Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels

Written for Weekly Scribblings #33 at Poets and Storytellers United. Where we’re invited to to write new poetry or prose which includes the phrase “swallow screams for dinner” from C. Sandlin’s poem, “Telling Stories

Flashbacks

© REDCAT

The human mind is a time-travel machine.
Where specific sensory stimulus;
a whiff of scent, a string of notes, a tactile sensation,
opens a wormhole through which we fall.
Instantly bringing us back there.
As if time and space didn’t exist.
To relive, not remember, a certain experience in our life.

Whit the smell of a certain compact powder,
I hear – Wake me up before you go, go – smell
the Mediterranean sea and see charter tourist
doing morning gymnastics from a hotel balcony on Rhodes.

Most plastic Santa masks instantly make me feel afraid,
like that Christmas Day when mommy was out of the house
and our drunken neighbor decided to dress as Santa,
then sneak up to our window, and scratch it.
He scared me and my younger brother silly.

The sensation of petting a Cocker Spaniel,
and my hands feel my own dog
tugging on his leash as he always did.

If I smell Old Spice the resulting flashback
evokes the only memories I have of my father.
His smell, his beard, his steady presence.

These are ordinary everyday flashbacks.

Then my phone rings.
The voice in the other end instantly make me small, insignificant.
A constant barrage of criticism all blend together,
until I’m nine years old and hear my mother tell me straight.
“If I’d had a choice, you would have died at birth, so your father could live.”
My heart pounds and my mouth dries.
I feel tears forming, tears I know I can’t shed,
because if I do, I’ll get ridiculed.
One day when this happens for the umpteen time,
I decide to severely limit our contact.

I go to a fortieth birthday bash, where I smell moonshine
mixed with a certain soft drink. My head starts spinning,
like the first time I ever had alcohol, even though
I haven’t drunk anything yet.
Panic curses through my body,
as I feel a hand taking a choke hold,
while the other starts tugging at my clothes.
I try to fight, but I’m to small, to drunk, to defend myself.
Suddenly a voice that don’t belong in this flashback breaks through,
my friend who steadily tells me that this is now, not then.
The spell breaks, the wormhole collapse and I’m curdled up in a corner,
without any recollection of how I got there.

These are wholly consuming flashbacks of PTSD.
Years of therapy have made them fewer,
but the triggers will stay for the rest of my life.

© REDCAT

Written for Björns prompt at Toads ~ Timetravel – Flashbacks with Björn
He ends his post with this line – ” Swim with care, the pond is deeper than you think.” And I can only agree. This prompt made me think differently about flashbacks and how I view and handle them.

Burnished

Source

See that woman over there
How she carries herself
Such confidence she exudes
Look at the strong and proud stance
That walk of a dancer
Everything tells of a woman who knows her worth
And ain’t afraid to demand it

See that woman over there
Behind the burnished armor
A young girl abandoned and scared
A tweenie who doesn’t know friendship
An adolescent raped, beaten black and blue
Her heart grown old by sorrow and hurt
Her soul scarred by loneliness and betrayal

That woman is me

© REDCAT

Written for the Weekend Mini-Challenge at Toads~ Just One Word: Burnished

The Girl

This winter, when the world awaits the birth of Christ, she’ll be six.
All she knows is a loving father and a remote and unstable mother.
Also the trio is awaiting the another family member, a baby brother.

Then one day, near All Saints Day, everything shifts.
Fathers gone, first in the hospital. Everyone keeps a good face.
The girl is not allowed to visit. Then…

Chaos ensues.

Mother screams and cries.
Fathers gone, inexplicably gone.
The girl searches everywhere, to no avail.

She tries to comfort her mother with her favorite teddy.
– We shan’t cry anymore, mother says.
So the girl doesn’t.
Instead she helps pack boxes and haul their life away.
Mother keeps crying.

– You have to take care of your mother and coming baby brother, the Aunts say.
So the girl does.
Mother keeps her face on during the day. But at night she cries. 

The baby cries to, but the girl learns how to mix formula and bounce a baby.

You have to be a big girl now, everyone says.
So the girl figures out how; bills are paid, pension stretched beyond belief, food cooked, clothes cleaned, diapers changed, house cleaned, toddlers watched over. 

Mother still keeps her face on, but nobody’s home.
At night she cries, drink gin and tonic.

-Don’t tell anyone about this or they’ll take your brother away from us, her mother says.
So the girl keeps her mouth shut.

She’s barely eight, with the responsibility for a whole family on her shoulders.


Also posted to Saana’s prompt at Poets United: Midweek Motif ~ A Million Years Howl When Voices Whisper Among The Trees

Trigger warning

Pain

My plan was to publish part 2 of Belonging, but for two reasons it’ll have to wait.
The first reason, and I’ll have to watch myself so this is not a form of hiding my hurt, is that I’m not pleased with the text, something is missing from it, it requires more work. The second reason is that I’ve realized during the past week this post will have to be written sooner rather then later.

So here it is in bold letters…

Be forewarned!

My life story is full of triggers!

Ouch. That hurt to put in text…

I’m sorry to say that it’s true. If you become a reader of mine, expect to read about trauma, abuse and all the harrowing consequences thereof. You can also expect strong opinions, language full of antiquated words and sometimes some adult content.

If that’s not your cup of tea. Find another blog to read.

However if you’ll like, and can stomach, to share in my journey I’ll be eternally grateful to the universe for crossing our paths. Because lately I’ve come to realize that hiding who I am and what has made me this way might have been a sound strategy once, but has since become something that keeps me trapped, unable to shed all and move on.
And I’ve known in my heart for years that this is the story I have to tell if I ever want to be a writer, I’ve just been to afraid and to alone, to even dare try.

I’m done with that!

Even if I still feel afraid to expose myself, still feel alone and without friends to lean on.

Fuck your fears, I’ve heard others say, so I decided to try that.

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