A soft closing of words – Candice Louisa Daquin

 

When you are younger, everything is a challenge

I will not let them break me / I will fight back / I will survive!

as you get older you see

or you hear

or maybe it’s just a sense

in the air

or a turning of

light

changing

clenching your heart

sorrow wells up

a pool from nowhere

upon which you see

no reflection

only the insubstantial flickering

of someone

trying to survive

skate even

on cracking surface

too thin for the weight of

all those doubts

shadows without names

time piled high

playing broken records

and though you skate fast

and nimbly

there is numbness in your effort

as if you wish to finally be

caught

submerged

ice leaching your hot discontent

with page turned days

and ironed nights

into a drowning

of all the pain captured and glazed

within your center

where no-one looks

because adults are not

children with sticky hands out

being picked up and comforted

they are supposed to be

warriors

haven’t you read the literature?

didn’t you attend therapy for

a number of years where

it was reiterated perpetually

between biscuit breaks and tepid coffee in plastic cups

like a long string of words

thisandthatthisandthat

not meaningful enough

for a necklace

about how we are the masters

of our fate

it is up to us to fight

the temptation to slit our

fucking throats

and watch as the deepest

red bled

on snowy white

surface

a contrast we ache for

in nights howl

just when the fangs of doubt

seethes loudest and

the pain of being truly

alone is not

comforted by

bouquets of self talk and

P.O.S.I.T.I.V.I.T.Y.

looking thin and translucent

in candle light

only reminder of

times broken hearts thought

they could be well and whole

just as plug is pulled

the doll wound down

we sag and droop

remembering the sore rub

of innocence and how

we believed then in futures

unstrung and awaiting

not yet familiar with

sore eyes from so many tears

even as we say

do not cry again you foolish person

oh how I hate the weakness of

someone who weeps even as they

should have known

(you fool! You fool!)

oh how they should have

known

we all

fall

down

only some of us

wish to

pick

ourselves

up

the rest may not and it isn’t

your place to judge us

if we’d rather

tear at our flesh

or hammer the senseless walls

of our former trust

until bruises bloom like

underwater flowers

and knives can cut

some of the pain from

proffered wrists though

water tinged with scarlet

is no welcome

as I stand not wishing to

continue this charade

of being invested in life

or its many fascinations

you see

or you would

if you had ever

meant half or quarter

of the lies tasting so good now

they are settled and dark on my

closed eyes

for when you shut yourself

in a box and the magician taps

one two three

it is then opened and you are

not revealed

for you have

crossed over

maybe where those who cannot

perform magic themselves

must go

to escape the erasure of

each day spent hoping

pain will give up her lament

no she does not

quit so easily then

it is ours to turn the volume

down as we sink

beneath weeds and lily pad

to distant place where before it all

churned a terrible hurt

there was the reprieve of

knowing nothing of life’s scythe

and our simple steps made in earnest

before it was clear

there is no strength in survival

beyond what we endure

it is surely about

the language of loss

and if for some

it takes them

with it

then so

it may

be

the end

with

a soft

closing of

words

don’t forget

to buy

flowers

Pandora – Kristiana Reed

pandora-tadema

I am Pandora’s jar; unbreakable at first glance but I glimmer in the sun in a way which invites people in. My lid is screwed tightly shut. Many hands still come and search for a way in, for a doorway into the hallways of my person. Only two have ever been successful; confronting me with curiosity I couldn’t refuse. Their hands traced my edges, my bottleneck curves and their lips caressed sealed pathways to my dark madness; hearing the frantic buzz of tied up wings. All at once I poured my heart from the lip of the jar. I released glass cracking sobs of misery to plague their ears – the whole of humanity in the bed we shared. I became soft, malleable to their touch. In love as the locust swarm of heartache and hurt breathed free from my body, frantic wings lifted upon air.

I am Pandora’s jar and in me Hope remained. She lived in the house you both built inside my chest. The walls were thin so she listened to the palpitations of an anxious heart; stripped bare of the anger which kept it warm. Once I harboured my past and my insecurities and I believed I knew pain. But Hope, she rattled her cage and bruised my ribs. The bricks of her house fell apart at the touch of a promise and littered my air ways with dust. This was heartbreak. I was no longer counting nefarious winged miseries but how many times I wished I could make this right, how many times I wished to close the growing distance between us, how many times I brushed my hair in the off chance you’d come, how many times I ran to the window believing the footsteps below, were yours. Hopelessly in love is not a phrase I know.

I am Pandora’s jar after it has been opened; the salty taste of hope on my lips.

 

Painting by Lawrence Alma-Tandema (1881)

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Kristiana Reed juggles writing and teaching English; in both vocations she endeavours to remind people of their self worth and how dazzlingly beautiful the world can be.

You can read more of Kristiana’s writing at My Screaming Twenties