Exile Moons, Collected Poems, Book Two

Exile Moons

Poetry by Heather Sawaya

© 2013


This is book is

dedicated to

my family

and friends

who kept me on my path

with their unwavering

support and belief

in my dreams.

Thank you for proving

to me that

guardian angels

really do exist.



All of the author’s royalties will be donated to charities dedicated to the eradication of violence against women.


Visit Heather Sawaya Poetry at heatherlsawaya.wordpress.com


Exile Moons


Collected Poems


Book Two


Poetry by

Heather Sawaya






True healing calls for

necessarily shedding

your past before flight.





Erie Road


Driving down Erie

Road has always led me to

burnt leaves and freedom.




The Sound of Redemption


Lily of the Valley

soaked with dew,

I’m trying to think of symbols that will

help inspire you.

When you’ve served your time

and you’re punished still-

don’t say that you weren’t warned.

Where are all these angels

supposedly in the wind?

We search for signs in nature while you

cast your stones in sin.

When your path is always

the one uphill-

you’d better lookout for the storm.

Can you recall when someone

did right on your behalf?

I bet it set your sky on fire

in the ashen aftermath.

Instead, you take your novacane

and just let time lapse-

never grateful for what you have.

Can you hear the sound of redemption

in your ear,

when you wake up in the morning and take

a look into the mirror?

Do you think you’ll be

punished for your sins,

or will you always find someone

to hurt again,

and again,

and again?

It will never end.





Throw me into flames,

see how I burn and die, then

watch me, watch me rise.








In the hope that there is a dream

that will soon sweep me off my feet,

that will steal old air out of my body

and exult a new heartbeat.













Into Gray              


So much of me

is given away,

is pillaged and plundered

by the accumulation

of the day,

where responsibility and monotony

dull the luster

of a voice

that was once so luminous

and present,

but now has become

so worn

from a drought

where others prevail,

and I simply

descend into gray.



I Write


I write for the flawed,

the outcast,

the underdog,

the unpopular kid

picked last for the team,

the ones who are too poor

to follow their dreams.

I write for the neglected,

the violated,

the abused,

the girl called a slut, or a tease,

or a prude.

I write for the suffering

in a world that hates flaws,

for those who paint rainbows

upon prison walls.

I write for all of their

unanswered prayers,

I write because they don’t believe

anyone is there.

I write in their voice

so that they will be heard,

and finally believe

in the power of words.













If I let myself,

I could become

a part of this charade,

masterfully fabricating myself

as the servile accomplice

to your inward stare.

But, lately, I’ve lost

the art of keeping secrets,

and began to question

why I bare my wrists

to the shackles of others,

aiding and abetting their demons

into the cloaked night

of my psyche,

offering up my shelter,

leaving me

tossing and sequestered

upon craggy earth.

Illusions have left beautiful,

yet, irreparable incisions

in those reaches where

even lovely words

sound mangled,

and I cannot climb high enough

from the lie,

high enough, feeling again

the thread-thin branch

I’ve been clinging to

for so long,


ever more slightly.






I head into those embers

to hunt jackals,



Even while the

vultures loop

in the periphery

at the first scent of decay,

the velocity to which

I shatter myself

is unmatched.


Watch me

outrun the fate of

what is best for me,

expert saboteur,

always trying to prove

I don’t deserve free air.


Trust that

you would rather me


than stay.












That House


That house

with the rows and rows

of Saucer Magnolias

shimmering in the golden

opalescent vapor of dawn,

alluding to an eerie magnificence

of secrets and signs

that only nature, itself,



That house

where the children play

and grow slowly

without interruption,

among fumes of campfire and

moss at dusk,

their laughter chasing fireflies

into forests of locusts

and stars.


That house

with the thick walls and bolted doors,

where love and freedom

have enough warmth

to cultivate lifelong bonds,

and a family can sleep soundly amidst

the dark skies and intentions

of the outside



I have stood at the

foot of the trail

leading to that house

for so many years,

never an inhabitant,

never able to abandon the sight

of those lost dreams that,

now and forever,

will me onward,

up the path,

and into

that house.











Old Man


The one who walks through

the forest without a sound,

everywhere and nowhere,

whispers that within every blade of grass

in the universe,

apart of every quasar

in the world-

all is life force.


Supposedly a stranger

on a mysterious journey

came upon an old man who had

the universe in his eyes,

telling of reality

in terms of fusing opposites

as the answer to life.

That only from emptiness,

all would come,

that by not resisting,

all would flow.


In silent mind

and crystalline eyes

the wanderer

Lao Tzu

said that great void

and immeasurable universe

pulses through and connects

every living thing.








How do you time travel back

to your seventeen-year old


to tell her that

there is nothing more important

she must do than to

choose wisely?

How do you make her understand

that it is, solely,

the burden of decisions made

right now,

that determines the ability

to predict her

own future?


You tell her now,

like this,

at age thirty-three.

You say the words

she needed to hear,

if only

she could have heard them.

You wait for her to

make her way

up that long,

apocalyptic path,

through the brambles of regret

and mountains of ash

that lead to your doorstep

sixteen years later,

and then you say the words

she will need to

hear the most:

I forgive you.




precede stolen threads;

a bandit’s

debt reprieved

until the wolves and the thieves

pick up on the scent.











It’s Calling


Get me out

of here.

There is no time

and no words to speak,

except music

moving my body,

and easing my mind,

and escaping all

of this shit called

the world.

I want my soul

to be the only poem I recite,

firing through space,

burning down the remnants

so that I can wrap myself

in my own arms,

and let my ghost be lifted

from my body

into stillness.

I want to see the silhouette of freedom

against the

pink, orange, yellow, blue horizon

with notes of bass and beauty

within the aura,

because it’s calling,

it’s been calling for

my release.












Departure has always come

so easily to me.


I have to step away from

the world for a while

to follow the river,

to dwell within caverns that do not

echo the rejection,

and amongst mountains that do not

remind me of the failure.


Only in exile

can I redeem my voice,

and allow my heart

to grieve a fool’s hope


because I revealed too much

of myself,

only to become

a specter

of naked waiting.


Do not ask

why I seem so distant.

Do not wonder

why I have not

returned your call.

Do not fake

a sudden, solicitous

concern about my

abrupt exit.

Your blatant apathy

toward what is

important to me,



I will never

tell you goodbye;

I will simply,

before your eyes,

just disappear.














Seeking Planets


Seeking planets with other

intelligent life there;

a place to rest

while my ship is repaired.


There have always been two Earths,

each ruling their own universe.

There is the conflict of what is,

versus the conflict of what I want to exist.


There were people out there who were

like Black Holes that lured me in,

and the force drug me down

to oblivion.


Not a single ray of light

could escape the pit,

time ceased while inside,

reality didn’t exist.


Seeking planets where orange sunlight never ends

and spreads a warmth still unidentified.

I didn’t know the sun is white outside our atmosphere,

and it makes me wonder what else

is filtered by our eyes.


It’s said a star collapses from

the force of its own weight.

Against my will, I think of you

when I seem to lose my way.


Space, take me away

to a planet of my own.

It’s so much harder to find

because I’m out here all alone.

When I saw the sun disappear in the

middle of the day,

I realized that you really are

so many miles away.


What gives me closure is knowing

you’re somewhere, out there


seeking planets

for your own galaxy.










In Battles Like These


Are you real?

I mean,

are you being real with me?

I’m really scared,


I just don’t trust people.

Too much shit has happened.

Friends, even some in my family have

betrayed me,

sworn allies turned out to be

liars, thieves, spies

from behind enemy lines.

I’m asking you because,

I just,

for some reason,

I trust you.

Talking to you has made me feel

a little better about things.

For years,

I had no one, so I

talked to myself aloud all the time-

probably sounds crazy, I know,

but like I said before,

too much shit has happened.

I would talk to myself

in the morning,

just before the sun hovers

over the horizon,

when the sky is so beautiful.

I would talk to myself

in the middle of the night,

which is the hardest because

the silence and the darkness


what it means to be alone,

talking to yourself

from behind enemy lines,

praying to God that no one hears you,

yet, secretly wishing they would.

Everyone I’ve loved over the years

has either left, or turned on me.

I don’t know if they were

allies gone bad,

or enemies the whole time.

I’m doing everything I can

not to numb myself,

but I think it’s already happened.

Nothing seems to shock me anymore.

I have tried so hard to be a decent, moral person,

to follow the rules,

but then I am reminded

that there are no rules

in battles like these.

Maybe it is when you finally surrender

that they win.

Maybe they have won because

I am not the same person I used to be.

I am exhausted.

I’ve compromised too much,

I’ve lost too much,

I want to be myself again.

I’m paranoid,

I’m scared,

I’m numb.

I’m crouched beneath explosions

right above my head,

miles away from home,

light years from safety,

watching my soul wither,

wondering if there’s a God,

sobbing beneath the moon.

Why am I still here?

Am I still here?

How do I trust you

after everything I’ve been through?

I need you to be real.

Why am I talking to you?

Are you yet another enemy

that I’m mistaking for

an ally?

Please be real.








What We Are


I waited on the dock for an hour and a half,

hoping your boat would be the next one in.

I would have sat on those gurgling rocks and drown

when the tide began to inch its way in.


I want you to know I can’t stop thinking of you,

it must have been something you said.

Isn’t it funny how the past just drifts away

when you anticipate the trip ahead?


Let’s abandon our lives as we know them,

let’s just leave it all behind,

and if you’ve always felt the way that I do,

then we shouldn’t waste any more time.


So, meet me by the willow tree

so we can carve our names in the bark,

let’s get some marshmallows and gather some brush

for a bonfire, before it gets dark.


Save some room on the blanket for me

so I can lay next to you and watch the stars,

then after, we’ll swim in the moonlit lake

and the Earth will embrace what we are.











Black Water


Take me to the river,

let me lean upon your shoulder,

how I need to ease these shadows

that are making me grow older.


Set me free,


set me free.


I’m travelling down this dirt road,

bearing such a heavy load, and

I’ve encountered many trials

along the way.


I don’t know what’s kept me going,

all the while, never knowing

if the life I’ve dreamed

would see the light of day.


When that river washes over

all the lands of my forsaken pain,

that black water

will move on farther

and carry all my troubles far away.













Too Dark


I apologize if my writing is

too dark

for you.


It’s just that,

I tend to write what I know,

and how I feel,

and what I have experienced

in my life.


not all of it was good.

No, not good at all,

it wasn’t always fun,

and it was never easy.


Like most others,

I’ve been through a lot of


that I would have politely

excused myself from

if I’d had the option

to do so.

There are only so many ways

a person can

process, analyze, understand, make sense of the


that has occurred.



in my darkest hours,

moments when my escapist tendencies

and deepest, most unspeakable secrets

kicked the door off the hinges

of my psyche,

I told the lies,

I told the pain,

I told the truth

in writing.

Can you say the same?

Can you say that you have

gone into the fires of your own Hell,

grabbed your demons my the nape of their necks

and staged a public hanging?


so sorry if this is all

too dark

for you.

How’s this instead?

Illumined, celestial orbs skim gluttonous,

                               golden clouds, magically, candidly whispering

                               to nocturnal labyrinths as hour upon hour                 

                               washes over the day.


Is it all gone now?

Are you, once again,

tucked safely, far enough behind

your ignorance of,

your judgments of,

your distancing of

the suffering of others?

Well, that’s good.

I’m glad we could end it

on a good note.

I know how much you like

happy endings.






Someone, Somewhere


Is there someone, somewhere,

that I can look up to,

that I can live up to



Is there an ounce of

untouched beauty

left for me to see?


Someone to love,

someone to admire,

just one hero anywhere,

one soul out there who

lives, breathes, dies



Loneliness is not the burden

of being alone.

It is learning that

what you have looked for

your entire life

does not exist.


In all my hours,

I have worked so hard,

hoping that one day

I would find

one star overhead

that could guide me

to those lost ideals

I projected

from all of that darkness.


The patchwork dreams I stitched

into a tattered blanket

for survival

were all for you,

because of you

leading me to my higher purpose

with pure intent,

and always,


flooded in light.


I will never stop searching,

I will never stop longing for

the day I stop asking

if there is someone, somewhere,

that I can look up to,

that I can live up to





If you get close enough,

you can see the


in my eyes.


Trace me back,

enamoring constellations through

cragged Burr Oaks laced with fireflies;

sudden flashes of hope

despite the smell of rain

brought in on a

sunset breeze.


Where were you and what

were you doing the exact moment

I was tracing Orion and connecting

Pleiades with my fingertips?

Somehow I saw you among the outermost

silver and indigo,

rocketing through reclusive and

amaranthine skies.


When your blazing green and copper

entered the atmosphere,

casting its eerie, meteoric brilliance

to the night,

I closed my eyes, sojourning every

hope and dream and wish I had

toward your incomparable glare,

not knowing all the years I would

only dream of that idyllic impact.


Somehow, I survived and was

forever changed by all the years,

the nights

I sat beneath the

knotty, glimmering Oaks,

tracing Orion and connecting Pleiades

with my fingertips,

detecting rain in the periphery,

and silently awaiting the


of this day.


If you get close enough,

you can see the


in my eyes.


Collide with me.





Let me out of this

cage. Kill the pain.  Teach me what

I already know.


Strip me, raw. Help me

find myself again. Remind

me of who I am.















Some of the nicest people I have ever met

have been through Hell,

the worst kind of suffering,

a horrible existence

No, these kinds of experiences cannot just

be summed up into tidy phrases we forget

two seconds after reading them.

It has to be real.


Some of the kindest people I have ever known

have been

beaten, molested, neglected, abandoned, exploited,

psychologically tortured, starving, homeless, left-for-dead

by parents, or caregivers, or strangers.

All have battled those ghosts.

Some have won, and some have lost.

Some will never stop battling,

and yet, they are good and kind even though they have

every excuse not to be.


And then,

there’s you.



and your annihilation complex,

your death instinct,

set loose, rampant, and salivating.


and your compulsion to


those you manipulate into loving

and hating you.


You speak of your past as

gutters of bile and shit,

but you consumed it, didn’t you?

until it turned you into the very evil

you feared.


Before the winged Eros could swoop down

from his cloud to

save you from yourself,

you put the hit out

and the Life-Giver was exiled

to the lands of your madness.


The Destroyer aspect of your psyche

owns you.

It deludes you into believing you are powerful and justified

in hurting others

because life has fed you bile and shit

for far too long.


You destroy because

it is who you are.


You will always destroy

until there is no one else to kill

and you are left only to yourself,

set loose, rampant, and salivating.











There in the Deep


A deserter’s refuge down there in the deep,

if I follow, I too, will drown there in the deep.


The fate in your eyes slowly softening my

resistance now unbound there in the deep.


Abandoning reason, we devote our hearts

to freedom that surrounds there in the deep.


For eons, prayers cast unto Heaven, I dreamt

to feel that which astounds there in the deep.


It is you with whom I am meant to descend

evermore sacred ground there in the deep.


Desire disguised, now coming undone, as you

show me what pleasures sound there in the deep.


Unbroken thunder, our souls lost together

in reaches of heather found there in the deep.















The Build


A chasm of fire

where obsessed hours inflame

a burning sleeplessness.


Wrought delirium

of half-formed thoughts and dreams brings

frothing impatience


rendering a build

more intense than reaching its

consequent release.









(For my son)


You have a responsibility

to bring good

into this world.

All of us do.

Ignore, deny, laugh at and ridicule

that fact, but

always keep in mind that

your life is not

all about you.


Even so, not all of us are meant

to be warriors crusading for some

higher social justice.

Not everyone is destined to

fight evil and rid the world of suffering.

Those are callings.

Most times,

bringing good into the world

does not involve such

palatial endeavors.


Be kind,

suspend judgment,

interact compassionately,


Treat others with respect,

treat yourself with respect

so that the ones who

do not possess it will

look to you for answers.


As long as you live in this world,

you owe it your best efforts.

What do you want to be

remembered for?

What do you want

your legacy to be?


it is not all about you.

Now lead the way.














In the Backseat                                                          


She kisses me


in the backseat

of my psyche,

and I want her

more than I have ever

wanted anything.


She is

the perfect word, cloaked,

evasive to the point

of elapse.


She is

the beauty that turns pain into

a work of art,

the mistress I will always

return to,

and risk everything for.


Every time and

without hesitation,

I follow her to

the well

in a dark forest clearing

where, off beyond a spectered tree line,

I hear broken chants and cackling,

yet, cannot make out the edges

of that archaic path.


As a poet,

I seek out

the well

as both origin and ending.

Every moment I have lived and felt

collect in musty, sapphire tide pools

of hallowed earth.

These waters are sacred and secret,

they are private matters

from which I draw

to nurture my muse,

who always stands

so close that I can feel

her breath on my face,

yet, remains viscerally

just out of reach.


As a poet,

I express and expose my soul

to the world,

and this test of character

that some call

a gift,

cannot be begged or bartered for.


It is a gift that

is only reserved for those who

cannot help but to be

tempted and inspired by

the beautiful woman

they will forever chase

but never possess.











Clean Slate


All over the map,

they say you’ve been a bit unstable lately.

Your transformative fires

are running wild,

what you think, want, and feel are changing.


How many times must you prove to everyone

you’re stronger than what you’ve suffered?

You went from being a victim of the past

to jaded survivor.


Box it up, and start over somewhere you

can leave it all behind you.

Moving on is that open road

where only memories will remind you.


So, here’s to seeking out ever-after as

the place where you belong.

Here’s to wishing your travels lead you to

a better version of home.


Here’s to praying that you and your troubled past

can go your separate ways.

Here’s to hoping you finally clean your slate,

here’s to hoping you find your way.













Soul in Print


Nothing so beautiful

as witnessing the power of

soul in print.

















Light in Transition


I am not

my physical attributes.

I am not

a sexual orientation,

a political party,

a religion.

I am not my accomplishments,

nor my demons.


Do not reduce me

to the worst thing that has

ever happened to me,

nor to the most horrible thing I have

ever done.


Do not simplify,

nor classify,

nor brand me.

Do not boil me down

to a weight,

to a class,

to a job.


I am you

at your best and

at your worst.


I am you

in life and

in death,

and if we carry over,

then we are that frequency,

that pulse that connects us

to the rest of humanity.

We are that energy that cannot be

created nor destroyed,

like gossamer stardust imprints

of what it means to be



The groups we belong to,

the choices we make,

the morals we do or do not adhere to

are transient,

therefore, unable to account for

the wonder of lived experience,

and that,

despite our separateness,

we are all just


in transition.


Pull Me Down


Pull me down

to that place

you don’t allow words.

I have never been

afraid of the dark.

Scatter the fragments, I will

speak on your behalf

against the tidal pain

of your past, I will

fight for the remnants of

who you once were.


You will be heard like the

thunderclap of retribution

and they will all know

what cannot be undone.


Pull me down

to that place

that made you

who you are.


I will channel your truth

as if it were my own,

harness it during your departure

to calmer waters where

exile moons

will both grieve and heal the

loss upon loss upon loss

that sent you fleeing

to that place

you don’t allow light.


Pull me down

and I will fly you out

on the wings

of your suffering,

waiting to be told.