Piecing Shards, Collected Poems, Book One

Piecing Shards:

Poems on Loss and Redemption


By Heather Sawaya

© 2015


 Introduction: The Downpour on Death Valley


They couldn’t have been seeds.

Carelessly wind-strewn upon parched sienna clay within the same starving desert, jagged-edged specks- hard as a rock and the exact color of dirt covered bone- sat dormant for decades.  Deep in the cracked dirt, these shards were deposited twenty or thirty years before, adaptively hardening from climatic extremes of heat and wind, drought and flood.  It was not until one Spring day in March of 2005 when record downpours descended upon the seeds that Death Valley’s floor became amiss with hundreds of new plant species.

People were shocked that the seeds survived for so many years with so little to keep them alive.  Newspaper reporters and scientists gathered that these seeds required a perfect combination of precipitation and heat in order to penetrate the thick shells formed from years of hibernation.  Even then, they claimed, most people alive today would probably never be granted another chance to witness such an anomaly of nature in their lifetime.

I remember seeing that report on the news in 2005 and becoming inspired by the metaphor that was forming in my mind.  I had just recently begun to realize that my purpose in life was to help others who were bullied, neglected, outcast, and abused, and so my mind instantly equated the supposedly half-dead seeds upon the sands of Death Valley to the caged and suffering souls of the people I wanted to help.

The suffering soul, like those thirty-year old seeds, develops a thick, impenetrable shell to protect the living thing within from the cruelty of its surroundings.  Both adapt to the barrenness and do not require much to survive.  Years and years may pass and the caged soul, like the seeds, continues to live in a state of dormancy where hope has long since shriveled and the sight of every life-giving oasis is assumed to be a cruel trick of the eyes, a mirage.  When one is this far into the depths, hopelessness and apathy (more dangerous than the darkest despair) pervades.

Sometimes, though, there is a change in the wind.  An atmospheric shift approaches.  It is the key, the wake-up call, the perfect set of circumstances that sets into motion miraculous processes.  The suffering soul, like the seeds that, at one time, were presumed extinct, finally receives what they have done without for so many years.  After long-time suffering, one is likely to dismiss the shift as just another mirage, another letdown, but the truth is that during all those years of spiritual starvation, strange and unseen things occurred within those thick, impenetrable shells.

When those destined winds come blowing into the desert and the downpour crashes upon the suffering soul, an awakening in the deepest levels of change can happen.  Rain penetrates the shell and one thousand stems burst from one seed.  The downpour overtakes the desert and hundreds of undiscovered plant species are born.  Ossification becomes flood, flood becomes life, and the ability to hope and to dream again becomes possible.

The point of my writing is to find the crucial emotional truth and to strike that chord with everything I have in the hope that someone will see their own state of deprivation and want to alter it.  It is my belief that if certain, necessary truths are recognized, a dislodgement of defenses occurs.  These inescapable truths unblock the psyche and are a form of validation.  Change becomes possible.

I write for those who have spent years in emotional cages.  I write to free them from their suffering.  I write in the hope that, on some level, they can experience the downpour on Death Valley.


Piecing Shards:

Poems on Loss and Redemption



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

Visit Heather Sawaya Poetry at heatherlsawaya.wordpress.com

This book is dedicated to my family, who were the ever-present fire in my coldest, darkest hours. 




Let the rain run down my face

while I finally forgive myself,

while the storm abrogates the psychosis,

while lightning defies the night.


Let the river run through my fingers

while I finally change myself,

while the demons suffer the wrath,

while evil withers in light.


Let the cycle run its course

while I finally respect myself,

while the past lets go of the present,

while life and death angels collide.


Let the wind run through my hair

while I finally heal myself,

while the cyclone uproots the illusions,

while spirits and stars align.


Angels Out of Mourning


Waiting among the gold for an answer,

I expect it should be coming around the bend.

I feel my angels coming out of mourning,

I sense that something else is going to end.

I understand your wounds have left you broken,

I tried, for years, to help you to the light.

Yet, in spite of everything I know you’ve been through,

I can’t keep letting you destroy my life.

My intention always was to do the right thing,

to never stop until you were whole,

so I sacrificed to piece you back together,

I held on when I should have let you go.

So, as I feel my angels coming out of mourning,

I know it’s time to finally tell the truth,

because leaving even though I know you’re broken

is the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do.





Anywhere but Here


Beneath a prairie skyline

on the South Dakota plains,

in a dilapidated boxcar

on a midnight southbound train.

In a filth infested gutter,

or on a bench at Luna Pier,

or somewhere up in outer space-

anywhere but here,

I would rather be

anywhere but here.

My resources have dwindled,

any hope left has been shot,

I know I have to make a change

whether I want to or not.

I tell myself that nothing’s wrong,

when the truth is crystal clear,

that I’d wander every road alone

as long as I’m not here,

as long as I’m not here.


Burning Bridges


Now that I have

some time to myself,

I can take my heart

down from the shelf,


to comfort it

and let it cry,

as before I let

hurtful things slide by.


I was too strong,

I didn’t grieve,

wanting to stay,

forced to leave.


You burned the bridge,

never to be crossed again,

you once built this bridge,

but that was then.


Burning bridges

crumble down,

soft, gray ashes

on the ground.


Truth put out

this desire

because I saw

you set the fire.















                                                               (2001;  Revised 2012)

Once upon a time, there was a magical princess

that lived inside my head,

and no matter how thick the darkness crept in,

she could make the sky seem lucent.


Once upon a time, there was a powerful queen

who was reckless with ecstasy,

an omnipotent effusion of confidence

was the girl I used to be.


There should have been some sort of a warning

about the hazardous conditions to come.

That the darkest days were just ahead,

that, for years, all I would feel is numb.


When can I remove this armor?

When can I unload these guns?

When can I awaken peacefully

beneath the rising sun?


When will the battling end?

It has shaken me to the core,

I never knew that trusting in you

would be like fighting a war.


Your kindness was meteoric

and then you flooded me with cruelty.

You swore you were my ally,

but performed like an enemy.


You kept me down and

kept me quiet.

You started a fire

and then you denied it.


I hate days when the

sun is shining.

And I can’t stay committed to

a phase that’s been slowly dying.


Chaos addict,

calculated manic,

everything is tragic,

you want me to panic.


Verbal murder,

wilted, I wither,

power-trip driven,

you want me to shrivel.


But when I’m pushed against the wall

I turn into a cannonball.

Your scare tactics have gotten old,

and make me want to explode.


Your underestimations prove

you don’t know me at all.

Your so-called kingdom is going to fall

from my cannonball.






Core Blossom


Is it raining where you are?

Is that thunder you hear beyond the wall?

Have you looked everywhere for shelter?

Do you need to get away from it all?

There’s a deeper meaning when you

wipe the dust from your eyes.

Sink into your mind to find

there’s been a peaceful world waiting all this time.

Take a walk across your own opinion,

and see how beautiful the scenery is,

if only for a moment, an elevated, subconscious bliss.

You just wanted someone to help you through

and not tell you what they thought was wrong.

You just wanted someone to understand

what you’ve been saying all along.

This is not about closing your eyes,

this is not about anyone else,

this is all about freedom

and about doing what’s right for yourself.




You cut me down to size,

you contaminated me with lies,

you were everything but loving and kind

to me.

I’m trying to heal these psychological wounds,

but there’s always going to be a bruise,

I can’t believe I tolerated abuse

from you.


So as I leave,

how does it feel to bleed?

How does it feel to have no self-esteem?

How does it feel to not get what you need

from me?

How does it feel to scream?

How does it feel to think it’s all a bad dream?

How does it feel to feel nothing when you reach

for me?


You taught me so well,

you showed the difference between heaven and hell,

I didn’t know what I was getting into when I fell

for you.

You called me unforgivable names,

you played so many head games,

there are reasons I don’t feel the same

for you.


So how does it feel to need?

How does it feel to be brought to your knees?

How does it feel knowing I’ve got no pity

for you?

How does it feel to grieve?

How does it feel to wonder if you’re crazy?

How does it feel to suffocate on

your own misery?


When you first realized that I left,

I would have loved to see your face,

but the next best thing for me would be

to leave this poem in my wake.


So, how does it feel to bleed?

How does it feel knowing how much you’ve hurt me?

How does it feel to hear these painful words from me?

How does it feel to see

that the only thing I feel is angry,

and that I’d love nothing more than to sit and watch you bleed

for me.
















Do Not Read This

                                                               (2003;  Revised 2007)

Where is the bubble gum?

I put a quarter in the machine,

but I didn’t get anything

and I just want to know what’s going on.

And I told you what was wrong

but I didn’t get my candy,

and you drug me right along,

and you lied, lied, lied,

you lied to me.


It’s a miracle that anyone

could not see through you,

let alone, believe you.

And I wonder what you’ll do

when you have everything to lose

and you’ll wonder why I call you a thief.


I thought that I was standing in the open air

catching glimpses of a higher point of view.

Out of blue, have you ever felt

a calm wave of perception

suddenly wash over you?


Well I see what you’re all about now,

and the difference is like night and day,

the subject must be worthy of the poem,

and with you there’s not much good to say

(so I’m going to sing it to you).


Everybody’s going through something,

everybody’s got a difficult road,

and you always seem to give your opinion

before their story’s even told.


The more I learn about myself,

the more regard I have for everyone else.


And still you ask, and still you ask,

and still you ask me now quite plainly:

Are these songs and these poems about me?

If they were, it would be wrong to not tell me.

What are you trying to say?

How does that line translate?

Why can’t you just say

all of this to my face?


And so I say, and so I say,

and so I say to you quite plainly:


You’d take it all if you could,

and you would until I had nothing left

for myself enough to be in my head.

With that said,

with no further explanation,

some things are better left unread.










The Event Horizon


You let those people take advantage of your innocence,

now you feel the need to rebuild your life again.

Your dad no longer says you’re as sensitive as a little girl,

it’s the saddest story in the world.


Emotionally claustrophobic, headed straight into the dark,

you blend into the devil’s herd because you think

that’s who you are.

Every day you lead your soul up to the point of no return;

you’re running out of ways to learn.


Before you get to the Event Horizon,

before your soul’s ripped into one hundred thousand,

before the light leaves the world,

along with your memories,

you need to learn to not violate your own boundaries.


All the world will coincide to help you turn your life around,

but you’ll never see the magic if you fail to look around.

Even after the darkest night, what follows is a golden dawn,

I just hope that you’re not too far gone.


So while you’re battling your addictions,

while you’re bowing down to your demons,

you’ll never know what it’s like

on the opposite side of the tide;

watching you think you’ve got time.
















Find Me


Promise me

that in your next life

you’ll find me.

When you’re safe,

when you’ve healed,

when you’ve stopped hurting

me and yourself.

And it matters right now what we do

because even if we get

another life,

I may come back as starlight

seven light years from Earth.

And you may wonder why

this one star,

of all the billions of stars,

holds relics of something familiar,

something almost painful

that makes you grasp how far away

seven light years really are.

And if the starlight finds you

in your next life,

remember when we took for granted

the time we shared,

and how many times we crossed paths,

never considering that,

just maybe,

space and time

were trying to tell us something.

That, of all the possibilities,

of all the people or things

we could have been,

of all the eras we could have lived in,

of all the particles or forms

we could have taken,

we had this life,

on this Earth

and, still, we disregarded

the fate and the destiny of it all,

never considering that,

just maybe,

space and time

were trying to tell us something.

Fly Away


Ages gone past and time’s gone by,

your life is everything your mind implies,

looking out to the sunlit sky,

I know I told you that I would cry but I

can’t suppress this feeling,

and I finally know the reasoning,

you answered freedom when she called you,

it’s a hard life doing what you want to do.

So fly away

to the golden sky,

spread your silver wings,

don’t let life pass you by.

Fly away

as far as you can see,

spread your silver wings,

just don’t forget about me.

Have you ever felt the rain pour so hard upon your face

that it hurt too much to even cry?

Live for tomorrow is all I can say,

but today I just can’t say goodbye.

So I’ll say, so long sunny days,

nothing good ever seems to stay,

and I guess I’ll be on my way,

finding my own sunny days.

So fly away

to the golden sky,

spread your silver wings,

don’t let life pass you by.

Fly away

as far as you can see,

spread your silver wings,

just don’t forget about me.











For Now


Only on my deathbed,

when I face the ultimate consequence,

will I uncage the secrets

of a lifetime

spent silently dividing myself

into the truth of my inner world

and the lie of reality.


So much is forbidden,

teetering on the knife edge of a cliff,

when all the world could crumble

if I set those truths loose.


Before I go,

those that I’ve loved and hated and deceived

will know

that I have never forgotten.


Time has always been the antagonist

that both haunts and chains me

to my memories,

tortured recollections only to be freed

upon my deathbed.


But for now,

this will have to do.

















Get it Out


Dragons in the smoke/ visions shake to wake me up/ riddles turn to dust/ my band of rainbows spread then broke./ Creativity seeps through the locket/ of a long, hard thought/ like mystical blue in my pocket/ it is waiting, not sought/. Hallucinations of a mind’s ramble on/ fantasy makes the hurt evaporate/ tears get lost in a song/ absorbed in my bones, I shake/.  I’ve got to get it out, get it out/ electric slide, twist and shout/ poetic dilemma can’t get it out/ it hurts too bad to let it out/.

Yes you hurt me, can you see the dragons in the smoke?/ I lied it didn’t affect me but it did/ and you never came closer than an arm’s length away/ help me forget, do you regret what you said?/  You piss me off, you set me off/ listen to my heart scream/ I’m everything you’re not/ I know you want to be like me/.  You tore me down/ you ripped me up/ things have built up/ I have to get it out/.  I struggled, you laughed/ I climbed, you sat/ never knowing the rambling of my mind/ everything comes around and this is your time/.  Everyone not you is blessed/ in a twisted sort of way/ the epitome of negativity/ the leader of your dark parade/.

You told me to take it when I could take no more/ you demanded more money when you knew I was poor/. Hate is an understatement for what I feel for you/ you tried to keep me down when I was so real for you/.  You think the louder you talk, the more I’ll listen/ is it something you have or something you’re missing?/  You play your little games/ assuming you’ll win/ you want to play, let’s play/ let the games begin/.

I don’t care what you think/ what you do or say/ I have lost all respect for you/ and your opinions anyway/ Like how a rock n roll song takes me away/ God collects his debts and soon enough you’ll have to pay/.

Maybe I’m just one of those people/ who don’t trust anyone but themselves/ one of those who has a mind of their own/ who knows they’re not like everyone else/.

And this is a matter of fact/ not opinion/ and this poem’s not ending/ it’s just beginning/ because as long as there’s way/ then there’s a time for change/ and if you know what’s right/ you’ll stay out of my way/ and look who’s standing now/ just look at how you turned out/ there lies such resilience inside of me/ self-actualizing spirituality/ looking down on the Earth from my cloud/.






















Modern day Calamity Jane,

go on and shoot them down one by one,

don’t be disappointed when you’ve got all the cowboys

running scared of your guns.


Dig those spurs right in,

let the games begin,

aim that rifle and show those boys

how it’s supposed to be done.


You can’t survive the wild west

with just a pretty face.

You won’t be all you can

standing behind a man,

assuming it’s a woman’s place.


The stronger you are,

the more you’ll win.

The sharper you are,

the more you’ll hit.

Walk alone knowing you’ll be alright.

Walk alone no matter what anyone else says.

Walk alone knowing you’ll win the fight.

Walk alone and you’ll never be misled.


















High Horse


You sit there on your high horse

and judge me like you’re God

but you don’t know the hell I’ve

been through with that man.


So when another came and showed me

a little time and decency

did you want me to just

walk away from that?


I’ve spent twenty years of my life

as a loving, faithful wife

but that never really did

get me too far.


Many nights I’d sit at home

and fall asleep next to the phone

while he did God-knows-what

and God-knows-what bar.


You sit there on your high horse

and judge like you’re the devil,

but you don’t know the heaven

with this someone new.


I’d gladly burn in hell

for all the happiness I’ve felt

if it means my heart can

finally tell the truth.














If the Storm

(For Mom)

                                                                                     ( 2001)

If the storm comes rolling in too soon

for me to find somewhere safe for you

to hide from all the trouble chasing you

then I will be your shelter.


If you’ve asked the stars to bring you light

and been disappointed time after time,

if you’ve asked for hope but only feel the night

then I will be your answer.


If all your angels have disappeared,

I will always be here.

If you’ve prayed, yet, darkness still surrounds,

I will be the pathway out.








Lay me exposed

to myself.

Give me a real, pure sense

of living again.

What is wrong with me?

Who is this half-hearted,

half-effort person I’ve been left with?

No one sees it

and no one knows that I’m

very slowly dying


And I like rain more

than sunshine.

And I like crashing thunder

and blinding lightning more

than a cool breeze

because the loudness and the chaos of it

matches the complications

I hold of it


It’s Not You


I swear I’m trying to do the right thing

but the right thing feels so wrong.

I’ve been racking my brain for a decade

on why we can’t seem to get along.

I did my very best,

but I feel like I’m under arrest

because as soon as I’m through the front door

you start to complain.


And all I want to be is happy

but it’s been so goddamn long.

And it was just about time to do the right thing

but instead, I wrote this song.

If I said it was all my fault,

you’d say you’ve known that all along,

Lord knows you’ll always find

someone to blame.



Well I don’t exactly know what would make me happy,

I don’t pretend to think I know the truth,

but of all the things that just might make me happy,

I know for sure not one of them is you.

It’s not you.


I swear I’m trying to do the right thing

but you made it so goddamn rough.

And you never did take me too seriously

when I told you I’d had enough.

So, if I said it was time to go,

if I picked up and hit the road,

would you still be shaking your head

and calling my bluff?












You don’t have to like the things I write,

and we don’t have to gather ‘round the fire.

I’ll take the back country roads,

and you’ll take 75,

and maybe our roads will cross in time.


You don’t make me feel the way I want to feel,

you want me to hold everything inside.

All I’ve been looking for is a place to lay my head,

and you’ve found another way to make me cry.


You take the meaning out of life,

you take the smile from my eyes,

you take the magic from the dreams I had

before we met.


You take the meaning out of life,

you take the stars from the night,

you make me feel the worst

is always up ahead.

And so I,

I don’t love you,

like the way

I probably should.

Believe me I,

would try to mend this,

if I thought it might

do us some good.


And when the only one on your side

hits the highway,

heading north to find a better life,

you always seem to think

you’re at a crossroads,

killing time by chasing old goodbyes.








Last Train Out


This has got to stop.

I’m taking the last train out.

I’ve got so much to think about.

I’ve got so much to turn around.


Let’s not pretend that everything’s fine,

you’ve got your secrets and I’ve got mine.

How can I say I’ve been true to myself

when I just can’t seem to get through to myself?


It’s not my mind that tells me not to trust you,

it’s not the lines you’ve long since crossed,

it’s not even the guilt of knowing all

the time I’ve lost.


It’s not the drive down this long, dusty highway,

or the pain I wish I’d just transcend,

I want to find my celestial space,

I want to be moved again.


I’ve asked the sky to lift me into its wings,

I’ve asked for signs from the mist of all things,

I try not to cry when answer won’t come,

try not to die knowing I’m out here on my own.


Something dark made its way to my atmosphere,

I checked the screen but nothing abnormal appeared.

Turned up the dial but no lights lit up,

my radar didn’t get it,

my radar didn’t pick it up.


I feel like such a fraud.

My timing is way off.

I’ve got to get aboard this train and ride

until I come out on the other side.


It’s not my mind that tells me not to trust you,

I’ve been enduring a difficult phase.

More and more I relate to the dying star

light years away.


You’ve shattered trust too many times to count,

the last straw, this is the last train out.

It is because you’re responsible for these scars,

it is who and what you are.


I begged you to never abandon me,

after knowing all that has happened to me.

If, in a glimpse, your eyes look to the sea,

I’ll be the first to jump ship

so you won’t get the chance to leave.


Something dark made its way to my atmosphere,

I checked the screen but nothing abnormal appeared,

turned up the dial but there was not a sound.

My radar didn’t get it

so I’m taking the last train out.








Like You Do


We’ve got a long history

of never saying what we mean

now there’s a volcano in my throat

when I say hello.


Too many lies have gone by

and we probably don’t have the time

to excavate the pain

beneath the mile of snow.


I never thought to stop and ask

because you’d stab me in the back

like you do.

I never thought to tell you why

because you’d only go and make me cry

like you do.


Hey, you, up on that mountain,

tossing judgment stones

at all of us who pass.

Isn’t it funny that the ones

who pass most judgment,

always have the most

sinner stones to cast?


Like you do.

Once again, you’ve got me asking

why, why, why,

like you do.














A Long Way From Home


As she awakens at four a.m.,

an achy delirium fogs her mind.

Gray clouds on the horizon

have been stirring for some time.

When life starts to look brighter,

storms come knocking at her door,

still, she rises in the twilight,

a bit more weathered than before.

The man she fell in love with

is not the man he is today,

some evil wind swept in

and carried his good, kind heart away.

It left behind a hardened shell

of a man who is never pleased,

now she’s grown accustomed to a chill

every time that there’s a breeze.

She pours herself some coffee

and looks out to the glowing dawn,

sometimes the morning gives her hope

when her faith in life is gone.

She can see the storm approaching

and prays the rain will wash away

the day’s hours void of meaning

in her never-ending maze.

She’s a long way from home

when she tries to sleep at night,

when she knows right down to the core

that something’s just not right.

As sure as lightning will destroy

the earth the storm will roam,

if truth be told, deep down she knows

she’s a long, long way from home.

She opened like a river

when she first met him years ago.

She thought he was the ocean

that would wash over her soul.

Instead there was a flooding

she had never seen before

when he pulled her to his darkest depths

from the safety of her shore.

See how soundly he sleeps

as she tosses and turns,

and as she silently weeps,

thoughts of past and present churn.

After so much pain and loneliness,

she swore she’d take no more.

She’s stayed but feels it every day,

the ripping in her core.

She tells herself she loves him

as a distraction from the pain.

By shutting down emotion

she feels she’s finally escaped.

But out on the horizon of her soul

still lurks the storm

that will shatter all within its path

and from the ash, she’ll be transformed.

She’s a long way from home

when she’s weary from the fight,

when she knows right down to the core

that something’s just not right.

As sure as lightning will destroy

the earth the storm will roam,

if truth be told, deep down she knows

she’s a long, long way from home.

No Harm


I need to stop loving men

who do me wrong.

I think that I’d be much better off

all alone.


Ever since I’ve been a child,

I’ve survived storm after storm,

trying to find just one man

who will do me no harm.


All I’ve needed, all I’ve wanted

are some warm, open arms.

A kind, loving man

who will do me no harm.







No More Angels


It’s the human emotion that can’t let go,

the most relentless feeling that I’ve ever known.

I hear you speaking somewhere in the back of my mind,

I can’t believe you’re not here enveloping my life.


You moved mountains within me,

you parted seas,

you broke the flood gates open

with the spread of your wings.


But there are no more angels

since you’re not here,

no one to be at my bedside

to help me heal.


And there are no more reasons

to run from solitude,

when, at the end of the tunnel,

the fading light was you.

It’s the ghosts of my psyche that won’t let go,

the most relentless suffering that I’ve ever known.

I see you standing somewhere that I can’t be.

How can’t you hear the crumbling when you think of me?


What seems to calm the nightmares

that longing brings,

is dreaming someday I’ll sleep

cradled in your wings.


But there are no more angels

and the world is dark.

Could you come down and take me

to where you are?


There are no more angels,

the path has ended

and all will remain dark

till I see you again.





Not That Girl


Maybe you need the kind of woman

who’s all Wall Street and no imagination,

who looks at sex as a physical thing

and not a mystical ocean.


Maybe you need the kind of woman

who finds it easy to flat-line her emotions,

who has no problem keeping her mouth shut

so as not to cause a commotion.


Maybe you need a girl with a past,

or one who didn’t have to grow up so fast,

or one who’s had some wild times of her own,

or one who can’t stand to be alone.


Maybe you’d be much happier,

maybe that’s who you’ve been searching for,

maybe that’s to whom I’ve been measured

but I am not that girl,

I’ll never, ever be that girl.

An Overdue Departure


You say you did not foresee the shards

and you want an answer now;

one hundred thousand broken parts

strewn carelessly over the ground.

See the look upon my face

and you’ll grasp the damage done,

when, long ago, I vowed to never

trust in anyone.

How could you have not foreseen

how this inevitably would be?

When the best thing in my life became

the worst that has happened to me.

An overdue departure has loomed

since the day I was betrayed,

and if I stay I know that I’ve got

nothing left to gain.

Could you take me to the point before

that earth-shattering day?

The place I went to feel calm and safe,

before you left me crawling in the pouring rain.



I wish I could just be the girl

that the world wants me to be.

I wish I could just play the game,

I wish it were that easy.

But it seems everything is a fight

because they say they know what is right for me.

Not a word is spoken of freedom

or if I’m really happy.

Why can’t I just be the girl

that the world needs me to be?

Why can’t I just dance nicely

at the ends of their strings?

Why can’t I just smile prettily

when I know I’m going to scream?

Why can’t I just go with the flow

and behave properly?

Because I can’t and I don’t,

it’s not me and so I won’t.

Because there is something in me

that will never let me be owned.

The Reconstruction


Why does it seem that what I need

is always out of my reach,

my hopes and dreams dangling in front of me,

when will I get some relief?

You come along seeing me struggle,

yet, recklessly add to this load.

You’ll never see and you don’t value me,

I should have left you long ago.


Now I know.


The price is too high and I feel so low,

your theatrics make me lose my mind.

The question isn’t if I’ll choose to go,

it’s just a matter of time.


You took something away,

you tore me down to nothing,

you took stability

and replaced it with destruction.

You took something from me

and left a cheap reproduction.

I’m the only one responsible

for my own reconstruction.


Let’s turn the tables and regress

to when I was just a kid.

I don’t forgive them and how could I forget

everything they did?

I’ve cleaned up the mess their negativity has left

on my self-esteem.

Was their scheme to be so extreme

that only they could reign supreme?


Now I see.


The price was too high and I felt so low,

their criticism made me lose my mind.

The question wasn’t if I’d ever rise,

it was just a matter of time.


They took something away,

they took me down to nothing,

they took stability

and replaced it with destruction.

They stole what was mine

and left no instructions.

I’m the only one responsible

for my own reconstruction.


I was just a seed too scared to grow,

I was the ash in my near destruction,

I was the guardian angel that came to my rescue,

I was the cause of my reconstruction.













She called her husband’s name in the middle of the night,

thinking someone broke in and then hit her so hard

and they didn’t let up

till she was just a bloody pile of shards.


She sat for a minute with her hands on her head,

she started looking around and then called out again,

she saw her husband on the floor with bloody hands

trying to catch his breath.


Situations like this happened all the time,

he would beat her unconscious at the drop of a dime.

She stopped believing in God

and knowing it was only a matter of time.


So she tiptoed around and spoke real soft,

and she never disagreed even if he was wrong

and she refused to believe

that a storm was coming all along.


So, in the end, that is what it truly means

when a woman tries to tell you she can’t leave.

Because the man who just continues to abuse her

is the same man she thinks is coming to her rescue.


Background info: This was inspired by the documentary, “What I Want My Words to Do to You”, where author Eve Ensler visited a women’s prison .  One of the female inmates told the story of how she thought an intruder broke into her house in the middle of the night and began beating her.  She called out for her husband to come to her aide, but soon saw that he was the one who was assaulting her.  This is my version of her story.
















When you pull from bits and pieces,

like cracked boards or metal shards,

some shattered glass or fragmented beams

and you want to construct a building-

don’t wonder why

there will be huge gaps.

Don’t wonder why

it won’t stand.


When you draw from bits and pieces

of information from people

who think they have known me,

and you construct illusions,

and build makeshift assumptions-

don’t wonder why

there will be huge gaps,

don’t wonder why

it won’t stand.


Because only after getting to know me

will you actually know me.


If after truly knowing me,

your opinion was still negative

then I’d have no other choice but to say,

by all means,

build yourself a skyscraper.
















Something Good


Tell me something good

is coming ‘round the bend.

Tell me all the pain

is coming to an end.

Tell me I have finally made it

through the worst.

Tell me something in the sky above

found a way to break this curse.















You were my world

for a very long time,

and though quite reluctant,

I put my heart on the line.

So, I’m sorry if I gave you

too much attention,

sorry that my heart held

such apprehension.

Sorry that I cried,

or that I even tried

to love you so much

I thought I’d die.

I gave my heart so that

you could be happy,

and I’m the one

once again saying sorry.

But I’m sorriest that

I continue to dwell,

and that I loved you

more than I loved myself.

Squeaky Clean

                                                                                     ( 2006)

Don’t think that you’re the one with all the secrets.

Don’t think there aren’t things I don’t hide.

Don’t think that I give a damn

that two wrongs don’t make a right,

so don’t think it’s beyond me lie.


Don’t think that I haven’t done something

to put you in your place.

Don’t think that I haven’t done things

to get you back,

and then lied and smiled right to your face.


Because when you lie,

expect a liar,

when you cheat,

you’ll get a cheat.

When you’ve done

what you’ve done

to hurt me,

don’t think that I’ve been squeaky clean.


Don’t think that my back burner is burned out.

Don’t think I have just quietly sat by.

Don’t think that I haven’t done things

behind your back

and then sworn up and down

that I’ve walked the line.


And if I say that things

aren’t always what they seem,

I bet you’ll know exactly

what I mean.













This will is stronger than the metal of these chains,

no, these chains will not keep me bound.

I have swam through deeper waters,

I’ve withstood more violent storms,

I have scaled much higher ground.

The rain came down so hard that I surely thought I’d die,

but not once did I feel sorry for myself.

I never knew how brave I’d be

so that one day I’d be free

to feel the sweet release of my soul’s excel.

My guardian angels stood here with me the whole time

but their reflections did not appear in beautiful things.

When I opened up my eyes, when my deepest pain did shine,

their true essence came when I heard adversity sing.

I have fallen into black holes unbearably overcome,

I thought that I would drown there in the dark.

But what you cannot take from me

is an unwavering integrity

and the vision to reach for the brightest stars.


Step Forward into the Light

(For N.)


It was always the same dream.

It had the most beautiful voice

I had ever heard.

And when it sung,

the chords moved me so much that

soon, I became

a part of the song.


My body was whipped around,

furiously, frantically,

it was spun, thrown, lifted.


I let myself feel the pain of when

betrayal struck me on the face,

when loneliness was the burden

pressing upon my shoulders,

of lost love, past love

that was no more,

of every time I stood tall,

letting down my guard,

and then the blows my stomach

that dropped me to my knees,

the times that I kept my back to the light

because I thought that if I turned around,

I’d become blind.

The rage and pain welled in my throat

and the beat of my heart

forced out a single note.


It was my voice.

At one time

lost, forbidden, and denied,

but now sung,

and sung beautifully.

This one note was my life.

My trials, my fears, my loss, my joy,

my need to love and be loved,

my heart, mind, body, and spirit.

And so it was in that moment

that I let the essence of myself

step forward into the light

The Storm Chaser

(A short story about replacing one addiction with another. Created 2007)


I didn’t understand it but I do now.

Treasures are hidden for good reason. I know this because of what happened.  I know this because what was intended to be a process of rebuilding was, in fact, a slow and deliberate act of self-destruction.  The destroyer almost always appears to be piecing shards.

When you don’t know yourself you venture within a world of opposites. What you do contradicts how you feel.  You invite the devil to your quest for God.  You sabotage your dreams.  You ignore the warnings.

All sorts come around when you’re a fraction of yourself; from predators to parasites, saviors to healers. There is a similarity that each of them share, some linking motivation that drew them to me.  That’s what I really thought- that something drew them to me.  I know differently now.

Everyone’s got their version of non-reality. Everyone’s got their wounds.  Combining an infinite number of ways to be hurt with a fairly decent amount of ways to escape pain makes it easy to see why I, like many others, so effortlessly blur the line that divides pleasure and pain.

I think it all started during the dissension into strange, tormenting abstractions of love when I encountered a set of circumstances which eventually taught me that within the intention to destroy ourselves, we choose the weapon that appears not to be a weapon at all, but rather something or someone that looks like they can take us far away from the world.

And away from the world is where is had to be.

I am in pain. Understand me in those terms.  Measure me under those circumstances.  I have carried this pain for such a length of time that it has become a part of who I am.  There is no longer a lucid distinction between feeling good and bad.  I stopped feeling the difference long ago.  Sleeping soundly with those emotions meant melding to the melt of surreal paintings of semi-consciousness.  And, at first, it felt good.

At first, I had a delusional trust in life.  I wanted to be taken care of and assumed life would just do that.  I am not proclaiming to know everything but I do know, down to the core, the need to escape pain.  My flights were chemical mirages, cheap reproductions of paradise, yet so much better than reality.  Other people use denial, refusing to accept what their eyes behold.  It’s almost like a puzzle, the way the human mind fits the right justification in just the right place so that we can cope with our deadened realities, remaining fixated, like I was for years, within our descending cycles.

I just couldn’t deal with anything. The same question kept coming out of nowhere.

“What is it you really want?”

“I just want to feel better,” I’d respond to myself.

And as long as I was in a weird alcohol or drug-induced wonderland, I did feel better.  When you don’t need it, it’s fun.  But when you do start to need it, you hate it so deeply, and you hate yourself for needing it so completely, you can’t function without it.  The magical relief that muffles pain and manufactures pleasure calls you its slave, and that’s okay, you want to be its slave because that’s what you think of yourself anyway, so you beg it to kill off who you were, and worse, who you are, and far worse, who you’re trying to become.

There are no words for this kind of loss.  I can say I was depressed for years but the scope and the magnitude are in terms of words that don’t exist.  I can only say that I truly understand how and why it takes the light from a dying star several years to reach the Earth.

And by the time the light reached the Earth, I was already bound like prisoner to my addictions.  And when the light attempted to break upon my conscience, I predictably clung to the filth kept in the dark corners of my psyche, forcing me to live the lie, to uphold this lie that was my life.

So when the light found the darkness, as in my experience, it eventually will, I was watching the weather forecast which predicted thunderstorms with dangerous lightening, high winds, and hail.  I’d been trying to quit for a few days at that point and just needed to go for a drive, or do something to distract myself.  I didn’t really want to leave but was feeling the restlessness and anxiety that usually precedes the escape.

There’s this beach area on the edge of a lake in our town.  It’s got a pier and hot dog stand, volleyball nets where hot little college boys and girls play on weekends and summer days.  No one was there so I took off my shoes and walked the beach awhile talking to myself, sometimes within my own head, other times aloud, all the while scanning the west, noticing the way the sky made the distinction between calm and storm.

I wandered to the pier and must have stared out into the blue for almost an hour before it started sprinkling.

I closed my eyes knowing I needed to experience what was about to happen.

“What is it you really want?”

“I just want to feel better,” I responded to myself.

The chaos surrounding me siphoned the chaos inside of me.  The lightening evoked a thunderous rage and I screamed from a place I never knew existed, it was shelter and catharsis, a sense of recognition.  The harder it rained, the harder I wept.  It had been so long since I was that raw with real emotions, trapped without a way to escape them or numb myself, and yet, it was the trap that released me.  I was forced to witness the ashen remnants of the destroyer I had become.

Afterward, as I headed back to the car somebody asked me if I’d gotten caught in the storm.

I laughed as if I hadn’t the energy to do so, whispering, “Did I get caught in the storm?”  My eyes filled with tears they couldn’t see from that distance.

They asked if I was alright.  I shrugged haphazardly.

“Are you okay?” they called again.

I couldn’t talk so I shrugged again and didn’t turn to see the puzzled look that was probably on their face.


I was doing alright, had a place of my own on the other side of town, a job at a grimy little diner when it happened again a couple weeks later.

Everybody was complaining about the past two cloudy days.  Privately, I felt an anticipatory rush as the sky darkened to a deep blue-gray that afternoon.  I was refilling some lady’s coffee when there was a sudden flash to my left.  I looked out, unable to stop myself.

Vaguely I heard, “Excuse me, you’re SPILLING MY COFFEE!”

The wind began to shake the trees violently as huge raindrops pelted the windows.  I felt the coffee pot slip from my hand, hot liquid and glass shards exploding on the floor, all over my legs, and though the lady screamed, I watched the storm for a minute before heading out into it.

Another time I abandoned a full cart of groceries to experience the torrential sky lift me into its upheaval.  I broke off dates with friends if the weatherman foretold of storms that day.  And then something altogether paralyzing occurred to me as the leaves changed color, and temperatures began to drop significantly.

Panicking, I turned on the national weather radar.  It showed a gluttonous mass of precipitation headed for Albuquerque, another passing through Arizona, a third just over the Florida border.  I packed suitcases, and booked a flight to Jacksonville.

“What is it you really want?”

I just want to feel better,” I responded to myself.

I remember saying that within the intention to destroy ourselves we choose the thing that will take us far away from the world.  What if we choose to step back into the world in order to destroy something within ourselves?  Can it work that way?

I didn’t understand it but I do now.

Pain is hidden for good reason.  I know this because of what happened.  I know this because what was intended to be a process of rebuilding was, in fact, a slow and deliberate act of self-destruction.  The destroyer almost always appears to be piecing shards.




A Thousand Free Roads


All the things I once thought

are not what they appeared to be.

Somehow my very own starship

has disappeared into the galaxy.


And now, I’m so messed up psychologically

that I can’t even make a choice,

I can’t even hear my voice

over yours anymore.


And I know that love’s a gamble,

but it’s more than I can handle

at this point

I don’t know what I want,

I don’t care what I need anymore.


And when trying to do the right thing

leads to ruining everything

that I love

because I turn and I run

when a thousand free roads open up.


And when a thousand free roads open up,

I’ll try to believe

I deserve to be loved,

regardless of all that you’ve said

and you’ve done

because making this work’s been like

chasing the setting sun.


I want to understand that freedom

in my dreams is when I lead them

to those roads

where, once and for all,

I’ll believe I deserve to be loved.


I’ll believe I deserve to be loved,

I’ll stop chasing the setting sun,

and no longer will I have to turn and run

when a thousand free roads open up.



Time Will Make the Change


Time will make the change.

It will creep up silently and rearrange,

push you to the limits of long-held pain,

time will make the change.


Don’t apologize for anything you’ve done,

don’t assume that your past battles are all won.

Don’t bother asking forgiveness from anyone,

time will find the gun.


Time will hunt you down,

it will track your indiscretions till you’re found,

expose your sins then raze you to the ground,

time will hunt you down.


Time will make the change.

It will creep up silently and rearrange,

uproot your deepest fears till you’re insane,

time will make the change.




Thirty-five foot wave explodes upon the shore,

it reminds me of will and will not tolerate anymore.


Walking too softly upon your earth

I heard your volatile words hurting me

and everyone else around you.

Speaking too softly within your sight,

I saw the way you destroyed the wings

of the angels that came to your rescue.

Every now and then I lift my head to the surface,

it’s always when you’re nowhere to be found.

I hear you coming with every earthquake,

your destructive capability is profound.


Thirty-five foot wave becomes an overbearing flood.

Everything that is soon becomes everything that was.

I have spent years re-living your countless tidal waves.

I can’t pretend I’ve not been trying, for years,

to swim away.


Walking Sadhana (The path to yourself)


I don’t want to have to fight to get some peace anymore,

I’ve been up and down that road enough to see

that you’ll never win the game even when you

do what you’re told

because they all think that they know your destiny.


I don’t want to have to cry to make you understand

that I’ve been to far worse places than hell and back.

You say that I’m lost but you don’t see that my path

leads me to the person that I am.


I don’t want to have to compromise to avoid a fight,

but, at the same time, I can’t take much more pain.

After many deadly cycles of love and hate,

I’m learning how to walk away.


I don’t want to have to separate just to stay sane

but my mind is my only means of safety.

When all I really want is somewhere to call home,

to love and be loved completely.

I don’t want to have to doubt everything that you say,

but you’ve talked behind my back enough to drive me away.

I have no friends left because I can’t tolerate

the evil games that they’ve played.


And so, in the end, I still have myself,

and it doesn’t matter if no one understands

because I’ve finally come to terms that what I really need

is just to be the person that I am.














Walk Until You See Light


The part of yourself that you haven’t destroyed,

or numbed, or denied the existence of

will be your pathway out.

You’ve been heading down the same old dark road

and some rather unsettling things unfolded

on that stormy route.

For some people it takes a catastrophe

in order to see that, clearly,

the risk was never worth the cost.

You’ve got to pick yourself up and dust yourself off

and not worry about the battles still to come

because it’s obvious that you’re lost.

Yet, it’s amazing the way

some things just fall in place

when you’re walking the roads

that you ought to go in life.

When you decide on your own

that you’re ready to come home,

start walking until you see light.




Sometimes you’ve got to do what’s right,

though everybody says it’s wrong.

Sometimes you’ve got to do your own thing,

you’ve got to walk on and sing your song.


Well, I may be a dreamer

with my head up so high in the clouds,

you say, ‘welcome to the real world,

it’s about time that you come down.’


You may have bowed and kissed the ground of failure,

and I’m sorry that your magic died,

that you never knew your own potential,

that you gave up before you even tried.


I still believe that the real world,

is the world that the mind creates,

and the wonder of it makes me see

that you determine if you’ll be great.


And I don’t know if I believe in hope,

but I search for every cloud’s silver lining.

And I don’t know if I hold a faith,

but I don’t give up and I never stop trying.


Those who seek to break your wings

have never experienced flight.

Those who say your dreams are too high

are just remembering their own fear of heights.














With Me


If you’re with me,

then you’re with me,

if not, you’re just

leading me on.

I’m tired of taking names

and playing games

and feeding every begging dog.

It’s high time the sunlight

shines down on my destiny.

It’s high time the universe

turns her pretty eyes on me.

It was easy to kick me

when I didn’t have the strength to move.

And I kept slapping plaster on the cracks

so the wall appeared so nice and smooth.

I’m ditching the lies and fake smiles

to face what may come.

I’m ditching the lie that

there’s no such thing as freedom.




I’ve been up in outer space for far too long now,

I miss the simple beauty of the Earth,

but Earth is far too close to the fire of the sun,

and there’s been one too many times that I’ve been burned.


I’ve never quite felt a sense of belonging

if that is when you know you’re wholly loved.

Love is only present when there is complete acceptance,

and there’s been one too many times that I’ve been judged.


And yet,

I want to be a mother,

I want to be a wife,

I want to belong somewhere,

I just want to live a better life.


I know it’s out there somewhere,

I’ll never be too far behind,

feeling incomplete and

chasing stars until the end of time.

I’ve been careless with far too many diamonds,

old friendships died due to my own negligence,

so deep in the abyss of my depression,

I saw nothing and no one through the sea of my sadness.


I know I should have called once in a great while,

there were so many times I needed to.

It’s much too late to ask for their forgiveness,

it’s much too late to tell them everything that I’ve been through.


But I’d say,

I want to be in your life,

I want to see your face again,

I want to be there for you

because I know I wasn’t then.


I know you’re out there somewhere,

I’ll never be too far behind,

feeling incomplete and

chasing stars until the end of time.


It’s time for me to move on,

it’s time for me to shed this skin,

to mend the broken pieces

of my life and be my own best friend.


I know I’ll get there someday,

just seek and you will find me

feeling incomplete and

chasing stars until the end of time.