Category Archives: anxiety

Cold Hearted John Meadows

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My name is John Meadows, at least, that’s what it says on my birth certificate. At this moment, I’m not sure if that is even true.

I woke up in a bedroom. It was an unknown space. Except, as I lifted my head up off the pillow, I noticed a picture that looked familiar. I stood, walked over to it: it was flush with the wall. An outdoor moment in time. There was a man, and a woman. They held each other, big smiles on their faces.

The man leaned on a vast gnarled tree. Instead of branches, It looked as if seven tree trunks wound around each other, an abstract weave of latticework wood. The leaves were thick, a dark shade of green that looked almost like they were black. They hung over the couple like a frame.

The woman had her head resting on the man’s shoulder. His hair fell to his collar, so dark that at first, I thought it looked like it was cut out of the photo. Her hair was lighter, a mixture of golden brown and red. I remembered that it was called Auburn. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that at first. Yes, Auburn-haired, long, it fell down and over his chest, making his torso look like it disappeared as well.

The photo bothered me. Her eyes sparkled when the shot was taken. His eyes held little to no reflection. I looked. His didn’t, even with the sunlight spotlighting where they stood. Her eyes, the tilt of her head, her smile: there was life. He smiled, but it didn’t seem to reach his eyes. They were flat.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a free-standing full-body mirror to my left. It stood at a tilt near white folding slat doors. I shuffled my way over to it. I could not remember what I looked like, nor who I was. Maybe, I thought, looking at the reflection, things would come into focus. My heart began to accelerate, chest tightening, and it was getting difficult to breathe. I hadn’t been aware of breathing before this. I was now.

Coming into full view, I felt my head had received something smashing into it. It hurt like hell. I had to touch my head. It felt like bone shattered. I checked. It felt solid. But the pain. It was like a steel bar was slammed against my forehead.

A steel bar? Why did I…no, more a bat? Baseball? No, no. A baseball. Yes, a baseball hurtling to me, not even registering that I needed to move, to duck, do something. But it was too fast. I was too slow. I was up, then nothing. It felt just like that, although I didn’t know why. I still don’t know why I felt that way when I stepped in front of the mirror.

Yes, I was the man in that photo, even though I did not remember that. It was clear upon viewing, my eyesight was waving, no floaters, no film distortion over the irises. I looked at myself in the mirror, then over to the photo. Goosebumps paraded across my spine.

Turning, I took in the rest of the room. White minimalism in paint and fabrics. Same with my pajama pants. I noticed, then, that I had no shirt on. A look in the mirror traveled down; before, I was solely intent only on my face. My chest was hairy but not matted. Three parallel deep pink scars ran from my left armpit to just past the bellybutton. An inny. They didn’t hurt as much as throb. Noticing them did not help my rapid breathing and heart rate.

The next moments are still a blur. I know I looked around: the place had been tidy when I awoke. Now, drawers, men’s clothing, papers littered the white. All the bed linen was on the floor. The sliding slat doors were open wide, showing a closet that was only half full. I took this all in, sitting on the floor, leaning against the bed. I felt something hard and looked down. I had a metal lockbox in my hands. My breathing shallowed, and I felt myself calm down to regular human beats. At least, what I thought were normal.

There was no lock to have to break into. The lid swung up with ease, showing the mound of papers it carried. I riffled through the envelopes, unfolded the various papers, and only stopped when I found a Birth Certificate. Mine, I have assumed, until someone tells me differently. 

My name is John Meadows.

If you are listening to this tape, then most likely I am dead. Or too far away for any meaning of living or dead is inconsequential. This is the story of what happened from that moment of waking, clueless to everything that had meaning to me. I know that the woman in the photo was Jean, my partner. I know she no longer…is here. Where? At this time, I still do not know how to answer that.

Whoever you are, whenever you are, do yourself and loved ones a favor.

Do not stand under the leaves of that massive, gnarled tree.

It is not the Tree of Life.

That Morning

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Maori-Grey-Color-Ink-3D-Cracked-Face-Tattoo-On-Boys-Hand-For-Man
Pulled up to the curb
Hated building in sight
Drive shifted to Park
Pinging from under the hood

Tools for the day gathered
Unsnapped restraints
Body free
Yet, an unexpected hellish message came to me

Heavy chills from that winter day
Were nothing to the inward heat
Words tore through the chest
Filling up a now empty cavity

Pain sat in those words
Brushing off; tossed away
Snow fell in furried force
Muddled mind filled with numbing pain

The words made no sense
Content denied
The words finally made sense
As what was left flew away

No awareness of time falling away
Park was gone; drive remained
Yet no destination set
To a melted mind


We don’t grow when things are easy.

We grow when we face challenges.” ~ Joyce Meyer

Sonnet: When The Time Is Right

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There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life’s July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November. Martin Luther King, Jr.

OIP

 

Intimidation tactics are useless

Where the many are set upon as thieves

These are times punctuated through much stress

With hopes that all of our fears are relieved.

 

Hateful, scornful words meet extreme actions

Quiet shattered by jeers of discontent

The deep divide of opposing factions

It puts roadblocks in the way, we are rent

 

Yet, if the tide was to turn to the truth

The consequences in dire dispute

Thoughts and prayers may not be the needed sooth

To mend what has been sundered by refute

 

What impending years that we will pass through

Steps can be taken for our lawful due

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☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

This was a blog challenge: Simply 6 Minutes from Stine Writing

The rules for the challenge: Use today’s prompt (The MLKjr quote above)

Write for SIX Minutes. When your timer goes off, you are done.

Post on Stine Writing blog or on your own with a link on that blog’s site.

I did the above in under six minutes, where I had enough time to make sure there were ten syllables in each line.

I know; I shouldn’t edit, but, c’mon. It’s a sonnet. 🙂

Grandfather Speaks

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1st Chime: Midnight approaches. I’ve prepared for the darkness, urging it to mask what is to come. What needs to be done. What will be.

2nd Chime: I sit in her favorite chair. I have never done that before. The dent of her body is etched into the fabric and padding. I do not fit.

3rd Chime: Time. Time is going too slow. It is out of my control if I ever had any. My palms are wet. A tiny rivulet streaks down my brow into my eyes. It burns.

4th Chime: I gasp. My mouth. It feels like I poured ground cinnamon into the chamber. I cough clouds of red.

5th Chime: Hurry. Hurry. I need to. No. Wait. I can’t. Wait.

6th & 7th Chime: My calves cramp. I hadn’t noticed my knees were jumping like pistons. It won’t obey me. It won’t stop.

8th Chime: All. It’s not well. Not. The walls are closing in. There is wailing from the floor, right under my planted soles.

9th & 10th Movement: I heard no chimes. I’m fixed on the second hand as he struggles for the next second. The grandfather is moving time on.

11Th Chime: My lips are cracked. As I use my tongue to sponge them, I get the taste of copper as it sweeps over the swollen bottom lip.

12th Chime: Here. It is here. The elevated heart rate hurts my rib cage. There is a sour smell surrounding me. It does not offend. I am dripping wet with perspiration. It is time. It is time. I reach over to the frazzled side table.

The grandfather clock ticks eleven more.

On the 12th tick, the gun barrel is in my mouth.

I…

 

 

<<<<<<<<<<     >>>>>>>>>>

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I host a writing group on Saturday mornings: Daydreamers Write! Prompts & Challenges. The above was from the challenge prompt: Strange things happen when the Grandfather Clock speaks. The challenge: Coat your piece in MOOD. Write in First-person & the narrator is not reliable. If you can, use all five (six?) senses. Some wrote prose, some poetry, and then…

The picture is ©Eric Freitas. If you want to see more of his work, the link is attached to the picture. His work is amazing, and Eric works on commissions. Check his website. 

 

Daydreamers Write! Prompt & Challenges  is a virtual writers group. We meet every Saturday morning (EST) from 10:00 am to Noon. Two prompts (2nd one holds the challenge), writing, sharing, constructive feedback, all in that two-hour slot. What I love about keeping this virtual is that we have members from both coasts in the US, and one from London. 

Click on the link, sign up for a membership, and then find the date you’d like to join in. Please send in the RSVP that is attached to that day’s invite. 

Any questions? You can leave me a message on the MeetUp page or direct to organizerdaydreams@gmail.com

SILENT

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SILENT

Once

My tongue was set on fire

Molten heat singed my teeth

Roof of the mouth was a blister

Waiting to burst.

But

Vocal cords remains charred

The throat a useless thing

Nostrils spat out flames

Then it reached the brain.

So

The cerebrum was basted

By the runoff of the mind

Thoughts became wasted

As the inferno left no room.

Yet

It never reached my heart

Though it felt twisted and dry

When everything fell crumbling

I refused to just stand by.

One – Thirteen – Eight

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Thirteen years

Separated by a day

Tear apart Autumn.

 

Leaves die,

Their true colors surfacing

Until they fall.

 

It all happened too fast

As slow as it went

Eight years the aftermath. 

 

Two held out

Eyelids close for the last time

Left much unanswered with regrets

 

Stick it out, alone

As ideation throws itself

Against membrane walls.

 

Silence instead of screams

Close lips, open eyes

The yelling of the past is past.

 

There is a disconnect

Rejections, Turned backs

As the darkness of the night

Seeps into the coming day

Hiding is opportune

When one day is like the next.

 

 

Mathematical Equations Flow into a Bear’s Winter Den.

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Mathematical Equations Flow into a Bear’s Winter Den.

“You should let it go”

The Grizzly snapped

Claws sharp and bright

“Stop the hoping;

Nothings coming back!”

As the Bear pounces on you,

Teeth clamping on

Growling “No one’s complete.”

She’d advance then goes still

Hot breath steaming your face.

Your legs quiver

Barely holding you up

As eyes bore into yours

You can’t look away for

No place to retreat.

“Prove it!” she demanded

Pushed full weight against the rocks

“What do you think you deserve?

What offers can you keep?”

She came to you,

Not the other way

Break all the fucking rules

Then she came, then pushed away

Retreating then imploring

Over tumbling common ground.

Repeating past confusions,

Not again, not again

There’s a challenge, a test

It’s denied. unspoken, yet

Rend your mind wide

Show that you bend,

Expectations leveling out

Leaving little behind.

Except you.

You are easily left behind.

Unique in a good way,

“Not trashed,” she opined.

In that moment

Invisibility leaps forth

Blurring the Grizzly from taking

More than you’re worth.

It ripped into you

Left bleeding before the crowds

Who feeds into the invisible shroud

You’ve donned again, for as always,

It is always around.

“Prove it!” was demanded

Never given the chance

So, you are forced to turn and run.

You stumble,

Head an aching mess.

And you trip, you fall

Excoriated, shattered, so fucking deep.

It is easy to hide

You’ve established that fact

Yet a question remains:

Is it easier to just die?

 

 

 

The Dismissed or The Way

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I wondered why I was here.

Then you appeared

Keeping distant, but there

On the edge of discomfort

The need sweeping through

I wondered why

You appeared

Have you felt being stuck

Inside a dreadful memory?

Splinters of hurt

Aching enveloping

Drawn inwards

Trying to let it slip away

Holding onto it with desperate claws

“I’m tired” leaves the lips

Wafting out uncontrolled

I still wondered why

You appeared

After I have given up

You tell someone close

Thoughts of the fears

From your history, resurfacing

Wanting to be listened to

To be understood

“Just get over it.

Let it go.”

Platitudes of dismissal

Of what you say

For not fitting in with

How they live their lives

So you shut up,

Refusing to open more

Feelings and mindset are mine

But run over,

Sunk into the muck of expectations.

You appeared.

Dreading another rerun

Of relationships past

You appeared

A question of what if

Holds fast to the negatives

You

Hold too much hope

That this time will be different

Or will it dig a deeper hole

That embraces being tired

And you wonder, anew

Why are you here?

Why am I here?

Then you appeared.

 

Craving Discourse

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I am right.

You are wrong.

It is as simple as that.

I follow the truth path

My way is clear

Nothing you say has meaning

Nothing can change my mind

My enemies are legion

I count you among their kind.

You are wrong.

I am right.

There is no debate in that.

It is evil in your actions

Evil in your words

Closing yourself to reality

So it fits you limited terms

I gather with my like-minded

You’re not worth a second thought

I am Right

    No, you’re not

You are wrong

    No, I am not.

Let’s not agree to disagree

Let’s find some commonality

Let’s understand the price

Segregating into piteous hate

We are deaf along this path.

I am not absolute

Whether right or wrong

The danger is the division

Two sides talking to walls

I will listen to you; please tell me why

Please

Don’t shove your viewpoint onto me

Please

Don’t refuse to hear my questions

Please

Don’t shut me up with condemnation

             Please

Let us deeply listen, for all its worth.

 

Singing Songs of Joy and Peace

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Singing Songs of Joy and Peace*

 

 

We know what strict is

In the counts of the missing

The missing found

Splatters of their former selves

Shatters of what memories we had

Pushing away the viewpoints of before

It has to be forgotten

Or drag us into the mud

Meaningful deaths, but not now

They graphically get pushed away.

 

The clarity of the season was here

Wintery chills drifting along open skin

Particles inappreciable in white shells

Ingesting the soot of the days and nights

The wet becomes us

Slogging through the cold

We’re nothing but walking icicles

Degradation in our feet

 

Mornings must start with songs of Joy

From barracks to fields

To lift any spirit that could be raised

Through enforced blockage of what’s to come

Songs of Peace enforced taking Joys place

Blaring out, amplified unjust

Home is dancing in the street

Yet no dance here; our patterns are strict,

As long as this weather held.

 

Mercurial temperaments of nature

Have no sense of staying put

Wished away, ignoring petty whines

Pleading prayers always unheard

Chilled or sweltering

We melted or froze

In the fullness of time,

The weather changed.

 

Of the frozen deaths

We revoked our hearts

Set to extra toils

Making up for the dead

Of our sweat drenched backs

We camouflaged our hearts

What was left of them, numb or dead.

 

As long as this weather holds

“This” becomes mythical

While we wait; We wait

Continuing to give up lives

Joining the unremembered in their weather passage.

The egregious screws are welded holdfast

As we sing songs of Joy and Peace

Nevertheless the vagaries of weather;

Nonetheless what clasps us to those songs.

 

March on.

Opposite actions enforced.

Strictly.

 

March on.

~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~     ~~~~~

Author’s Note:

“Songs of joy and peace” come from Joni Mitchel’s beautiful song, River. I had listened to it only minutes before when I shut off my music app and tuned into that night’s writing group, River River Writer’s Circle. The prompt was “When the weather changes.” The above happened, was shared, and got the suggestion: “Think about expanding this out” (well, “stretching it out”). So, I let it sit, came back to it, and the above is the result.

Thank you, Ms. Mitchel. A sad, but integral song for many.  What I wrote is no reflection on her song. The fourth line of the first stanza stayed with me.

The opening stanza from Joni Mitchel’s River is: 

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on

Songwriters: Mitchell Joni
River lyrics © Sony Atv Music Publishing France, Joni Mitchell Publishing Corp, Sony/atv Tunes Llc Obo Joni Mitchell Publishing Corp., Wb Music Corp Obo Jam N Bread Music

 

EDIT: Boy, am I dense!

Joni Mitchel’s River

RiverRiver Writer’s Circle. 

I just realized it. Not planned at all. Doh! Oy! :::palmface:::