Category Archives: Numbness

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?

 

 

 

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:::

 

 

 

Lemmings to Slaughter

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Trolls Tongue

Lemmings to Slaughter

©Stuart Nager 8/5/20

 

I watched a woman dive off of a cliff.

The four others who had ascended with her ran to the edge of the outcropping. At first, I thought they would all follow her as a group, a splice of Lemmings following the herd. They did run helter-skelter after, yet they all stopped abruptly at the edge. Parts of The Trolls Tongue ledge were disturbed by their mad dash forward. Broken off pieces of rock following in her stead as they laughed and high fived each other.

Two went prone, cellphones at hand, in what I assumed was to record the woman’s rapid descent. The other two had packs already on their backs, each checking the other.

I noticed all of their movements for a brief moment: a fraction, really. I took them in more out of the corner of my eye. I lost total interest as I watched the jumper descend.

She was swimming through the air. The flips were followed by a turn to the west. Then east. A series of air pocket climbs allowed her to somersault, pushing her up on the currents. The spirals she performed were breathtaking. Her control was magnificent. The whining pitch of her aerials signaled her falling speed increase.

Spreading her body out, she pulled something. I could see the movement, but she was too far away, even for me, to see clearly.

The pack upon her back burst open. A snarl of colors leaped out and up. As it unfurled, I muttered an involuntary “ah” as I understood. A parachute. Multi-colored as it snapped into shape, drawing her once more upwards. The four yelled, laughed, and hooted at this point. I didn’t turn to look. It was enough to hear them squawk akin to Snowy Owls.

I imagined her laughing along as she heavily floated to the Fjord below. Her heart beating fiercely, blood coursing through her body at high speed. I envied her, that joy, that freedom, that overtaking of fear. Sensations that I have been divorced from for far too long.

A new shout from the four sought my attention and grabbed it. Only the two lying prone were still there. The others were off, doing their “death-defying” acrobats. I watched it for only a moment. Individually, they were nowhere near as graceful as their friend was. They made up for it a bit, and they maneuvered around and with each other. It wasn’t enough. I lost interest in the last hooting I heard from them.

I’d been alone on The Tongue for an eternity. Initially, I climbed this peak after the deaths of my family, trying to escape their death howls. They were silenced in turn as I fled. Ashamed, I traveled on. Climbing, ever climbing. When I first beheld this outcropping, my turmoil of thoughts leveled out. The gods were with me. An excellent place to die, I thought and felt. I had been alone for so long. It was good at that point to die alone.

Yet, when I reached the edge of the outcropping, ready to cross that flimsy border of safety, I found I was unable to move any closer. The dizzying height, the frigid air, the snow that had followed me as I trod on. Frozen in heart and mind, I was buffeted in indecision that lasted through the freezing night.

Just as the morning sun began its rise, my knees and lower legs wobbled. I grew unsteady, leaning precariously in the direction I needed to go. Wanted so desperately to go. A strong upwind slapped me in the face, sending me back instead of forwards.

I sprawled on the outcrop through the light of the day. Movement was beyond me. I tried, failing every attempt. As the day dwindled away, I let the darkness envelop me in whole. All the pride I still had fled, my resolve punctured. Emotions were stripped away in one swoop. I was unmade.

The night sky was brilliant when I finally opened my eyes anew.

“I am not worthy of joining you. I see that now. I can wait. I can still remember.”

Hunger growls drew me out of the remembrance. Loud, but not loud enough to rouse the two left behind. My steps towards them were but feathers.

Upon The Trolls Tongue, I feasted well.

May those who come searching for them travel with speed.

 

 

 

Demise On Old Blackwash Road

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Candle

Julie and Steve
In teenage lust angst
Lantern lit, hidden nook
Atrocities attacked ere consummation
Sending them heedlessly running along
On Old Blackwash Road

Julie was screaming
Until her voice decayed
Steve pulled ahead
No thought of her pumping away
Julie tried to catch up
Down Old Blackwash Road

If words could take aim
Steve would have heard her pleas
Curses tossed through him
Voiceless, running still
Left alone under moonlight
Fever pitch dashing on Old Blackwash Road

Steve's mind was blanker
Except for grinding terror
Pushing himself faster on
It was primal, fierce 
As his lungs began to seize
Slowing on Old Blackwash Road

Julie haven found above
Crawling up an ancient oak
She saw Steve plunge to the ground
Closed her eyes ridigidly shut
Prayed, then dug her nails into the wood
Surrounding Old Blackwash Road

Steve's wails turned raw
Before they abruptly terminated
Julie clung for more than her worth
Tree sap glued her to her spot
Unaware of it till morning light
Dawn awakening Old Blackwash Road

Time moved through Julie
Frozen to the spot
Heat of the day came fiercely 
Freeing her from tree secretion
Setting her down upon
Empty Old Blackwash Road

She fled the scene half naked
The ground was bare of Steve
Her throat hurt as she sobbed aloud
No tears were left inside her
As she stumbled upon Route 40
Connected to Old Blackwash Road

Julie withdrew and hid inside
While the Sheriff did his best
Steve was never found, even a tiny bit
"It's happened before," they all knew for true
Julie shrugged. What could she say or do
About Old Blackwash Road?







Mind Full Dismantled

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MIND FULL DISMANTLED

 

 

 

A lifetime of perceived perseverance is draining

Far too many called it stubbornness

Negative and judgmental in any context

Sending one on a downward spiral

Until germination of persevering takes root again

Dismissal of

Having one’s voice heard

Acceptance of differing viewpoints

Acknowledgment that the now of you

Has surpassed the images of your past self

That others have held onto

It is a Sisyphusian task you live

Beginning anew, evermore

Almost reaching the goal

Believing that this is your path

Your purpose exposed

Yet derision erodes the journey

Brings you to your knees

Eternal punishment

Or so it seems

Cursed to continue evermore

Perseverance

Translated as stubbornness

Which sets off dismissal

The you that is now.

Persevere.

Stay stubborn.

 

In the night

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spilled red

IN THE NIGHT

Mark convulsed in the mudded pit and dissolved. Spasms had wracked his form as he wormed his way along the rain-drenched ground. He did not sense the sharp drop that brought him to his end. Yes, I watched his final journey. I stood at the lip of the pit, watched his death, and walked home.
 
Why did I watch? Why didn’t I do anything? I had done something. His ending began with me.
 
You look startled. Why? You know Mark and I were never friendly towards the other. He stabbed me in the back as many times I stabbed him. Staying away from each other was the prudent thing to do, we both knew that. We even laughed together one evening over that thought, sipping our glasses of red. The bar was thriving that night.
 
Some weren’t after we finished with them. Yes, I know, Mark and I, rivals, blah blah blah. The hunt drew us together now and then, generally by sheer coincidence. At least, that is what I had always thought.
 
It turned out that Mark had planned every encounter. I have to give him his due: his skill in lying far surpassed mine. When I found the truth, I was a tad humbled. Mark’s lying was at mastery level. I worked hard to take mine to his level.
 
Why did he do it? Why did he hate me that severely? Old story. It was always a game of one-upmanship between us. Always. Mark would not accept that I could exceed him in any way. It was no more than a game of egos, until, it wasn’t.
 
It all started with Claire. He wanted her. She chose me. Once her bloodied body was discovered, nothing between us would ever be the same game again. I’d take from him. He’d indulge in returning the favor. We were living in a harsh cycle. The drawn blood between us had been notorious.
 
Yes, yes. That was centuries ago. So?
 
Why now, you ask? What brought our mutual loathing to an end now?
 
Mark and I have always been scrutinizing each other. Weaknesses praised and used to our advantage. This became our goal: seeking knowledge to use to the other’s detriment. Who won or lost these challenges was of no concern, then.
 
It came to my attention that Mark had studied me far deeper all along. It came to me in whispers along the way. Sycophants whose loyalties drifted between Mark and me. I ignored most of them as pure gossip. I knew I spun my tales to unsettle Mark.
 
Until most recently, I believed we were on even ground.
 
What? Of course, I was wrong! Yes, yes, always headstrong, blah blah.
 
Mark’s planning had reached a summit. It was due to begin this very evening. Ha! He had rallied many to his side. I thought we were equally loathed. Again, I was wrong, but…there will be a reckoning.
 
His plan: attack and obliterate everything, and everyone, that I possess. Every single element that is mine. I may not have a heart, but Marks’s scheme was that threat one step too far. I confronted him on this.
 
Of course, he denied it all. What else would one expect?
 
No matter: he would never take what was mine again. 
 
That night’s storm was tearing up the sky. That was pure coincidence, convenient on my part.
 
I had reached out to him. He responded, and met me that night outside of a long-standing bar we both favored. Accusations and denials tore into the night sky. Sharp words turned to sharper claws.
We did grave damage to each other, of course.
 
On a muddied slope, Mark lost his balance. Miniscule, but I took my advantage. I was getting the best of Mark. Deep in the forest at this point, Mark went down to the earth, glaring my way. I imagine that he felt this was our usual. Spar, hurt the other to that point, He hadn’t prepared for me to take this to a true Endinig.
 
I did. I fought dirtier than usual, slashing his in violence I had not known I was capable of. Panting, Mark began to sidle away. I pulled out a weapon we had both sworn would never enter our conflicts. Embedded with Elder rune, I weighed the silver blessed dagger in my left hand. Mark screamed as the dagger plunged through his hide with ease. 
 
Yes, more than once. Many more times.
 
You would have laughed at the look on Mark’s face as he passed on.
 
I did. It was exquisite.
 
No? You’d instead it was my face, my death?
 
Ah, friend, I’m not sure I believe your poo-pooing. That will be another discussion between us. Yes?
 
On your central question of “Why?” Really? After all these years we have left behind us, you feel the need to ask, “Why?”
 
Claire. It was still about Claire. For me, always, it has always been about Claire.
 
Drink up. Your glass of red is cooling off.
 
Good. Good. Now, let us discuss one last thing.
 
Why did you join Mark’s plot against me?
 
Hmmm?

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

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    2. RevitalWriters will be a weekly cohort.
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      1. Your weekend retreat for writing and join others like you: a passion to write.
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Both groups welcome writers of any genre or style.

We hope to see you.

Holding On

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a night window

HOLDING ON

by Stuart Nager©

 

 

“Wendy. Close the window. It is freezing in here.”

John was flat on his back, under his sheets and quilt. He had his right arm draped over his eyes. Truth be told, it was his nightshirt that did the draping. John’s arm was across his brow. He had to remind himself to relax, for he was leaving an indent in the lower forehead.

Wendy sat on the padded window bench; knees tucked up tight against her chest. Her arms encircled her legs. The window was ajar, allowing the night winds free entry into the bedroom. Wendy searched the clouds, looking. Praying. Hoping.

The wind whipped up, bursting past the lead paned glass. It sends Wendy’s nightshirt fluttering. Her shoulders lifted, her immaculate posture in place. Wendy tilted her head just so. She knew what he liked.

As did she.

“Arrrrrr, matey!” John used his pirate voice, doing his best to make her laugh. Wendy did not laugh nor smile. Jumping out of bed, John had to untangle himself from the bedsheets. All of the bed coverings wound up on the floor.

“Wendy, it is freezing in here. Shut the window, please.” He looked over at Michael, deep in slumber. His consistent snoring was the proof he was asleep. He could never duplicate that sound when he was faking to stay in bed. Mother saw right through him.

Wendy shushed him.

“You know he won’t wake up. He’s dead to the world right now.”

She shushed him again. John grabbed his quilt from the floor, whipping it over his head and onto his shoulders. So encased, John approached his sister. Wendy was still eyeing the night sky.

John plopped down on the other side of the bench, pulling the blanket even tighter around him. Just as his teeth started to chatter, he realized Wendy was only in her night clothing. Reversing the quilt, he laid one end over his sister.

“Thank you, John,” she whispered, far away from the room. John followed where she was looking. She’d change an angle; he would mirror it. “Darling bookends,” Liza would say if the housemaid was in the room. He smiled at that thought. Wendy noticed him as his smile slowly crept back inside him.

“Wendy. He’s not coming back. He isn’t. Shh. Please hear me out. We’ve had this…this…talk far too often. Fourteen months have passed. No pirates. No Indians. No Tink. No Pe…”

Reaching over, Wendy placed the four fingers of her left hand gently over his mouth.

“Enough, John. Please. I know. I still hope. I still have hope. Every blessed night I have hope. It just,” Wendy stopped, turning her head back to gazing the now unclouded sparkling heavens. “It just hurts, John.”

He nodded his head. What was left to say? They had had this conversation far too many times. It always ended in tears. There were many nights where John tried his best to distract her. The successful evenings were spent making up stories of what battle or mischief he would be embroiled in, smack in the center of it all. She’d laugh at many of his tales. The more outlandish he made them, the more Wendy relaxed. And she’d stop looking out the window.

The less beneficial nights would come, ones where John felt powerless. Wendy, questioning, always the same. “Why doesn’t he return?” John knew there were two unspoken words to that query: “For her.”

Wendy did turn her head back to John. “No stories tonight, please. My insides are so knotted, so heavy. Not tonight, dear John. Not tonight.”

He nodded his head, and the two sat quietly by the window. No one spoke. Michael snored. They both yawned, Wendy insisting John started it. John, naturally, accused Wendy.

“We better get to bed. I don’t wish Mother to be cross with us in the morning.” She stood up, patting her nightwear down into a proper shape. John noticed Wendy’s hesitation before she reached over and closed the window. The sound of the latch fitting in place brought a feathery gasp from her lips. Her arms, as always, crossed over her heart.

John returned to bed. He tossed all the linen quilt back on the bed, diving under it all for warmth. John’s face was warm. He felt an unpleasant tightening in his chest. He should have hugged her, said he’ll always be there for her, that she was the best sister anyone ever had. John only said: “Good night, Wendy,” as she closed the door, tiptoeing down the hallway to her room.

As Wendy made it to her bed, her thoughts swallowed her whole. She thought of the unfairness of growing up. How much Wendy wanted to share the same bedroom with her brothers again. How much she wished she had stayed and not returned home. All swept away by the burning question she held tight: “Why hasn’t Peter returned for me?”

It was just over a month that Wendy overheard “The” conversation. Wendy, supposedly in bed, was walking by Mother’s bedroom. The door was partially open. Peeking in, Mother was sitting at her vanity, Liza behind her, counting out the number of times she ran the brush through Mother’s hair.

Wendy was not pleased that Mother was now calling her “a proper young lady.” She had experienced her first flow, a most embarrassing event. Her bones were achy almost all the time. She started maturing. Wendy’s new clothing, the changes in her body, all of it left her feeling embarrassed and humiliated. Wendy’s deep sadness permeated throughout her.

She knew why Peter did not come for her.

Why he would not come for her, ever again.

Wendy wished she had never eavesdropped.

“100,” Lisa stated, putting the hairbrush down on the table. “Miss Wendy is starting to fill out, mum. She’ll be as beautiful as you. Not that she isn’t a pretty young thing now.”

Mother was silent, staring into the mirror. Wendy was sure Mother would not answer Liza. Just as she began to walk away, Wendy heard Mother say, “I know it is the right thing to do, Liza. It is time that Wendy a room to herself. She is blossoming. It is time for her to grow into being a proper young lady. But.” Mother left that word dangling on its own.

“Yes, but,” Liza agreed. “It will be for the best.”

Mother nodded. “I do pray that this will ease the burden she carries. Wendy needs to let this fantastical story of flying, pirates, faeries…” Mother sighed. “She needs to let it go.”

Wendy moved away from the door.

The next day Wendy was given her room. She sulked alone for the next two days, only leaving her confines for meals that she picked at. The third night, though, she had had enough.

Wendy immediately ran to the bedroom she had shared with her brothers. She threw the door wide open. Her feet glided across the nursery floor until she got up on the window. Kneeling, Wendy opened the windows. She crept to the window frame, her eyes fixated on the dark, laden clouds above. No stars were visible.  Rain, though: rain fell ferociously. Wendy became a soaking wet sponge instantly. She kneeled on the pane for a long while.

A noise coming from the doorway startled Wendy out of her fugue. Wendy slightly turned and saw Liza standing in the hallway.

“Wendy Darling,” Liza trumpeted. She stamped her feet as she approached the window seat, not thinking of the boys at all. Upon arrival, Liza shooed Wendy to move away.  “Young lady, what has gotten into you? You were not in your room. I knew you would be here. You, young lady, are heading straight to your room: a hot bath and fresh nightshirt. Go on. I’ll be right behind you.”

Wendy, shivering, glanced at her brothers, warmly tucked in. She smiled although her heart was shattering.

When she heard the latch fall into place, she sat on the floor and cried.

 

 

City Song, My

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Fuck the city

Overblown, hyperactive concrete and stone

Greasy street food; greasier people

Racing around, step on or over

Searching for the bright lights

Eclipsed by the shadows




To hell with the city

Nearly everyone’s oppressed

In some misguided way

Bend your neck, never knees,

As the fight to make it

Truth ends in buckets of the kill.




Screw the city

As it screws with you

Power, status, held in slimy claws

There’s heartache in the streets

Trod upon with running shoes.

You deserve what you get




Obliterate the city

Turn off the lights

You can’t see the stars shine

Blinded eyes obfuscate

Nothing to see here; move along

Dwindle yourself; something is wrong.




Fuck the city

Obsessiveness and greed

Hatred and fear

Isolated in ignorance

Shriek your outrage

Bellow your unscripted song.

 

Promises of People

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Darksit

Do I think living is a waste of time?

Depending on the day, I usually do

What stays with me in a world of No’s

Doesn’t make the future really glow. 

 

There’s sadness on a constant basis

There is no day that I don’t hurt

Even isolated from the isolated

The noises outside breaks into the room

 

Look at all you’ve got to live for

Imagine all the people who’d hurt

It is easy to get so distracted

By promises of people who say

 

Each day there’s awakening

Going through routines

Then you fall into that circle

Of repeating the same old things

 

What makes joy bleed away?

Why does nothing stick

Push away the best you can

But the pain is always there

The pain is always here

 

Look at all you’ve got to live for

Imagine all the people who’d hurt

It is easy to get so distracted

By promises of people who say

 

By the emotions they express

Or hide away in their own ways

When reaching out is near impossible

When no one wants to cope with you

 

So, scream your essence to pieces

Locked in your muddy head

Stop playing that you want to go on

I’m fine, I’m fine, fine.

 

Look at all you’ve got to live for

Imagine all the people who’d hurt

It is easy to get so distracted

By promises of people who say

 

I’m tired

I’m so tired

I wish I wasn’t here

Why am I wasting time?

 

What It Is

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Crumbled mass of memories

Beating to remain

Drift away in pieces

Day by week

Week by month

Our chorus has refrained.

 

Let the days go by

Time is translucent

Affixed by artificial means

Seconds are meaningless

Hours, years, what do they share?

Try to keep track of this dark despair.

 

Say: “It’ll be over soon. We’ll return to normal.”

Hope that’s true, but, it’s written in the wind

Carved deep by our wants

Fashioned by others invested greed

It’ll all be over soon.

Hah! Don’t hold your breath.

 

Don’t cross my boundaries

While I obliterate yours

My space is limitless

Go back to other shores

I am eternally right

You know you’re always wrong.

 

Don’t come closer

Don’t you fucking dare.

Hide behind a wall of hate

Imagine I don’t give a shit

This world is for the taking

One breath will never come.

 

History becomes what we think

Nothing learned; ours to repeat

Our earth creeks and shakes

As it senses and retaliates

In the beginning, one

So at the end. None.

 

Crumbled mass of what we were

Bleeding to remain

Feeling wasted, dried to dust

Yet we wait behind closed doors

Time isn’t after us

Nothing is holding us.

 

**Apologies and credit to The Talking Heads.