― J.D. Stroube, Caged in Darkness
My lover, you followed me on lost paths, chasing my longings deeper, before I turned and saw, you’re not there. The pieces I broke off to mark my exit you ate and then flew away, without any words, disappearing in hollows of echoing woods. I know my soul’s alone by the absence of those missing pieces. How can they be gone, slipped into an eternity of forgetfulness, or thoughtlessness, pushed there by denial and an intense effort to pretend you didn’t happen, unless they were born at sometime in the messy afterbirth of a mind gone mad? If I let my thoughts take these updrafts of imagination, to soar above this wilderness of lore, I’ll see you again. The pain’s breathtaking, should I plunge back below to the feigned wellness of peace? Or perhaps, stay on these heated gestures of reaching and slip into the coldness of space losing the oxygen of you, and with tears and a reluctant release, my light will dim and finally extinguish.
I’m hiding in this darkness so long
That I don’t remember light.
I thought I’d open a window and see
What lives outside the night.
But on the glance of what should be hope,
I was blinded by the ray.
I never knew that light could
cause me this much pain.
But its warmth had a touch and
A sight of what could be,
I was still scared by the pain of knowing
That I really wasn’t free.
The prison I was locked in is
A cage of my own design.
Only I could use a key of faith
One had left for me to find.
Breaking the hardened seal
of my sepulchered life,
I blinked back tears at
What’s outside night.
This is no ordinary little house, in a dark wooded lot, with a long curving driveway. Quintessential in time, the smell of rotten leaves, moldy dead trees, and moss create an invitation likely to instill fear. Leaves and draping parasitic vines serve to block out the intrusion of light. Things crawl and slither, poisonous things with teeth naturally sharp to penetrate the hood of protection. A damp chill wraps up the weary and pulls them to the coldness of the nether world. Light mists drift low to the ground, creeping with ethereal madness. Large things, nightmares, snap twigs and disappear with startling proficiency. These all have conspired to hide escape and draw the fearful soul deeper and deeper, sliding down the viscous sides of mortality’s flowers in a one way trip. The house is ancient in design, hundreds of years ago the brick and mortar were set and stony copper gargoyles put here to observe the folly of one gone mad. The door’s misleading, it’s a lure, pulling and tugging to get it’s prey close, crushing hopes with its efficacious skill of holding fast against panicked desperation. Fists pound against it creating unheard echos and with beastly strength the spell is transferred from spirit to flesh. Vibrant greens are subdued to the gray and black of lands beyond. The colors are smudged by an errant creator attempting to dismiss this aberration. Bones of lost hope litter the exposed roots and walkways, little roads to nowhere showing tracks of the worst going in circles. This is the notorious lair of depression, many will enter, none shall escape.
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
I gave love the last burst of my precious energy,
hoping to revive her before she passed on to the light.
No shock on earth could ever start her heart again,
growing cold as stone before my eyes.
The hardness creeps in like darkness at sunset,
first intriguing and beautiful, but then, a cold wind
blows from the darkness, night is coming.
One last chance I gave love, I started a fire in her,
using all the dead things I had in me as fuel.
Nevertheless, she refused to breathe.
Now I feel her life ebbing from my soul.
Her presence evaporating from my heart.
Left with the cracked parched earth of my soul,
thirsty for wetness, she refuses to live.
Have you ever felt someone leaving your soul?
Waking up, where am I? No lights, dark, eyes need to adjust. Gotta get some light. Swinging my feet from the comfort of billowed quilts, I find the floor cold and uninviting. Standing, I feel out of place, hands outstretched, groping, grasping for the light. Shuffling my feet, one bold step to reach my goal, but stopped by a jolting pain…. my toe, I believe it broke, going sideways with a pop. With faltering steps now quickened by anger and pain, an intoxicating brew, I press forward, “Where is that damn light?” Determination slowly replaced pain, I’ll find that light. Thump! Stars, a bright flash, dark again. That bump on my head is crazily thumping, a cry of pain, actually a shout of agony, as my head and toe joined in a chorus, pain accompanied by my own thoughts of “stupid, stupid, damn where’s that light?” Tripping, I slap at the air which becomes a wall at half arch, then the wall becomes a switch and, sweet luck, my awkward and painful search had uncovered the light…now with full knowledge of my surroundings, I without injury, find the warmth of my bed, its comfort made all the sweeter by having found the light.
“A razor drawn, through the colors of my life
“People always want to know what it feels like, so I’ll tell you: there’s a sting when you first slice, and then your heart speeds up when you see the blood, because you know you’ve done something you shouldn’t have, and yet you’ve gotten away with it. Then you sort of go into a trance, because it’s truly dazzling—that bright red line, like a highway route on a map that you want to follow to see where it leads. And—God—the sweet release, that’s the best way I can describe it, kind of like a balloon that’s tied to a little kid’s hand, which somehow breaks free and floats into the sky. You just know that balloon is thinking, Ha, I don’t belong to you after all; and at the same time, Do they have any idea how beautiful the view is from up here? And then the balloon remembers, after the fact, that it has a wicked fear of heights.
When reality kicks in, you grab some toilet paper or a paper towel (better than a washcloth, because the stains don’t ever come out 100 percent) and you press hard against the cut. You can feel your embarrassment; it’s a backbeat underneath your pulse. Whatever relief there was a minute ago congeals, like cold gravy, into a fist in the pit of your stomach. You literally make yourself sick, because you promised yourself last time would be the last time, and once again, you’ve let yourself down. So you hide the evidence of your weakness under layers of clothes long enough to cover the cuts, even if it’s summertime and no one is wearing jeans or long sleeves. You throw the bloody tissues into the toilet and watch the water go pink before you flush them into oblivion, and you wish it were really that easy.” – Jodi Picoult, Handle With Care