The War Within

criticism, shame, and pressure
weighed heavy on her innocent psyche
the process of accepting more pain

impeding her maturity
life’s mistakes chosen unwisely
battles wearing her down

a breaking point
finally came

she chose to unearth her decimated being
destroying the mold of generations
retrieving and reclaiming her true self
way past due

John Grey


It’s where water and reeds
go dark together,
a frog sends word
via deep-throated bloop.

Where a solitary hill,
just by being in the way,
extinguishes the sun.

Where cricket chirr
is the last sound
the wildflowers hear for the night

Where fading light,
gives way to slate sky,
and white sparkle
on the backs of the deer.

Stay put
if these apply.  


Was I the only boy
who, on rainy days,
made a paper boat
out of yesterday’s newspaper,
launched my vessel
in the gutter
at the top of the hill,
then ran alongside its maiden voyage,
as it rode high on slimy water
a hundred yards or more
before that final swerve,
into the drain hole,
and the plummet out of sight?

I’ve been in plenty of company
but I’ve not heard it mentioned.

Please, go fold your own schooner,
cast off and ride shotgun,
or childhood dies with me. 


The mountains are not going anywhere
and yet why do I watch them, not just in awe,
but for conformation.

And why are you beside me,
on this chair cut from oak,
wedged safely in rock at this overlook,

with the Catskills stretching before us,
so many peaks, so many names,
the landscape entrusted to their granite,

their greenery, streams etched into the dips,
waterfalls dispensing winter snows,
and the occasional shadow-rippled lake

to draw in the wildlife with a siren’s
silent song that echoes from a glacial age.
We too are staying put, our belief

in each other just as grounded and an occasional
glimpse presenting itself to a glance returned,
a skim that barely realizes the depths it encounters:

love, that fish that thinks it’s a dragonfly.
Sun’s setting now, stripping some of the scenery
away from us, so it’s time to leave before

the chill, the blankness, stake their claim
for sense and scenery. It’s a slow walk back to the hotel.
Direction would be darkness if we weren’t the lamplights. 


When sorrow needs words,
I am at your disposal.

I do pain, heartbreak,
diseases of the body,
mind and soul,
and the only charge
is that you read what
I write when I’m done.

I also do
love and happiness,
but rarely.

For that’s when
poetry about something
can’t compete
with that something.

People seldom come
to me for joy. 


Sun fades
on granite ridge.
Shadow celebrates
the last rites
of rock and pool.

Trees fuse together,
become shape.
Half-blinded hills
close the other eye.

I look out from the veranda,
take kindly to the grayness,
the tamped horizon fires.

Birds roost, bats emerge,
my mind retreats
from spectacle to musings.

The moon’s let loose.
Sky breaks out in stars.
I’m under no pressure
to go in.

In so few places,
can I be
one of a kind. 


He poured out his heart
and many listened in.
Despite the alcohol,
the man’s emotions were genuine.
And they found doleful
but vigorous expression.
He talked of a departed loved one,
though whether dead or just moved on,
he never did make clear.
And it could have happened yesterday
or a quarter of a century ago.
Whatever the combination,
it had all been too much for him.
He told, in great detail,
the elements of a thousand dreams,
except they were all the same dream –
that he and she,
whoever she was,
be reunited again.
He must have found some relief
in the telling
because he went on and on about it
and, as long as the passion was there,
he had an audience.
He got it all out.
He got it all out a second time.
But then he started to fatigue.
He began to waver,
looked likely to totter
and fall any moment.
He went out looking for a little sanity.
He found a couple of guys
willing to help him into a cab.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner and International Poetry Review. John’s work was first featured on The Short of It on July 17, 2020, and again on December 31, 2020. He had several pieces selected and published in The Sound of Brilliance.


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Reblog – childhood’s villain by Bogdan Dragos

A powerful read for anyone with a dysfunctional childhood, definitely one for me.

Daydreaming as a profession

Father used his fists a lot Though never on the kids On the walls and the furniture and the doors and the mailbox and the fence and the neighbors and random people on the street and strangers in the bar and a few times the poor dog and one time on mother He was the childhood’s villain To defeat him one had to become a hero and becoming a hero took time And today after all this time the villain of childhood was dead He died at the hands of some other character, a neutral one A cop who told him to drop to the ground and father didn’t so he got shot That was it The end of his saga Utterly unsatisfactory anticlimactic disappointing just bad There was no final showdown between hero and villain because those things only happen in childhood and childhood had ended a long time…

View original post 7 more words

Reblog – All those little malices by Candice Louisa Daquin

Another exceptional piece by Candice! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂



June 14, 2021 The Feathered Sleep

All those little malices

By all means ignore me

or dissect me

it seems a parody of contrasts

is my lot

the interplay of intensity and nothingness

for you who climb out of the woodwork and carve my freedom on your belt

you who look away after one glance and do not consult your back mirror

the gaze of this world exhausts me

I want to wade into the deeps and swim off

away from the noise of competition, egos, alarm clocks and paleo diets

to something resembling peace


that fissured part of my soul

fractured by time, strife and the religion of need

surfaces breathless

and sighting land, swims back

filled with a longing to be heard, touched, ratified

by those mercuried, humid hands of humans

the lovers, the haters, the players

I can’t pretend to keep up

I am tired beyond my years

trying to understand what makes people break others

why our penchant for destruction, lying and vilifying

is the healthiest hothouse flower of them all

as much as I want to climb inside silence and stay still

my ear pressed to a shell

listening to a fantasy world

I know now, as I am no longer a child

that wonderlust is only for the very young

who inhabit it with such unbridled glee

that we adults stop what we are doing, however important

and watch with indulgent smiles;

as wet and laughing

they dash through sprinklers


The dragon got you! Get to the Faraway Tree!”

in that moment, I wish we could recall

what potion we drank to enable us to believe

such kind places ever existed

where, like glossy rubber boots we left at the doorway

all those little malices would fall off

and not muddy the floor


our family rich with morbitities
of the mind, body and soul
wondering which fate awaits me

inviting the punishment
for perceived past misdeeds
a self-flagellation of sorts

abuse hammered in
nailed to my psyche
hard to escape, even after years

wrenching free is the only hope

Childhood Daze

Andrew Morris – Unsplash

Inspired by VJ’s Weekly Challenge – The Chase & Sadje’s – What do you see #77

the gleeful children
with imaginative friends
had the fairies dancing around them

laughing without care
and the sunlight fading into dark
the young minds began the chase

with enthusiasm and joy
one by one
little lights filled the jar

held brightly captive
these grantors of wishes
small eyes closed into slumber


it was plain to see, flying like a plane off her wooden stilts
there would be blood
there was no pain as the broken window pane sliced down beside her left eye
so much blood discombobulated her mother
tears took center stage, not the white t-shirt now stained dark red
the hysteria in the background so oscar worthy
a little girl watching the performance
not knowing yet there were deeper wounds created
years passed before mom and her chronic attention-whoring
got that so richly deserved smack-down
the girl, now a woman, didn’t clap, fawn or adore anymore
she just walked away

Inspired by Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Saturday Mix