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Archives: Poetry Submissions

I Can Do No Other

To be sane in a mad time 
is bad for the brain, worse
 for the heart.
— Wendell Berry, “The Mad Farmer Manifesto: The First Amendment” 1973

The fixers have left,
Thank God.

I had wanted to bury the roses today
but was caught up in grief

I’ve come to accept it
Like a heavy wind I must hunker down in
to keep from being blown over
Kneeling hurts less than being felled time after time.
The effect is the same:
stasis of body.
I still forget sometimes and thud, I hit the ground reeling.

I know it in my body now
Wracked but not unto death
Bigger than a wave it dismembers who I think I am and enfolds me in its depths.

It calls from beyond and within like hurricane’s eerie green light.
With the light, I know I will again be sucked from the world I thought it.
I relinquish naming, framing, planning and completing —
skills I’ve honed, as if for all occasions, in my sheltered life.
The shelter has blown away.
I’m learning new ways of being with this storm,
embodied in disjointed compact emptiness.
No wonder many kneel to pray. It is my posture of heart.
I can do no other.

Felled or hunkering with the roses
we each are pruned,
awash (my eyes sting as if to remind me I am living blindly),
and bounded in cloth of mundane subsistence.

We are dropped.
I, at sea,
to descend the depths, if I allow,
to learn a new way to breathe in cold darkness.

At the bottom (or is it?)
staggering numbly, embarrassed, ragged, exposed, angry, or accepting
this inconvenience that has become my life,
the ocean depths, once so soothing, now where deep speaks to deep, whether I’m listening or not.

This storm?
This sea?
I have let them become me.
Is that itch a bud
growing in the marrow of my pruned heart?
I hold my emptiness and wonder
as I push away wonder.
I wait.

And you?
You hold hope.
You do not judge or abandon.

In solitude we wait together.
The storm abates, for now.

We have been practicing resurrection. Have you noticed?

Read More »

The ache

By Anonymous

The ache of missing out on laughter filled games at Christmas
And still waking up with a body full of pain
despite the one item on my wish list
I miss walking with a clear head and clean hair
And not stumbling over words
and mixing where with were or there with their
God fair is fair
I cannot stare at this screen another day and keep my hair
Remember when I fell ill the despair
The sky was grey but glared too brightly at me
My eyes wouldn’t let me look any higher than the bare brown trees
Too hot but cold, sweating, shaking
Sobbing quietly like the muffled bird song losing all control
My whole body craves just to feel normal
My faith began to crumble, like a sand castle in stormy weather
I was more alone than ever
I prayed and prayed towards the highest clouds but never got sent anything
Until a soft scratching at my soul showed me the many things that I’m blessed with
Two thousand days of suffering but my families love is endless
I hope one day soon someone will finally put an end to this

Read More »

When ME Comes Close

By Alyssa Storrs

it’s like i woke up from a dream
or so it seems, until the lethargy
i thought would leave follows me everywhere,
like a toddler who can’t play by themselves.

the exhaustion

up my spine to my brain
it’s like this fatigue has one question-
“may i dine with you?”

never mind the pain or this new visitor
i want to blame-
he doesn’t listen for the answer.
just pulls up a chair and stares
directly at me.
piercing my worn out gaze,
“i’m here to stay; let’s have lunch.”

i don’t want to eat, just to punch
you in the face.
yet you look at me with grace
and say, “let’s go for a walk.”
i don’t want to talk and i look away.

you show up for every meal though,
and pull up that chair again and again.
i don’t look at you for weeks, but then i peek.

i want to know what you look like.
what is your name?
why would you befriend someone like me?

i gaze into your tender brown eyes and hear,
“i’m here to stay.”
oh-and by the way, my name’s Peyton.

you will find me in your forgotten words,
unfinished laundry and in the difficult
morning lurch to get out of bed.

i’m not just in your head-i promise.
your happy, optimistic personality will start to fade.
and all those papers you start to grade at the beginning of your career
will come to an end.

but i will lend a hand, asking you to
bend to the left and right, seeing landscapes
you’ve never cared to look at before.

but it will scare you.
you will learn to take deep breaths,
and let out millions of screams you’ve kept inside.
each expression of anger will lead you closer
to your truth. your mom’s ancestors to the left
are asking you to reveal their buried secret.
your dad’s to the right want to bask
in freedom and heal.

you are the one they have been waiting for.

i am a lonely companion, taking you to
peer at this shifty shadow.
but i am near and you will grow.
yes, slow.
yes, risk.
yes, joy.
yes, help.

yes, you are stronger than you ever dare know.

Read More »


By Anonymous

What do you do
with a broken-down body
chalk full of spirit?

Doctor I beseech you! Tow
me from this wasteland junkyard.
Polish my dull veneer.

Pump up my flat tires.
Charge my weak battery.
Fill my tank to the brim

so I can rev my engine,
zoom down Broadway
with my radio blasting,


Read More »

I see you, dear

By Lilli-Ann Foss Gravingen

I see you, dear
when you wake up
sometime in the afternoon

I see you, dear
When you get ready for seeing friends
putting on makeup

I see you, dear
when you have to cancel – again

I see you, dear
when pain strikes
and you are bedridden again

I see you, dear
when fatigue makes itself visible
in your face and throughout your body

I see you, dear
the rare days you make it
and you shine

I also see you, dear
the countless days you don’t make it
When no one else sees you,
I still see you ❤️

Read More »
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS) Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia Leading Research. Delivering Hope.Open Medicine Foundation®

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