Can You Hear Me?

Hello readers and wanderers!

If you follow my page consistently, welcome back!

If this is your first time visiting, welcome!

It has been one very long, exhausting week. As you can probably imagine, it feels pretty good to get back into my regular rhythm of writing. While I haven’t shared anything new with you in a while, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working hard to challenge myself. This week, I had one word on my mind: communication. My water polo coach says it all the time, like it’s the easiest thing in the world. “Just open your mouth and communicate!” At this point, I bet you’re expecting me to say that it isn’t that easy, right? We’re only human, and communication is the one thing that history has proven we can never get right. We get our words mixed up, and always manage to say the wrong things at the wrong time. However, this is not the case.

This week, I tried something different. I kept a stack of Post-it Notes next to my bed with a pen. Before I went to bed each night, I wrote about communication based on what I saw and witnessed that day. The good, the bad, and the ugly (and trust me there was ugly). 

Afterwords, I took these scribblings and turned them into stanzas.



Can You Hear Me?

It’s interesting how our lives remain so connected,
when our relationships are so broken.
Technology is improving our communication?
Ha! Give me a break!
We spend our time having conversations via online game rooms and chat rooms,
while the people standing in front of us are slowly dying, slowly wasting away.
Relationships and friendships are two sided–
and today, one side seems to be the flat unwelcoming glass of a cellular device.

We desperately want our words to be profound and meaningful,
but our deepest thoughts and desires never make it past our lips.
Chilled by frigid hearts and forbidding glances,
they will sit there an eternity out of fear to express ourselves.
We dream of describing the perfect moment,
the beauty of the sky, or the way you pull off that dress just right–
but it becomes lost in the tundra of translation,
Our words stilled simply because we try too hard.

Do we even think when our words come out?
We have broken filters, fixed with Scotch Tape, popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners.
Every tiny little thought that passes through our closed minds reaches the tongue
and tumbles out without a chance for reclamation.
No, “tumbles” is the wrong word to describe how we sling such small, shallow thoughts–
The action is vulgar, leaving a bad taste in our mouths as we take aim at the ones we love most.
Our words hit like sledgehammers and maim like bullets,
Crucifying the innocent and beating the abused.

There are very few feelings that are worse than speechlessness.
As humans, we always think we should be expressing ourselves and sharing ideas,
communicating with the world around us in a way that we think will make things better.
Not knowing how to comfort, how to make someone feel your love when they need it most–
it isn’t natural, it isn’t human.
All we can do is pull them into our arms and wipe away their tears.
Words rush through our minds at a hundred miles an hour and none of them feel right.
It has been a long day, my friends.

One of the joys in surrounding yourself with people you love is this:
You don’t have to say anything at all to feel comfortable, safe and relaxed.
You just are.
I could write at lengths about the sciences and studies of body language,
Or you can just think back to the last time you sat down with your mother,
Your father, your brother, your sister, your spouse, or your friends– and just sat.
Nobody needed to say anything, because you were both there and present–
Living life at that single perfect moment, together.
And that is communication.



Torture Wears a White Dress

“Should anyone here present
know of any reason that this couple
should not be joined in holy matrimony,
speak now or forever hold your peace.”

I do.
Sitting in the second to last pew on the right,
with head down, eyes closed, breathing measured.
Each word is a blow to my stomach, a weight on my chest,
a chain–wrapped around my torso, dragging me to the depths of my sorrow.
I don’t know why I showed up, but it felt wrong not to.

You look beautiful up there in your dress and shimmering veil,
standing there and looking at him with your soft smile, your gentle eyes–
so innocent and untouched by the world around you.
I envy how well you fake it,
and desperately wish I could do the same.
I shouldn’t have shown up, I don’t belong.

I like to blame him whenever I think about us,
That he was what split us apart.
But deep down we both know that wasn’t the case.
And as I see you now, I still dream of an alternate reality
where we were ok and things worked out wonderfully.
I should leave now, before the ceremony ends.

I can see you exchanging your vows, each syllable tumbling from your lips–
but for some reason the words aren’t registering with me.
Instead I hear your chiming laughter,
our late night conversations over warm cups of coffee.
Warm–but not too hot, because that’s how you liked it.
I’m just hurting myself now.

You may kiss the bride!
I wish I could.
I wish I could stand up and push through my row to the center aisle,
charge down it with the desperation of a broken man and
sweep your fragile body into my loving embrace just one last time.
Sitting in the second to last pew on the right, I slowly rise.

It’s time to move on now, as I watch him lift the veil and caress her cheek.
As I walk, shards of my broken heart fall loudly to the hardwood floor,
tears once streaming down my face now drop like bombs on the polished pew.
But in the applause of all those gathered in celebration of matrimony,
I am the only one who hears them.
The old oak doors of the church close quietly behind me as I slip outside.

I never should have come,
sooner should I have left.
I never would’ve guessed,
that torture wears a white dress.


* * “Wedding” by LaDanseuse via Deviant art.

Running in the Dark, Away From the Dark

My face grows red as the wind whips past my face,
drawing the beginning of tears in my eyes.
There’s still snow on the ground,
and my feet crunch as they make contact with the pavement.
Arms drive from the hips, carrying me forward
and deeper still into the night.
I’ve been running for some time now,
and I can no longer feel my fingertips.

I pass several street lamps as I continued my hurried pace,
new flakes starting their descent clearly outlined by their yellowish hue.
My thoughts are not with me but instead with the snow.
Falling–slowly but surely–into the darkness of the night.
I feel the perspiration on my cheeks and neck,
Dripping down my back underneath my gray hoodie.
I’ve been running for some time now,
And I can no longer hear my own thoughts.

The snow has picked up–shooting drunkenly across the sky in the rigid air.
I pass a neighborhood park, empty in the evening snow.
The park is abandoned; I pick up my pace as a sudden chill comes over me.
This snow feels all too familiar, like something out of a suspense novel or horror film.
My body is a machine–driving through the snow with more horsepower than a pickup.
Heat radiates from my core as my chest heaves, begging me to stop.
I’ve been running for some time now,
and I can no longer keep going.


I stop suddenly, skidding and slipping in the fresh snow.
Where am I anymore?
Nothing is familiar,
there are no longer any lamps or street lights to illuminate my surroundings.
The night howls, hunting me in the darkness.
When the night hunts, pray it’s not for you.
I’ve been running for some time now,
and I can no longer keep the panic from my eyes.

I take the earbuds from my ears and begin walking home slowly,
trying to figure out my location from my surroundings.
The light snow has become a full blown storm,
making it difficult to see ten feet in front of me.
My breathing has quickened drastically,
each cloud emitted from my mouth a panicked call for help .
I’ve been running for some time now,
I can no longer escape.



** “Snow Falling” by user Sternerfern via Deviantart

A Student of Society’s Not-So-Liberal Arts

I’m a young author. I’m naive, uninformed, dumb–whatever you choose to call it. But I’m learning. Today, we live in a time where youth can no longer stand by and witness history being made. Opportunities sit only an arm’s length away, yet we refuse to stretch and reach for them. We are individuals playing a part in something bigger than ourselves, where we must work to cast aside the veil of immaturity and naiveté. Moving through life without ever looking up and asking questions can lead to an easy life, but hardly a beneficial or fulfilling one. It is those who do what has yet to be done, say what has been left unsaid, and fight for causes bigger than one person who ultimately succeed. Before we succeed, we must act; before we are able to act, we must first question.


I offer this poem up as a simple offering to fellow authors and writers. It’s a shout into the abyss, the black void in which many writers seem trapped these days. I have encountered some incredible accounts through WordPress, with authors expressing themselves through verses and stanzas daily. This is for you. Keep writing, and never forget to ask the questions that we are afraid to find the answers to.


A Student of Society’s Not-So-Liberal Arts

Why is it so easy to write about pain?
Is it that effortless to fill our words with hate?
Have we become so tortured?
Is this who we were meant to become?
Why is it so easy to write about broken relationships?
We write out of angst, pain, and sadness–for who?
Do we write for them, those who caused the scars that’ll never heal?
Is this who we were meant to become?
Why is it so easy to write about loss?
We write with such certainty, but how can we?
Have we spent so much time mourning the lost we forget to cherish the present?
Is this who we were meant to become?
Why is it so difficult to write about our dreams?
Since when has it become a crime to share our ambitions?
Why do we hide our passions, the things that we dare to achieve?
Is this who we were meant to become?
Why is it so difficult to write about love?
Has love become such a cliche that we can no longer celebrate it?
Love is not lost, but why do we treat it that way?
Is this who we were meant to become?
Why is it so difficult to write about adventures?
We spend so much time dreading our lives, have we forgotten how to actually live?
Has life lost it’s color, with life full of gray hues?
Is this who we were meant to become?
These are the questions we must ask ourselves,
Are we the pain, the broken relationships, the loss our work often reflects?
These are the questions we must ask ourselves,
Is this who we were meant to become?


**”People” by Mollicles420 via Devinatart

Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down.

My life is on fire.
Skin burning and tingling,
your words are kindling as I go up in flames.
But you– you don’t care.
Not now, not yesterday, not ever.

Smoke from our burning memories fill my nose and eyes,
but I promised myself you wouldn’t make me cry ever again.
It stings, but it’s bearable compared to the pain I’ve felt
these last five years.
These last five very long years.

Your voice is the wail of the fire trucks in my ear,
promising safety and security, but came a little too late.
Promises–the words that kept me chained in this old house as it burns.
Each convincing, conniving letter just another metal link.
In the end, I stopped fighting–there was no longer any point.

There are worse ways to die than under your charcoal touch.
My ashes will fly away in the wind, finally free from you.
Finally free from this house–the one even God couldn’t save.
Oh how the house will smolder and burn!
The walls of my figurative jail cell, reduced to glowing embers by your tainted love.

My lips are dry and cracked, leaving me unable to shout.
The smoke–our memories–prevent me from releasing even a whisper.
I loved you with all my heart, and you covered it with gasoline.
I cared for you, and you struck the match.
I promised you the world, and you let it tumble to the ground.

You will say this was an arson job, done by yours truly.
“He just didn’t seem himself lately.”
They’ll never know and it will never hurt them, not like you hurt me.
But eventually, the truth always comes out,
And my spirit will finally be free.


A Letter from a Concerned Character

Dear Mr. Smith,

We have noticed, good sir, with cautious trepidation,
that you have found–to be fair–a quite awful fixation,
in killing off characters for all sorts of occasions.
(doing so, to be frank, with huge variation).

While we are but fictional characters, you see,
it terrifies us how you do so with glee.
Not stopping to think of characters like me,
who sit shivering and shaking in fear of such sprees.

As your pen strokes quicken and your hand starts to shake,
I often struggle not to cower or quake.
It’s often too much for us characters to take,
especially after considering our lives are at stake!

Imagine the way that we so suddenly feel,
when our legs are torn off or zapped with an eel.
And I don’t understand how you get so much zeal,
When my body is crushed by two sets of large wheels.

As a figment of imagination, we really don’t have much say,
but if it suits you, or you’re tired, don’t kill us today?
The process is exhausting, and dismal, and gray,
so maybe perhaps…I’ll be a character who stays?


James Briske
Fictional Accountant
Z-Day: A Bloody Last Stand