cold and empty place

Image courtesy of Deborah Koff-Chapin, Soul Cards II

Most of the writing we do inside is ultimately healing for the women involved – a process that extends across time. We do not see how or where the pain, the destructive cycles of behavior begin; and do not always see a resolution. Occasionally, however, an especially powerful writing session precipitates just that. As did yesterday’s. We were using Deborah Koff-Chapin’s soul card deck to deepen writing we had done earlier in the hour. This particular image fairly shouted across the table to RP, who snatched it up, started writing breathlessly, and then drew from her folder writing she had done just days earlier.

Turns out the two writings formed the ‘before-and-after’ of some intense healing work; the image being the fulcrum on which both balanced. Can you feel the writer’s shift in self-awareness and determination to live her life on her own terms?

Anger rising and seething around you.
I breathe in your bitterness and hate.
Left standing in the ashes of a life destroyed.

It is daylight, yet I walk in the dark.
I plead for you to stop your barrage.
Your face so contorted like a demon.
You try to twist my soul like yours,
on knees that are begging for you to leave.
I know you never ever will.
You have me trapped in a cell made of anger and resentment.

I have stopped fighting the ugliness you throw at me.
Stuck in your grasp like prey in a hawk’s talons.
The source of my sadness and emptiness.
Every word you say, meant to stab and maime me.
I have tried to run away but you find me again and again.

Staring down the devil is easier than looking in your eyes.
Were you born to be like this?
Did someone teach you how to be so toxic?
I can feel the coldness coming off the ice of your heart.
I have lost my love for you.
Hate isn’t what I feel for you, it is pity.

Chained to you for my whole life.
Your anger steeped into me 20 years ago.
I let you slowly kill me inside.
Let all my happiness and joy wither and die, like a rose once the cold comes.

I’ve stopped searching for answers.
Stopped looking for hiding places.
I will quietly bow out of this game; you won!

Will I rise like the phoenix from my ashes?
I ask for rebirth and flight everyday.
You are left to swirl around in the anger . . . all alone.

Just someone I used to know.

You wouldn’t like to see me this way.
You would rather I listen to what you say.

I’ve broken free from your chains.
I’ve begun to soothe my pain.

I am on my way to a certain peace,
where all the suffering you caused will cease.

I still have a piece of you locked inside,
yet it’s one I wish not to hide.

As I leave with a smile on my face,
I leave you in your cold and empty space.


the high road

From time to time, one of the women in our writinginsidevt circles hands us a poem, letter or essay she has written outside of class time. The following poem is one such piece that landed in my lap after last week’s circle. Its powerful language and imagery need no introduction.



I see them lie there sleeping
lost in peaceful dreams;
they don’t know my temper’s steeping,
or hear my silent screams.

For now we share a room,
we even share our lives;
but do they know my gloom,
or the emptiness that thrives

calculating and cold,
hard as steel or stone?
My memories grow old
and in my head, I’m all alone.

No one can tame me now.
I’ll run roughshod over you,
tell you when, why and how;
you know that it’s true.

Too hard and tough to cry,
but a tear slides down my cheek
watching time pass by –
just another heartless freak.

Insane thoughts run through my head,
memories flood through me.
At times I wish that I was dead
swinging from an old oak tree.

Locked up in a cell,
a creature in a cage
living through this hell
trying to sublimate my rage.

I know that I must soldier on,
take with me this heavy load;
even though my hope is gone,
I must travel on the high road.