I feel something coming and my heart starts racing.
It’s like I’m standing in an open field watching a tornado that’s heading right for me. I’m helpless because I know I can’t fight the tornado and I can’t outrun the tornado. I can try to hide from the tornado. I can lay low. I can cover my head. But even if I succeed it will still destroy everything around me.
Just like that
And just like that
It was a slight nudge
against a poorly laid brick
and the whole façade
comes crashing to the ground
And you stand there wide eyed
with your mouth gaping open
thinking you are the sole contributer
of her collapse.
But this wall was never sturdy to begin with.
It was built in a rush.
The laymen were overworked,
doing the work of 20 men.
The bricks were all laid wrong,
some at odd angles.
And the wall
was full of holes.
Over the course of history
others have come along
and nudged and pushed
a loose brick here or there.
The bricks that fall out completely
are left lying on the ground.
And no one comes
to repair the damage.
Some lean on the wall for support
but she’s not sturdy enough.
In the end they all leave her
ugly, old and weak.
They walk by her everyday,
this corroding structure
with scarcely a foundation left
until you come along.
You play the innocent,
She intrigues you,
you desire to know her history.
You joke, “If these walls could talk”
Then you brush against her
but too aggressive
for her unstable frame.
And just like that
Why do the trees look sad tonight?
Why do the trees look sad tonight?
Rain falls like tears from their weeping leaves
Their bark echoes hot and angry.
White lightening flashes
Why do the trees look sad tonight?
The grass once so tall and supportive
Now sorrowfully drowned.
Even the branches wilt
And I wonder how long
before they break.
Why do the trees look so sad tonight?
Is it this desolate street?
Roots that stretch far and deep,
To hold close their brethren,
Like hands held in prayer.
I wonder if they know my presence?
Can they feel the warm touch of my hand?
Do they sense the vibrations
Coming from my pounding heart?
Do they recognize it?
Is it familiar?
Jo Resner 5/25/19
My Mask and Cloak
shrieks and screams
of “freak” and
the casting of stones
and animal bones and
is not tomato juice
which covers me
but my own blood.
So you hand me
a mask and a cloak
and say “hide
yourself. This is
is not what I
feel when what I need
is you to bathe
me and bandage my
You are my keeper.
You keep me locked
away. You keep me
as your ugly secret.
The deformed freak.
The grotesque monster
hidden away in a tower.
me to no one
and tell me
you with your
You take her out around
the town in such
so everyone can
see how happy you
are and I grow
envious in my
Though I washed
your feet and held
your hand in
private I’ve never
known your love
the way she does.
Though I loved
you for longer
you will never
As I watch you
I come out of
the dark and
allow the light
to hit me
little by little.
But I still wear my
mask and cloak.
I tell myself
“This is safe.
-Jo Resner 5/3/19
Dying is an art
I’m falling and in my head I think, “I must be dreaming”
Because there is no way this is the end for me.
Me? Who has escaped death countless times before.
Who has awoken from the darkness amidst white linens and strange faces.
Completely unscathed. Who has killed herself a thousand times before.
With pills and drugs and recklessness.
Who, when injured, lets the blood run from pink flesh
to watch it change from red to orange to brown.
I’m falling but I think by some incident, “This is not over.”
What’s that quote by Sylvia Plath?
is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
I used to think that quote suited me.
But really, surviving is my art
or maybe nearly dying?
I guess you’d say I’m a near-death artist.
I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I’ve a call.
But I’ve been such a tease.
And when you play with death that way.
After awhile you’ll have to answer.
Or he’ll grab you. Ready or not.
“Is this the end?” I scream through the choking wind.
Or am I about to wake up again?
’Til Death Do Us Part
I’m sitting at the table with my hands wrapped around my tea cup, the contents of which are still too hot to drink. I lean over and blow into the cup, the steam warm against my lips.
A robin twitters on a tree branch outside, welcoming the rising sun. Through the fogged glass on the sliding door I watch the red, yellow and orange leaves float to the ground to join the piles of others below. All in all it is a beautiful, peaceful morning.
Or it should be. Except I’m sitting across from HER. This woman I have grown to despise. A woman who, twenty years ago, I vowed my love and life to. That was a big mistake.
Every morning she sits stirring her tea for about twenty minutes before drinking. And all I can hear is CLINK CLINK CLINK against the cup. The noise echoes through the whole house. It is impossible to enjoy a peaceful, quiet morning when all I hear is the clinking sound of metal against ceramic. The worst part is, I don’t think she’s even aware of how much noise she’s making. So I can’t say anything without sounding like a lunatic.
“Dear?” Her nasally voice squeaks in my direction and I pull my head up to look at her.
“Yes, my love.” I say.
“You know what would go great with tea?”
“Would you like me to make some for you, darling?”
“With jam. If it isn’t too much trouble.”
“Of course it isn’t. No trouble at all.”
I get up and go out to the kitchen. I pop two slices of bread into the toaster. If it isn’t too much trouble, I say to myself mockingly. Yea, I think, I’ll get you your toast so that you can take all year to eat it, nibbling at the edges and getting crumbs all over yourself and the table. Some days it looks as if a toddler has eaten breakfast at our table.
It’s not just the way she eats and drinks that I find so irritating. It’s also the way she shuffles her feet across the floor when she walks. It’s the way she says Anywho instead of Anyway. It’s how she waits until the last minute to get ready to leave the house and then frantically searches for her keys or her purse or her shoes or anything else she’s misplaced that day.
Fortunately, I won’t be living with all her insufferable personality quirks much longer. I made a vow to this woman and I’ve never been one to break a promise, but I’ve realized I don’t need to. I found a loophole, ’til death do us part.
So I got up early this morning and made the tea with a little extra ingredient this time, the rat poison I found under the sink. I mixed it thoroughly with lots of honey so she won’t suspect a thing! This time tomorrow, I’ll be enjoying a quiet morning alone for the first time in twenty years.
I’m so giddy with anticipation that I practically skip back to the table with the plate of toast.
“Why are you so happy?” She asks.
“I just love you so much.” I say and watch her sip her tea.
I take my cup in both hands and drink heartily, my eyes focused on her, making sure she drinks every drop. I set my empty cup down, the sweet taste lingering on my tongue. Almost too sweet.
Suddenly, a wrenching pain in my gut causes me to hunch over in my chair.
“Argh!” I cry, grabbing the table.
“Oh dear!” The woman shouts, “What’s wrong?”
“Did you…did you…” I struggle to form the sentence through painful gasps for breath, “Did you switch my tea?”
“You put too much honey in mine! I couldn’t even drink it.”
I fall to the floor curled in the fetal position.
“I didn’t think you’d mind since you hadn’t yet touched yours. You know I hate my tea so sweet!” She gets up from her chair and runs to my side, “What’s wrong with you? Should I call an ambulance?”
I shake my head. Using every ounce of energy I have I sit up and whisper in her ear “’Til death do us part.” Those are my last words before my vision grows blurry and I shut my eyes.
Flashes of broken up memories enter my mind only in dreams. Questioning the validity of these ‘memories’ I become a child with my endless asking.
A man only known to me through stories. A legend of infamy. I live vicariously through my mother’s nightmares.
Trying to understand these images. The shattered glass on the floor, the needle sticking in the flesh. Viewed through bars like a caged tiger.
How many people know you this way? How many others have stared down the barrel of your gun? When I ask they tell me it was only the drugs.
Excuses for chemically induced behavior. So I wonder, can they be my excuses too?Because something’s not right with my brain chemistry and I wonder if I was born insane or made this way. A drug creates an excuse for anything but when you’re mad you only have yourself to blame.
Rage brings tears to my eyes when I think of all the men, like you, passing through life riding on their excuses. How can you excuse the bruises on my mother’s thin body? Or the man who stuck his hand up my Cinderella nightgown? Or the man old enough to be my father who held my prepubescent body a little too tight and a little too long. Then took surprise when I flinched, pretending not to know the affects of his actions. Ignorance is his excuse but I?
I am only the crazy girl.
Alone, I crumble,
Breathing in, Breathing out.
The Choices I make,
bring crippling Doubt.
My Extremities grow numb,
a Familiar, Growing trend,
Hit me like Ice cold,
Jumping to the end.
Losing my strength.
but Never at length.
Oversensitive: A label,
a Pain they can’t see.
Rages inside of me.
Can you see the Scars
I Try to hide
Under the silent
Veil of lies?
it got so EXTREME.
Wondering if that old Youthful Zeal
was only a dream.
-Jo Resner 1/27/19
Blood (Part 7)
Graham took the shortcut through the graveyard as he usually did on his way home. Emilie offered to give him a ride home, but he declined. He liked to walk and besides it was only a few blocks. He paused to feel the cool morning air on his face and admire the orange sun still low in the misty sky and breathed a sigh of pure bliss. He didn’t think he could be any happier than he was in that moment, than the way he felt when he thought of Emilie. He wanted to care for her and her son, to be a part of their life. He was aware his feelings about the relationship were stronger than hers but someone had hurt her and because of that, she kept her guard up. He wanted to be the one to help break down that wall.
A sound above him took him out of his thoughts. A sound of flapping wings. Several large bats swooped low on Graham nearly brushing his hair. Graham ducked and threw his arms up as a shield. One by one the bats swooped down on Graham then back up into the sky where they disappeared. Shaken, Graham picked up his stride and continued his journey home.
He stopped short when, through the low-hanging branches of an old willow tree, he saw a face. Graham looked around, the face was pale and gaunt as a skeleton and looking right at him. But where had the man come from? Graham hadn’t noticed him before.
The man parted the willow branches like a curtain and walked towards Graham. The man looked albino. His hair was nearly as white as his skin and his eyes shone red.
Graham turned to walk the other way but another pair of red eyes were coming out of the mist towards him. Soon, Graham found himself surrounded by five more pairs of red eyes. This is a trick thought Graham They’re all wearing those novelty contacts trying to scare me.
Graham saw an opening to his left and made a bolt for it. The white-haired man said, “Victor, grab him.”
Graham felt someone grab hard on his shoulder and looked up to see a pair of red eyes staring directly into his. Victor was at least 6’2 and wore a pinstripe suit which made him appear even taller. He looked like he had just stumbled off the set of a mafia movie. Graham wondered why he was taking orders from the white-haired man who looked like a child by comparison.
The others closed in around him grabbing at his upper body, holding him still. Their strength was incredible. and Graham felt like his body was being crushed underneath a boulder.
“Look, my wallet is in my back left pocket.” Graham said, “I don’t have much but you can have it all.”
“We don’t want to steal from you, Graham Anderson,” said the white-haired man.
“How do you know my name? What do you want?” Graham asked both questions in the same breath.
The white-haired man held Graham by the shoulders. His legs collapsed under the weight.
“We want to be your friend,” The white-haired man sunk his teeth deep into Graham’s neck. Graham howled in agony as he insatiably sucked the life force out of him until he turned pale like the rest.
Someone put a hand his back. “Too much,” they said.
The white-haired man pulled his head back up with some difficulty, an invisible force was pulling him to drink more. Blood dripped down his chin and he wiped his mouth off with his hand.
“Thank you, Mikel,” he said, “I almost lost myself to the hunger. We want to keep this one.”
To be continued:
Here’s the links to all the previous parts (in order 1-6):
Not quite a poem
I should’ve done something more by now.
and if I had a super power
it would be the ability
to not sleep.
I know who I am
but not who I want to be
and I’m running out of time.
As the hours stretch on,
the room begins to spin.
I wish I could say
I watched the sunrise.
But I always seem to forget
to look at the sky.
I stopped self-medicating.
Long lost emotions flood in.
Now I’m in the shower,
I wonder how much longer
I can ignore this hunger
when everything else takes over.
My regrets surface
like bones in a graveyard
and there’s nothing I can do
but bury myself in them.
I decide the solution
is to be better than them.
So with my determined smirk
I get to work.
But my words become saturated
as my brain shrinks and expands
I feel as if I’m walking through water
and I wonder when this dream will end
of if I even want it to.
-Jo Resner 12/3/18