Petitions (A Collaborative Piece)…

I am very grateful to have been invited to participate in this beautiful collaborative piece. Thanks to Eric Syrdal for organizing this project.

My Sword and Shield....

I am so pleased to present this work of art and I am lucky to have been a part of this collaborative effort.  To be in the presence of such wonderful poets is a true honor.

I encourage you to follow the links attached to their names and visit their own pages. Wonderful wonders to be found there…

Eric:

By night’s dark embrace
I light these candles of petition
and speak unto my heart
on my knees in the moonlight

Hear me
oh crimson guardian in my breast
engine of my life
ever the drum beat that underlies
the story of my days
I beseech thee,
do not fall for such a cause as this
you know I have no choice in these matters
but to plunge headlong
hand in hand
together to our end

and I grow so weary of falling

Christine:

By night’s dark embrace
I light these…

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Demon Duet- Christine Ray & Stephen Fuller

My dear friend and frequent collaborator Stephen Fuller wrote a response poem to Morning Tanka 3.  I have paired them here below.


Morning Tanka 3

Dancing in the dark

With the demons in my head

I lead, they follow

Our steps familiar, practiced

Shall we waltz, foxtrot , tango?

 

I should have refused

Told them my dance card was full

But they know me well

I always slip willingly

Into their poison embrace

 

The Demon Whispered Back

Where have you been?

I waited in the usual spot

Knew it would just take time

I am patient for my dancer

She dances like no other.

 

Tried to refuse me again?

I would laugh, but we know

My laughter only rides our rhythm

While you try to slip

Poison in my sweet tea,

 

Again.

The Weyward Sisters: Back to Black/ Collaborative Amy Winehouse Tribute

Originally published by the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

Rana Kelly/2nd star to the Left, straight on ’til morning

Oh, Amy

Whenever I go walking

In my stilettos,

I hear you talking.

Dream me up a way

Of swishing my hips

And pursing my lips

And singing your riffs

So that I find beauty

Like you.

lois e. linkens

she puts her black dress on
in the dark,
anxious nails red and messy
in their early-morning artistry.
he left the candle burning
in the winter window –
vanilla and cinnamon
on a Sunday evening,
tears and vodka
on a Monday morning.
last week’s relief
breathes
into tonight’s regrets,
but the shadowy smear
on the glass
is all that is left of him.

Aakriti Kuntal/Writings of Aakriti Kuntal

Rummaging through

black air,

nauseous red nails bearing oily seas

Suffocating

existence with conversations,

conversations

with glittering nail cutters,

cracked moons

laughing hysterically in them

Conversations

of fallen boyfriends, of fallen love

Fallen being

the new being

Aurora Phoenix/Insight From Inside

She scrawls lines

up the back of her fishnet stockings

wiggly-lined intoxicated rebellion

strutting down memory lane

flirting shamelessly with self-destruction

as if, in seductive self-abasement

she may reclaim

love from a wayward lover

and from self

Kindra M. Austin

Kohl black kitty cat

Eyes

Lines stiletto sharp

Tongue dipped in honey

Wine(house), oh, Amy

Slay me

Rachel Finch/Bruised But Not Broken

Night chimes, a ringing to remind her,

She can sleep the day away, but the dark

still draws the Soul from the body.

Stars reflecting off bottles, empty, their

contents alive in her throat.

She is midnight, waking the world.

Sarah Doughty/Heartstring Eulogies

I remember how you carried your beauty like body armor, letting the world see a smoke screen, that many didn’t notice. I remember seeing the sadness beneath those wings on your eyes, the way your mouth curled into a devilish smile. I remember seeing your hair down, with those curls that lasted for miles, and how much I wanted just a tiny piece of your beauty. Your essence. Even a little piece of your ability to hold the world in bated breath. I remember your courage to stand in front of a million people and hold them under your spell. But what I remember the most is how you wore your heart on the outside and how pieces of it were broken away and lost over time, exposing you. Like a nerve within a broken tooth, you tried to insulate, but nothing could fix what you’d already lost.

1WiseWoman/A Lion Sleeps in the Heart of the Brave

Hiding in plain sight

Black song bird

Aching to be heard

Darker than the darkest shadows

Praying sacrificial hymns

Will carry away your demons

Hungry hearts rapture in melody

Enchanted with your euphony

An intentional symphony

Desperate on bended knee

Longing to be set free

Blood and wine

Cherry lipstick stains

Broken bottles

Crooked lines

Sing for us

One last time

Zelda Raville/A Sea of Illusions

Our biggest tragedy
was that
our love,
no matter
how much
there was of it
could never
draw you out
from a fatal attraction
to the depths
of your ferocious hunger
for love itself.

Christine Ray/Brave and Reckless

You shot across our heavens

a piercing silver whiskey light

your pain-soaked voice

etching a pin-up girl tattoo on our souls

We died a hundred times with you

Donning our mourning colors

we are left to only say goodbye with words

as your heartbreaking beauty

fades into black

Interpretation of Shadows-Olde Punk (RamJet Poetry) & Christine Ray (Brave and Reckless)

Originally posted on Sudden Denouement


Interpretation of shadow

culmination of the pale deaths

cogito ergo, en utero

vagabond goth kids thrash around the room

time slow, I don’t know

I never want to go home

right here with you

I fell down again

tripped into you

spilled my soul

we are the midnight heretics

let’s smoke a bowl

and talk about kids and politics

I wonder what your shadow says

I am left stunned, paralyzed

by your movement in the dying light

 

Friday night blues

Misfits in Hybrid Moments

Tired Dustbowl town

Torn blue jeans

untucked flannel shirt

skull cap cool

Riding our skateboards

Nowhere fast

Biding time

Ringleaders

of our gang of two

No need for sidekicks

when we chase

twilight shapes together

We are everything we need

 

Time and space seem to conform

to your every desire

You set a fire in my heart

that still burns in the next county

I tattooed your name on

my fingers with a Sharpie

and a sewing needle

That day on the bridge

by the creek when you

said that you loved Layne Staley

I watched you gather the shadows

and banish the dark

Everything stood stark

Bas-relief of your religion

I swore I would become your disciple

Following you home barefoot and stoned

 

Comrades-in-arms

You and me against the world

Things so clear, so simple

And then. . .

You are looking at me differently

Long sideways glances

Words unsaid hang between us

Make me uneasy

Make me question

Make me look at you differently

A thousand exploding possibilities

Our first hungry kiss

Butterfly wings starting a hurricane

on another continent

We shed clothes

My tomboy armor

You lay your trembling heart against mine

on my parents’ rec room couch

Our shadows fuse, dance on the wood paneled wall

 

Slipping into each other

Like the lyrics of a Red Hot Chili Peppers

song

From a changing perspective

I learn what I thought was wrong

My head flips an ollie

This is so much better than Molly

We are writing a whole new story

Into the chapters of a small town

So far into you I can hear every sound

Slam and crash in our punk rock romance

Our souls laugh as our bodies

entwine

Now I know what your shadowy signs

Had to say, “Come and love me fool”

Etched into my forever

On a young and hungry Saturday


Olde Punk writes RamJet Poetry  and Christine Ray writes for Brave and Reckless

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

Swear To Me is available for purchase!

I am pleased to announce that Nicholas Gagnier’s book Swear To Me is available for purchase on Amazon.com.  In addition to many fine pieces written by Nicholas, this volume includes a stand alone poem by me as well as collaborative poem with thirteen other fabulous writers.  Contributors to this volume include such Friends of Brave and Reckless as  Rachel FinchRana KellyKindra M. AustinSarah Doughty, Eric SyrdalWard CleverAurora PhoenixDom, Aakriti Kuntal, Lois E. Linkens, 1Wise-Woman, Olde PunkNathan McCool, and Nicole Lyons

This volume explores what it is like to live with depression and other types of mental illness.  Profits from its sale will be donated to mental health organizations.  I am deeply honored to have been included in this volume and hope that you will consider purchasing a copy.

Uncharted Night-Olde Punk (RamJet Poetry) & Christine Ray (Brave and Reckless)

This collaboration was originally posted by the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective


burning water

still marks the way

home

though that is not the path

I travel today

by uncharted night

do I go

motionless movement

a note of fluidity

diachronic changes

in synchronic nuance

the language we share

is not known here

a purpose in thought

one million yesterdays

caught twixt our toes

on the shores of time

onward it flows

upward wayward waves

at incongruent velocities

seeking a partnered, rhythmic

dichotomy

 

we are two hearts

two souls

two bodies

who dance together

in an expanding and

contracting rhythm

of intimacy, of knowing

at times we are a

collision of fiery sparks

under a gibbous moon

at others we are the

gentle undulations of the waves

a lighthouse, a beacon

calling each other back to safer

shores

when the tides would push

us apart

always drawn back

to the place where we dwell

 

the scriptures we document

reverberate in the distant air

agile calligraphy

dawning across calm seas

energetic forms churning

in the skies

a word carries on the wind

a storm gathering strength

a bastard tongue

of passion

a forgotten dialect of

unknowable proportion

we force a turning of

the tides toward

the places we belong

the soft valleys where

we may speak freely

a parlance of devotion

a patois of union

 

in this uncharted night

we are like the fallen angels

our open wings

enfold and shelter us

as we free fall

together to land in a bed

of soft white feathers

ancient hymns of communion

deep in our throats

our duet remakes the earth

remakes the heavens

remakes us

light, joy

spills out of us

illuminating the night

divine splendor

celestial peace

 

chorus of honeyed

voices and

leonine roars intertwine

invoking a new order

cant in prayer to

the open waters

an ocean of feeling

in touch

communicating one word

that protects this harbor.

burning water

still marks the way

home

though that is not the path

we travel today

by uncharted night

do we go

to speak unanimously


[Olde Punk writes RamJet Poetry  and Christine Ray writes for Brave and Reckless

A Room So Still and Quiet It Hurts: A Collaboration of Warriors

I am reposting this piece in honor of National Suicide Prevention Month.

We must raise our voices and speak truth about the insidiousness of depression.

We dedicate this to everyone who has ever felt hopeless and helpless.  You are not alone.  It does get better.

National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)

Christine Ray

In a room so still and silent

That it hurts

Stark white walls

Razor sharp edges

Etch my soul

Draw blood

That drips slowly

soundlessly

From my mouth

 

I am trapped

Like a fly in amber

Time stands still

The air is thick

Holds me motionless

In this prison cell

I feel vibration

A silent scream building

From my depths

Rachel Finch

Barricaded, her aura stifles

in the quiet.

Walls closing in, silence

penetrating.

Her mind internally

burning, blistering.

His voice a faint echo,

worlds away.

Rana Kelly

I tell them they’re lying,

The monsters that cling

To the lobes and whorls

Of my ears.

They laugh and go on.

I pull the covers up

To my chin and let them in again

Until the tears are spent

And still,

They never repent.

Get thee behind me,

But I always look back

Waiting on them to pounce.

Kindra M. Austin

In a room so still, I draw mental images.

Shovelfuls of dirt are tossed and splayed;

loose earth lands with a dead sound

upon my ridiculous casket.

The images play in a loop like

spliced film–a silent movie.

Sarah Doughty

These bones have grown
weak and weary, while the rest
of the world has gone
dark and gray. Over time,
they’ve become more
than I can handle.
More than I can live with.
And these burdens I carry
are mine alone. No one
deserves to hold them
on their shoulders.
Which is why I’ll take them
with me. After the music
stops playing.

blancoynegro-1217184__340

Eric Syrdal

In a room so still

I hear echoes of a former life

I hear the twisting and creaking

Of this thread I hang from

Knotted and frayed it

Binds my heart

In pieces that have shattered

So many times they no longer

Fit together

And their edges are so razor sharp

They cut me to ribbons

To remember what I once was

Ward Clever

I scream

I lost myself

The echoes dont come back

Ragged and raw, my chords vibrate

Revealing nothing from my insides

My voice swallowed up by the crowd

My inner voice silenced

I have become the echoes

Aurora Phoenix

in the silence

my shame shrieks torment

a piercing the walls drill

into my brain

the ceiling salivates venom

it licks the stiffness

from my spine

the floor nauseates me

as it breathes

rank sour breath

of the unlovable, whose caries

grew unfettered in an unkissed mouth

I shrink, a knotted ball,

from the reverberating stench,

the putrefying death knell

inverted, I am a tunnel

from which no light escapes

there is only the abject crawling

of my soul, face down

in the sewage

of my failed spirit

Dom

I hate this fucking room…

I hate being consumed with my doom…

As I sit here, looking at my shattered reflection in the perfect mirror

All I am  forever reminded of,

Is what I almost was…

Why can I not seem to get back on track?

All that was an almost happy life has gone to pure shit..

Blinded by the bright light at the end of the dark tunnel…

I should follow it…

Even if it means I am dead forever, and I can’t come back…

Even if it makes me weak…

I am just tired of being strong…

Maybe even tired of holding on…

There has to be another side..

A place where I can freely roam,

A place where I don’t have to hide…

Reality is overwhelming…

This room is so silent…that it fucking hurts

my head is full of too much traumatic memories…

I am running out of do-over’s at this point…

I have done everything to release

The only time I hear that I am good enough…

Is after I please a nobody…so I am just a good fuck…

I don’t believe in me anymore… I am out of good luck…

I need to be free from life… from turmoil…

I need to be free from being me…

I hate being stuck…

depression-84404__340

Aakriti Kuntal (Warped Kites)

Long hands, circumcision of thought, 

Flailing flesh, fish sucking the rotten sea

The window breast is now red from approach 

We hang there, we do

the captivity of bleached air is like nothing else

the death sentence of genes

Godless children of a different race

Our hearts are split and our brains feverish

slowly descending, soaked head to toe

into songs that contain only air

I twist the lock, your twisted face, a warped kite

Floating across ceilings,

You have decided to spread

a smile wide as the day, light up the dim structure of your face

Like blow torches growing mad above the taste of ashes

You have decided to smile

this one last time

And the ceiling watches,

its silence repulsive 

And the walls judge,

their jabber exhausting

Men like to slaughter what they don’t understand 

Common cold doesn’t dictate cancer

And neither mood nor perspective is the predecessor of mental sickness

The floor watches,

stained in a lovely red

The only living thing now 

is you

and you, you bleed 

Upwards into a cerulean sky

Lois E. Linkens

i don’t belong here.

they told me

success held the key to happiness,

a golden road through cloudy skies,

a nightingale’s song in the dead of night –

so i don’t belong here.

i don’t fit in,

i stick out like a black sheep in a field of white,

a pebble strung on a thread of pearls.

oh, that piece would be so fetching

with pearls alone,

and i am sure the shepherd grows weary of the sight of me.

1Wise-Woman

The anguish of aliveness

No one wins

Sterile, self-defeating

Shrouded in intense sensitivity

Silence, secrets, sadness, solitude

A welcomed stillness

Such sweet solace

The weight begins to lift

A final gift

Believe

There is a peace

In release

A freedom beyond

This relentless realm

A breakable bond

From devils and demons

depression-72318__340

Olde Punk

The melodies are

my legacy

I’ve won some battles

but I am losing the war

choose not to remember

my last act

but all of the victories

that came before

as a samurai chooses

death over dishonor

my sepuku is the solution

to stop the coming horror

the monster with my smile

I know that my absence

will fill a room so still

it hurts but better

still than to see the world

I love burn with my

dark needs

Nathan McCool

You know when I’m there, after all the blood,

after all my ghost begin to break up and

dissipate like early morning radio chatter,

after the loss

of every god damn thing I’ve ever loved,

I can tell you that I earned the cognizance

that this was never a room.

Rooms have an exit, but there is no re-entry

into what my life used to be.

It’s a black hole, and on the other side

there is a universe of all dead bodies.

So if I dissect myself,

if I show you all my organs that could never

have managed to hold this cancer,

if I do it here at the altar of all my great

rewards…

I just want you to know I’ve reached the

event horizon.

But here I do not struggle, I strive. I still

yearn to be a good man. Wish that my

heart would become supermassive,

and strong enough to maybe release

one singular ray of light into all this space.

Set one lone kite free of the gravity.

If I fall through the hole and I’m never seen again,

I want you to remember I wasn’t a coward.

I was the thing that withstood longer than

all else.

Because nothing can be here if it still

has a world to belong to.

And if you don’t understand that, in a way

I hope you never do.

But if you never saw my light, if I gave in

before it could break through

I’m sorry.

It’s not because I didn’t try.

So live or die,

Be free or killed by this monster of my mind,

I did the very best that I could.

Unheard Incantations: A Collaborative Poem

The words we cannot say
Will be wept
Into silence between us (CER)

Breathe deep, dear love;
Be still with me
Listen to my heartstrings
A song meant just for you (KMA)

Each tear
An eloquent elegy
To tortured truths (AP)

Each note played
On a hand carved lute
Strung with strips
Of my soul (JWL)

Your breathless aura
Beats in time
Undulating ululation
With my exhaled psyche (AP)

Intertwined, tangled,
Unified: whole
Healed. (JWL)

Yet with hearts torn open
Bleeding out the notes of our song
You turned from me (ME)

I am fire
Drowning
In desire
Weep
I beg
Save me (1W-W)

Fetch me an instrument,
For the untrained ear
Is soothed by that
Which it cannot comprehend. (LEL)

Not everything is black and white.
For even the eclipsed moon
Is not without a little light. (SD)

Whispers through the distance
I remember
As you reach for my hand
my heart (CER)

Our words
Still
Bleeding
Drip like fire
Into embers
Wanting back
Their flame. (SFF)

The words we cannot say
Will be wept
Into silence between us (CER)


Written by:

1Wise-Woman

Kindra M. Austin

Sarah Doughty

Michael Erickson

Stephen F. Fuller

John W. Leys

Lois E. Linkens

Aurora Phoenix

Christine E. Ray

Cat Nap

My latest collaboration with Lois E. Linkens on Sudden Denouement

A Global Divergent Literary Collective

by Lois Linkens and Christine Ray

catnap

sleep stalks me, finds me an easy target

slinks in to drag me under, into the depths
where unknown dangers lurk in my unconscious
what murkiness lies behind my drooping lashes,
what shadows hide between each whistling breath?
what sharpness snuggles buried
among the feathers in my pillow,
what traps will soon ensnare
and dangle me, just feet from death?

they hook me, by the ankle
and suspend me from the tree of dreams,
around which serpents rattle, tigers prowl,
insects scuttle, poisonous, foul.
blood rushing to my head
cheeks flushed
heart thundering
as i dangle helpless

great cats bat their armored paws
at my flailing hair
like beggars round a campfire.
their claws pull and snag –
draw drops of blood
that quench night blooming jasmine
waiting below

i wake with a start. temples throb and pulse,
the bed is dry as…

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