Monthly Archives: September 2014

“Prisoner of Words”

~Esther Mitchell, 2010~

You never told me that you loved me,
That you were proud of me just as I was,
That you believed in me, or even saw me.
For decades, the words lingered out of reach,
Locked behind the bars of your teeth,
Like a political dissident you didn’t dare let foul the air,
With feelings you could not embrace.
I grew up in sterile air,
Fed on nothingness and whispers of silence,
Breathing that which was not breathable.
I learned from the cradle,
To fear a god in which I did not believe,
That backs turn, and I am invisible,
When the words I have to speak,
Aren’t words you want to hear.
Now, I hear words I do not believe,
They fill my ears like the Dead Sea,
Buoyant, without substance, without life,
And yet, I drown where I should not even sink.
My lips feel wooden,
Around the words you expect in return.
I never learned to love you,
Because I never learned your love,
A wall of ice I cannot melt,
A broken trust too late to mend.
I’ve already extended the olive branch,
In trembling limbs reaching for the sun,
Only to shrivel up and retreat,
Against the chill of insincere platitude.
No, you never told me that you loved me,
And all the strength I’ve ever learned,
Came from another source,
And everything I’ve become,
Was made with my own two hands.

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“The Writer’s Rebellion”

~Esther Mitchell, 2013~

They tell me to write what I know,
Then they tell me I don’t know anything.
Five degrees worth of education later,
Summers spent clawing my way through the stacks,
Winters spent with my head buried in calculus,
History, mythology, and organic chemistry,
Up to my elbows in anatomy, physics, and psychology,
Year after year of testing and study and more testing,
And still they look at me,
Shake their heads as if with pity,
And tell me I know nothing.
Nothing.
As if a lifetime of being bloodied,
Of nights awakening awash in sweat and terror,
Of days spent reminding myself,
“Don’t shrink,”
“You are beautiful,”
“No, don’t shrink,”
“You can do this,”
Count for nothing at all.
As if the hours spent pouring myself out of a book,
Of finding myself in statistics,
To prove I could survive,
Of weeks spent building the walls of my mind,
Compartment by compartment,
Some to hold information in,
Some to hold the world out,
And some just to seal away the pain,
All of that was for nothing,
When they look at me,
Shake their heads,
And tell me I know nothing,
Only they are right,
Only they know what’s best,
Only they have the answer.
But not a single one of them,
Has ever lived inside my Hell,
Walked the shrapnel-strewn paths of my life,
Through jungles thick with terrors they can’t even dream.
Not one of them has built themselves up from the rubble,
Of a life disintegrated in one blast,
Over and over and over again,
Until the rubble resembles sand more than stone,
And all that remains worth having,
Rests in mind, and heart, and bone.

Brief Acknowledgement and Thanks

This isn’t a poem… But I wanted to take just a moment and thank everyone for your interest in my poetry. Your support and interest is heart warming and very much appreciated!

Thank you!

“They Said”

~Esther Mitchell, 2014~

They said I was crazy,
When I said the sky was falling,
Then it came crashing down,
And they asked why no one saw that coming.
They said I must be stupid,
Because I had no interest in their games,
I could prove them all wrong in one flutter of a page,
But I still have no interest in these petty games of power.
They said I was too ugly,
Not to bother dressing up the clown,
Until the mirror cracked apart,
And my smile turned upside-down.
They told me I was unworthy,
With every word they said,
And the absolute worst betrayal,
Is that those are the words still bouncing around in my head.

“Magic Words”

~Esther Mitchell, 2014~

I wish I had a magic formula,
One that would make you see me,
See more than this shell,
See how much more I am,
Than the frame you pass by every day.
I wish I knew an incantation,
That would let you see my words,
The ones trapped in my throat,
The ones that escape only on the tip of a my pen,
This inked tongue turns free my words,
Uncages the feelings held prisoner behind the bars of my chest,
Shut up by the squeeze of my throat,
Letting air in, air out, but never a sound.
The words that matter don’t come out of my mouth,
They come from my fingers,
From the loud shout of my pen,
And yet, I remain invisible,
Because I can’t find the spell to make myself seen,
To make myself heard.
I wish I knew a magic trick,
To turn your eyes my way,
To make my wooden throat real.
I don’t know the magic words,
To take my fear of your indifference away,
Or give me wings to fly above the doubt,
And the courage to let my words out.

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