joannebest











{October 11, 2015}   Is This Hell?

hell2

I ate my anger last night,
as if the instigators of my fury would disappear
swallow by swallow, bite by bite,
me furiously chewing without pleasure,
like an alcoholic slamming down drink after drink
until they don’t consider themselves drunk,
but they consider you the cause of every wrong thing in the world,

Carmelo bars, caramel wrapped lovingly in chocolate followed by another bar,
piece after piece popped in a mouthful of sand where everything tastes like the desert,
eating without thought, without taste or pleasure, mindless zombie chomping on chocolate flesh,
Kisses, the chocolate ones, I grab that tag and yank, exposed chocolate in the palm of my handy waiting to melt in my mouth, not in my hands, call my name seductive,
no melt danger there when you eat so fast you don’t taste a thing,
stress eating they call it, but I just call it stupid, a lack of control on my part,
because I hurt no one but me and my favorite skinny jeans

I smoked too many cigarettes again,
after promising myself and my doctor I would quit,
I did quit once, for maybe a year but then my life fell apart so I grabbed onto the nearest mentholated excuse
and drew that acrid smoke into my lungs like it was clean healthy air,
knowing in my mind that just because I roll my own cigarettes doesn’t make it less hazardous to my health
the cost may be less for a carton of machine-rolled than a carton of store bought cigarettes
yet the cost to my health is beyond my means,
all the psychological games I play in my mind to stop me from smoking disappear along with the menthol smoke
and I feel disgust as I look at the wreckage I’ve left in my wake,
empty candy wrappers and an overflowing ashtray adds to my self-loathing
and I wonder when I lost control of my self

infighting and passive aggressive words thrown at me,
and how do you defend yourself against imagined sins when your accuser throws back another shot
as the mental flogging goes on and on and on,
only to be forgotten in the light of day as my self esteem shrinks till my heart is shriveled and Grinch-like
and I flinch at the slightest side-look, waiting for another shoe to drop
knowing all the while I am shoeless, guilty of nothing other than
someone else’s paranoia,
imagined sins and baseless accusations, all courtesy of Mr. Daniels, but you can call him Jack,
he comes with a title you see, but I only know him as the Court Jester
because it’s all a joke you know, those words weren’t meant I’m told, where is my sense of humor and
why don’t I have a drink and calm down

why don’t I have a drink and calm down for
nothing matters you see,
the rollercoaster ride continues and I’m not buckled in,
I twist and turn and morph into a dumpster,
come one, come all, give me your tired, your weary, your problems
bigger than mine, for I am Jan Brady and the middle child gets all the garbage
while trying to keep the boat afloat,
all those years of taking care reduced to ashes
as the trophy boys hold their hands open, waiting for their due
and me?
I just want my Mother.
I want that unconditional love but it is gone for all time and
I must carry on, carry them, carry the guilt for nothing until I wonder,
is this Hell?

What have I done with my life and where did I leave myself?
Because I am gone, I look in a mirror and wonder who is in there, peering back at me,
eyes so sad I could cry from the mere sight of me,
stability ripped away like a rug yanked from beneath me
metaphorically battered and interior bruising,
my previous protectors an illusion shattered,
my desire to sleep forever whispers in my ear like a song stuck in your head
an effort to shake it away, and so much easier to continue wearing my mask…

Don’t let them in, don’t let them too close,
the knife you feel in your back is real, but ignore the blood as you slowly bleed out
play the game and you lose, don’t play along and still, you lose it all,
alone, lost, afraid, a path of darkness ahead and darker still in my rearview mirror
Is anything real? Did I imagine all the good that has left me standing alone,
fighting for nothing
fearing everything
I am swept into a corner and still I wonder,
is this Hell?

depression3



{September 5, 2015}   Lowering Liquid

jack3

the level lowers quickly,
that dark liquid magnifier,
a bottle lessens to a drop and another cracks open,
see, it’s the weekend you know, and everything must go
according to a fantasy schedule, unshared and unbelievable,
easier to play along till your bones are suddenly screaming from an unintended stumble,
collision unexpected and yes, balance no longer works,
soft reasonable patient words unheard,
slurry mumbled snark, the kind where they’re only kidding and
don’tcha have a sense of humor,
your sanity questions you to shake things up
and a bump grows on your eyebrow, stabby painful and nothing new
lather rinse repeat because it never goes away.
they fight for control but Jack always wins these days,
an occasional visitor who tends to overstay his welcome,
I think he sucks,
but when it’s over no one remembers the demon, just the angel,
all a figment of my imagination

jack



{August 7, 2015}   Where I’ve Been (And Why)

morning2Write what you can write when you can write else you may never be able to write again.

Substitute any word that may apply to you and your passion and never ever neglect it, because you never know when your passion, or your ability to pursue your passion, may be taken away from you.

My recent passionless existence began with a near-crippling case of carpal tunnel rearing it’s ugly head a few months ago. I’ve already gone the surgery route but all I got for my trouble was two wrists more painful than before surgery and two hands constantly reminding me that I have to choose where when and how I use my small windows of pain-free time.

So I stopped writing.
And began a downward spiral.

Fibromyalgia, once closed off in a box somewhere in my mind escaped much like Pandora’s Box, only this time, hope fled as well and I experienced the most excruciating fibro-flare I’ve ever had.

I shut myself down, nearly every part of me, shut down. Caring about anything became a distant memory. I couldn’t even fake it anymore. Nothing made me smile. Nobody made me laugh. I stopped believing in anything good ever happening to me again. Ever. Sleep became the only thing I looked forward to and the sound of the phone ringing made me cringe. My computer may as well have been nothing more than a dust collector because I had no interest. In anything.

I may as well have stopped living because whatever it was I was doing, going through the motions, was not in any way shape or form a life.

Grief.
I thought I would have been over it already. I mean, it’s been over two years since my Mom died, why does it still feel like it happened yesterday?

My whole world has changed without her and I have a new understanding of the effects of grief. My family has imploded. I used to have two brothers but now I have one, my older brother has basically cut me out of his life, guilt-calls my Father maybe once a month while I twist myself pretzel-like to do everything I can to help out my Dad. He’s going on 89 and while he can still be as sharp as a tack, he’s fading away. Lost without my Mother, he’s reimagined their life together, turning it into a Love Story For The Ages. And while I know the real version was nothing like he wants to remember, I agree with him as my heart breaks a little bit more every time I see him.
My younger brother and I have become closer than ever, as my older brother doesn’t talk to him either. The eldest, as far as I understood it to be, was supposed to step up and help us out. Instead, after taking my Father to his lawyer and having a will drawn up with him as the executor (not my Father’s wishes, but as the only one of us who went to college, his opinion seems to be the only one that matters) my older brother, when he was still talking to my younger brother, told him if anything in the will was changed, he would take me to court and say that I forged documents. He has some resentment towards me because when Hurricane Irene destroyed our house he wanted to put my Parents in an assisted living place while my Parents just wanted their house back. I, with the help of my younger brother, moved Heaven and Earth to make that happen and it pissed him off that I, a girl who never went to college, was able to get them back home.

So I’ve been dealing with a lot health-wise, and the three things that made me happiest disappeared. No more daily phone calls and Mother/Daughter getaways, my BFF became my occasional F due to, well, life, and my writing became a distant memory. With virtually no one to truly confide in anymore, I began to think of myself as worthless, cold and uncaring about anything. Basically, I make myself sickeningly pathetic and I’m sick of it. I sometimes wish I could just breakdown and cry my eyeballs out, but my feelings have frozen and I feel unmeltable.

Even my Birthday came and went without fanfare, it took me weeks to open the Birthday Card my favorite Aunt Judy sent me, as if I wasn’t even worthy of a card. I feel like an idiot for allowing myself to fall this hard and I realize I’m the only one who can save me.

And then something happened to wake me up. Out of nowhere, I received something in the mail from some very special Miscreants. There was no return address so it wasn’t until I opened it that I realized what it was, a fun pack that to this very second still makes me smile, hard.

Somehow, I’ve managed to babble about nothing important to anyone but me myself and I, but I have to admit, I feel a little bit better.

I was Blessed enough to attend two Facebook events this past week, one was a release party for
Anastasia Vitsky‘s new book Taliaschild and the other was Decadent Publishing 5th Annivesary Party.

They both gave me life. Inspired me. Woke me up. Stirred something in my soul to remind me who I am.

I’m back, and this time, I’m back to stay. No more not answering comments, no more ignoring life. It’s time to live again, and a great part of my resurrection is you. And you. Also you.
While these words are not my own, the sentiment is a perfect truth : “Love is all that matters.”

This time, I will not forget that.
And one last thing, I apologize to everyone I’ve seemingly ignored, it wasn’t you, it was me.
Love. It is once again in my heart, I would like nothing more than to spread it around.

a me I want to go back to these days (my Mom in the background, me and my Uncle)



{August 13, 2014}   I Woke Up

nightmare2
just when you pull yourself up
the hammer comes down, like a whack-a-mole
on a cheap boardwalk game,
happiness is non-existent,
nothing more than a thread-worn blanket
thrown over misery then yanked away,
the only thing underneath is vacant loss,
hopelessness, and a lack of belief,
in me in you in everything,
i used to believe anything was possible,
and then,
i woke up
nightmare1



{August 2, 2014}   If I Wake Up Dead Tomorrow

dead2
if i wake up dead tomorrow
it might take awhile for anyone to notice,
my cats, well they would want me to feed then
although they do love me, this i know,
but sometimes i think, no, i know, they love me best,
selflessly,
even when they want their crunchies,
it gets hard sometimes, living up to my promise,
the one where censuring myself would never cross my mind,
but it’s begun,
little snarks here, direct accusations there,
it makes me wonder sometimes, who is more self-centered,
the reader or the writer?
we weave reality through fiction
and fiction through reality,
words flow, meaningful and meaningless,
as long as they flow it’s a gift
and oh we are blessed if we are gifted,
and we are all gifted, in our own ways,
but my gift it seems, doesn’t weigh too much, so,
usually,
i paint on my smile and lie through my teeth,
it’s not you it’s me and all that,
because it is me, mostly,
i was born on a Wednesday and nothing will keep the woe away,
you can preach to me till you’re blue in the face,
that is, when you find the time and i enter your mind, when you pencil me in,
yes, yes i get it, i get it all,
maybe that’s the problem,
i mean mine, not yours of course,
so if i wake up dead tomorrow
leave me be,
throw me in the ocean and weigh me down with bricks,
dress me in my favorites but please,
if you could, slip me a pen,
regardless of my surroundings, i always find something to write on,
if i wake up dead tomorrow i will carry on, wherever i wind up,
for i always do,
as you will, as you always do,
until then, i may whine, i may cry like the cancer-moon-girl i am, the lunatic howling at the moon
only my howls sound more like sobs,
but in the end i carry me with me,
i am now my hope,
the blood that courses through my veins belongs to me,
they’ve made that clear,
through actions and non-words my blood belongs to me alone,
and it will pump through this body
until that day,
when that tomorrow comes,
and i wake up dead
dead



{June 16, 2014}   Silent By Default

mirrorsilent
there’s a wrinkle in my time stream
just enough to spin me ’round in circles,
i’m unaware of my direction,
unable to distinguish between then and now,
here or there or up or down,
because it’s not in my hands, not always,
i see paths intermingled but the signs all read the same
in a language i don’t understand,
so once again i find myself lost,
you used to keep me company, at least inside my head,
and if i told you i felt abandoned you’d remind me
of my tendency to fill in the blanks with black,
i stay silent by default,
broken only by the sound of whoever it is you need me to be,
i can slip in and out of every shade of me, or,
call on my improvisational skills for the duration of the scene,
i wonder sometimes, if any of this is real,
or maybe i just dreamed myself up and escaped through a crack,
until i find myself, or an answer to an impossible riddle,
silence is safest,
necessary at the least,
until i find my way back to where i began,
silence will keep my secrets,
as i float without purpose
and with no sense of direction,
silently
silence



{June 3, 2014}   Rest In Peace Mr Big

big16
“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life – music and cats.”
~
Without warning, one of our cats died yesterday.
It was a normal day, me trying to break my writers block in-between the usual housewifey chores, windows open with a slight breeze gifting me with an occasional kiss as I ran through my well-caffeinated day from room to room multitasking, hoping desperately to break my brick wall.
The three cats were all sprawled in various places throughout the house, catnapping their way through the heat in their usual stretched out positions, safe and secure in their home because lets face it, our pets own us, we don’t own them. They just like to watch us pretend we’re in charge, it amuses them, but we all know they own our hearts and rule the roost.
It was nearing 7pm and nobody was home from work yet, I was taking advantage of the empty house to stare at the empty page in front of me and Mr Big was sprawled out at my feet, nothing unusual about that. Mr Big liked being around people unlike our other two female felines.
He’d follow you, chirping and purring and loving on you, so grateful for his forever home.
Mr Big, a lynx point Siamese was left outside when his owners moved. Abandoned. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to have pets.
After he was rescued he fostered in 3 or 4 houses, they were always multi-cat households and the excuse was usually the other cats didn’t get along with him.
My sister-in-law works at an animal hospital, she’s a vet tech, and we all followed the Tale of The Abandoned Cat, knowing we already had 3 cats and 2 dogs and there was no way we were able to…..
Yeah, we ended up with Mr Big, as we called him. Nobody had even bothered to give the poor thing a name, nobody knew for sure how old he was, but one look at him and Mr Big he became.
He was like no cat I ever knew, but the weird thing was he looked exactly like the lynx point Siamese we inherited after a neighbor passed away, they were like twins.
Except Mr Big was a love machine from the start. You’d pick him up and he’s put his paws around you, one on each shoulder like he was hugging you. He’d randomly howl for absolutely no reason then turn it into a yawn and a stretch, his Siamese cat eyes crossing before beginning a staring contest he always won. Because he had people eyes, not cat eyes.
Like clockwork, you could hear him coming up the stairs at night then he’d jump on the bed, do his best Stevie Wonder impersonation (Mr Big had bad vision and hearing) then flop himself down right in the middle of me and my husband, laying his head on one shoulder and putting his paw on the other’s shoulder. You know, so nobody would feel left out.
He’d stare at my face intently, his human eyes locking onto mine and he’d reach up a paw, claws in, and touch my face soft. Sometimes he’d try to lick my face and I had to tell him no thank you I don’t make out with cats and just keep petting him till I sneezed.
Did I mention I’m allergic to cats?
He was so long when he stretched he nearly took up the width of a queen mattress from claw to tail. And he’d lay his head on the pillow and get under the blankets watching television with us and purring loud with an occasional chirp thrown in there.
Then he’d remember he was a cat and spring up because he had to be somewhere else.
For absolutely no reason. Just cat logic.
I was petting him, explaining how frustrated I was with my writers block as he lay at my feet, he just did that low purr he always did, to let me know he was on my side.
I got up to make yet another cup of tea and stepped over him instead of making him move because, awww, it’s Mr Big, Senor Grande, The Biggest Man In The Vorld (that’s not a misspell, he demanded we say vorld instead of world, don’t ask.), Big Moner!
I stepped gingerly over him again so as not to spill hot tea on him and reached down to pet him only this time he didn’t purr.
I called him but I know he’s a heavy sleeper and half deaf so I got down on the floor to shake him awake and got no reaction from him. His eyes were half open but he sometimes sleeps like that and I continued to shake him, I started shouting his name, running my hands over him to feel him breathing, feel his heart beating, I checked his mouth, his breath, anything I could think of because this wasn’t happening I wasn’t losing another loved one we couldn’t lose Mr Big no no no no no God please no!
He was warm! He was just purring a second ago! All I did was walk a few feet and pour a cup of tea! There was nothing wrong with him!
Then I saw a puddle, forcing me to acknowledge the truth.
Mr Big was dead.
Just like that.
That’s when I started sobbing.
big19
“What greater gift than the love of a cat?” – Charles Dickens
big12big11big13



{May 21, 2014}   Lie As I Lay Dying

hidebehind3
ask me how i am
and i will lie as i lay dying
while i tell you i’m just fine
and everything is grand
say you don’t believe me
and i will swear on my own life
that all i say is truth
and i am basking in the sunlight
ask me why i’m silent
and i will tell you i’m just thinking
of everything that’s wonderful
while writing in my head
say i’m holding something back
and i won’t disagree
instead i’ll redirect the conversation
towards anything but me
i’ll lie as i lay dying
before letting down these walls
there’s nothing for me now
except my final curtain call
hidebehind



{April 29, 2014}   Once Again

girlsmoking3
once again
i find myself smoking too many cigarettes
and sipping countless cups of tea
while my mind just wanders,
for a moment i see a sign,
dust-covered and peeking through the shadows
like it’s 1967
but it disappears like smoke
before i can decipher it,
there isn’t much i can figure out these days,
my feet won’t take me in the proper direction
no matter how much my brain screams out
i rebel,
causing my own demise
as i sit here,
inactive and inattentive
while it all flows around me,
another flick of flame and i inhale
extinguishing myself
one way or another,
once again
girlsmoking2



{April 18, 2014}   This Hollow Space

hollow1
cover me in silence
keep away the light and leave me,
here,
stuck inside myself,
for the outside sounds are harsh
and i’m already broken, or
whisper to me, if you would,
a lullaby, just for me,
an epic story for the ages,
a ballad to restore my soul
for i have been abandoned,
join me in this hollow space
far beyond the visible,
unarmed and unprotected
for these fortress walls are strong
and we can keep each other safe,
although it’s been a very long time,
trust was once believable,
and i’m unsure if i can find my way back there,
so please, throw my name into the wind,
if i can grasp it in my hands,
or scent you in the air,
we can meet between the pauses,
where you can remind how the sun feels again
and i can remember how to breathe
hollow2



et cetera