Monthly Archives: September 2011

We Are Not Alone

Soft laughter
cacophony of lives
gathered in anger
in love, in play
Into this a question falls
the words as gentle
as the wondering
behind them
the word
humbly asked
but you know
you are asking
for a secret glimpse
into a million wounds
Like the pin prick
releases a bead
of precious blood
answers like offerings
welled up
and the din fell quiet
as we became one
and spoke our pain
So soft, gentle
you joined us
no general kept apart
you shared your pain
and in moments
filled with trust and tears
we were one
shared fears and hurts
and the greatest gift:
to know that we are not alone


© W.R.R. 9/27/2011
For Adam Lambert

“@adamlambert: I wanna know something about you all. Strange question, but I find it healing to get things out in the open: What’s YOUR biggest insecurity?”

“@adamlambert: Wow we all have so many of the same hang ups. Sorta makes u feel better right? Helps a lot to just be upfront and honest the people u love.”

To Be A Better Man

I know I’m not going to meet Adam Lambert. Between being bipolar and agoraphobic, plus suffering from PTSD and panic attacks, the deck is stacked against me; I simply can’t tolerate being in a crowd, either for a concert or standing in a clutch of people at a barricade. The amount of well-meaning folks who like to cajole me with “oh, someday, maybe” just don’t understand the debilitating nature of these maladies. The thing is, it’s ok; I don’t have to meet or touch him to have him touch me. It’s the nature of his charisma, his aura, essence, whatever you want to call it, that allows his voice and compassion, his passion for life, to touch and change mine.

I do love hearing about others meeting him, though. It’s a vicarious joy, and the excitement of another person can and does transfer some of that Adam mystique to me, every time.

Fact is, this amazing man, my stepping stone to a healthier stretch of the path before me, doesn’t need to ever touch my hand… because his voice and shining example touch my heart.

When I’m in depression, I have a playlist of Adam’s interviews that I listen to on repeat as I sleep. His voice, as mesmerizing in speech as in song, gives me something positive to focus on, and holds the nightmares at bay. This is a gift I intend to repay by striving to get better, to do better, to become the sort of person who is capable of helping others. With a gift like that, it just doesn’t matter that I can’t meet him in person. In my heart, I already have.


© W.R.R. 9/20/2011

For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Speak out. Find your path to healing.


He would write on my back. I used to dream about it, unaware for years that it was a memory. In the dream, it was a stylus, the words were Latin, and written in dripping red ink. It bothers me that I don’t know if that was real, though he did know Latin; my father could speak it like a professor.

One day, I mentioned the dream to my boyfriend, and he just stared at me, looking nervous. He took me to a mirror, gave me a hand mirror, and asked me to look at my back. At first I was confused, didn’t see a thing. Then as his gentle fingers moved, brushing over my skin, I began to see the faint and thin white marks. They were everywhere, and in a few places, they almost formed strange words.

Now and then, time is eclipsed and as it folds in on itself, it can bring your present crashing  down to its knees at the feet of your past. I was sick that day, until there was nothing  left inside but the ghosts.

Everything I endured has made me hyper-aware of the suffering of others. It has taught me to be kind when I can be strong enough to help somebody else. It also taught me not to belittle another human’s (or creature’s) pain. Yet sometimes, foolish or joking words are spoken by others that make me feel uncomfortable; at times angry, or even afraid. These words are like sharp sticks that poke and pierce the truly invisible scars; scars of the mind, heart, and soul. Whoever first wrote “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” was somebody who had never been hurt by cruel, cold, razor words. It is vital to remember in those moments that most people don’t intend harm; they are merely venting  their feelings, unaware of how their words sound in another’s ears.

For those others who know the dark terrors, who experienced and lived through the pain, the fear: we survived. For those who know how crippling are the words and hands that bludgeon and cut their messages into our flesh, our minds and hearts; for those souls I say: take a deep breath. We endured. We’re still here.

Find a way to purge the fear, the memories. I have chosen to reclaim some parts of myself my abuser maligned. I adorn with piercings, decorate with tattoos that have meaning  for me, writing my own messages to erase the archaic mad scribbles that were cut into me so long ago. It makes me – mine again. Other marks I leave where and as they are; like signposts to my soul, or the lyrics to the song my heart still tries to sing in moments when it’s brave enough to be heard. Your way may be different, but find one and you can begin to see that your marks don’t have to be allowed to define you. We have the right to define ourselves.

I look in the mirror and see the shattered mask my father tried to place on me; the desperate ruin he tried to create for reasons I may never know. Yet behind the solitary blue eye are thoughts that are not his; behind the ridged and scarred lips is warm breath that fogs the mirror and blurs the lines, the lies, that he tried to place on me.

I am not weak.
I am not ugly.
I am not powerless.
I am not his.
I belong… to me.

I have strong days, I have weak days. On the weak days, these lessons can get lost in the cacophony of waking nightmares. Time flows on, the worm turns, and I slowly grow stronger again.

No matter how weak you think you might be, we are stronger than anybody can measure, even ourselves. When the world closes in, breathe. Just breathe. When you stand in front of that mirror and it’s hard to see anything  but your scars, step closer. Don’t be afraid; step closer again. Breathe. Let the glass fog with the truth. You’re still alive, you’re strong; and when you step back again, it won’t be so easy to see the marks others tried to use to break you.

When you feel a little stronger, open your eyes and look around; you’re not alone. Somebody else is there, somebody who cares about you, maybe more than you know. Maybe they are wounded too, maybe not; but if you reach out and take their hand, let them help when you need it, try to trust, it gets better.

I keep a little hand mirror; but not for looking at my face. I pull it out, take a deep breath, and watch the glass fog gray. Sometimes I take a finger and write in it: “Breathe.”

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 9/14/2011

For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Speak out. Find your path to healing.


Messages were left
written in skin
ridges raised, no drop of ink
braille map to a wounded soul
tracing each, fingers skip
from line to snarled line
they begin in the heart
and never end
Try to read them
so tangled, overlapping
but some of them tell lies
like the passive face
too injured to speak
split by a rictus grin
cloven voice
and shattered eye
Tracing lines
with the bright colors
and perfumed masks of now
brings no meaning
for the etching of the child
is muted in the marred flesh
of a thousand broken yesterdays

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 9/13/2011
For all victims of abuse; you are not alone.

Dew Upon Roses

Let me catch your tears
for the morning is here
and the roses have no dew
It is a gift to them
to know true beauty
in touching one
such as you
Though bright with sadness
each glistening drop
shall dress their petals in glory
and as I bend to breathe
the delicate perfume
I shall recall you
in your colors, your softness
eclipsing nature
as dawn becomes day

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 9/12/2011
For S.A.H.

In The Silences

Your voice soothes
the wild blood
that would invite such ruin
and leads me to
a calmer place
a peace of sinew and mind
In these moments
lucid, wondering I
look into the world
and see as you see
clear, without the lens
of my past cruelty
that weighs my heart
like a stone
in a scale of injustice
Coursing through
the plane of the mind
empty of thought
free of care
or contrivance of pain
there are no ghosts
no whispers of the damned
to plague my spirit
or feed on my soul
for only your voice is here
speaking, laughing
a sound torn free
from the birthplace of joy
and in the silences
I hear you say my names
and you know them all
This, your gift
though unaware
of the giving
allows sweet rest
at last
and when I wake
if I am still
I may carry your peace
a small precious while

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 9/6/2011
For Adam Lambert

Messages in a Bottle

On Wednesday, August 31st, I listened to Xena and Juneau’s radio show with guest Thea Washington (blog post here: Adam Lambert – “The Man Behind the Music” Radio Series ) and was inspired to ask a rather esoteric question, which I posted as a comment on their Salon. Rephrasing it here for further pondering….


I’m captivated by the idea of creativity being like a force of nature in all of us, connecting us in a way. Our individual talents manifest it in different ways of course, but they are connected by it all the same. Adam sings. I write poetry and essays. Someone else cooks, another person paints, draws, or takes beautiful photos. It’s all a creative drive we share to express ourselves.

Sometimes when I write a poem or essay, someone I’ve never met tells me how it touched them, how it was like I read their heart, mind, or soul to write their thoughts, their pain, and feelings. It’s both humbling and very healing to me to hear that, too. Music, songs, of people like Adam Lambert, Cassidy Haley, Immogen Heap, and so many others touch me the same way. Cassidy’s songs “Burn” and “Fly” are like he reached in, pulled my heart out, read it, shoved it back, and wrote those lyrics. Yet they aren’t my story, my pain – they are his. Weird, right?

Juneau, Xena and I talked when I was on their show before about how Adam’s song “Broken Open” affected me; it literally saved my life. I’m bipolar as some of you know, and sometimes I get audio hallucinations (hearing voices). When I heard that song in that moment, it didn’t register as “Oh, I’m hearing a song.” He was just suddenly speaking to me, telling me the message of the lyrics in the form of a song. Some folks are going to think I’m crazy, and yeah, I probably am, what with a legitimate mental illness and all; but that was my experience at the time. Adam’s words, his voice, his message – made me decide to keep fighting and not give up. He said it was safe to be so broken and it didn’t mean I had to die because I was broken; I was safe to “break into him”.

Now obviously, I know I’m not cosmically plugged into another person’s brain, aura, whatever you call it. I know Adam wasn’t talking literally to me; it was a song played on my boyfriend’s computer. Adam doesn’t know I exist, most likely, and had no clue I needed that message in that moment; but the message itself was still delivered.

I think maybe these songs, poems, photos, paintings, etc. are like “messages in a bottle”. They are created at another time, “stored” in whatever way (on a blog, a CD, in a portfolio) and then discovered or stumbled across later in an odd moment of need. This happens at miles of distance, between people who don’t know the receiver of the message even exists, but their message still reaches that person, it still helps them.

So my question, which may be partially rhetorical, but still open for discussion, is this: What is this phenomenon that creates this “spiritual creative connection”? I find it a fascinating concept, but I admit I’m kind of stumped.

Opinions? Observations? Theories?

Thanks for listening to my Tolstoy explanation of a question, too. Maybe I should of warned you to pack a lunch before you started reading this?


© W.R.R. 9/3/2011

For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Speak out. Find your path to healing.