T.K.O

Written by: Mariana Golphin

Have you ever felt so alone that even in the sun you only see darkness?

So empty that your thoughts echo as if they are bouncing off the walls of a long forgotten cave.

At that moment you question life and nothing you do seems to fit the job description of what’s involved with living it.

Breathing hurts because your lungs collapsed from a knife that ripped through them and went straight into your heart.

How can something metaphysical hurt?

How can something so seemingly intangible hit you like a professional heavyweight boxer.

It leaves you laying on the floor of the ring.

You are drenched in a pool of your tears.

He stands over you and starts the count.

Ten!

Nine!

Eight!

You don’t want to stand.

You can’t stand.

Paralyzed, you have forgotten how to walk.

Seven!

Six!

Five!

Your conscious is trying to wake you up yelling.

Listen!

Dammit it listen to them!

Four!

Your red, bloodshot, swollen eyes fight to focus because the tears are still falling.

Slowly they appear out of the darkness. 

Get up!

Get up!

Blurred images turn into familiar faces.

They are screaming for you. 

They are cheering for you.

They want you to fight.

They need you to fight.

All isn’t loss.

Three!

Two!

Don’t let that bastard count to one.

Solitude

I walk alone.

My footsteps are my own.

My choice.

My path.

My love.

My pain.

I don’t remember the street names.

I don’t remember their names.

Sometimes I ran.

I needed to feel alive, so I ran as fast as I could.

I needed to feel the fresh air.

I needed to remember that my heart was still there.

Even though I’m out of breath, the pounding in my chest vibrated my soul and kept me alive.

I ran for days.

I ran for weeks.

I ran for months.

Stopping gave me time to remember the things that hurt.

So I ran for years.

I won alot of races.

My trophies are invisible, only mines to see.

You get the end product.

Me.

August 8th, 1983

Confession from the Broken Ballerina

Turning 10 was a big event for me. I was going to officially be a double digit. As it got closer to my birthday I began to search the house trying to find the hiding spot for my presents. I checked the refrigerator and freezer waiting for my cake to appear. I promised myself I would just look at it and not touch it. I imagined it saying ,”Happy Birthday Madi, love mommy”. My sisters birthday was in June and she had a beautiful cake!  I didn’t even mention my pending birthday because I wanted to contain my excitement. My mother didn’t mention it either. I just knew she was waiting to surprise me. On the day of my birthday, I couldn’t wait for her to come home from work. I strategically waited until she got herself settled. She called me downstairs. I walked down slowly trying to hide my big smile. I imagined the cake with candles and her smiling while she held that cake out for me. 

I walked into the kitchen, nothing was there. I thought to myself, ” She is just going to surprise me after dinner.” I checked the freezer and fridge- nothing was there. I looked at her, tears swelling up in my eyes. She snarled,” What’s wrong with you?” I replied,” Nothing, it’s just my birthday.” I smiled meekly, waiting for her to soothe the fear that was swelling in my gut. Her response, “ Oh, it’s your birthday, I will get you something when I get paid next Friday.”  I smiled again and said ” Good evening, okay.” I went to my room and silently cried all night. I felt so small and insignificant. Then I told myself well, at least she said next Friday. I put a bandaid on my broken heart. Friday came no cake. Maybe next Friday? Next Friday- no cake. I must have continued that for an entire month after my birthday. Then I finally realized that that cake was not ever coming. I told myself- I’m nothing. I’m not special. My sorrow was hidden. I made a promise at a young age to always make others happy and smile because it helped soothe my internal pain. So, if you wonder why I am not particularly happy around my birthday- you now know the root cause. I continue to mourn in silence.

Simplicity

On a cold day, I watched the sun’s rays reach its arms out from the sky.

Its fingers danced over the calm surface of a half frozen lake.

The sun gazed down and stared at its glorious reflection.

It glowed with satisfaction at the beauty surrounding all it touched.

On a cold day, I felt the wind awaken from its slumber.

It graciously asked the barren trees to dance.

It didn’t care if they were tired and worn.

I watched them sway and bow, to the music of the birds.

In unison the forest became alive right in front of me.

I closed my eyes and listened to its symphony.

The sounds of the leaves whispering love songs and lullabies.

I inhaled the crisp, fresh air and it engulfed my soul.

Isn’t life enchanting?

Lost

I have to go.

I have to go.

I have to get off this road.

This path does not lead home.

Every road I have traveled, led me to the same place.

At the crossroads I stand, tired from trying to walk at everyone else’s pace.

I have to go.

I have to go.

I have to get off this road.

The up and down hills.

The flooded roads that I am forced to swim. 

Here I stand at the crossroads again, forced to use my broken compass from within.

I have to go.

I have to go.

I have to get off this road.

I am the barren tree in the forest of evergreens.

I can’t offer shade, from the suns misery.

So what is my purpose, I ask you, tell me.

I have to go.

I have to go.

I have to get off this road.

By: Mariana Golphin

Reflection

I had to take a few days to reflect on my past, present and future. I had to ask myself,”At what point am I going to stop living life like a victim?” My past haunts me. I am still angry. I never got the heartfelt apology that I thought I deserved from the person that I just wanted to love me. A motherless child I am. All people have the capabilities of being Toxic. Mother’s aren’t excluded. I hate when people say,”But it’s your mother, you have to love her.” I just want to scream! I was brutalized for years. A child broken down to the point of where I felt I didn’t exist. I was empty. I didn’t understand what I did to deserve this. Some bonds are meant to be broken. Sometimes you have to “STOP”. You have to cut off that person that brings you grief and heartache. Stopping isn’t just something you do when you are driving or walking. It’s something that you have to do mentally as well. Stop letting them control your greatness. You push forward and be the best you possible. That’s the greatest revenge in the world. Just when they thought they broke you, you stand up and say, “Not today, not now , not ever.”

Lost Kingdom

By: Mariana Golphin

King, how did you let your castle fall?
Queen without a castle looking beautiful in a crown thats made of thorns.
Blinded by the blood, I guess you didn’t see when your king started to fall?
Not only did you let him fall, but when he was down you took back your rib.
Leaving him without the balance he needs to stand and rule again.
When we are doing bad
they sing monkey see, monkey do.
But when we are on the come up, they say what the hell is wrong with you?

Memoir

Author: Mariana Golphin previously published in Pennsylvania Bards- Northeast Poetry Review

You said she wasn’t worth anything.
Making her feel smaller and smaller everyday.
Until she disappeared.
Little sad invisible girl she was.
An orphan with a mother.
Lights out! Click.
The pain hid in the dark of her eyes.
A prisoner of unchosen circumstance.
A victim.
A victim.
A victim.
Did they not see her scars?
How could they not see them?
Oh, I forgot she was invisible.
They only saw her when she smiled.
They only heard her when she laughed.
They turned their backs on her when they heard her crying.
They turned their backs on her when they heard the screaming.
She was invisible again, I guess?
So, what saved the invisible girl?
Her mind.
Her imagination.
She would transport herself to the stars every night and walked across the surface of the moon.
Sometimes she became a mermaid.
Swimming in the abyss.
Discovering sunken treasures, long forgotten by the world.
She transformed her pain into poems and her emotions into characters.
Even with broken bones, and open wounds her spirit perservered.
Soon she found herself enamored with a secret garden.
Overtime, she would constantly fall victim to the thorns of the roses.
Mesmerized by their warm smile, kind words, strong embrace.
Longing to be loved, she soon became numb to the weapons of the roses.
She bled internally.
She bled slowly.
She bled in silence.
She grew into a woman.
Well, she had the stature of a woman.
Inside, the sad little girl was still there.
Peeking from behind a torn curtain, in an abandoned apartment.
Scared to see the world.
Scared to walk to the door and open it and free herself.
The poor child.
She lived in the shadows and watched the world from the eyes of the adult women.
Until one day she awakens to the sounds of people calling her.
Telling her not to be afraid, not to hide anymore.
It was safe to come out.
Friends saved her.
Hope saved her.
Love found her.
Hands reached out of the darkness and tried to lead the scared, battered child to the door.
She was so heavy with burdens, she couldn’t lift her feet to move.
She began to cry.
All the pain and torment rolled freely down her pale cheeks onto the floor.
Soon she was drowning in it.
The poor child.
Struggling in the vicious, turbulent, tumultuous, viscous waves of dispair.
Forced to relive the pain, relive the beatings, relive the verbal attacks.
She almost succumbs , but then she remembers, she was a mermaid.
She remembers her adventures.
She swims towards the door, and grasps the handle.
She takes one last look at the long abandoned apartment.
This was not her home any longer.
It never was.
She opens the door and leaves.
I am a survivor.
I am real.
I am powerful.
I am what you said I couldn’t be.
I found my voice.
I found my strength.
You lost.
I won.