“You There”

“You There”
(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

I can only bleed so much
but it’s never enough
to satisfy you, is it
nevermind my shattered soul
and flesh flayed wide
no secrets left
no shadowed clefts
to hide what’s left of me
just the cold glare of reality
and the medicinal stench
of silent eternity

you there
who wields the hammer
of sanity
whose blood-caked hands
crush worlds
whose vacuous eyes
speak of
distant crimson suns
and blue corpse-light
you there
who rends flesh from bone
blackens sun and moon
you there
whose wretched grin
devours universes
vaporizes souls

you there

what is it you want from me

my essence torn
cell from cell
bones a useless armature
not even a sigh left
in my lungs
all that remains is my mind
and that’s what you want
isn’t it

I have known you
all my life
your honeyed lies
and soothing growls
drain existence of
hue and humor
your breath upon my neck
fetid and abominable
your raging roars
shake my skull numb

but you shall not have
my quicksilver trees
and lavender skies
my sickle moon dozing
above autumn wheat fields
my green silence
in konara copses
my humming leas
of flea bane and lupine
and forest-carpet ferns
these are mine
forever

you there

you will destroy me
in the end
but my world
will live on
free of your rage and
blight and bluster
and that is
all that matters

35 thoughts on ““You There”

  1. This is powerful, Mike. I haven’t seen you around much lately. I hope this poem isn’t an indication of terribly tough times for you right now. It certainly comes through as from the heart. But the contrast of the “you” world and the “I” world is magnificent. That 3rd last stanza is so beautiful and the ending holds a kind of hope.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks. Well, it’s been frustrating lately. The anhedonia associated with depression is awful–it just sucks the blood out of everything. This piece is about depression, of course, and how difficult the struggle is to hold onto the beauty and meaning in life. I didn’t want to burden anyone so I just cocooned inside myself for a while and ruminated on stuff. We all have our own unique crosses to bear, and some of us do that better than others. I’m not very good at it, alas. I love writing, but the ever-present specter (or spectre) of anhedonia and writer’s block is always there for me, and when it strikes, it’s hard to deal with sometimes. This piece allowed me to vent some anger (the graphic imagery) and speak to my depression boldly. Honestly, I was just glad some words came out after so long. 😀 Thanks so much for your comment and concern. I truly appreciate it.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I had to look up anhedonia. I’m sorry you suffer from depression. I don’t know if you like drawing but when I can’t find words, I sometimes find just working on a drawing very therapeutic. Best of luck with it. I hope an easier phase is birthed by this outpouring of anger.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I used to draw all the time when I was a kid. Caricatures, etc. I haven’t drawn anything for years now, although I have a sketch pad and plenty of pencils and pens here. It would probably help if I availed myself of those tools when the words won’t flow. Any creative outlet is incredibly therapeutic for depression or other mental illnesses. If it wasn’t for writing, music (prior to my deafness I played guitar) and photography, I hate to think where I’d be, or if I’d be at all, you know? Thanks for the great idea. Much appreciated. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey, David. Thanks for the nice comment. As a kid, I was way into cinematography and had a Super-8 movie camera (as well as some dreams to be a special-effects technician in Hollywood, thanks to Star Wars). I made homemade animation models, which required an interior armature on which I’d place materials to represent muscles and skin and so on. I remember those copper wire and wooden dowel armature skeletons (and desired to make more professional ball-and-socket armatures). That imagery has always stuck with me for some reason. 🙂

      As for “konara,” it’s the Japanese word for “oak.” It has such a nice, lyrical sound to it, and it looks good on paper or screen. Sort of rolls off the tongue, you know? 😀

      Liked by 4 people

    1. This is so true, and I’ve experienced this too many times myself. Relationships require vulnerability, and some people prey on that. It’s difficult to break free when we’ve already been broken. I admire the brave ones who can overcome such abuse and move on to better things.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks, Grace. It’s been a while since I was able to write anything, so I’m grateful a few words fell into place in this one. I’m working on radical acceptance with regards to depression and some other things since trying to fight through them hasn’t worked in, like, forever. I just felt like confronting my depression in this one, acknowledging its presence, and making it known that some things are sacred to me. Thanks so much for your comment. I’ve been neglectful in commenting on anyone’s post lately, but I hope I can get back into the swing of things. I value your kindness so much, Grace. Thanks again. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I feel the misery and frustration with your depression in this, Mike, and I saw in the comments that you’ve been struggling. But I just love the anger and defiance. The contrast in imagery is stark and magnificent. I’m glad that nature continues to be a balm that you refuse to surrender. Sending light and love your way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Diana. I took the gloves off for this one. As I mentioned in a comment above, the whole anhedonia thing just destroys creativity, inspiration and motivation, and sucks the pleasure out of everything. Recently, my therapist has been recommending what I call “purge writing,” where I just write what comes to mind, whatever that may be. This came out all at once. I saw it as an opportunity to confront my depression, and it felt empowering. I’m working on acceptance of this and some other things since fighting them is futile. Maybe someday I can sit down and have tea and scones with my depression ( 😀 ), but today it was all about setting some boundaries. And yes, I can’t seem to write a poem without including my love for nature (and I really like the bit about the dozing sickle moon in the lavender sky above the autumn wheat field). No matter how tough things get, that’s my line in the sand. Nature will always be on my side and in my heart, and as long as that holds true, there’s hope. Thanks for sending light and love. I accept it gladly. And thanks as always for your kindness and insightful comments. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. “Empowering” is a great result, so keep up the purge writing and defiance, Mike. Nature will always be on your side, She and we are perfectly attuned, for we are “of” her not “on” her. She will always gift you with heart-opening, dazzling beauty.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. There’s so much to feel in this piece. Very relatable feelings, Mike. Nature is an amazing healer. Sending positive thoughts full of hope and strength your way. 💕

    Loved these powerful opening lines too:

    I can only bleed so much
    but it’s never enough
    to satisfy you, is it
    nevermind my shattered soul
    and flesh flayed wide
    no secrets left
    no shadowed clefts
    to hide what’s left of me

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Kirsten. I truly appreciate your kindness. Honestly, I’m a bit overwhelmed right now at the responses I’ve received. So much kindness and compassion. I’m sitting here just sort of shaking my head in wonder. I really am grateful for people like you and the other folks who have commented today. I spend way too much time alone and I tend to forget what it feels like to be human, if that makes any sense. Knowing there are good people out there who genuinely care is a wonderful feeling. Thank you, really… It means a lot to me. I’m glad the poem spoke to you, too. I know I’m not the only one who struggles, so it’s nice to know people can understand and commiserate. Much appreciated, my friend. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Aww, you’re welcome Mike! Always a pleasure. I’m so happy you’re feeling uplifted today. Your words are certainly magic and resonates with us all. I’ll keep sending positive energy your way. 💞🌻

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, as always, Terveen. Your words never fail to put a smile on my face. Seriously. 🙂 “The words are the remedy and the escape…” This has the feel of a magical elixir, and at the same time bears the weight of truth. Today, the words came. Tomorrow? Hope. I’ll see what happens then, but I shall accept today, and the kindness shown to me by you and everyone else. Thanks so much. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks a bunch, Aaysid. This comment really made a difference. I tend not to see myself as a courageous sort of person, but there is certainly a kernel of bravery or defiance (as Diana said above) in this poem. Sometimes it feels like a battlefield, where everything has been stripped away–destroyed–and all that’s left is what’s in my heart as I confront my own personal adversaries. Maybe that’s enough. As long as I can stand up defiantly and face what’s before me, perhaps there’s still some hope left. It’s a long slog and there’s no magic pill for this stuff. I truly appreciate your kind words–they mean so much coming from someone as talented as you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You write from your soul and heart, dear Mike. These words come from a sacred place, speak directly to a person’s heart and soul.. they are pure, original. Well, as usual your poetry left me speechless🙂 but whatever you said in it that’s what we all need . . I read all the above discussion ( comments) and i totally agree with all that you said.. we are humans Mike, we will always encounter fear, depression, anger, disappointments, hurt, pain in life.. that’s all humane, the important thing is, never lose hope..Hope keeps us moving. As you said about confronting your fears and depression, that’s all we need. I can relate with all that you said.. we all have those moments in life.
    And you are very right about mentioning the “anhedonia” that ” it destroys creativity, inspiration and motivation, and sucks the pleasure out of everything.” I agree 100 %. And what your therapist suggested that’s very right. I also have such phases and then i write my random thoughts in diary.. once it’s done ( the decluttering), my mind gets clear. No matter whether words come to you or not, write whatever you want.. not necessarily poetry.. you can write essays aswel. We are always here to read and listen🙂
    I will say you have very wise insight Mike, i truly appreciate and i need it..so keep writing and sharing your thoughts with us, we all learn something good from eachother. I loved the words said by Terveen Gill in the comments above “It’s the darkness that forces us to find the light. ” amazing and true!! 👍🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your term “decluttering” is so appropriate here. That’s exactly what it feels like when I become blocked. Like I’ve become buried under tons of clutter and can no longer breathe or think or function. Purge writing is indeed decluttering, and what I’ve found is that the clutter that causes me so many problems has to do with frustration over past events and fear of future events, worries, regrets, unresolved pain, memories, etc. In other words, things I can’t really change. Purge writing can be chaotic and messy, a jumble of emotions spilling forth all at once, an avalanche of angst…but it unclogs the pipes, declutters my mind. The regrets, fears and frustrations are still there, but they’re more organized and compartmentalized (at least for a while). In my experience with major depression, a cluttered environment is suffocating and stress-inducing. My apartment isn’t spotless (hey, I’m a bachelor, right? 😀 ), but I try to keep things fairly uncluttered lest things pile up and my depression worsens. Same with writing. Stuff piles up and word flow is blocked. I wish I could purge by writing happy poetry, but that’s not going to happen, I think. 😀 Anyway, I think purge writing needs to be a regular habit of mine, whether I end up hitting the delete key afterwards or post it here on my blog (like with this poem). Thanks for your refreshing take on things, Saima. You’re a font o’ wisdom. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “My apartment isn’t spotless (hey, I’m a bachelor, right? 😀 )” loved it 👍😃

        Well, dear Mike, first of all thank you so much for your so generous compliments, we are all “a work in progress” and learn from eachother, that’s why i love healthy discussions 😃
        I can understand what you mean, it feels the same way.. when our mind gets cluttered with the unwanted stuff of excessive worry, guilt, fear, regret, etc you must have observed the sky just before raining and after that; what main difference you observe? — ofcourse the “clarity”. When clouds are spread all over our head, we see nothing beyond that, even it hides the light of the big shining sun too, but once it is rained, all clouds are washed away and the sky becomes clear and bright. That’s what happens with us too, these thoughts form those dense clouds that do not allow the bright light reach us, and blurs the clarity.
        As far as past is concerned, we all have many unresolved issues, but who to resolve them; — “US”, no one else can ever do it for us.. i believe that everything happens for some good reason, always.. good/bad both. Whatever happened in past we can’t change that.. so better to accept all that happened, ” forgiveness, including the self forgiveness too” is very crucial, though it’s very difficult to forgive sometimes, but i feel that it liberates us. And letting go of the expectation or hope that it (the past) could have been any different. Accepting it as it is, is relieving. What’s gone was meant to be gone.. that’s it. What happened was supposed to happen.. accept it and let it go. As far as future is concerned, we all have different worries and fears and will always have..it’s human nature. But “trust” plays a fundamental role here.. as much we fear anything bad to happen, we may equally trust in something good to happen. This choice of speculation always lies with us. Better to be present in the “present” because it is all that we have. What happens tomorrow; — No one knows. As you have mentioned about the “organization or compartmentalization” of thoughts and different emotions, that’s all what is required👍 this is called “putting it in perspective — order”, not to exceed from its due impact. Not to control us or direct or drive us. I know it’s easier said than done, but not impossible.. only we have to change the way we look at things.
        As far as your poetry is concerned, we love it.. whether it’s sad or happy, doesn’t matter, it comes from a true place, that’s what matters. But yes we all wish you to be happy and wish to listen/read your happy poetry too💕🙂

        Best wishes, always!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Mike, you bared your soul and invited us in to feel your angst. Thank you for the honest feelings and for the encouragement to not accept our darkness but to look always to the beauty and the light of creation. It is healing. Beautiful writing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank, Peggy. I’m so grateful for your always insightful and compassionate comments. The older I become and the more I experience (both good and bad), the more I appreciate the natural beauty of this world and how it speaks to all of us on a fundamental level, showing us there is more to this place than what we may think, and giving us hope. Sometimes that’s all we have, but hope is powerful, and nature is beautiful and healing. I appreciate your kind words so much. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cindy. It was good to write something again after so long. Purge writing about depression is something I’m trying to do more often. Some get deleted after having served their purpose of venting emotions, while others like this one may find their way onto my blog. Sometimes you have to write from the gut instead of the mind. It’s a lot more visceral and urgent, but sometimes that’s what’s required, you know? I’m always appreciative of your kind support. Many thanks. 🙂

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