The Return


Malaise has returned
Seeping thick molasses,
the color of black ink is
coating my insides with
its familiar incongruity;
its exhaustion pervades

Optimism wafts up in
the smoke rings above
my head, after too many
false starts, too many
days filled by delusional
hope in my naive beliefs

The postman rings twice,
but anxiety always leans
it’s elbow on the doorbell
until you can stand it no
more; throwing open the
door to its familiar faces

Last vestiges of sympathy
are reserved for those left
to bear witness as the old
sparkle, slowly extinguishes
from my eyes; too weary to
fake it, even for a second

they can run
but I can’t hide
from me

©Brenda-Lee Ranta

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One Day

Ashen, devastated; shock
slowly flooding his body,
although the day was warm,
his body iced in trepidation.

Twenty-eight years at the Mill,
that ruined his back, calloused
his hands, paid for a house, a
cottage; supported his family

 Rumors buzzed before, time
was running out there, always
it passed, another year, decent
life; till that day, his life ended

 He sat them down – told them.
A silence was broken when his
wife blew her nose, looking up,
blank incomprehension, tears

 They scattered, doors to rooms
closed behind each child, while
his wife stared straight ahead;
his truck pulled out of the yard

 Jobs didn’t fall from trees for a
blue collar man, trained to do
one thing, as months passed by;
skimpy meals and piling bills

 Sold the cottage at a loss, sold
his snow machines, sold his old
restored Harley; bought more time;
paid for a nightly case of twelve

 Children stay out all night long,
avoiding screaming, crying, the
dad they hardly knew anymore,
a mother who forgot how to smile

He lost his pride
He lost his house
He lost his family
He lost his life

Living in a room above a bar,
he remembers his family, he
considered traitors; then guzzled
from a bottle of liquid amnesia

 His only budget was how many
many nights, how many bottles he
could afford week to week since
his life ended, that day at the Mill.

©Brenda-Lee Ranta

Then (in memory of our lost ones)



Life. I had one. Then.

I forget how to be straight; in control of my body,
now my body controls my mind, I have to listen to it,
or it hurts, I shake, I puke, skin crawls like its infested.

Life. This is it. Now.
Morning thoughts about how to get my next fix, hit,
toke, smoke, drink, downer, upper, buzz; make me feel
alright, make me feel alive; till I feel dead and start again.

Life. People hate me. Now.
They see weakness, they see a loser, they see me as a
waste of skin; can’t trust me, maybe they can’t but I have
no way out, I can’t find the door but I feel their disgust.

Life. I am nobody. Now.
Self hatred till I make it stop, not thinking, thinking hurts,
better to float for a while, not dwell on my losses, don’t
count them anymore, go to my place with no thoughts.

Life. I want one. Someday.
Caught between life and death, thinking death wants to
grab me first; I see people having a life, I forget what its
like but I see them, doing normal shit, working, shopping.

Life. I had one. Then.
Before I got lost in the haze, before I stopped dreaming,
before I was afraid to feel; I knew real people, did things
that mattered, people loved me; I forget their faces.


©Brenda-Lee Ranta

Sacred Choice

He chose her to be his mother;
the essence of everything his
soul desired to experience in this life
resided in her
Within her womb he took his form,
above her womb was where he would dwell
for all eternity, the genesis; the nucleus
of mother love, is never conceived
of flesh
rather, borne in spite of it

©Brenda-Lee Ranta
photo Pixabay.comwoman-1922353_960_720