SPOTLIGHT: Fiery Waters by Renee P. Chandler


Great things evolve
when I follow my peace.
I connect easier,
find reasons to rejoice,
create safe spaces.
But the idea of faith
is terrifying for me.
Some have it
dripping like thick honey
into every crevice of their lives.

It’s more like I’m frantically chasing bees
in a bright verdant garden.
Yearning for their acceptance,
I am a ferocious bear
awakening in Spring,
famished, confused, and irritable.
Ancient desires bumping
against the stark reality of nature’s gifts.


I come from there.
From broken teeth
and stained sidewalks.

I come from there.
From the dirty alley
and the cigarette butts.
From the grilled government cheese
to the canned peanut butter

I come from there.
From a place of shattered illusions
and missed meals.
The smell of marijuana
clings to my clothes,
clings to my future,
a bliss I cannot un-discover.

I come from there.
From acute tension
and embarrassments.
From fear laden dreams
and escape plans.

I come from there.
From the ribbons
that have come undone.
From the naked rooms
and hidden agendas.
From pedophile porn
and lost innocence
to the reek of stale butts
and planned ruins.

I come from there.
From the land of broken dolls
and lost opportunities.
Knotted hair
and un-brushed teeth,
the echoes of my childhood.


I come from there
where the windows are high
and covered in metal mesh.
Where the waves bring forth false “cures”
and meds with empty hopes
like so many crushed paper cups.

I come from there
from bandaged wrists
and immortal communion.
We may be damaged vessels
cracked and breathless.
Our stories told
til they’re nothing more
than bloodied hands grasping.

I come from there
where the t.v. remains on
from dawn til the night med line forms.
From plastic covered pillows
and ill-fitting sheets.
Someone else’s hard candy stash
left in the drawers
that have become yours.

I come from there.
From socks with grips on bottom
to unshaved armpits and empty gazes.
Never hearing the call of freedom
without a tinge of fear.


Losing each and every fight with my mind
grasping blindly for control,
finding only uncertainty.
Freezing these mixed emotions,
holding it all in place
for everyone else.
The self-mockery is enough,
enough to make one wonder
at the nature of rejection.
Is it manifested within us?
Blooming to life
once it touches the world outside,
outside of the confines of this body?
This body aflame in a pool of desire,
a ripple in the waters of time.
We all endure as much as we can
before we collapse like so many stars.
Oh we are but heavenly bodies
exploding quietly,
reaching the outer edges of reality.
Slipping past illusion,
undoing the knots of eternity.


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