Tag Archives: Poem

I think I felt my soul today

“I think I felt my soul today”
By: Gabriella Palladino

I think I felt my soul today
Lost in this dark expanse
I got down on my knees to pray
But never got the chance

I may have felt my soul today
I couldn’t help but gasp
But then I felt it slip away
Eluding my weak grasp

I think I felt my soul today
But now I think it’s lost
And all the things I want to say
Were taken as the cost

I know I felt my soul today
It may be the last time
If it was lost along the way
My soul I’ll never find

And if I lost my soul today
Where will it go from here?
Will it wander? Will it still pray?
Or will it disappear?

I think I felt my soul today
When pierced by Satan’s lance
And so I’m on my knees to pray
For just a second chance


mani_promoManifestation is available on:

Createspace in paperback

and Amazon in ebook and paperback.

Shadow

Shadow”
By Gabriella Palladino

I saw my own shadow today
We sat under a tree
She didn’t have that much to say
Yet still she sat by me

I talked to her of how I’ve sinned
And fear my heart’s turned black
I couldn’t tell if she listened
For she said nothing back

But I kept talking anyway
Although I must confess
The more my shadow didn’t say
The more I was a mess

I cried, I pleaded, begged her to
Give me just one word back
I cried out “What is wrong with you?”
My hand swung with a smack

And then my shadow laughed at me
My hand passed right on through
Beyond my tears I then could see
She had more than I knew

She had such calm, truth, love, and peace
No nightmares plagued her sleep
But me, my tears, they never cease
For me, the pain runs deep

How can my shadow be so free?
With laughter, love, and life?
If she but lives as part of me
And all I know is strife?

All of these questions plagued my heart
I couldn’t help but ask
“Could it just be, you play a part?
Your laughter’s just a mask?”

“Do you still hide from your worst fears
Your worries and your doubt?
Does your laughter hide endless tears?
Your smile hide a pout?”

And then my shadow shook her head
She laughed at what I asked
She looked me in the eye and said
“You are the one who’s masked”

And then I realized it was true
The mask was on my face
My shadow saw it, and she knew
She’d put me in my place

My shadow was the mask I wore
Her darkness cloaked my soul
And it would still be long before
I ever became whole

To my shadow, I bowed my head
As a smile crossed her face
She knew my tears had to be shed
I felt her cool embrace

She held me closely while I cried
And whispered a sweet prayer
For all my loved ones who had died
And one who was still there

And then I slowly closed my eyes
And cried myself to sleep
My shadow held me like a prize
That she would always keep

But when I woke, the night had come
My shadow was no more
My body shivered, I was numb
Rain had begun to pour

And in that rain I stood alone
I let it wash me clean
Of all the sorrow that I’d known
And horrors that I’d seen

Now my shadow is still inside
I wear the mask no more
I will not run away or hide
From what has come before

And next time my shadow is near
I’ll lend to her my praise
Her judgment I’ll no longer fear
I won’t avoid her gaze

My shadow is a part of me
One piece out of the whole
Just as darkness will always be
In my eternal soul

Peace

“Peace”
By Gabriella Palladino

I think I might find peace today
If I don’t miss my chance
A time to wish, to hope, to think
That it was happenstance

Yes, I’ll search for peace, and say
That I won’t miss this chance
It’s time now for me to believe
There’s no fate, just circumstance

That the thing which led my way
Was just the Jester’s Dance
That never was my path preset
That I always stood a chance

So I’ll find peace, and hope, and pray
That darkness won’t advance
I’ll search and seek for a new path
But then, like shattered glass

My hope is gone, it floats away
Before I catch a glance
It’s lost and now there in its place
Is an empty vast expanse

For it is lost to me, always
And forever peace will pass
It runs far off and will not stay
For me, the pain must last

Forever, always there is no way
For fate has made its stance
It is my path, and my own curse
To suffer, til the last

And so I go on, day by day
A pawn of circumstance
Cursed, beholden to my fate
And haunted by my past

And so I wander, my feet I lay
Each step after the last
On this path I cannot leave
The path of Fate’s cruel dance

And so I’d take this chance to say
“I’m sorry”, but it’s passed
The time to say it long since gone
I must have missed my chance

And you I’ve wronged, I hope one day
You’ll get your own true chance
For peace, for love, for all the things
That I stole from our shared past

I can’t imagine any way
To ask your forgiveness
Should I kneel, and pray, and beg?
Like confession after mass

No, I think that I’ll just stay
Far off from your cold glance
And I’ll hold my secret pain
And always keep distance

I thought I might find peace today
But it seems I’ve lost my chance
I wonder if I ever will
Find peace, or hope that lasts?

No, I won’t find peace today
Not ever, not a chance
And even if that peace was offered
I think I’d let it pass

On Staring at the Wall

You’ve been there. You know that feeling. When you have no energy. No focus. You just sit there. Your eyes zone in on something in the distance. You’re not really seeing it, though. You’re not really seeing anything. You’re just sitting there, staring at the wall.

I’ve been diagnosed with depression. According to the therapist I spoke to (disclaimer: several people have told me he offered the worst advice they’ve ever heard), I have episodic bouts of depression. It comes and goes; I’ll be weighed down and listless for a few days or weeks, then come back with huge bursts of energy. Staring at the wall is one of the things I do when I’m having an episode of depression.

(Side note: the outbursts of anger bordering on volatile rage lead me to believe I may also be bipolar, but the therapist said otherwise.)

I do some of my best staring at the wall at home, between the hours of 6:00-10:00 pm. This is when I’m usually at my least productive, usually because I’ve spent the previous five hours working, writing, or running errands. I’ll always end up with a surge of energy later at night, because that’s just how I am. I especially find that I get more energy when the sun goes down. Sunlight saps my strength, and I prefer to avoid it whenever possible. It leaves me irritable, exhausted, and drained. Also, I burn easily.

I’m not quite sure what the cure for staring is. Sometimes I try caffeine. Other times I go on Twitter and tell people about how I’m staring, and they try to snap me out of it. Today, I’m writing this blog post while in the middle of a bout of staring. I’m actually spending a good length of the time I’m writing staring off at a point in space, not looking at either the screen or the keyboard. This is actually a pretty common thing. It’s almost refreshing; it’s a state of mind where everything is blank. It’s a way to avoid being self-critical, judgmental, or worried about how I sound. This is the type of frame of mind many writers suggest getting into during a first draft, where you need to “turn off the internal editor.” While I doubt they recommend getting into a staring contest with inanimate objects as part of the process, it still seems like it works.

Hopefully, after finishing this post, I’ll stop staring. Then I can focus more, concentrate, and get back to work. I have a lot of work to do–a novel to publish, a sequel to revise, some short stories to polish up (I have one short story currently being read by about 6 different people, so hopefully they’ll provide some good feedback soon). I’ve also got to find a job. Speaking of which, if you know of any freelance and/or long term writing or editing work, I’d appreciate you sending it my way. I’ll try not to stare too much during the interview.

And in honor of staring, I decided it would be fitting for this post to include a poem by my main protagonist, Gabriella Palladino. Of course, in her case, she’s worried about a different kind of staring…

Staring”

I’m staring
But why do we stare?
If she catches my eye
Then why do they care?
It’s not like it means
There’s anything there
It’s no more than a glance
To judge it’s not fair
Yet staring
Snags me in a snare
As I look at a girl
With golden blonde hair
I don’t mean to look
I just shouldn’t care
But I just want to cry
When caught in a stare . . .

Exquisite Corpse

This poem is a collaborative effort. It was written in my Poetry Workshop class at Rowan University. Nine people (eight students and the teacher) added lines to the poem ‘blindly.’ Each person added the next line without being able to read the previous one, except for one word. Which meant I only wrote one out of every nine lines shown below (I’ll leave it to you to guess which ones; if you know my writing, it should be obvious). The result was very interesting, and it created a poem that none of us quite expected.

An exercise like this is known as an “Exquisite Corpse.” You can read more about the technique here.

——————————————-

the air near the barn smelled
like wood chips on a playground, flying as the

children run, losing the footsteps in pursuit,
their hearts racing to the brink of the ocean
and back again, swimming in the churning
abyss that reaches beyond intent, it stares
back down the path she had taken as she
fled from the fire, back to the smoldering ruins
of the school
pallid, narrow, waiting for the
blush to rise up against the sun
where the blades of grass meet
the dead concrete heaves as if the Earth is
breathing, slow melodic breaths trying to compose
their thoughts died in the deathly dull
lecture, never ends, drones like waves against
sinking into the streets of New York, the
concrete turned into a river, the waters
swallowing

nothing ever plummets as fast
as we want it to begin, as always with

a tarnished silver cross hung
dead around her neck weighing
down, beneath our feet, where
the dead walk among us, the lost souls
wandering tendrils of opulent
pearls shattered against her skin, shining and
calling, screaming, crying for help, crying in pain
but then he just stopped crying, and I knelt
there holding
looking down into a chamber
with a gasp a cry a yelp at the
dark and empty as the promises
in parking lots at 4 am where cops lurk and
drug dealers selling only hope, a way out
from pain life
blooms brooms booming bass beside bystanders
bowling down the hillside and crashing into
the shrubs at the bottom. Then, moments
later, exploding

A Poem and a Story

I’d like to tell you a story about a poem.

The main character of my novel, Manifestation, is a girl named Gabby Palladino. Gabby is a poet, and I study a lot of poetry as part of her character development. I’ve also written a number of in-character poems for Gabby that are based on her experiences in the novel. I’ve mentioned on the blog before that some of these poems have been published, and you can read a few online (“Shadow,” “Peace,” and “I Think I Felt My Soul Today” are all on the blog).  The one you see below is one of the first poems I wrote, long before Manifestation was ever published.  It represents a rather dark period in Gabby’s life, where her thoughts turn to mortal sins.

You should read the poem first, before I tell you about the curious consequences it brought.  Keep in mind that this poem represents the emotional state of Gabriella Palladino after the tragic events she lived through in Manifestation. In other words, it’s based on a fictional character’s reaction to fictional events.

“Prayer of Life”

Dearest Lord, I beg you please
As I pray, here on my knees
Forgive my sins, and my mistake
Forgive the life I had to take

Forgive my heart, forgive my soul
And know it never was my goal
To take a life with my own hand
Oh please, Lord, don’t let me be damned

I used to think my soul you’d keep
But now my sins may run too deep
To earn forgiveness. What’s the cost?
Is my soul already lost?

Please God don’t let it be true
Too late to come back to you
Must I wander, on my own?
My soul forgotten, my sins unknown?

Please God, I don’t want to die
Without ever knowing why
This curse, this power came to me
Oh, when will cruel fate let me be?

Tortured, lost, and all alone
But the choices were my own
To leave, to live and never know
What fate my future might next show

Please, God, it’s to you I pray
I just don’t know what else to say
My tears fall down upon my bed
My own blood I would gladly shed

But that’s the greatest sin of all
To take my own life, I would fall
From whatever grace I’ve left
My soul, the devil’s final theft

But damnation, I deserve
So if I can just find the nerve
I may just do it anyway


I may just do it anyway…

As with “Shadow,” “Peace,” and a few others, this poem was submitted one year to Avant, the Rowan University literary magazine.  I was hoping to get the poem individually published before I included it in a collection of Gabby’s poetry for Arcana Revived. It was rejected, but did receive a rather unique bit of feedback.  Here is an email I received after this poem was submitted for review:

Dear Jason,

I am the emergency on-call counselor this weekend for Rowan’s Counseling and Psychological Services Center. I am contacting you because of the poem you submitted to Avant, which has worried a number of people. I have read it over as well, and am also very concerned about you and would like to speak with you as soon as you get this email.

Please call me at ***-***-**** no matter what time you get this message.

****************, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
Rowan University

I removed the therapist’s name for confidentiality purposes.

When I received this email, I cracked up laughing.  The poem was, quite obviously, intended to have the sound of a suicide note.  I was drawing upon the tragic events of Gabby’s life in order to make it sound as dark as possible.  Apparently, it was SO dark that someone at the literary magazine thought that I, the author, was suicidal!

I cleared it all up by explaining to both the psychologist and the literary magazine staff that the poem was written entirely from the fictional perspective of a character in my novel.  Yet I couldn’t stop cracking up, and the reaction gave me quite a sense of pride.  Despite the fact that it had been rejected for publication, it clearly had an impact on the people that read it.  It was dark enough to make those who read it fear for my personal safety.  I consider this a huge compliment, since that’s exactly the feeling I want to invoke in the reader . . . as long as it’s Gabby, not me, that they’re worried for. She was most definitely suicidal at the time of the poem, and I’m glad that a professional therapist thought that I expressed that realistically.

One of the most important parts in writing a novel is making the reader care about your characters.  It’s an issue that I struggle with constantly.  In order for this novel to work, the reader must care about Gabby and what happens to her.  One of the reasons I’ve written her in-character poems is to draw upon the reader’s emotions, with the hope of forming an empathetic connection between Gabby and the reader.  It’s my hope that if a poem like this can draw such a profound response, then maybe the entire novel will have the strong emotional impact I’m striving for.

Of course, if you want to learn what Gabby went through to put her in this frame of mind, well, that’s another story.

(This post was edited and updated on 10-27-14.)


mani_promoManifestation is available on:

Createspace in paperback

and Amazon in ebook and paperback.