Tag Archives: Poetry


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



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…


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

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

Kickstarter Update #6: Poetry

You can also view this update on Kickstarter.

I don’t often see poetry included in works of fiction. “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” contained some poems and songs, but they’re the sort of thing that doesn’t seem to be included often. Part of the reason is surely because poetry and fiction are very different writing styles. Comparing the two is like comparing singing to playing a musical instrument; both are forms of music, but the skills required for each are very different.

Before beginning work on the “Arcana Revived” series, I didn’t work with poetry often. I have studied it in college, and worked on it over the years, but it wasn’t a focal point of my work. The main reason I started working with poetry again is because Gabriella Palladino, the main protagonist of “Manifestation,” is a poet. Writing her character frequently put me in a poet’s mind frame, and I began writing poems from her perspective. Over time, I wrote a large number of poems that are all written as if Gabby were the one writing them. They were inspired by the events in her life, including the development of magic throughout the course of the novel.

The poetry collection included for most backer levels, “The Poetry of Gabriella Palladino,” contains poems that were inspired by mystical and tragic events. As a result, the poems have magical elements and supernatural themes. The sample poem I linked to, “Shadow,” is a good example of the supernatural themes in the poems. In that poem, Gabby’s shadow seems to come to life and speak to her. While this is metaphorical, not literal, it hints at the supernatural nature of the world Gabby is living in.

The poetry collection is almost 4000 words (40 pages in Word, double spaced). I hope those of you who selected a rewards package that includes the poetry collection will enjoy it, and see it as a good value for your contribution.

Thank you for your continued support. I’d appreciate if you’d continue to spread the word and let others know about this project. I’ve nearly hit my minimum goal after only a week, but the more people who see the project, the better chance there is of reaching the higher goals. A few tweets can go a long way.

Storytime Mondays: Code Poem

I recently had an assignment at Rowan University to create a generative code poem. It was a rather different experience than I’m used to; I write more formal poetry, and I’m normally very particular about form, rhythm, rhyme, and so forth. The generative poem, however, doesn’t allow me to control such things (at least, not without a greater understanding of programming).

Instead of writing a poem from scratch (and since the class was a writing class, not a computer programming class, most of the students didn’t know anything about coding), our assignment was to choose the words that would be fed into the poem. The code itself was written by someone else and mostly stayed unaltered. The result is a poem that generates lines randomly in a fixed (but somewhat randomized) pattern. The creative/artistic aspect of it was in trying to choose the right words or phrases to be displayed, while understanding that the results would be mixed up and unpredictable.

I decided to craft my generative poem based on Manifestation. My word banks are based on the characters of my novel, along with some of the most common words, phrases, feelings, themes, and emotions that can be seen in the story.

The results can be found here. The poem should load in your browser window and generate lines at a steady pace. It will continue endlessly until you close the window.

mani_promoManifestation is available on:

Createspace in paperback

and Amazon in ebook and paperback.