Poetry

Flawed Sight

“But let me tell you this: you’re lovely,
no matter what your eyes see.”

Over the years, you’ve accumulated enough ammunition to use against yourself. All those comments about how you could be pretty if only you did this or that. How you could be happy if you just smile more. How your every flaw, blemish, and scar takes away from your looks. How you can’t measure up, no matter how hard you try. They don’t define your worth. They never have. But somewhere along the way, you started to notice how those comments changed the way you saw yourself. You started to believe in them so much that even your reflection mirrored their words. And that’s the greatest tragedy of all. Losing your sense of self. But let me tell you this: you’re lovely, no matter what your eyes see.

© Sarah Doughty

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Poetry

The Ache

“And I hope my heart is enough.
Because that’s all I have left to give.”

My heart lingers in the air, reaching out to you, but it’s trapped by me and my walls. And I wonder if you can feel my ache. How I miss you. How I miss the way things used to be. I wonder if you can sense how much I still need you. Yet, at the same time, wish I could just be. Loving you the way you deserve. I don’t know if this will ever change — if our reality will stay the same. But I know it’s taken me too long. And with no end in sight, I release my heart. I cut that tether and watch it float away. Watch it drift towards you. And I hope that’s enough. Because that’s all I have left to give.

© Sarah Doughty

Poetry

Pillow Thoughts

“Sometimes, when my head hits the pillow,
I wonder if you’d be happier if I was gone.”

Every night, when my head hits the pillow, thoughts run through my mind. About us. What we were. What we could have been. How everything has changed — and not all for the better. Sometimes I wonder if you’d be happier if I wasn’t here. And sometimes, once my thoughts quiet, I dream of that reality. I see the smiles. The way you don’t carry stress in your shoulders. Like you’re waiting for the shoe to drop. The freedom in your eyes. Like you’re no longer burdened by me. And when I wake, the thoughts stir once more.

Those dreams. They feel so real. Even though what I see is beautiful, it breaks my heart to wonder if that would be your reality if I was gone.

© Sarah Doughty

Poetry

We Cannot Look Away

Not Another Seventeen, Not Another One

Just another day
just another town
bullet perforated backpacks
spilling loose-leaf lined paper, textbooks
onto blood stained sidewalks
helicopters hovering
to give us the birds eye view
I tried to avert my eyes
out of respect for the dead
the injured
but I could not look away
Christine Ray

Even though I should
Because I am ashamed
At the bullets that rain
At the bullet point pain
Etched in their faces, rivulets in their eyes
They were just children, stolen from their time
Not forgotten in these lines
But to their parents and loved ones
It’s a void they’ll never fill, and it shouldn’t
Lives shredded and ruined
17 times we’ve gotten the chance to do better
and for the 18th, we blew it
Just like those children who looked at their killer

Their killer is not Nikolas

The Killer is you
Devereaux Frazier

Seventeen blossoms
seventeen blinks of an eye
seventeen bullets in the body of spring
and those left behind
food to flashback phobias
memory outbursts
numbing
Spring won’t be coming
in a town far away
in a country across the sea
right next to me
Basilike Pappa

Running
Running for class president
Running for the Varsity Football Team
Running to get in line for a movie they can’t wait to see
Running to embrace someone they love
Running and laughing with siblings or friends
Running to get to the dance floor before their favorite song ends
Running for exercise
Running for fun
They should never be running from the thunder of a gun
We’re destroying our future for profit and gain
While they run for their lives
And we’re left with questions and pain
Eric Syrdal

Look away, little bird.
The sky has adjourned, rejecting your flight path
well into wrath.
hell hath no fury like the anger turned apathy, semi-automatic rhapsody that plays on
the overhead speaker that once freed us
from maths.

It doesn’t add up, the physics, social studies, introduction to business, life and
death 101.

Nothing could prepare us for the words we don’t have.
Nicholas Gagnier

Lives swung into darkness
and voices numbed
Eyes losing hope
and
Blood on the hands, soul
screams and tears everywhere

Deafening silence of the death
and roaring sound of the violence
life stripped of its happiness
and tears losing the feeling

Yet again, My heart is hopeful
Lips in unison with the prayers
Trying to calm my self down
Thinking It won’t happen again

But deep down inside
I know we all are living in denial.
Megha Sood

Spare me your
thoughts and prayers.
Spare me your
people-kill-people babble.
Seventeen more names
added to a statistic
that will never be used.
So, by all means,
let’s keep sending
millions of dollars a year
to powerful people
in exchange for turning
a blind eye.
Proving over and over again
that dollars mean more
than lives.
Sarah Doughty

Seventeen more reasons we grieve.
Seventeen more reasons we’re
broken as a nation.
Seventeen more reasons we must
rise up
a giant against apathy, and
negligence—
willful ignorance.
Destroy the dissidence.
End the agenda of greed.

Our freedoms are not free—
seventeen more innocent souls sacrificed.
Kindra M. Austin

True horror has unfolded,
We watch on glowing screens of disbelief.
With the voices of innocents ringing in our ears,
Fingers swipe it all away.
As others moved on with their day,
I could not look away.

Grief, pain, disbelief,
All right there, before our eyes.
Yet one headline replaces the next,
That gut wrenching sadness suddenly replaced.
As the topic changes to something else,
I could not look away.

Where is our humanity,
I ask as society moves on from this butchered elephant in the room.
Can’t we just stop and think,
Acknowledge the death, the suffering, the wrongness.
Another day will come and go, setting on our community,
We cannot look away.

Doomed to repeat this dreadful fate,
We need to choose to change.
Insanity is as insanity always does,
As we continue to place ammunition with malignant intent.
What can I do, the individual, the lone soul, this:
I will not look away.
Michael Erickson

We
Only
Have ourselves
To blame for this
Again and again
An unsolved tragedy
We must hold ourselves to task
For every death. Every child
Like spent shells fallen to the ground
Souls adrift to haunt those who do not act –
Who do not act again and again and again
I cannot look away again, again, again
Again
Again
Again
Again
Again, again, again, again, I cannot look away, not again.
Stephen Fuller

I cannot look away
From the train wreck shit show
This country has become,
Where cash in a senator’s pocket
Outweighs the blood of our children,
Where losing your ‘right’ to own an assault rifle
Is more an abomination
Than Children being murdered in school
Than human beings dying at a concert in Vegas
Than parents burying their babies.
The blood on your hands will not wash away.
I’m with you in Parkland!
Where kids call presidents out on their bullshit.
I’m with you in Parkland!
Where they won’t let hypocrites hide.
I’m with you in Parkland!
Where they call BS on the lies.

I’m with you in Parkland!
John W. Leys

vigil

Thanks to my warrior friends
from Blood Into Ink for including me in this.
A special thanks to Christine Ray
for spearheading the effort.
Poetry

Hold On

“Maybe in another lifetime we’ll have our chance.
If nothing else, we can hold on to that.”

But that’s the thing. We never stood a chance. Fate had other plans for us. Different paths we needed to take, never quite intersecting together. Maybe that’s why I’m plagued by the what ifs and what could have beens. We could have been epic. We could have been happy together. That just wasn’t in the cards for us. Maybe in another lifetime we’ll have our chance. Either way, my spirit will always be connected with yours. So, if nothing else, we can hold on to that.

© Sarah Doughty

Poetry

Fight Flight Freeze

“There’s a reason it’s called fight, flight,
or freeze. Inaction is not your fault.”

Sometimes there’s a fine line between what feels right and what doesn’t. In those fifteen seconds that matter, you might be surprised how quickly those seconds tick by. And by then, it could be too late. But remember this: it wasn’t your fault. No matter the excuse, if it didn’t feel right, it wasn’t right. There’s a reason they call it fight, flight, or freeze. It’s not your fault if you couldn’t speak. It’s not your fault if you didn’t fight it. It’s not your fault for letting it happen. Our bodies have a natural defense mechanism and in those moments, you were following your instincts. Never apologize for your inaction. Don’t analyze what you could have done differently. You survived. That’s what matters. You. Are. Not. At. Fault.

© Sarah Doughty

Poetry

Malevolent Melody: A Blood Into Ink Curator Collab

The Honey You Gave

Those words were sweet as honey and I drank them down like they were all for me. I fell for each one. But slowly, beneath my rose-covered eyes, they soured.

And, piece by piece, you took all you wanted from me.

© Sarah Doughty

This is my contribution to another
collaboration with some strong, talented people
over at Blood Into Ink.
Click here to read the entire piece.

Poetry

Falling For It

“And here’s the thing, I know what you’re doing,
so why do I fall for it every time?”

There are people out there that can make you feel like the most precious thing in the world. But as soon as they turn their back, you feel empty inside. That’s how you make me feel. One moment you’re here, lighting up my world like nothing I’ve ever experienced. And the next, I don’t exist. I no longer matter. Whether or not you say the words, I still feel that emptiness in my chest. And here’s the thing, I know what you’re doing to me, so why is it that I fall for it every time?

© Sarah Doughty

Poetry

The Essence Of Regret

“And this. This is what regret feels like.”

Empty rooms and undiscovered tombs lie beneath your bare feet and I know you can feel the energy they emit. It’s that sinking feeling in your chest. The one that feels like a gaping hole where your heart once rested safely in your ribcage. It’s that drain. Like something is leeching your very essence from your body. These are the memories. The ones that linger in this place of death and destruction. The ones that follow you wherever you go. These are the relics of the past. The ones you tried so hard to bury beneath you. They never leave. And no matter how deep you go, or how far you try to run, they will haunt you until the end.

This. This is what regret feels like.

© Sarah Doughty

Poetry

The Cursed

“But darling, the dead never truly die,
and the truth will always come back.”

Can you feel the chill in the air? The wet cold that seeps into your bones? Can you hear the whispers that carry on the wind? The ones that know all your secrets? They are the ghosts that linger. The ones you can’t shake, no matter how far you run. They are the memories you’ve tried to bury where no one will ever find them. But darling, the dead never truly die, and the truth will always come back for you.

Call it karma. Call it divine justice. Call it whatever you want. Those bones in your past will not stay silent about the monstrous things you’ve done. And it’s your curse to bear.

© Sarah Doughty