The Dam

Please don’t leave me here
In the puddled remains
After the dam broke
And everything I held in
For so long came rushing 
Quickly out. 

Please don’t judge me harshly
For a life that ate pieces of me;
More than it gave,
Ripped me apart faster than,
I could heal, runaway, or be saved.

Please don’t confuse my disease
With malcontent, because truly,
There are reasons
For all that ails me.
And everyday I’m healing
Everyday I use my
Claws, teeth, and determination
To rise,
And I do.

But being human,
As I am sure you know,
There’s a max capacity,
To everyone’s emotional dam
And mine has been crumbling
For years now.

And I know the state of burden
More than carer.
I know the state of rejection
More than marriage.
I know the state of deflection,
Denial, and dismissal,
More than wishes, homes,
Soft beds, or saviors that come
When whistled.

I know the murky
depths of despair
Like I know the hair
On my very own head.
And I know what it is
To battle that,
Determined to carry through
and on.
And every time
I do.

And I know too,
How to find love,
When everywhere I looked,
I could just find none.
I found it triumphant
And with it my worth too.

So, please don’t confuse my
continued lamentation
To mean once again
I am used up, useless, or
Because yea,
I can tell it’s there in
Some of you.

Yet, even that
Will not cause me
To quit.
I will never give in.
I will never submit.
And you will not find me
With my head down
One more day.
You will not find my heart
Left alone.
And if I am the only one left
To hold my tiny beating friend,
Well there I’ll be,
Holding my tiny heart home.
Picked up from the puddle,
Dried and cleaned up.
Polished even, until
Ready to soar once again.

Angel Marie Russell

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Hope lies in the tethers
That connect my heart to love,
The cords that bind
My mind to the chorus of birdsong above.
I forget to look there,
In the eyes of a babe,
In each and every golden ray
Of the sun,
And the wisp of wind
That blows my heart undone.
And the tears flow
Like the mistiest of breezes
Pelting my cheeks.
Is this the language
With which my heart speaks
Of love?

And when did my ears
Stop hearing the song?
When did my soul stop longing to rise above?
When did I lose sight of the noblest of all
And why, oh Lord,
Does the body ache with such agony?
Why must I know the state of despair?
Why does it feel as though you don’t even care?
We are all down here screaming
For something, anything,
some kind of a sign, or a change,
Just a path to a safe place to believe
That love for once has not truly fleeted,
And that where I plant my feet is
Where I am truly needed.

Tell me there’s some sense to the flow,
The path of the breeze, the moon,
The birds fleeting in fall.
Tell me, truly, are you even there at all
Protecting me?
And when I fall are you really there to care
or even catch me?
You must know all the times
my heart has dropped.
You must know all the ways in which
I have thirsted for more than one cup
Of solace along the way,
And how it feels like there have
been more than my fair share
of bad days.

And tell me truly are you
There to wipe my tears?
Do you have any notion to my deepest fears?
And is that you in the wisp of wind?
Are those your tears of rain
With mine mixing in?
And can you hold me
For just a while longer
In your bird’s song,
A lullaby to my soul
That aches to know your presence
Once more.
Tell me my faith, my perseverance
Tell me my trust, the ache, Tell me, please
What it is you want of me,
Before the burden unfurls me again

-Angel Marie Russell

2 Poems

I am grateful
For the hearts that ache
That see my light
Even when despair
Takes my fondness for flight.

I am vocal about my struggles
Not because I am weak
It is strength
With which I speak
To show others
I know their pain
And I’m not afraid
To be vulnerable.
Do not mistake my
Naked truth
For weakness. 


I used to carry the weight
Of every person, animal, or insect
That I met.
I used to cradle,
Hold, and lament 
The pain with which they

I used to want to take it from them
And sometimes even did.
The pain, you see,
Was as real to me
As they,
And I lifted it from them truly,
I even saw some grin.

And I never saw my own back sway
Under all the extra weight.
I never took a worry
From the heart I had that wept
At seeing all the other’s burdens,
And all of their guilt and shame too.
So, even under all the parcels I coddled
Of each and every one of their pains,
Like the weight of a thousand suns.
I was determined to cross the desert,
For them,
I too asked to take their
To soothe their blasphemous shame.

And I, under the lake
Of many a souls tears
Swam with a tether
To each and every one of their aches and fears.
And I named myself their barer.
I named myself their carer.
I named myself the supplicant offering
To a Godess that allows all this
Sweeping everyone of Her creatures over, under, and asunder.

And Goddess plucked me up
Out of the ocean of pain
She gave my shoulders
A gentle rub and then a gift of
A glorious pair of wings.

And She let me fly to see more
Than just the worst of things
She taught me how to fly
In, through, below, and above.

She taught me my own power
Of speed, and tact, and grace.
She taught me all about love
Hers for me and me for all of man, plant, and animal kind.

Daughter, I did not make you
To suffer
Burdens that were never yours.
I never made you to ache
With a burn from a thousand suns.
I didn’t make you to suffer.
I made you to love you.
You, alone,
Are the only one
Of your kind
And as such beautiful, perfect, and oh so kind.

So, please lay down your
Lay down your pain from their pain
And see my daughter
It is together you rise.
It is in love
A bridge that binds
You to me,
And you to they,
And it is ever truly only love
That can find the way
To give sight to the blind.

So, lay down your penance,
Look up and use your wings.
Fly above, below,
Within and without.
Fly when you’re sorrow filled.
And fly when you feel doubt.
And fly until you forget your
Worrysome things.
And don’t forget your love,
My love.
For it is love that truly guides
All My creatures, from the largest,
To the tiniest of beings.
It is love that heals the suffering
And brings peace to all things.
It is and has always been Love
That is the point of things.

-Angel Marie Russell


Can be a battle
For some and for me
A war no one else
Knows is waged.

And when stuttering for words,
Trapped in a mouth
Repeatedly shut by rage,
Anger ignites again in the other
And again, more of the same.
“Answer me!”
“What are you stupid?”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“You just have off energy.”
“You obviously need to
Integrate your shadow.”
“You create your own reality.”

My pause annoys others
My hesitance to speak
My mutism
Taken as malice,
Stupidity, insanity
Or that I’m weak,
Damaged, doing it wrong,
Not trying
Certainly not tough
Certainly not

Too many of my days
I lay weeping
Begging for the words to speak
To tell them all how, truly
I find no solace
In sleep.

I find no peace in a rainbow
For my bones are soaked, nay
Drowned many times
In a deluge the never seemed to end.
So, to me, a rainbow speaks
Of another coming storm,
That will rage, and wash quickly away.
Just like bruises.
Just like decay.
There is no hope in tomorrow
When trapped by yesterday.

“Let it go.”
Sure, it’s easy.
I can see
How you’d think that could be.
But there is this thing in our brains
That when bludgeoned
With repeated vicious attacks,
When spat at,
When assaulted,
When picked up by hair,
When screamed at,
Well, it cracks.

And it never forms
Back the way it came.
Just like the memories
That steadfastly refuse
To go away,
Penetrated bone deep
Where the deepest scars lay
Ready, waiting, and available
To permanently replay.

So, they say, there’s hope
In tomorrow
And admonish me
For not seeing it that way
Because the pain
The pain
Surely I’m willing it to
But it just won’t let me away.

And I bury my face in hands.
I hide my tears for their sake.
I wish for it,
I lament in prayer,
“Goddess please
Take it away!

Yet still it is present
It is hounding.
It persists.
The knocking of the door
That opens to tragedy.
To memory,
To scars,
That nobody can see but me.

And the crack is on the inside
And the split it goes so deep
No one sees what I carry truly.
No one sees
Amidst the pain
The truth of me.
The shadow walker
The love stalker
The one never ever
Really giving in.

Only sometimes defeated,
Shell shocked,
Sick, down for the count
With one minute left on the clock.
With one more breath before
I fall

I finally, exhausted, relent to sleep
Where the memories
Chase, entangle,
Enrapture and suffocate
And wake me.

Nay, there is no solace in sleep.
Not this night.
Not for me.
And yet despite that
I’m a fighter.
And a fighter never truly quits.

And if love has taught me
It is this,
Love loves survivors
Fighters, even the weak,
Love knows the struggle
For which so many of us,
I speak.

And love knows none of it means
We are broken and empty things.
There’s beauty in our breakage
There’s a way to peace
Even with every broken piece
There’s a way to mend it
With patience, love, and care.
And if you know this struggle
My sister, brother
Auntie or uncle,
Your not alone.
And I see the bravery
In every breath you take.
And the courage
Every time you wake.
And I see you warrior;
I see above all,
Your strength.

-Angel Marie Russell

The Cavern And The Lift

Deep in the confusion of my mind,
The harrows of my bodies pain,
The depth within,
There is a quiet place.

There is also an ache
A cavernous valley
That deep recess within me,
That I teeter the edge of

And it threatens often
To swallow me whole.
Don’t look down they say.
Breathe they say.

Well, I’m sure I knew how once
In fact I’ve written a book
Of instructions,
On how to do this very thing.

But how easily do I forget
In the midst of the pain, the
Chaos and transitions, like birth
Messy, bloody, and
Worth every tear,
Or so I tell myself.

And I’m an expert now,
Tight rope walker
Love stalker
But the darkness
knew my name early,
And whispers continuously
In my ear.

I try so hard to shout!
But muted my thoughts doubt
The strength of my wings.
And my eyes, blinded by light
Struggle to see brighter things.

So I look down at my feet
The balance they give,
My ankles they sway and dance
This line of cavern and
Lightly scented meadow.
And I marvel at their ability
To keep me steady,
Just like they always have.

And should they fail
I try to remember
The way, when I plummet,
My wings never cease
To open wide
And catch the breeze.
And aloft once again
I see love.

Oh, but how wide and ominous,
How deep and mysterious,
How enraptured am I
With the fall and the rise?
And equally grateful am I
To be alive.

-Angel Marie Russell

#heathertheurer painting


The words are stuck
In my throat
Like memories that recall

For once one has
Lived through such
It is not so easy to forget
The chaos,
The dread,
The waking terror of
Once known as real

So echoes of the past
Call up out of no where
Like an old friendship
That was thought to have ended
And what they want can’t really be
That of a friend

They want something don’t they?
Just like lingering fear
Just like terror
They want me to give in
To give more than I have
To relent
To admit
I am weak.

And yet,
That was before I learned
To speak
That was before I knew
What meant which friends were true
That was before I saw
Love didn’t equal pain

And now I wear headphones
To block out their noise
I laugh in their faces
Or at least try
The memories won’t take me this time
And the pain of the past
isn’t here right now,
Or is it?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

One thing I know for certain
Is my heart has never failed
No matter the beatings
The shouting
The hatred
Or abuse
My heart keeps beating
Sometimes frantic
Sometimes very faint
But the rhythm of my life force
Is still in place.

So I’ll put my head down
Keep on keeping on
Once again
Like the instability
Of the road
Is my only true friend.

And I’ll keep stepping towards
I’ll keep trudging along
For I’m too damned determined
To quit singing my song

Yes truly I can see
Why the caged bird sings
And like her
I’ll never forget
The purpose, poise, and strength
Of my very own wings.

-Angel Marie Russell

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