Shadowlands

We descend into the shadowlands sometimes to remember how to light our spark again. For it is in darkness we can learn to shine the brightest.

But to understand the flame we must also know that it can be blinding. So, we honor the spark by seeing its beauty when bathed in night.

The journey down isn’t easy, nor is the journey back, but it is not a permanent state of being.

The pain will cease.
The sun will come again.
You will remember joy.
You will find love past the fear, hope after grief.
You will rise stronger and more alive.
You are not alone in this space.
My spirit stands with you in strength and tender solidarity. ❤️

-Angel Marie Russell

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I Will

I will bleed
To defend the innocent.
I will rise
From piled ash.
I will reach far within
And pull all the poison out.
I will not be tamed
Calmed, or quieted.

I am a storm.
I am a dream.
I am the misty fog
Of euphoria
After remembering.
My presence awakens the hearts
Of sleeping giants.
And the Earth quakes
Where I’ve placed my feet.
I am alive.
I am love.
I am the fire on the wind.
The creation.
I am as you are.
Remember.

-Angel Marie Russell

Try Me

They may try to hook me,
But I know all about their bait
And how it reeks with taint.

They may try to silence me
Or catch me on the run,
But I’ll run faster still
And laugh, “oh isn’t this fun.”

They may try to smother
The light I’ve got inside
But its source has no end
And that shit is BRIGHT!

They may try to blame me
But I know where it really lies
And I will ever and always
RISE, RISE, RISE.

I will not participate
In your negativity
And fear.

I will not bow down
To your intimidation
Or threats.

I will not cower
Or ever hang my head,
Again.

I’ve got a God
On my right
And a Goddess on my left.
A pretty mean right hook,
Don’t forget my intellect.

So, I’ll just sit over here,
And watch you all debate
Over which slimy thing you think
Will tempt me.
And I’ll laugh gleeful
At your tirade.

You can no more
Pin down a dragon,
Lock a Phoenix
In a cage,
Than you can win me over
With your cowardice and rage.

I’ll not participate
In your negativity and fear.
Love reigns here.
In my world, those games you play,
Will never win.

-Angel Marie Russell

Survivor

Everyday
Every
Day
Here
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
Hard
Enough,
Certainly not tough
Enough.
Certainly not
Enough.

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.

How,
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
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,
Supplicant,
“Goddess please
Take it away!
Relent!”

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,
Triggered,
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
Anything
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;
Survivor.
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
Frequently

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
Extraordinaire,
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

http://www.gofundme.com/BreakOpen

#heathertheurer painting

Warrior

You may not know this
By looking at me,
My small frame,
And fragile looking face,
You may not notice
In the quiet of my stare
The fierceness lurking there.

You may not see what is
Right in front you
As the world has said
She is weak.
As woman, let’s ignore her
Lest she speak,
Let’s discredit her,
Lest she seek to rise,
Let’s demonize her,
Lest her soul shine,
Let’s keep her down,
Underfoot,
She is woman,
She is weak.

So, yea
I got the box checked lady,
I wear delicate shoes and lace,
I have fancy clothes and makeup,
My heart goes a flutter
Near boys when they race.
I hated pink because they told me
It was only for me,
But secretly I love it,
Yes, even sparkly things.

So yea,
You might miss it
If you lack the eyes to see
What is truly resting on my chest
No, not those,
And yet…
There is power there too,
Isn’t there? The power to rear
The small, the innocent,
The precious and dear.

Yet, this is not what I am currently
Waxing poetic about.
It is my armor, invisible, yes I know.
It is my battle hardened body
My scars and my skin
That line the truth,
The understory,
Of where I’ve been.

You see I am warrior.
Oh? You don’t see it yet?
Where are my muscles?
Where are my weapons?
Where is my prowess in combat?

Yes, it’s true I might not win in a fight.
I may cower and when anxious
It is my fingernails I bite.
I may not triumph blood covered
In the most ruthless of rings.
I may not know very much
About those sort of things.

But do not doubt for one second
My warrior’s stare,
The determination, perseverance,
The dedication that’s there.
Because truly, I believe,
If you miss that you cannot see me.

I am a warrior
Many battles deep.
I kept fighting the war
When others had fled, well not me.
I kept holding up my chin
Even after collapse,
I kept fighting for my innocence
Even after it was spent.
I kept on keeping on
Even in the face of defeat.
I picked up my sword
And stood even after
I was made to bleed.

And yes, I can see there is no
Gaping wound. I am not truly
Wounded am I?
Well, can all scars be seen?
Can you tell me truly
Where my heart has been?

The shallows, the mires,
The darkness
That coils.
The unseen story,
The invisible trials,
The scene within
My most tender of frames,
After battle with demons
That sent Hercules to fame.
Yes a field, war torn, rests within
My delicate flesh.

It is my mind, my heart, my soul
Where the armor hides.
It is my strength to keep going
Desperate to survive.
It is my diligence
To keep going no matter
How great the desire to die.

It is this that caused
My haunted eyes to grow light.
It is this with which I still
Everyday go out and fight.
It is my spirit with which
I am inextricably tied,
That kept me going
Tired yes, but so deeply alive.

It’s true, even I,
Have battle shell shock,
Ptsd panic, and trembling hands,
I even sometimes have to rock.
Oh? But this, you think, that
Makes me weak?
Oh friend, you cannot know then,
Or comprehend.
There are battles invisible
That many of us fight.
There a victories
Unnoticed
Even a shit eating grin.

Weakness?
You can’t possibly know
Where I’ve been.
The darkness that cloaks
My waking breath.

I am a warrior many battles deep.
I am a Phoenix, a seductress,
A vixen, a baby girl, a queen.
Oh? These things are
not the same?
I’ll just laugh and shake my head.
I pick up my lace, my armor
And keep my story for the pen.

I am a warrior
Just as all the women
Of my kind.
I am a warrior many battles deep.
What kind of secrets,
I wonder,
Does the world tell you to keep?

-Angel Marie Russell

Please consider donating to help me publish my book and for my health. ❤️
http://www.gofundme.com/BreakOpen

The Old Ways

Often
I mistake my anger
At humanity
For anger
At the world.

The structures
Deceitful
The paradigms
All sick
The connection
Bred, enslaved, and molested.

And I forget
The morning birdsong,
The flowers bejeweled
In dew,
The wind whipping trees
In ecstatic dance.

I forget the creek, the stream,
The river,
The migrating of fish.
I forget the mating dance,
The ritual of building
The perfect nest.
I forget the scrutiny,
Of the tiny bird as she decides,
Not this one,
You’re not ready,
Not yet.

Her wings take her
far to the better,
The ready,
The practiced and prepared,
She doesn’t subjugate to
Less than because her flock
Tells her so,
She doesn’t
Prostrate
Naked, belly up, like prey.
She uses her power, her wings
And she flies far
Far away,
Where she’s safe.

See, we’ve forgotten
The secret of nature,
The power, the hiding,
The chase, the claws
Of our mother
Willing to die
To defend her young.

We’ve forgotten the lessons
Of nature
Stay strong, stay tough
Bold, true to our
essence, instinct, our loud
and noble song.

And we suffer
We lament
We hate
We despair
And we want to leave all of it
We desperate cry
No more!

But do not forget the thicket
The lark
The wave
The tide
The moon
Breathe in and out
And on and on.

Remember your purpose
In the returning
Spring
The morning song,
Remember your mission,
In instinct,
Your retreat to the old ways
Which were never
Ever wrong.

-Angel Marie Russell

Photo: Baya Weavers

“The male bird builds the nest half way after which he tries to seduce the female by his courtship displays. If the female is interested, she will examine the uncompleted nest, after which he will complete building it or both will work together.” -http://besgroup.blogspot.com/?m=1