From Skies to Concrete Walls

She embraced change as an unwilling participant,
Nostalgia’s enlightenment mingled with crimson breath,
As florid blooms behind her eyes leaked,
Cosmic insignificance trickling down her brainstem,
She gasped, an inconsequence of time ever-flowing,
Then slept in the arms of sweet nothing.


She embraced the change as a willing subject,
Took medicine with practiced sips of water,
Sighed, feeling the anticipation of calm,
On lonely days she looks outside the window,
While idle thoughts of a stranger’s life occur,
Pocked, like track marks on the inside of her arm.

Prompt: from the kind writers over at the pub, dVerse, “Palinode” as part of their Meeting the Bar: Critique and Craft series.

22 thoughts on “From Skies to Concrete Walls

  1. I may have this all wrong but I take the first one as life dying and the second one as living death? A murder victim vs. a dead-inside-but-still alive junkie? If so I’m happy to have deciphered it. If not, apologies for mangling it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interpretations are up the reader, but my initial premise was the dichotomy between a junkie’s high and a medicated plateau. I even tried measuring out the lines as manic high-lows vs a relatively mellow response.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Also, there’s absolutely no way to mangle my recollections. Once they’re made, they’re made. Your comments only add, they never take away!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I admire how a subtle change of that first line, unwilling participant to willing subject for the second stanza, painted a different scenario. The first one made me think of death, and the second part, living under the influence of drugs like a prison. I wonder about our choices, with the second part being her conscious decision to live inside concrete walls.

    Thanks for joining in. And nice to meet you at dVerse!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well thank you so much! A few others also seem to correlate the first to death, which, considering my choice of words, makes sense. I certainly aimed for a concept close to your interpretation, but ultimately I hope that my recollections were… thoughtful?

      Lovely comment, thank you. It was a delight to meet you as well. I’m simply around, writing, minding my own.


  3. I had to read your palinode a couple of times, Masa, and felt deeply the loneliness of an addict in rehab. The flip from ‘unwilling participant’ to ‘willing subject’ is never easy. You captured the release that ‘cosmic insignificance trickling down her brainstem’ brings in the ‘arms of sweet nothing’, while the ‘practiced sips of water’ come across as sterile. How sad that all she has left are the ‘idle thoughts of a stranger’s life; and the ‘track marks on the inside of her arm’.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Masa,
    Your palinode is a striking juxtaposition against the struggle against the loss of consciousness and “nothing” mitigated by it being “sweet”. I loved the flow of language, evocative of nostalgia and longing or calm and half-death. Beautifully constructed twin consciousnesses.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are too kind! I am contemptuous of my own skill, and though I pretend to bash fully bat away your praise, I greedily drink it up all the same. Again, thank you for your interpretation and more so for your comments. I admit that I miss the old pageantry of writing for an audience.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is deeply, deeply poignant! I love the depiction of “Nostalgia’s enlightenment mingled with crimson breath, as florid blooms behind her eyes leaked,” vs “idle thoughts of a stranger’s life occur, pocked, like track marks on the inside of her arm.” You capture the “what was,” and “what’s left,” so accurately. 💝

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why thank you for your comment! If I had a better intuitive grasp on my poetry I’d have tried to make stronger connections between the lines beyond just the numbering, but I duly appreciate your thoughts. I don’t know if it quite counts as a palinode, but it certainly came to me when I began to consider my options.


  6. I love the different viewpoint… to be a subject of change rather than being in control is really the more common… I have realized is more a journey of being changed, than changing yourself. There is a reason for all the drugs we consume in the process.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for kind and astute thoughts observations. I did certainly consider the level of agency we have as drugs flood our bodies, but I can only perform nuance on so thin a blade’s edge. Again, thank you!


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