Saturday, April 30, 2022


 I can’t speak any more,

‘Cause you stitched my lips shut.

I can’t fix this anymore,

‘Cause you made too deep a cut.

A fixed mirror still shows cracks,

Healed wounds still bare a scar.

I patched the holes you burned in me,

But I don’t know who we are.

After everything we had,

We now have to pretend.

That it never fell apart,

And I can’t comprehend.

Why you had to do that,

Why you just had to go this way.

What was the purpose,

Of hurting me every single day?

Now everything is lost,

From all the words spoken.

All the things that we built,

Well now they’re all broken.

I can no longer listen,

You’ve clogged my ears with hate.

I cannot see a future,

Have you made this now our fate?

Sticks and stones they say,

But words can make you ill.

When you try to cut me out,

You know a mindset can kill.

After everything we had,

We now have to pretend.

That it never fell apart,

And I can’t comprehend.

Why you had to do that,

Why you just had to go this way.

What was the purpose,

Of hurting me every single day.

Now everything is lost,

From all the words spoken.

All the things that we built,

Well now they’re all broken.

I thought you would understand,

you’ve known me all my life.

But you’ve never understood,

That your words are your knife.

After everything we had,

We now have to pretend.

That it never fell apart,

And I can’t comprehend.

Why you had to do that,

Why you just had to go this way.

What was the purpose,

Of hurting me every single day.

Now everything is lost,

From all the words spoken.

All the things that we built,

Well now they’re all broken.

Now everything is lost,

From all the words spoken.

After all the things we built,

All the things you’ve now broken. 

Friday, April 29, 2022

Decay II

 You can smell the decay, can’t you?

I closed my eyes for a second or two and sighed. I kept walking, listening to the soft tap, tap, tap of my feet on the sidewalk. My nose scrunched up as I could smell the rot in my mucus. 

That’s you. That’s all inside of you. Your own flesh is rotting from the inside. 

“No, I’m just sick. It’s just a cold.”

A cold for weeks? For months? Come now, dearest Destiny, you know the truth. 

“The truth that I’m sick? Yeah, I know.”

Yes, yes you are sick. You are ill, terribly ill.

“If I’m so ill, I’ll be able to die and I won’t have to hear your voice anymore.”

His eerie cackling broke through my skull and I felt it splinter into a thousand pieces. I squinted my eyes in pain. I knew my skull didn’t actually shatter, but now was not the time for logic. 

You think I’m going to let you go that easily? After all the fun we’ve had? Oh I don’t think so. The fun has just begun, sweet thing.

“And what exactly are you going to do? You are just a voice in my head. You’re not real.”

Tisk. Tisk. Tisk. Oh ye of little faith. You really think I’m just a voice? A figment of your imagination?”

“Yeah, I do.”

Let’s play a game then. A riddle.  Winner gets to scream. 

“Do I have a choice?”

Guess the riddle and you win:

What’s dead but walks,

 silent when it talks. 

and thinks it can win,

But is locked within?


Not yet.

A ringing became a siren blaring through my brain. My thoughts became scrambled and my breath hitched. I fell to my knees, holding my palms against my ears and cradling my head at my knees. I screamed and screamed and screamed at the pain, but no sound came out. I couldn’t speak and I couldn't move. And then, silence. The world around me came into focus and I realized I never stopped walking. I was speaking with no words, I was silent. My head throbbed and I managed to let out a groan as I came up to my car.

I win

I ignore him and unlocked my car. I turned the key and cranked the AC. The hot air comes out first, but not long after the cold comes out to lick my face. I sink back into the seat and wait for my heart beat to go down. The scent grew stronger in that moment and I was ready to vomit my lunch. 

Am I just a voice now?

Sharon Baker

The world I knew once taught me faith like this:

Sit up, straighten up, beg forgiveness before you're dismissed.

An aspirin between the knees or you’re made a sinner for hell,

Take a look and see just how far the unfaithful ones fell.

This is the weeping willow of my life,

Chopped down by these words, this knife.

Is existence no more than a worthless twig,

One of many saplings only turned into a fig?

My branches spread far around,

But my roots nowhere to be found.

Beneath the sharpened bark, a hollow girl,

Believed she was nothing for this world.

I began to ignore faiths far and wide,

Because they ignored the tears I cried.

Then a change swayed my point of view,

And that change just happened to be you.

You took me broken, you made me new.

And under the surface my roots grew.

You taught me a truth, a reality to believe in,

And showed me a world beyond being a sin.

You were a deeper love, a blaze sparked in the dark,

You were a door opening, a journey for me to embark.

With you at my side, I learned something real,

But it never prepared me for how it would feel.

I gave my oath, a promise to come back,

you worked hard to see my future unpack.

And I could see you there, the life in the crowd,

With the bells, the dress, the rings, and the vows.

You said you’d come see it, and this I would believe,

But never did I think that it was time for you to leave.

When the shadow rolled in, the thunder, and it’s ring,

That's when the sisters of fate too soon cut your string.

Loss, a fatal blow, where my roots then decayed,

Because then, the light you started never stayed.

I thought you’d hold on as my roots reached for you.

But I was too late, and this you already knew.

Once intertwined, our roots fed each other’s life,

But with yours uprooted, came mine in strife.

I reconsidered the meaning behind my existence.

And struggled against the world, my resistance.

I discovered that faith is but a poisoned dream,

That once lured me in with it’s promising gleam.

That snatched the very essence of my soul,

And returned my inside to a worthless hole.

The only reason I believed was because of you.

You were the only one that gave me a reason to.

And with your absence, a sun that no longer shined,

Where once again, my willow edged on the line.

The line for life and death, for right and wrong.

My branches no longer had a place to belong.

So here I stayed, with my roots all gone,

And for this world, I was a lifeless pawn.

I fought to survive, for rich soil and warm sun,

But the world’s destruction had already begun.

So I caved in, and rotted from the inside,

And on your grave, my willow tree died.

A Brother’s Promise

 Dylan Brown drove down the interstate in his 1997 Chevrolet C10 with a box strapped in the passenger's seat. Before leaving his home, he made sure to prevent it from flying around the car when he drove up the mountainside. The hills scattered around the car with bare, jagged rock and long, wavy grass on top. Sturdy dark pine trees loomed overhead and casted their shadows on the hillside. Dylan worried that he would change his mind, turn around and go home. He had been dreading this visit after everything that happened, but for his brother's sake, he finally convinced himself do it. Dylan noticed a few stray deer strewed upon the hills, casually sharing a meal of pine needles and twigs on a low-hanging branch. Dylan smiled, he remembered four years ago hoping into his older brother's ancient 1960 Ford F100 after school every day. 

"Marcus, can we go hunting today?" Dillion asked his brother one day. 

Marcus scoffed and tucked his shaggy, dark brown hair behind his ear. He turned to Dylan and glared at him with his emerald green eyes. "I told you already. Last time we went hunting, I said we wouldn't do it again. I don't have a license and neither do you. We could have gotten in serious trouble last time. Besides, Betsy broke down last week and I don't want her to break down in the middle of the forest.”

He paused, then added "Plus, you need to work on schoolwork."

Marcus named his truck Betsy the moment he first laid eyes on it and often treated it like a real woman. 

"I don't have any homework." Dylan lied. "And what do you expect from a truck you got from a junk lot for a really cheap price?"

"Hey!" Marcus exclaimed. "Betsy has feelings and she is NOT cheap. I just got a really good deal on her, okay?"

Dillion sighed. “Marcus, I will pay for Betsy's repair if she breaks down in the forest but only if you go hunting with me."

Marcus glanced at Dylan, who was mouthing the word "please" over and over. He began to consider Dylan’s offer and the two of them sat in silence.

Finally, Marcus rolled his eyes and groaned. 

"Fine. “He spat. "But I mean it, if she breaks down, I'm shoving the whole bill down your throat and you're going to pay the whole thing."

"Every penny," Dylan promised. 

Marcus turned the truck around and headed for the forest. Slowly, he brought the truck into the woods and watched for sharp rocks in its path. Betsy showed her lack of enthusiasm for the trip though her creaking and erratic engine clamor. Eventually, Marcus found a good place to park and put the brakes on. They both hopped out and walked to the back of the truck. Dylan watched as Marcus pulled his rifle out of a compartment on the left side of the bed. 

"I can't wait for when I'm old enough to own my own rifle." Dylan said.

Sure enough, he bought one three years later when he was nineteen years old. 

Marcus ignored him and checked to make sure his rifle was loaded. 

"Come on." Marcus said. "Stay behind me at all times and try not to make any noise when stepping. When we catch the deer, we're going to quickly drag it back to Betsy, throw it into the bed, pull the tarp over it, and get the hell out of here so we don't get caught. Got it?"

Dylan nodded in response. Together they went off into the woods, carefully placing each foot down on the ground. They came across a lone buck whose nose was pressed against the dirt. Marcus waved to Dylan, signaling for him to get down. They both crouched low and Marcus readied the rife. The buck, unaware of the danger, continued to mosey around until he stopped to munch on a twig laying in the grass. Slowly, Marcus crept forward with his gun at the ready, the butt of the rifle pressed firmly against his shoulder. Dylan, lost in the moment, placed his hand down and unintentionally snapped a twig in half under the pressure of his palm. His eyes widened in response and he froze. The buck's head shot up and he glanced around on edge but saw nothing and returned to his scavenging. At last, Marcus' finger pressed on the trigger. A crack thundered out in the air and instantly, the buck collapsed. Dylan watched the spectacle intently with earnest fascination. Marcus stood suddenly and raced to retrieve his prize. 

"Come on!" Marcus yelled to Dylan. Together, they dragged the deer back to the truck, hoisted it up and tossed it into the bed. Marcus fumbled for one part of the tarp as Dylan dragged the other side partially over the deer and then Marcus yanked his side over the rest. They scrambled to their seats in the truck and drove off. When they came home, their father, David Brown, was more than happy to welcome the deer in their home as he was a hunter himself. Their mother, however, did not share the same enthusiasm and scolded her sons for illegally hunting, again. 

Dylan snapped out of his daydream and his smile faded. The thought of his parents filled him with anxiety. Despite this, Dylan took comfort in remembering the things he and his brother did together, even when it upset their mother and father. He cleared his mind and pulled up to an old house on a short hill. Before leaving the truck, Dylan took a deep breath and felt his lungs pump in the nostalgia and spread it throughout his body. He looked up to see the porch. The wood was now warped and nearly rotted with partially peeled paint sticking out from one end to the other. As he scanned it from left to right, his mind remembered when it was first painted. 

" It is fine the way it is," David argued. 

"No, it's not. I'm tired of the bare wood and the splinters!" His wife, Grace argued back.

“It’s wood, Grace. The splinters will always come back under the paint anyways.”

Dylan was playing with his toys in the living room when suddenly, a fight broke out between his parents. He got up, abandoned his playtime and sought out the whereabouts of the bickering. He found his parents in the kitchen, his mother was throwing her hands in the air and his father was scowling. Dylan listened to the two go back and forth until his father gave in and ran to the store for paint. Marcus, three years older, was busy working on a school project in the dining room and spotted Dylan at the entrance of the kitchen. 

"Hey!" Marcus called. "Come here!"

"What?" Dylan replied.

"Just get over here."

"Okay" Dylan replied. He made his way over to Marcus, who motioned for Dylan to sit beside him. 

Dylan sat down and asked, "What is it?" 

He scanned the table and discovered different types of plant leaves scattered across it.

"Mom's gonna kill you for bringing leaves in and putting them on the table." Dylan commented.

Marcus shrugged. "It's for school. I'm sure she won't be too mad. Besides, she's too busy being angry with dad, which is what I wanted to talk to you about."

"What about it?" Dylan questioned.

"Well." Marcus started. "What was all of the fuss about?"

"Can’t you hear it? They’re pretty loud."

"Not really. I was focusing on my work and it was all just kind of muffled."

"Well, mom wanted the porch painted and Dad didn't want to spend the money on paint or do the work to paint it. Mom won and dad's getting the paint now."

Marcus sighed. "You know that means he's going to have us paint it with him, right?

"What! That's not fair!" Dylan exclaimed. 

"I know," Marcus replied. "But don't worry, I have a plan, so I don't have to do it."

"What about me?" Dylan whined.

"You're in the plan too, don't worry about that.” He paused to look at Dylan and put a hand on his shoulder. “You're my little brother, I'll always have your back."

Dylan beamed. "Thanks, Marcus!"

When their father came home, he found his sons at the dining room table with their mother, all of whom were intently working on the school project. 

"I need you boys to help me paint the deck." David said.

Before either of them could respond, their mother stood up.

"They most certainly will not be helping you paint." She said. "They are working on an important school project right now."

"They can work on that after they're done painting." David growled. 

"Absolutely not!" Grace snapped. "They won't be able to focus or even think properly because they will be too tired."

Reluctantly, their father marched away in defeat and Grace turned to her sons. 

"Now" She said. "If he bothers you again, let me know. Did you need any more help from me?"

"No thank you." Marcus said. "We understand the instructions now."

"Alright. I'll be in the kitchen if either of you need me. I am so proud of you, Marcus, for working so hard." She turned to face Dylan.” And I'm so proud of you for being a good brother and helping out."

After that, she walked off and the two boys laughed. They high fived and worked together on the project, nice and slow. By the time they had finished, the father had worked off his anger by painting the entire porch a bright white. 

Dylan shook the memory away and got out of his truck. He thought about all the things that his brother had done for him. Even when he was bullied, Marcus always made sure that he was never bullied again. Dylan began to walk to the front porch but stopped. Beside the house was none other than Betsy, who had seen better days. Most of her paint had peeled away, if there was any left at all. The rust that was once there in spots had now spread all over her body like chicken pox. He placed his hand on the coarse tailgate and peered inside the bed. Marcus’s rifle box was still intact and on the other side was a dirty firefighter uniform. Dylan remembered the first time Marcus wore that uniform.

“What do you think?” Marcus asked. 

Dylan was visiting his brother, who just got a job at the New York City Fire Department. Dylan sat in a chair across from Marcus, who was showing off his new uniform. 

“What do you mean, what do I think?” Dillion asked. “I think you look like a firefighter.”

“Well, that’s the goal,” Marcus replied. “But I mean, how do I look?”

“You look sort of like a traffic cone.” Dylan laughed and Marcus shot him a playful but annoyed look. 

“Okay, okay” Dylan said with his hands in the air. “You look like a nice traffic cone, happy?”

The two of them burst into laughter. 

“Can I ask you a serious question, Marcus?”

“Uh oh.” Marcus replied. “Nothing good ever comes from a question like that.”

“No no, it's not bad. I just want to know why New York City? There’re plenty of fire stations upstate. You know, where your family is?” 

Marcus sat down on the floor a few feet from Dylan and crossed his legs.

“Well” Marcus started. “Those are all small-town fire departments. I’d love to work there but my life goal is to change the world one good deed at a time. I want to save a lot of people. To do that, I have to think bigger and a small town just isn’t going to cut it. Besides, dad has been drinking a lot recently and I prefer not to be around him when he does, but my main reason is to save lives. I just want to make the world a better place.”

“You will.” Dylan promised. “You will.”

Dylan took his hand off the truck and looked to the house. He walked up to the porch, and went up the steps, each creaking under his weight. When he reached the door, he paused. His father was the reason he moved away, just like Marcus. He wasn’t ready to face his father if he was only drinking more. Slowly, he balled his hand into a fist and gently knocked on the door. A few moments later, he heard footsteps within the house and then the door was unlatched. His mother opened the door and the two of them stared awkwardly at each other, both at a loss of words. 

“Is he here?” Dylan said. His mother nodded, understanding what he was asking. She motioned for him to come in. 

“Would you like anything to drink?”

Dylan felt too sick to consume anything, so he shook his head no. 

“Go ahead and take a seat.” She pointed to the couch. Dylan picked out a spot to sit and nearly collapsed into the sofa. He had been driving for hours, the soft, fluffy couch felt good. His mother sat on the couch across from him. 

“So,” she said. “What have you been up to these past few years?” 

“Well, I work in the prison system. Currently I’m just a correctional officer but I plan to move my way up the chain of command.”

“That must be hard.”

“It is but keeping inmates in their place is worth it.”

She nodded. 

“Where’s dad?”

“Oh, he’s” Her voice trailed off. “He was arrested a few weeks ago.”

Dylan sighed. “Why this time?”

“He got so upset he drank more than usual, and he hit me. I called the cops and they arrested him.”

She pointed to the colorful bruise on her upper cheek.

Dylan nodded and responded with, “You did the right thing.” 

His mother nodded but her face was unsure. There was a long pause and then Dylan stood.

“Since he’s here, I’m going to visit Marcus.”

His mother nodded again. She stood and hugged him. At first, Dylan was startled, but then he found himself wrapping his arms around her. It felt good to hold her. After a few moments, she pulled away with tear droplets escaping her old, grey eyes. 

“Go see him.” She said. “I’ll be here waiting for you when you return.”

Dylan smiled weekly and left. He took his truck out to the town road, slowly turned into the cemetery, took a left and stopped. He reached into the passenger seat and unhooked the belt around the box. He took the box and exited the truck. He carefully set the box on the ground and brushed his hand over the indentation on the stone. “Marcus Brown,” it said. Dylan slowly opened the box, carefully pulled out a crushed, blackened firefighter helmet and placed it on top of the stone. Dylan sat there for a moment in silence, but then spoke.

“Three weeks ago, you were called to action because a plane smashed into one of the twin towers. On your way to save those people, a second plane hit the neighboring tower and it collapsed. When it did, you went down with it. When the other men found your body, the helmet stayed with you until I asked to keep it. I felt it was the least I could do after everything you’ve ever done for me. You always loved that helmet and would always tell me that it signified your greater purpose. I’ll be honest, I got annoyed with that because you always said it, and I always felt like you were showing off. Now I understand it, and I’m so sorry it took this to happen for me to get it. You were the best big brother I could ever ask for. No one compares to you because you only ever wanted to help people. I was never good at saving lives and being a hero, but I can damn well make sure that the bastards of this world stay where they were meant to be. That's why I took this job, I did it for you. It's not easy, but it’s the right thing to do. I hope I can do at least half as good as you in making the world a better place. But because of people like you, because of your sacrifice, the world IS a better place. I promise to you, I will never forget who you were and what you stood for. You were the first person to donate food to a homeless man and the last to leave a burning building to make sure no one was left behind, even if it put your life at risk. I don’t think I could ever summon the courage to be firefighter, but I will be the first to make a difference. I will do whatever it takes to help our community face hunger and poverty, just like you wanted. And if I ever become a father, I promise to never be like our father, who turned into an abusive alcoholic we never knew. Most importantly, my first son will be named Marcus, and he will know the hero he was named after. I love you, big brother.” All the pain Dylan bottled up since he received a call about his brother’s demise came pouring out. Tears slipped down Dylan's face and fell to the earth. For only a moment, he let himself lose control of his emotions. After that, Dylan brushed the tears away. He stood up, took the box, and got back into his truck. He backed out and headed to his mother's house. There, he would begin to fix what was broken. He never forgot Marcus or his sacrifice, but always remembered the promise he made to his brother to make the world a better place.

The Captain

There’s poison in the water,

Captain says “we’ll still go though”

The wind fills the sails,

Leading on the captain and his crew.

The thunder cackles,

The waves are drawing him in.

He doesn’t take precaution,

He doesn’t even try to win.

His ship is going down,

And he doesn’t care.

He’s accepted the fact,

That life isn’t fair.

The poison gets in his lungs,

And rots him from inside.

On the outside you can’t see it,

Until the day he dies.

And he won’t tell you,

Partially because he doesn’t know,

But mostly because he doesn’t 

Want you to feel so low.

He’ll lead you on,

With a lie for a promise,

By saying he’s fine,

And then he’ll dismiss.

And when you pressure him,

Hoping to find what’s wrong,

You’ll find that the poison,

Was already there all along.

So by the time you find,

A way to cure the parasite,

The sun will fall behind,

To reveal a bleaker night.

His image is but a ghost,

of who he used to be.

The captain you once knew,

Isn’t who you now see.

You won’t find the real captain,

Long ago he chose his fate.

His body buried by the sea,

You were already too late.

Thursday, April 28, 2022


 From the beginning into now,

We felt something more,

When a feeling turns to passion,

Nothing is like it was before.

A unity blessed by the universe,

As now the stars align.

From that day forward, side by side,

Your hand intertwined with mine.

We are but only one breath,

Our hearts beat as one.

Facing the darkness together,

Brighter than the sun.

So walk with me, my love,

There’s no need to fuss,

Life is the journey we share,

The world belongs to us.

Love will see us through,

Love will always defend.

When it comes to our love,

There will be no end.

Our spirits conformed to one,

we have been set free.

The world we leave behind,

Cannot match our eternity.

© Destiny Premo

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

What Lurks Beneath the Mask?

 Warm, salty tears,

Oozed from their sockets.

Wiped from my face,

And gathered in my pockets.

These tears become ink,

Collected for my pen,

To harness my truth,

For my heart to mend.

I am broken down,

Shattered in a rainstorm,

My truth is hidden,

And my face conforms.

Tucked away in plain sight,

When dawn brings a new day.

My secret is safe,

Until the mask fades away.

And what remains?

Is it my fractured youth?

No, It can’t be,

It’s something deeper in my truth.

You must dig so far down,

That even hell is above.

Here a darkness stirs,

A horror opposite love.

But worse than hatred,

Something we cannot comprehend,

So now you understand,

Why I must pretend.

Behind this mask,

My face must lie,

To bear my secret:

I want to die.

I Think Often on Your Words

I think often on your words. The ones that linger in the air and coexists amongst the breathable air, but still leaves a bitter taste. A tas...