I was here.

Today is one of the bad days.

Today, I spend an hour over the page, spelling out my name onto paper, over and over and over again until it’s all I can see.

A curve here. A line there. A dot. Repeat.

A tear drops onto the ink and leaves a speckle of blue that wobbles when I exhale.

I feel my pulse steadily rising, my heart beating faster as I take another breath.

It’s all wrong.

It isn’t me.

The paper cackles as I crush it, mocking me.


I feel like a mirage, as if I’m made of smoke, fading into nothingness.

A cold squall of wind could hiss my way, and I’d be gone, only two sets of nails and thirty-four teeth swirling in a spiral down to the ground.

And then, just as quickly, they’ll turn to dust and ash, blown away in a gust of grey.

Maybe someone will look up as I billow past them, a look of distant incomprehension on their face.

Maybe another will mouth a perfect ‘O’ as my hand fleets right through their arm, grasping for a berth.

The moment will be forgotten as quickly as it came.

I’ll be forgotten.

I could have never existed.


Memories are dust. I’d lean on words any day.

On the desk I write on is etched three words and a date.

S.R. loves J.D. 2007.

If I close my eyes, I can look up and see two pale, shimmery shapes rise up from the letters, hands clutched together, eyes shining, a tender glance, a subtle kiss. I love you. 

No one can refute that now. It’s evidence. Evidence that they existed, that they lived, that they loved.

I would like to have that, I think.

Decades later, I would like for a hand to run its fingers over my carving, sharpen the edges, perfect the letters. I would like to become a part of the wood, to live forever through it.

And if my name is on the page, if my name is scrawled on some distant pillar, I tell myself: I can’t disappear.

I was here.

See?

I told you.

I told you I was.

That’s my name, I was here.

I rip the page and start over.

The paper cackles as I crush it.


Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

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158 Comments Add yours

  1. jessijem1 says:

    I enjoy reading your posts. They clearly express your meaning while also pulling me into the feelings behind the words.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. KT says:

    I saw up there someone said, “Don’t crush it.” Nah, do. The best of you is yet to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, thank you. I think that’s my worst fear these days: that I’ve reached a sort of limit to create. Have you ever had moments where the words itself start to lose their magic, their power; and each one feels like it’s just a string of letters, one after another?

      Like

    2. KT says:

      Listen… with the pen, the mind, the energy, and the universe that you’ve got… all you got to do is lie there and breathe. It’s that good. And I’m a damn picky reader. Dickens still has yet to be beat, but you’re right on his feet. Only, yours is non-fiction and poetry and, as much as I love you Dickens, you better run.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. An extravagant compliment, but I’d be hard-pressed to turn it down: thank you. You have no idea how much that means to me.

      Like

    4. KT says:

      Do I ever worry the words will fade? Yes. But, they weren’t mine or yours to begin with. Just recorders in the universe, you and I.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. A comforting thought: that you can only bring to life the words that have already been written out for you. There’s neither blame nor pride in that. Only the welcome toil of churning out one word after another.
      I might just steal that philosophy of yours.

      Like

    6. KT says:

      You steal it. Go ahead. It’s not mine either and the words it brings to you it wants heard. Toil and churn in solitude with the gods and the ferns and whatever else… the universe is always there to keep you company. Speaking to you, word by word, letter by letter: speaking to us.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The desire to be immortal snuffs out the poet’s attempt to make it so. For some reason – and I’m not quite sure why – I think of Beckett here. The absurdity in the desire/compulsion; the recognition of it; and yet the necessity of the follow through and so, a return to where it started, the contemplation of the absurdity and the compulsion and how it complicates/inhibits the act. Now, I think of Eliot: Between the conception … and the response … falls the shadow. And how difficult it is to make a mark now in an age of such profusion, an oberabundance of words and an infinite blank screen on which to write them. The universe expands and we become lost amongst all the stars. Yet, still the need and the compulsion, the must do, can’t do, must do, can do – again again, on and on – until we can’t and so – don’t… Nice work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beauitfully said! I simple loved the way you put it. You’ve managed to express that feeling so vividly which I was struggling to get across in my own piece. ❤

      Like

  4. Faith Fruits says:

    I know you said Old Woody to Anna, I know you well…. you are my beautiful sister and I thank you for gracing me with your ‘follow’ on our brand new blog birthed about 22 hours ago. Last time I poetry lasso’ed me was through Anna and Fynn, I explain here https://christasus.blog/2015/07/04/woodys-words-to-anna/ Peace ☮️🍇🕊❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. KeciaJoy says:

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful words which capture how I often feel myself. I look forward to reading more!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you thought so. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! ❤️

      Like

  6. Erica/Erika says:

    I like your story on many levels. Coincidentally, I have been reading about Parallel universes and how we can exist in more ways than one. I am a very new blogger navigating this new world. A huge learning curve, although fun. Thank you for make me stop and think. Erica

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mmm it’s such an intruiging idea, isn’t it? I’m so glad you liked this piece, Erika! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. ahmaddagher says:

    Amazing writer
    I wish you the best of luck

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much! You too! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. sanamunir says:

    You have a unique way with words, Natalie.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much! That really means a lot ❤

      Like

  9. Wow this is Beautiful =)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much! ❤

      Like

  10. thorsaurus says:

    And yet, it all disappears eventually. Beautiful, haunting script. Well done.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. True… thank you so much! Glad you liked it! ❤

      Like

    1. Glad you liked it! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment!❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  11. sanjspeaks says:

    Amazing post! It’s haunting. Loving your work

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much! That really means a lot ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You have such a beautiful writing style – how long have you been writing for?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much! Well, personally: almost all my life, but I’ve only started publishing my work for about 4 months now.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Well, you’re great at what you do, so I’m looking forward to seeing your future works 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. d_analyzt says:

    I love this ..would need your assistance please . how can I reach out to you .

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You can reach me through my Divulge Your Thoughts page:, it’s right over here: https://themidnightember.wordpress.com/contact/

      Like

  14. That one captures a strong emotional response for we all live inside those thoughts.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad you liked it! ❤

      Like

  15. Wow!!! What a stunningly awesome post!!! I love your title and have that thought often myself. Especially, these days with my three score and ten approaching at the end of the month!! Really a super!!!
    Bellisimo, Natalie, Bellisimo!!
    xoxoxo

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much! Glad you liked it! That really means a lot to me. And congratulations, with an advanced happy birthday! Its definitely a milestone, isn’t it? ❤

      Like

    1. Thank you so much, Linda!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Another superbly elegant piece. The “cackling” paper is a stroke of descriptive genius. I will note that “The paper cackles as I crush it, laughing at me.” might sound better with “mocking” in place of “laughing at.” Also “Like a cold squall of wind could hiss my way, and I’ll be gone, only two sets of nails and thirty-four teeth swirling in a spiral down to the ground.” I’ would remove “like” and change “I’ll” to “I’d”: “A cold squall of wind could hiss my way, and I’d be gone…” Also, while I’m talking about this line, I think it’s great – direct, physical, atmospheric, and slightly esoteric, with the specific, numbered references to teeth and nails. I hope these comments serve you well.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. First off, thank you so much for such a constructive comment! I’m truly grateful that I have readers like you around here. ❤
      Oooh, I'm loving the "mocking me", though I can't believe I didn't think of it. Definitely a bit jealous. 😉
      I love the other change you've suggested as well, I feel it would help heighten the evocative aspect of the piece, and I'll update it shortly.
      Its surprising that such small tweaks can transform how that line reads, isn't it?
      I just hope I can learn to identify these changes myself, before I publish, though I guess I'll never be able to replace having a reader's perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. inhiscare753 says:

    Beautifully penned 💜

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Hauntingly beautiful, Natalie. You have a gift.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That means a lot to me, Brooke. Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  19. DaniTheHami says:

    Beautiful. This resonates with myself.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad you liked it! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! ❤

      Like

  20. Wow, this was great. I really love this.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, Darrion! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Sara Garg says:

    Lovely

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad you liked it, Sara! ❤

      Like

  22. myspace says:

    Natalie…. Beautiful as ever…. Going into oblivion is a fear all of us have deep within us… Though it’s a fear it can bring out the best in us that can not be matched with time or let’s say travel through eons of time in the form of art, music or a post like yours….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww thank you so much! That means so much to me ❤

      Like

  23. Tom Burton says:

    This was an amazing read! Love how you immerse the reader into the scene, beautifully expressed! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad you liked it, Tom! Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  24. chillEmpress says:

    So glad I found your blog … your writing is so authentic, honest and heartfelt. Going to keep reading more now.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That really means a lot to me. Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Michael33 says:

    I’m very glad you are here. Tonight… I became glad that I am here also. I’m etching the proof that I was here by leaving this comment. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to linger in your words. However… I am wondering… if perhaps… when I press the “post comment” button… my laptop might cackle.

    Hope you have a most beautiful day, Natalie.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey Michael,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to drop by and leave such a lovely comment! It really means a lot.
      You too! ❤

      Like

  26. M. Evalyne says:

    Wow, this is beautiful writing!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad you liked it! Thank you so much! ❤

      Like

  27. Härzenswort says:

    That’s very powerful writing, thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad you liked it! Thank you so much! ❤

      Like

  28. Wow, this is amazing, the power of a few words

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad you liked it, Nathan! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  29. My Deaf Mind says:

    I think this is wow and very lovely writes! This moved me and also inspired me greatly. Cheers and peace to you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad you liked it! Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  30. This was beautiful, your writing is incredible!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! That really means a lot ❤

      Like

  31. Don’t crush that paper! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  32. sue clancy says:

    Nice! Reminds me that within my creative life I’ve found it helpful to remember “focus on what you’re doing instead of how well you’re doing it.”. Helps me to just “get it done” – I can tweak it later. What matters is that we keep going!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Definitely true… I find that’s the only thing that really works with writer’s block: write now, edit later.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. sue clancy says:

      Yes, sheer keeping-the-pen-moving (edit tomorrow) followed by the promise of a bit of chocolate after the pages are written. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Glad you liked it, Andrea! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Thank gods I found you again. I was so stressed when the darkest tunnel was gone! Your poems really touched my heart and brought alot of feelings to me. Thank you for making things better again! ^_^ To become part of the wood, to live through it. Nicely written! Never have I felt the fear of disappearing without a trace, maybe I should start leaving marks! XD

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha, thank you so much! Really touched you feel that way ❤
      And I have a feeling I'm here to stay, so you'll definitely be seeing me around for a while. I truly appreciate the support, thank you so much for that. This comment just made my day ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Gary A says:

    Loved it, you really know how to bring the reader in and feel exactly what you intend them to. Nice, it made my wheels turn and want to rehash any old emotions i have locked and put away in the corners of my mind. But if I go searching for it… I don’t think I’d like what i would find. The past is just that and I put all of it away to save my sanity. I don’t think I could handle all of the bad thing that has been done to me.. See you have me blogging in your comments.. Great job

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you liked it, Gary! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts here! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Mmm that was such a beautiful piece.
      Especially that last line: “The meanest flower that blows can give- thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.”
      For some reason, it really struck a chord in me…

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Fred says:

      It is the true secret of happiness.

      Liked by 1 person

  36. chris jensen says:

    Outstanding post!

    i found the material enlightening, an the way you laid-out the page, interesting..

    i truly enjoyed read,

    chris

    Like

    1. Thank you so much, Chris! Glad you liked it! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    2. chris jensen says:

      What’s not to like it was brilliant!

      Liked by 1 person

  37. pacharc says:

    I love everything about this💕 The pace for it was perfect🙌🏾 I don’t want to sound greedy lol but give more 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Haha thank you so much! Glad you liked it! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  38. OwnShadow says:

    Eloquent and moving. Will resonate with many, I suspect.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad you liked it! Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

    2. OwnShadow says:

      You’re welcome!

      Liked by 2 people

  39. Your writing is beautiful!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Thank you so much, Hannah!

      Liked by 1 person

  40. Shirobanryu says:

    Hi. This Day you describe. When emotion overrides even our writing. Our soul writhes in the pain unable to be freed. Yet. You did. So try. Thanks for putting such into Words of Wisdom.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      That was really a beauitful way to put it… thank you so much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts here! It really means a lot ❤

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Shirobanryu says:

      hi again-’tis a… new approach. My Ways and Training are not so socially adept at these Times and Places. Yet and much. Is appreciated. So you should know. What you write. You write well as. As well as any of Our World Legends. Till next…

      Liked by 2 people

  41. kxngkaiart says:

    Check out
    https://kxngkaiart.wordpress.com/2018/09/26/life/

    Just explains life.
    Awesome writing Natalie

    Liked by 2 people

  42. John Reyes says:

    If you plan on writing a book in the future, you can count on me to buy it. From the beginning, you’re writing was like a song to me. Now, it harmonizes with emotions. Great piece!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      That really means a lot to me, John. Thank you so much! ❤
      No plans yet, though: I'm afraid I have neither the patience nor the discipline for it 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  43. Hellol! I absolutely loved this post!!
    Mind checking out my latest one. Do let me know what you think of it. Here’s the link: https://vodkandcokeplease.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/different-strokes-no-soul/

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      I definitely will. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! ❤

      Like

  44. angie says:

    This is beautiful 💚

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Thank you so much! ❤

      Like

  45. Astonishing. Perfect. Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

  46. I have goosebumps! The blend of yearning and desire create such a feeling of intensity. I love it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Thank you so much! Glad you liked it! ❤️

      Like

  47. Has San says:

    Beautiful writing. Taken aback startled at the depths to which you have waddled. As good as one can get with “just words”. More than a decade now since the etching. Just beautiful.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Thank you so much, Has. So glad you liked it! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  48. Knightsreich says:

    Perhaps all of our comings and goings and memories are etched in eternity somewhere.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      That’s really a beautiful thought… thank you so much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts here! It really means a lot ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  49. Susan Taylor Brand says:

    Thank you for this subtle description of writing, memory, and emotions as they rise and ebb … and burn.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      That really means a lot to me, Susan. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  50. Jack "Blimprider" Tyler says:

    Good morning, Natalie. This is powerful stuff, and captures something innate to all of us, the desire to leave a mark, to be remembered. You speak in your bio of “blurring the lines;” here in the age of instant publishing, many writers speak of their “special skills” without actually demonstrating them. This is as perfect a demonstration of the art as I’ve seen in a good long time, and I thank you for sharing it with us.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      I’m honoured you thought so, Jack. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts here! It really means a lot to me ❤️

      Like

  51. Ugandanmama says:

    Ohh! This is deep! 👍🏾

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Glad you liked it! ❤

      Like

  52. silent words says:

    It rightly captures the human want of being alive even after death… beautiful ♥️

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      That’s definitely an interesting perspective… thank you so much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts here! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

    2. silent words says:

      The pleasure’s all mine

      Liked by 2 people

  53. An emotional piece beautifully done. You are a Poet, and I’m so pleased to follow your site!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      That really means a lot to me. Thank you so much! ❤

      Like

  54. Diego Green says:

    A very haunting passage that so fittingly describes a fear so many of us carry.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Glad you liked it, Diego! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! ❤

      Like

  55. nickreeves says:

    ‘… as my hand fleets right through their arm, grasping for a berth.’

    How swift! How lovely! Thanks, Natalie.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Glad you liked it, Nick! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  56. jandvig says:

    As I sit by my mom’s bedside awaiting her imminent death, this writing you offer today is a deep insight – mom’s feeling too.
    “I feel like a mirage, as if I’m made of smoke, fading into nothingness.”
    Your writing is a lovely expression of our bodily mortality.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      That really means a lot to me, Jandvig. I can’t possibly imagine what you must be going through and I really hope my piece was of little comfort to you, if any. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts here ❤

      Like

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Thank you so much! ❤

      Like

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Thank you! ❤

      Like

  57. kxngkaiart says:

    Awesome. Loved this !!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Glad you liked it! Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  58. beingalive says:

    This was a real carving👌

    Liked by 3 people

  59. Christine says:

    I like that Natalie…. you so just draw me in with your writing..

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Thank you so much, Christine! That really means a lot ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  60. You can carve your experience into our hearts.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      That’s such a beautiful thing to say, truly… thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  61. leelah saachi says:

    Excellent description – I have been there so often – or rather, parts of me have. I love your clarity to observe it and share it

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      I’m so glad you liked it, Leelah! Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  62. I felt this one all the way to my bones. Being forgotten is one of my deepest, worst fears, and this piece captures the feeling perfectly. Thank you so much for pushing through the bad days and letting your own work it’s magic like this!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      That really means a lot to me. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts here! ❤

      Like

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Thank you so much! I’ll definitely check it out.

      Liked by 1 person

  63. Ginganocchio says:

    I felt that like you were etching it into my brain.👍

    Liked by 7 people

  64. Shona Silverman says:

    Lovely writing, Natalie.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Thank you so much, Shona! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

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