Breath Control




Title art by Rimel Neffati. Click image to visit her studio.



Sometimes we have to face pain head on, in order to move through it.



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I’m wide open
Never more than right now
When I’m bleeding right out
When the pain is so fierce
That the tears in arrears for over half of my years are the only thing capable of comforting
Like crystal chandeliers they sparkle as they fall
The only source of light amidst the darkness all-encompassing
Thunder in the distance growing ever more near as it claps in my ears and snaps at my heels
Lightning set to strike each time I bite my own umbilical
Each punctuation clinical
This devastation staking claim in vain infinitesimal
Bitter pill in left hand
Rusted switchblade in the right
The only way to treat this pain to face said pain and write
If I can just release a tiny fragment of the agony that actually I had no real desire to be assigned
Then not a single shard of me is ever left behind


I’m wide fucking open
Lion heart one beat away from leading hopes and dreams astray and teaching me the art of being split apart and broken
This is the part where I open the widest
This is the part where I grip the quill tightest
Might not make for soothing bedtime reading
But mark my words, this blessed curse of mine is worth its weight in space and time as bottom line implies the answer lies in times when loss is leading
For through it all I’m proving worth of verse to reimburse the dearth of feeling


I’m only human
Don’t I fucking know it
Howbeit, I am something of a poet by design
Can find the words to highlight every joy and every pain
Through timely verse my aim is making plain that we can find a way to breakaway from that which has us chained
No shame in naming blinding pain as villain of the piece
Providing I can sign the script for thinker’s penicillin
In diction I address the dereliction through depictions, each of which bid brief release from this constriction
Cannot chase the clouds away
For those in eye of storm
But cloudless days are some way out of favour since the climate changed and sometimes it’s okay to feel forlorn
Sometimes we just need to fucking mourn


Better out than in they say
For once, I make them right
There exists no place in me for that which compromises second sight
Not since I retrained my brain to take a break from time to time
And leave it to subconscious mind to dot the T’s and cross the I’s
Imagination boundless since I found the faith profound enough to call the bluff and cross the fucking line
Arrive at this junction, stop dead in my tracks and look back at the trail of destruction behind me
Not reasonable waiting for further instruction
Much rather ride the tidal wave than fall back to the panic room and hide away from volcanic eruption
I’m wide awake but dazed, confused
All blacks are white, all reds are blues
The roulette wheel is spinning wildly
Croupier is grinning widely
Time to reach down deep inside me
Go all-in at river blindly
Search for distant lights and let them guide me


I’m alive when wide open
I can laugh
I can cry
I can scream
I can dream
I can wake from this nightmare and break a bitter chain or two that binds me
See right through the agony that blinds me in the moment
Go the distance, ride it out
Seek the parasite and prise it out in nick of time
Breathe again
If only to remind myself I can
Deprive myself the shit can as it’s never pretty when it does eventually hit the fucking fan
Not meant to be an easy ride
Relentlessly life kneads our pride and thieves our peace of mind
But even with appeals denied
We’ve got the feels and that’s a start
We owners of these broken hearts
Can make a start on healing


Won’t be easy
Never is
Some days we may not possess the leverage to make an effort getting out of bed when we can sleep it off instead
Others we are less inclined to be consigned to bed rest
Every time we bleed, we then proceed to places angels fear to tread
Embrace the bitter wind for each and every time it beats against our chests
Open them wide
Let it bluster inside
Muster words for each feeling
Don’t be shy of revealing
For the eye of the storm has to blink from time to time
And that is when we unsheath swords and counter strike like lightning
Time each blow correctly and we might just make it through the blackest night
One thing’s for sure, we won’t know less we try


No such thing exists as a tear that isn’t beautiful
I’m duty bound to make that crystal clear
Release each chandelier
Watch it shatter into diamonds as it falls
Take a pause from feeling broken
Grab your chest and prise it open
Face the beast with eyes wide open
Tell it you ain’t done yet
By the very longest fucking chalk
Every time I talk the talk I obligate myself to walk the plank
Sometimes I pull rank but only ever yank the crank upon myself
Not about to bank on mental health to bail me out
But should I activate my second brain
Then I may just be in like a sinner
All-in at the river blind and next in line for devil of a shout
Breathe in
Open wide
Now, breathe out



Click here to read Turning Tide to Distant Lights




Richard Charles Stevens




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