Wayfaring Wallflower

Poetry and Random Thoughts by Jessica Graham

Fickle Thing 

They used to walk in the moonlight 

Hand in hand 

The world would fall silent 

Their words flowed like water and felt like silk warming their heart like a fire

But love is a fickle thing 

And it destroys as easily as it cures 

Working its way in between the burning sunlight and bitter darkness 

You see, these lovers explored, but never far 

They ignited flames but rarely nurtured them 

And like a barren, isolated cave the flame extinguished from the lack of oxygen fueling their lungs, their words, their passion 

And the spark flickered in the darkness and silence while images of the past danced across the wall like a memory reel of all they’d lost 

And all they’d never get back 

Because love takes you on a journey 

And it’s dangerous 

Because it can leave you empty and broken 

After filling you with dreams, and warmth 

And in an instant it explodes 

There you are 

Stranded in a void, screaming into silence wondering how you ever got there, and how to get back 

But you can’t 

Love is a fickle, heartless thing 

The Dock

There is a place so gentle that it will forever be in my heart. It captured me with its beauty and silence. A gentle way of telling the truths of nature and cleansing its surroundings. For it is not in my possession and I have only been there enough times to count on my fingertips, it is still consequential. I have sat upon the dock and watched the sun dance across the surface of this shape-shifting substance. I can sit with my feet so deep into this wonder and let it glide over them with a gentle touch. Among the dock I have sat with an old friend and let a delicate creature out of metamorphosis land atop my hand, and we passed it from one delighted soul to the other. As it flew away, I had seen more than enough to know nature was something far beyond beautiful, something humans can only admire, but never fully understand. And if I were to jump head first into this cleansing water, I could feel the safety and cool calming nature of its delicate spirit.

Although this heavenly place does not taste of the most divine fruit, it is the feeling and beauty it brings to your life which truly matters. I can go back at any point in life and still hear the laughter and dialogue upon that dock. I can see the mosaic of black and orange flutter away from our longing hands. I can smell the distinct scent, a mixture of trees, blooms, and pond. This place allowed me to take nature in on all its levels of beauty.

This beauty cleansed my soul and opened it up to new ideas and a better outlook. This place was a mirror, a reflection of who I am or could be. What this world is and could be, reflecting and glinting images back at me of the damaged and hopeful.

I still remember the butterfly landing softly on my hand, as if reminding me that the world isn’t always so harsh and cruel. That it could be warm, beautiful. It fluttered away and I can still see its wings dance upon the rippling pond. It took my breath away and left me speechless. I was left staring at myself in the reflection of the water, as if the it was telling me to look within myself. That I already had what I needed. It was staring right at me, and that butterfly was flying away, burdening my troubles for me as I breathed in deeply and closed my eyes and dived into the pond to cleanse my soul once more.


I don’t think history has taught us anything

It just seems to serve as a ‘how to’ guide for the next disaster or tragedy

A manual for the sick and twisted

Society has suffocated us and estranged us into these meaningless, cookie-cutter lives

That distance us from the true desperation and heartache of the world

As if the distraction of our mundane 9-5s will keep us from mourning or combating the ruthlessness of the deranged

But all I see are the pleading faces of hopelessness, filled with a certain grace, as if still allowing the perched bird of hope within their chest to chirp until the very end

As if the nearing end is only an illusion

An illusion of bloodied faces, shed tears, and lifeless bodies being held by weeping mothers and fathers

Yet we see this on the television, on our news feed…but we ignore it


Always looking the other way when the worst of humanity comes crashing down around us

Loving our own family more, yet not allowing others into our lives when our hearts are so capable of expanding love

Expanding a family, an outlook to realize more than the shallow notions of our own lives

Prospering while the world falls apart in a slideshow across the next feed, the next news station

Pressing our own desires or dreams against the reel of decaying humanity, because it hurts too much to actually see, and not just look

Offering only tears and hope because how do we help the broken when we always feel so broken ourselves


So how do we stop the tragedy of humanity

The death and decay

It’s daunting and hopeless it seems

When all we offer are our tears and grief

Maybe for a time that’s good enough because it fuels our own humanity and humility

But it’s too idle

To quote Dr. Seuss,

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

We began reading these stories, these lessons from Dr. Seuss at such a young age

Innocence inspires empathy

We used to care as children

We could spot the indecency miles away and in subtle phrases

What happens as we grow older?

Even Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird weeps for Tom Robinson because he sees the injustice

He feels the wrong society is doing to Tom even as a young child, and it makes him sick

We see what’s happening in the world now and we turn off the TV

We may weep, but we stop there

It’s halfway across the world, after all

What could we possibly do

Sometimes the answers aren’t so simple

But don’t ever try to deny that it exists

If anything, learn this from history

Nothing extraordinary or important happened by sitting idly by

It took fear, blood, and courage to bring people up from the depths

But together we got somewhere

WE found liberation together

By not allowing ourselves to think that it doesn’t concern us because they aren’t our people

That is such a dangerous mindset

Instead WE came together as a human race

WE conquered together

WE are stronger together

Anne Frank saw the worst in humanity and she still believed in this,

“It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.
It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more”

Believe in humanity again

Look into those faces of desperation and pain and begin a new journey

To help, to heal, to mend




A dark, silent war

Our futures become both fuller and emptier

Striking a balance between deafening noise and strangling silence

And I’m relentlessly trying to escape the path confining me

The tendrils of the past imprisoning my feet, my lungs, my mind

Breaking loose and leaving a red army in my wake

A weak and somber defense against the invading, encroaching darkness

The path grows narrow with every step

I’m being suffocated by trees

Darkened by uncertainty, almost blinded by the void

But guided by the light of the moon, the familiar face of late night swoons, midnight heartbreak

The moon sets over the tree tops, and the night is barren like winter in the northern forest

I’ve walked so far, and yet I can’t see the northern lights

Barefooted in the rising snow

All the while the darkness is following silently, violently

But like a wolf I follow the moon

Lessening the distance to feel the comfort of its voice, the rising and waning waves of the oceans who translate its mood

But the future seems less distant when I look into her face

The past seems less invasive

But all the while I am standing between contrasts within myself

While on one side I bask in the infinite light of the moon, full, unrelenting

I can almost see my reflection, imagine the future with a glinting eye

But the other side, behind me, is pitch black


The weighted past that I can’t shed

That I dare not provoke for any sign of resentment or fear and it will consume me

Lost in the darkness forever

A vanishing moon

But then I take the moon in the palm of my hands and it shrinks to fit my tiny, aching fingertips

And it guides me through the darkness

Like a nightlight

It knew I couldn’t do it alone and it didn’t leave me stranded

It came to me through darkness

Igniting the light within me

It whispered

“Don’t look back”

And I never did

I walked until my feet were bruised, black and bloody

But I stumbled into the light

The night had vanished

The war was over



Response to “so you want to be a writer” by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

By Charles Bukowski

I have felt the deafening urge to relinquish these words

I have been in crippling pain from the urgency to get the words down before my next thought, the next line lets it slip away

I have looked in the mirror asking myself why I chose to give up

Then the fire would rise again and I could feel the tingling in my fingertips, beginning to tap violently as my brain relays the words

I was never finished

I had just walked away for a short while

To gather my thoughts again, to experience more life

To allow the ordinary or the meaningless inspire me

Because it comes in spurts

And I went my entire life feeling as though writers needed to have it together, always

Always writing despite the lack of passion or drive at the time

Mine comes in waves

In jostling memories that shake me awake and cause me to pick of the pen and get everything down before my brain turns in another direction

I’m constantly defeated and liberated by this process

But it is not calculated

It’s sporadic, daring, nonsensical

I’ve never known it to be any other way

It’s a sudden flash of passion or a moment

A piece of my life turning into a memory through written word

Because I am either the calm sea or raging hurricane, and although I’ve tried I’ve never found an in-between, a level of balance

When in reality this is a balance between the crashing waves of passion and calm remembering

Because sometimes my mind works too fast for my fingers

But other times my fingers work mindlessly

And that’s how it ends

A sudden shift, a crashing wave, a calm sea

I remember a moment

I find the passion, the urgency, the commitment and it becomes something else

I shift my thoughts and it ignites

Once the explosion has settled and there are intermittent fires of delusion and half-hearted lines burned in the wake for something better

Then the waters come flooding in

Slowly, peacefully

And the calm aftermath drowns me in passion and tranquility

For it’s all been expelled, until the next storm

The Black Hills


I sat on a balcony somewhere in the black hills of South Dakota

I didn’t have to think about the next book, the next page

I watched the hills rise to the stars with a jagged peak of trees, brushing the sky like paintbrushes dotting the galaxies above, the sky their canvas

The air was chilled by northern summer nights, which weighs on the southerners lungs like the silky waters of an undisturbed pond

I don’t think I’ve ever loved breathing so much

The town stretched the length of any small town road, winding through the hills, one stoplight blinking in the silence

Homes at the foothills glowing, comforting the most trusting individuals I’d ever met

There was a shop, wood carvings everywhere

From bears to butterflies to Ninja Turtles

He said to leave the money under the canopy within his plastic storage in his absence

We left the money, took the bear

They were always sitting out in the open, never locked

This town amazed me

It felt like home

This town survived on bikers and tourists, like me

Except I was content sitting at the local bakery and watching the town come alive with the roar of engines and leather

I had traveled through five states that trip, and I was struck more by this town and its simplicity, its history than even the Rocky Mountains, probably because we were driving so fast through those mountains I sort of remember them as a blur

Not this town

Hill City

I never thought South Dakota would ever mesmerize me

But I guess anything can do that if you let it show you, take you in

I allowed it to swallow me that chilly summer night

Can’t remember a time I ever wore a sweater in the summer

Maybe that was my favorite part

Sitting on the balcony, wearing a sweater, watching this town go to sleep as the houses went dark, one by one

I sat in silence

I watched as a doe crept up on a locals garden, its fawn stumbling behind

I couldn’t look away

That was one of the hardest moments I’ve ever had to leave behind

That town, those moments

The people of the town spoke to you like a long lost friend, and welcomed you with a simple smile

It was the picture perfect town

The sort of town you see in an eighties film

The Midwest, teenagers, the open road, and a small town under the vast blanket of stars

To anybody else I’m sure this town is just a stop on the way to anything else

For me, it was something more

Those hills enchanted me

That town captured me

A piece of me is still there


Fallen Leaves

img_0486-2Leaves are falling like snow

Floating to the ground with the gentle breeze

They whispered to the trees goodbye as they nestled on the ground

Covering the earth with specks of yellow and red, tracing pathways and resting on rooftops

Where the chimneys smoke from the change in the season

A backdrop of falling leaves, falling swiftly like a blizzard, yet softly like mist, and a darkened, cloudy sky whispering promises of more

The town still sleeps as the world awaits

It waits to show you how the seasons change

How the earth becomes something different and more as it revolves around the sun

Evolving and becoming

There’s a chill in the air

I’m standing there

And I watch flakes of red, yellow, and orange fall to the awaiting earth

Like it had been waiting to see the face of an old friend for years, the wind gently placing them there for a reunion of absolute, inescapable beauty

They greet each other and the wind turns colder because the trees are now bare, no longer whispering back as they danced in the wind

But the earth reassures her in the spring that the cold can’t last forever

And keeping those we love apart won’t last too long

Our lives are the seasons too

These cycles of love

Some days we are the violent winds

Others we are the patient earth

Evolving and changing with the seasons

Sometimes barren like trees in winter

Blossoming like cherry trees in spring

Falling like leaves in the autumn breeze

Or dry like riverbeds in summer

But none of that matters now

In this moment all I see are the leaves of snow floating to the earth in almost silence as they tap the earth suddenly, violently, then silently rest until the next leaf releases itself to the earth, abandoning the wind once more


Jessica Graham

Infinite Midnight

I remember the mountain air

It nestled in my lungs like a long lost friend

The vision of the peaks brushing the horizon still capture my eyes like a thief

We should have gone out more at night to grab the stars

And chase the light

And we should’ve never stopped until we reached the shadows of the mountain

Until they swallowed us whole

Detaining our souls like Van Gogh

Cradled in the comforting darkness, resting in the trees atop the mountains

Grabbing the night sky by our frail, innocent fingertips

Painting our own Starry Night as a signature of our meek existence beneath this wondrous starlight

I could see my breath creating wispy clouds against the midnight blue

I turned to you and realized that infinity meets the end all at once


Jessica Graham

I Wander


I am restless and it often leaves me stranded

Needing more from this parasitic life

I know my limits

And they weigh on my chest like a black dog in the summer heat

I’m yearning, burning

No escape route seems tempting enough

But they are tempting me still

Trapped by the notion of simplicity, but dying for chaos

A contradiction of worlds

I belong there, but am forever trapped here

I need the world’s reassurance of its photographed beauty

But I need more than a superficial image

I need to breathe in the woodland air

And kiss the Washington Monument

Or gasp for breaths as I hike that mountain

Take in the night skyline as a whispered, almost silent secret

Because that’s what life is

Nonsense, and one impulsive decision after another

I can’t stay here stagnate, imprisoned

In the southern spiral of purpose and location

Life is more than calling a place home

It’s calling every place you’ve ever been home

Because you left a piece of yourself there

You were someone different, and that difference is a part of you, but it only arrives when you meet the proper destination

When the place lightly brushes your cheek and leaves you breathless

And you become this escaped breath of yourself as you slowly walk away toward the next place, the next you


Jessica Graham

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