When The Calico Cat Sings

By: Bekah Turney

Vibrant orange, white and brown fluff
Stream through,
like strolling in grass,
Tall blades between open spaces of my young fingers
In an unruly meadow,
As I stroke your fur.
Blanket I’ve placed
On the lawn that extends for days,
But reminds me of you.
Peculiar gender.
Balls cut from your backside,
Vitality and independence singing
Out of your yellow eyes,
And comfort of a longing hand
To stroke your love hungry back
Amongst a confused-ridden home.
Short lived in the moving truck
Where we always moved,
Always having to go.
And your fate was hard to remember,
Moving places,
As things always were, left tossed,
to and fro.

I never knew what kind of mother I’d be.
But it sings through my bones
Naturally like the wind-
Inevitable, with a beautiful tune,
Another child brewing in the womb,
We must expand into greater
Depths of walls, and halls,
To walk and tip-toe,
And scamper down into the kitchen for
Morning oatmeal and
Spice burning from a candle wick for
Annual occasions I wish, from memory,
To uphold.
Like the dinosaur I surprised her with,
Hiding in a closet,
Long halls to rooms filled with dark.
She, 3, and I felt,
Within my heart, grand spontaneity,
To liven up a troubled mind,
From woes of broken glasses
of mason jars left from passer-by’s,
And a crying song out the window
Of a destined plot of a
Calicos woes.
It, and we, never asking to be placed in the hands
Of shattered glass
And a broken home.

I scoop its eager body into my arms,
And it rides
happily in the car seat, curled in a ball,
On our way home with me
to nest the children.
Nearly us 3.
Her hair curls, still.
I hold the comb, running through wet hair
That grows long within days.
Brick and narrow walls now.
“When will I go to school like Sissy?”
She asks me
As I put them both down for rest.
Flees jump on the carpet by their beds,
And the room grows darker.
My voice cannot escape to answer
From a distracted and over-worked mind.
I gaze,
And the lamp hilted on the shelf
blinds me with its singular,
Ominous fire,
Like it was meant to reach out and tell me
What to say.
I open the back door now,
Quick sweep of debris and loose fur.
‘Another day served.’
I think to myself.
And what is it all for?
Feral colorful fur brushes the hem of my pants
With a swollen belly,
And I light the tip
Of my cigarette
With an unsatisfied mind,
And sheets of color
Pool into a reality that is blind.

Smoke billows
And cigarettes haven’t lost their ends,
Sent back into the mother’s den.
You both are in school now,
adding numbers for the latter
And cutting through play-doh
for the younger of the two.
Years stretch as swiftly
As the breaking dawn.
We wake and we eat, on repeat.
And days sing, even if unheard.
Years climb,
Atop a mountain and, you, my youngest,
Are now five.
We bring the scented candles back
To lighten old traditions.
Cobwebs with fake and actual spiders,
And a new sense of family.
And while you’re away,
Yet another calico cat rings,
In the trees.
Young in its prime.
And I am ready,
As I have been made to be.
Because with every cat with its colorful fur
That crosses so coincidentally,
Is another song to sing.
A new beginning.

Family Crest

By: Bekah Turney

I broke a crystal glass tonight
Filled with wine.
My heart began to sink
Down to the floor
It shattered on.
The family crest that lie
Engraved, in seconds was
Un-twined, in shrouds, pieces,
Disarray. Nothing is as we know it,
Nothing ever as it seems-
Patterns never set in stone,
Uncertain, even as deep as the roots flow
In the bloody rivers of a family’s
Seam-ready to make marks
That I, that we, engrave.
“They’re only items,” I reassure myself with guilt,
As if it had a mouth to speak. But with what once was
A beating heart, now broken,
Is buried beneath the soil deep.

Photo by: Christopher Larsen https://www.deviantart.com/christopherlarsen/art/Broken-wine-glass-183267542

Through The Glass Window

Poem by: Bekah Turney

I try to remember what it is like to be alone.
I feel the grip of independence slip 
Through drips of drink off of my lips
And proceed to draw within.
I see myself sitting inside looking through-
Large thick paned glass window,
Lack luster with its frame, paint flaking away from the edges.
Long grass dances in sync with the
Tides of wind,
Along with my mind’s wild rhythms.
Green, slim blades, elongated,
Gently intertwining whispered words only they can hear.
My ears perk
To listen to undiscovered sound-
Intrigued by my unnatural intrusion.
This plays a harmonious song
Through the fantasy of my desire.
Thoughts boiling
Pondering how a simplistic mind can find a way
To obscure this dense reality.

But I see-
I see them caress one another
In imaginary thought,
Like gentle hands sliding hungry along a soft tender waist,
And between my legs grows warm.
To think something so beautiful in any form
Can draw the body in such ways
That gradually defile it’s beauty,
And make one’s hair stand on end.
Prickling upward like the green pointed blades of grass,
My passion rises,
Like a mallet colliding against a teetering metal plate,
And the weight inside the clambering scale rises higher,
And higher.
Climbing farther up towards that clang.
I wait, 
Suspense opening more my every pore, widening my tiny pointed ears.
Knowing they have something of true value to say.
I’m 5 years old again, 
I sit, molding the dirt beneath my bottom, 
Pulling weeds and see conversations between 
Completely different beings, 
As I imagine in kind through the illusionary window now. 
Singing their song- 
Green hedge and bulby violet petals bob. 
I sit here in current actuality, 
At a long drawn wooden bar, 
Spirits sliding into my palm. 
I feel these fizzling thoughts, 
Like the soda in my whiskey, 
That entraps my brain, 
Escaping quickly into a state of release- 
I write readily. 
Construing the words I feel deemed to say, 
And hope that they are honest. 
Alone I sit, waiting for my unintended tab to close-  
For the game on the tv to make its final pitch  
And end the game of this nights revelry.  
Because these spirits have sank in,  
To the parts of me I wish to hide,  
And showcase their existence  
Through what is real inside my mind,  
Slipping with every sip I take. 

On the balcony now. 
Words vomit onto your lap From the spillage of my tampered soda. 
I ask you, 
“What is life and what are we doing here?”- 
You say your shift hasn’t ended 
And you cannot contemplate this strand of thought- 
The only thoughts that run around my head like chickens Waiting to be fed. 
I look back through the window of my mind. 
Tall vibrant grass curls away in disgust, turning brittle yellow. 
The hand digs it’s nails into the delicate waist 
And pushes with force the other body away. 
Beauty ripped into a million ugly reasons 
To fall here off this ledge. 
Fall away dead to what reality isn’t serving.

Unspoken Rhythms

By: Bekah Turney

“Ground control to Major Tom..”/ Record spins as you stand near the player./ Tall, stoic, vibrant hands that easily touch things/ And make them work at your command./ Grounding myself in a warping haze of beauty,/ Feeling the couch beneath,/ Thumbing intently through vinyls/ To avoid entrapping myself in/ Your colorful hues.

“Are you sure you can see the tv on that end of the couch?” You ask./ Nice line./ We talked of the yearn,/ How our lips would feel pressed against each other’s./ But that was over text,/ And I couldn’t see your eyes and pretty grin,/ Hair tickling the top of your lip and filling your chin,/ Mouth peeking through/ That swoons me now./ My heart races as I meet your changing irises,/ resistance of embrace,/ Failing./ You call them mood rings./ Your eyes, pupils dilating with every passing second,/ Lighter against the growing black as I draw more near.

I turn my head away, after the soft pillows of your lips collide against mine./ I hate that./ And they feel so damn good,/ So right./ Always turning away, afraid to let in something tangible, genuine./ Something unknown./ But it wasn’t long,/ You cradle your arms around,/ Tree branches pulling me into your nest,/ Fusing our tall bodies together,/ Until we disappear./ I turn to face you as John Cusack fades away from thought,/ Attention pulling away like a magnet./ On our sides we lay/ And stretch my leg to climb above you,/ Wrapped in flames.

My legs, limber, walk readily,/ Confusing the nerve stricken rush of blood,/ Rapidly beating in my chest/ Ready to burst with pumping force inside its cage./ A kaleidoscope of monarchs flap their colorful wings inside my gut/ As you stand in comfortable ease./ Whisk me away as you have the moment I first saw you./ Beautiful creatures you tell me of with fascination,/ Adoration for incredible things,/ In your eyes I see,/ Through all their changing hues,/ The same peculiar being.

Fingertip on your bowler, that sits hugging your head,/ A stoic angel silhouetted in the night./ Whisk me away and show me everything I’ve yet to see-/ Thumbing through vinyls of your soul,/ You place the needle down and I listen./ A soft hum,/ And unspoken rhythms.

Hello Again, Stranger.

By: Bekah Turney

Today, as my mind frenzies with outlandish and infuriating thoughts, the water boiling inside my head finally reaches the edge, spilling over only to burn my skin and awaken me. My emotions push and pull, like the aggressive wind outside this open door I sit near now. And as this all occurs with whirling winds of rage inside my being, I pause in complete understanding, like a light bulb clicking on and my wide eyes stare mesmerized into it.

It’s the feeling of trying to claw out of your own skin, as if in attempts to flee, yet being completely paralyzed to it. Like a reoccurring cycle of self inflicting torment continuously being fed around a painful spinning wheel. As I continue staring into the illuminating light in the bulb of my mind, I recognize my resistance to that which paralyzes me in cyclical torture: it is the idea that I developed into my belief system, that I cannot trust anyone ever. I talk to myself inside my head, bantering back and forth with what seem two of me, ‘How can you lose control of your emotions when you have done so much work and healing? What is it all for then if you keep running into the same problem of letting go?‘ Then the other part of me that counters replies, ‘Well there must be something you’re not seeing or paying attention to that desperately needs your recognition.’ There is a scar I have not yet faced, and seems for a very long time. With every attempt to reach and grasp its truth in my hands, I feel the blade sink further into me. With the unbearable pain I recoil and that is when I try to crawl out of my skin, stuck inside like a hamster on its wheel. It’s like hesitating to take a shot, because the needle must pierce through your skin first to release the medicine that in turn will help you.

Still gazing into the light bulb of my mind, I dissect why the need for mistrust takes residence in my belief system. When I love someone deeply, I feel them integrated as a part of me and open the most beautiful part of myself to them, the most vulnerable and true part of me, I then become the most afraid of losing that person forever. So, the beauty of what love really is feels more like pain. And as I feel this way, because the love is so vulnerable, so deep, I push the ones I care about most away. This means at one point in my life, I believe as a child, at my most beautiful and vulnerable, I was rejected.

Now that I am recognizing this, still not able to remember a specific memory or possible cluster of them, I see that this isn’t who I am, but rather a belief I integrated into my head. I allowed myself to lie about who I really am, because that is how I knew to survive at the time. So, rather than beat myself up for the flaws I created from all I knew at the time to protect myself, I can embrace the truths I have grown to learn at this time right here and now. Oh, and it is painful, it hurts straight down to my core to look at the flaws and try to grasp the concept that they don’t define me, anyone, as a person, ever.

Belief systems are hard to unlearn. But like the analogy above, if you let that needle pierce through to give you the medicine you need, you find the pinch of pain will soon fade, as rather the pain of continuous torment from neglecting your truth will haunt you until met. The pain of the blade that I found sinking deeper in me as I looked at the issue closer each time, is the cry of liberation- after being neglected for so long , it is finally again seen and understood. That is healing. That’s when we say, “Hello again, stranger. It’s so nice to be back home.”

I hear the wind still blowing to and fro as it did when I first started this journey today. Sitting, blanket warming my lap, and my coffee is now cold against pressed lips on the cup’s edge. I see in front of me again. Coming out of the clouds of thought, I watch the breeze through the trees without relating it to the chaos from before, but more now soothing as it passes through. Like the pain I pursued.

“Journey To The Leaf”

I see you-

Your eyes extending out to see

Who stalls your journey to the leaf.

But you stretch your neck up to speak.

With ears I cannot hear,

But feel your curious words.

My legs mindlessly quick in stride.

As thoughts leave me-

To look where clumsy feet press against ground.

And you slowly slide on a blade of grass,

Like you’ve reached the peak of your

Next mountain to climb.

I hear the crunch beneath my shoes

And jump away in startling pause.

You know as well as I,

And read the sorrow of my face.

Run, feet carrying in caution now,

And take the sage off of my supple plant

And bring it back to you.

For now you eat,

And I do not know what will come of you.

You see me

As I walk away.

A snail of today,

That may not be tomorrow.

IMAGE BY: stocksy.com

“Stored Inside The Fridge”

This is in dedication to those who have or still suffer from anxiety, eating disorders, emotional/ physical trauma, substance abuse and anything of that sort, who find it hard to cope with life. This is for you who suffer from severe self scrutiny to uphold impossible feats of perfection. This is to simply say, you aren’t alone.

I see it everywhere, I feel it in my bones as I watch you, comers and goers, my closest friends, my flesh and blood- the ticking time bomb inside of you that doesn’t in some aspect feel good enough. I see you, because I am you. Of course we cannot be the same person. I am uniquely me as you are uniquely you. But I see you, I feel the gestures, the flutter of your eyes, the hesitant voice that sounds of desperate plea to share, the dismissal of original thought, because I, too, suffer from not feeling good enough.

We suffer daily from talking down to ourselves in mostly private thought. A cocoon of swarming lies we tell ourselves, because that’s what we’ve grown to believe and accept. I am not advocating for victimization. I want to reveal what truly goes on in the mind, in this case, mine. I think it is extremely important to share the parts of us no one sees, that we don’t dare give chance to be heard. We so often think fluidly without saying what’s really going on from fear of being misunderstood on some level. I want to share a very personal moment that I usually keep to myself or a very short few around me. Here is a poem that is from the darker, more ‘repulsive’ as I call them, parts of my mind I tend to push aside. It is quite vulgar, just a forewarning, as the mind can get very much that way.


“Stored Inside The Fridge”

I feel the fat fold over my pant line as I sit. Tears form uncontrollably in rage. I scold my self, ‘You dumb fuck, how could you do this to yourself again?! Haven’t you learned your lesson?’ I feel every inch of how it lay, protruding from the seam, how it snugs against my shirt that once was too big: too small, too big and then too small again. It’s like an endless cycle of torment to myself, looking at every chance of reflection to see if I’m good enough, am I approvable to the eye. ‘I must be perfect, I must be perfect..’ Thoughts that scowl inside. ‘You will get hurt again. They’ll call you names behind your back and reject you like they have before. So many times before.’ Like the times you walked in late to class in 8th grade and they greeted you by calling you fat ass. Standing on 3rd base to try out for school softball, pants snug mid stomach high, wind blowing your shirt against the rolls that formed around the clothes that never fit well, how could you ever forget the way that felt. And the same boys laughed at you from the sidelines. You quit that very day. Instead you came home to pull out the tub of whip cream from the fridge for your extracurricular activity. And boy did you eat the whole thing in one sitting, watching Harry Potter, always waiting for your invitation of escape. Or the moment you first realized what fat even meant as you watched your family obsess over their bodies, your young eyes absorbing what love was supposed to mean, doing the exact goddamn thing you are now. Showing your own girls the gift of the trade. Or the time you gained so much weight from carrying children and then your husband didn’t love you anymore, and you thought for sure it was because you failed again, you weren’t perfect. I curl my fists tight now in thought, hate permeating through my fingertips. I feel it’s heat boil through and onto now sweaty palms. Voice finally breaks through my gritted jaw and whales in horror, “This is fucking bullshit!” Mom watches as clothes fly past her face onto the counter, the bed, the hallway. I feel her watch without watching, thick concern and building sorrow. ‘I’m dying.’ I contemplate in panic, gut rotting away in twists and turns bulging up into my chest. All I can think is ‘DON’T LOOK AT ME!!’ As my hate is put out on display. ‘Don’t see me this way.. I’m fine.’ But I’m not fine. I never was. I walk toward the kitchen spitting profanities under my breath. My fingers pull down at the hem of my shirt, and I go back again to open the fridge.


Reflection: One thing I didn’t realize until now, is that I still hold a lot of shame and guilt from my past revolving around self esteem. (Which I’ve been working diligently on healing) And because of that, it made me even more livid. The absence of acknowledging the root of where pain derives causes a reoccurring cycle of self discrimination. But it can be so easy to dismiss these flowing thoughts and feelings that consume our entirety in that very moment we’re triggered and it be deemed as ‘normal.’ So it then never becomes healed or resolved. These thoughts in the poem, “Stored Inside The Fridge,” above were verbatim of that moment I had experienced of struggling to see my entire beauty by simple clothes I put on to go for a walk that day. It really was something as simple as that. Memories flood in to relate to current situations stemmed from deep hurt of the past. And if you take time to look long enough and see why, you can then notice those feeling signatures that run deeper than the mere ‘moment’ of complete meltdown. They carry throughout your whole duration of life until you choose to look them in the face and recognize them for what they are. It took everything out of me to stare myself in that wretched mirror and identify why I felt that way. We are not in the past anymore, always in the present. Every second that passes becomes the past such as those scarred memories, so my encouragement through this whole post, is to really identify who you were and who you are right now. And that whatever caused you to feel that way happened, but only you can create the better future and NOW that you truly desire overall. We all want to heal, be it what we’ve done or what was done to us. Let’s start to recognize that what we need first and foremost is to look first inside to achieve who it is we truly were meant to be.

I love you all, —💚Bekah.

Caring Conversations

By: Bekah Turney

We came upon a pair of peacocks,

Poking noses into dirt near the road.

We drive in puzzling awe.

A couple happy herons extend their necks

Amidst cowering cattle,

Pure snow, stoic angels

Against the tattered brown and black of cows

And vibrant green fur of rain kissed earth.

Road curving endlessly,

Lips pressed to our coffee lids,

Talking of revelries and

Philosophical life resolutions.

Like the treacherous loose blacktop

Beneath barreling wheels

Of beauty we penetrate.