For Those Who May Have Never Known…

Some things in this life are worse than fiction… some things are so real that even if I told them word for word as the truth… no one could ever believe… it is best to remember that not every one thinks like you… that not every one has shed their animal natures… and not every one in this world is good… it is easy to forget… it is easy to push out of our minds… what goes on behind our backs… and in the darkness… but not all horrible things happen in the dark…

This post is very different for me… maybe not in content… I tend to talk about things that are on the darker side of life… no this post is different… because unlike most of the things I post about… this poem is not about fiction… or dark thoughts that find their way into my head… I am a firm believer in the thought… that it is one thing to think or have dark thoughts… and a whole other to actually act on them… sticks and stones will break my bones… but words will never hurt me…I took that cliche in my mind and ran with it… built a fiction collection on it…

That is how I think… that is what I believe… but even with my own beliefs held firmly in place… some words… some ideas can be too much to bear… the topic of my poem today is… Sylvia Likens… and my reverse order for my post is because unlike most things I write… I feel context… what I think… How I feel about what happened to Sylvia… Is more important than the work below…

For those of you who don’t know… Sylvia Likens was a child in 1965… who was abused… tortured… raped… and killed… not by a serial killer… not by a known sex offender… not even by her parents… but by those in her community… by the very children she knew… by her very neighbors… there is so much to this story… to the truth of the event… that I can’t and won’t be covering in this post… more about the tragic death of Sylvia Likens can be found here

There have been movies… stories written… about Sylvia and the horrors she has been through… and even if you have read or seen any of them… then you know they only scratched the surface of her horrible experience… She has long been laid to rest… but her memory is not forgotten… Her tale as horrific as it was… should never be forgotten… Because people… children… still experience similar horrors every day… to this day… this is long over due… it needs to stop…

Many of us may have even experienced some… many of the things she was put through… may be even today… right now as we read… we need to put an end to it… we need to open our eyes… our hearts… and our minds… because… just because you don’t see it… doesn’t mean it isn’t happening… just because you don’t have the time… doesn’t mean it isn’t happening… just because it isn’t happening to you… doesn’t mean it isn’t happening… because it does and it is… in our silence… these monsters are slipping through the cracks… as we look away… people are being tortured… children are suffering… this isn’t an isolated incident… this isn’t something that only happens to someone based on skin color… age… where we live… or sex… these are things that can and happen to anyone…

I myself was a victim of abuse… I know how it can feel… I understand the shame… the fear of speaking up… will it happen more?… if I just keep my head down… then it will pass… I’ll be fine… excuses we tell ourselves to survive… Truth is the monster will always live in the dark… until you bring it to the light… I say you… but it takes more… it takes us all… There is no harder thing in this world than to ask for help… no matter the situation… it is the hardest thing any of us will ever face… but if you don’t… if we don’t… no one will…

Many of the signs are easy to overlook… it was a one off… it was an accident… abuse is hard to define… it doesn’t seem like it would be… seems pretty straight forward… but it isn’t… that is why so many people suffer in silence… reach out and get turned down… because of this one way thinking… because we aren’t paying attention… this is how and why… Sylvia was tortured… abused… until she died… It is easy to point at her tortures… her abusers… as the monster… but in this extreme case… the monsters weren’t just the ones in the room with her… but the society that surrounded her… that’s why we need to be paying attention… speaking up… and taking action… big or small… we must do all that we can…

Accidents do happen… people go to far… as a victim I know the signs… if anything good came from my abuse… my experience is that I know when I might go to far… when I am wrong… and need to take a step back… I know how easy it can be to cross that line… I’m not immune because I am a victim… I’ve said things that I regret… almost done things that I know were too far… I’ve seen the look of fear that I know myself once carried on the face of those around me… a look that has brought me to my knees… to tears… and made me question who it is I have become… I’ve seen both sides of the line… I have felt how either side of the line can feel… and just because I didn’t act upon my anger doesn’t mean I too couldn’t be a monster… I’m not a saint… I am human… we all are… and not one of us is perfect… but… there is a difference between an incident of abuse… and a pattern of repeated abuse… neither of which should go unchecked… or be put up with… seen as okay…

I was lucky… as far as my abuse went… as much as the memories still hurt me today… I was lucky… that I ended up in the hospital… that people around me spoke up… and did something… that my mother said enough was enough… a victim herself… not all of us are so lucky… for some of us… we don’t receive any help… until it is too late… Take care of yourselves… Take care of each other… it may seem like nothing… but is it worth the risk?… is it worth the hurt?…

Sylvia Likens

Kicking and screaming
Dragging and bleeding
Taken to the basement
Time to figure things out
Pressed against what’s left of the mattress
Laying naked next to the floor
What did you call me
You called me a whore
Silently screaming
Begging and pleading
Took me to the darkness
Time to figure it out
Strung up by the wrists
Stripped of everything I had left
What did you do to me
You stabbed me some more
Dying and breathing
Scarring and seething
Taken to another level
Time to let the devil out
Burned the words into the flesh
No one would want me
That’s what you said

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Makes You Better Than Anything You’ve Tried… Broken Thoughts…

Took a wrong turn into the dark
Lost the time, need to find the way
Opened door that doesn’t seem to want to close
Hidden beneath, locked away
Left so lonely, left all alone
Travelling blind into the unknown
Trapped within my own mind
A horrible way to go on
With no guidance
Lost everything I learned
Who I had become
Lost my way and now
I’m looping in and out of place
And now
I don’t know what I will become
And now
I don’t know what will emerge
From the door when I return

“That sounded like a close call”… My whole life is a close call…

I’m tied to you
I’d drown myself if you’d let me
But I know my love would never
Drag me down, lock and chain
Drag me through, high water to hell
Fade, disappear like the binds
That strap us together
Last through heaven and hell
But I know my love would never
Drag me against, concrete and glass
Drag me through, heaven to earth
I’m tethered to you
For better or worse
But I know our love would never
Drag us down, life and death
Drag us through, violence to pain
I’m tied to you
From now until the end of time
The years tightening against our souls
Until the day we become one
Tied, tethered always yours
For better or worse
Sickness and health
Long walk but never alone

Broken Thoughts
Layne Ambrose

Hit a few nerves inside my brain… shook a couple of tambourines… trying something different is always nice… I’m not a romantic writer… if you didn’t know… I sure most people wouldn’t consider words like tied and tethered… as romantic… but I do… because well… I’m me…

Still working on projects… still burning candles at both ends… trying to get anything off the ground… to spend more time inside… hopefully everything is going well… it is a new year after all… ready to start this one off in a better place… I may be getting to far ahead of myself… taking each day as it comes… it is a long walk… but we are never alone… something to remember… something I want you to know… hope all is well…

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If Only I Knew How To Swim…

I Haven’t Even Began To Peak

This self-sacrificing bullshit is getting old
Your poisonous fangs can no longer take a hold
I wish for something better
Only come up with more excuses
The way things are going, there’s no real way of knowing
What is truth and what is a lie
Everything you are conditioned to believe
I despise
Tormented by my own mind
Can’t seem to focus even for a moment
My own worst enemy with me at all times
If I give up now which part is the lie
Three years and counting
Adding up to something I don’t realize
Giving away everything one word at a time
Tomorrow maybe, but today I don’t know
Not sure how it is I ever will
Left wondering, left out in the cold
I know there is an end but where to begin
Lost in tranquility, Lost in retaliation
Full of words with nothing to say
Revenge is everything and nothing
A steaming pile of shit I have to get through
Letting go seems to be the hardest part
When this self-sacrificing bullshit is getting old
When all the unused words build up in my head

Buried Under Three Feet of Shit

Can’t stop this even if I tried
Thousand Broken bones
Blood dripping from every wound
A fucking mess
Still going strong
Still going after all and everything
What stops the will to live when you are already dead?
Contradict myself with a mouth full of shit
Bending back my neck to understand any of this
Twisting and pulling until it connects
What makes up a soul
Makes us whole
Worthlessly sinking in a sea of shit and piss
If only I knew how to swim
Could I then know what it means to live
What if I already did but only refused?
Compound fracture, compound interjection
Still hanging on by a thread, a lifeline attached to nothing
With all the answers locked in my head
Head pulled back I’ve learned all that I have been told to know
Kicking under the surface still going under
Education is nothing more than an endurance test
Testing everything I know against everything I don’t
Strange how I once thought now I just forget
Going on is harder against the undertow
Going forward is harder pressed upon the wall
Going on seems to be the hardest part after all
Circumstances uncertain, left for dead, three feet under
A bed, a sea, an existence of shit


Well if that doesn’t sum up the year that was 2020… I’m not even going to waste my time in hoping next year will be any better… expectations are just a let down at this point… all hope isn’t gone… but would it make a difference anymore if it was?…

Also I know how to swim… well I haven’t drowned yet… so you can infer whatever you like from that… for some reason I feel that you need to know this… I’m not even proud of that fact… given that I won’t even get in a body of water… cesspools full of shit… you’d think I would feel at home… but I don’t…

Ready to get to this new year already… and leave last year in the past… that is saying a lot… considering as each day passes… that is one less day that I never had… feelings get lost in the emotions… ideas get buried under the thoughts… and I seem to disappear as each day goes on… How is any day different… if it is all one long day to begin with?… Yeah… I’m ready to face the new year and everything that comes with it…

Happy New Year From Everyone At Is That A Funeral?…

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She Knows Way Too Much… Broken Thoughts…

Thought maybe this might end
One too many times
Moments in time as they slip by
A crawling feeling from down inside
Took long enough but not long enough
The words escape what I’d like to say
What was meant to be slips away
Gave it all I had and now this is all
Anyone could hope to be left with
A dying breath left on lips of regret
Always more to do looking back
Never enough time to reflect on thought
Did my part but was it enough?
Will anything ever be enough?
When we don’t know what it is
We are looking for in all of this

A heart… a hole… a destiny I can’t afford…

Tapping the well, draining the lake
I wonder what we’d find at the bottom
Lined with bodies, lined with lies
Metaphoric, a thought buried in the mind
A grave left at sea, a grave yard of thought
The list could be endless in theory
But I think we already know
I think we’ve always known
What lies ahead, below, and above
Not only sky, not only lies
Digging deeper through the tissue
Pulling apart the thoughts as though
We didn’t know how this all began
Truth buried deep within
Truth lining the lake bed of the mind
But I think we already knew
I think we’ve always known
What lies ahead, below, and above
Denial more than a thought unheard
Death has always been
Everything it was intended to be

“When you are in your twenties you see the world on fire and think I have to do something to put it out. The older you get the more you realize the world has always been on fire and it is time that I got mine. The warnings left behind by generations before don’t seem as empty as they once did. They no longer seem like wasted excuses of a failure that has failed. The words around you begin to make some sort of sense. Their actions become shared actions. Wisdom comes in waves. Existence of the fire becomes clearer over time as you see the size of the flames. You learn to understand that you don’t put a fire out by running directly into the center of it. Rather you contain it and take it out slowly from the outside. There is no value in sacrificing yourself for something that won’t end. Was never meant to end. But if you could make it smaller? Well then what have you done then? Have you done your part in all of this or only burned on in the flames as the world has planned for you at your birth? Not all questions have a definitive answer. Something you can’t really understand without the time to really think about. Something you can’t really understand until you get there. That is where I am in this world at the moment. A space between now and then. Some days the spark flares up in me and I want to jump into the belly of the beast, but for the most part I’ve learned to contain my adolescent.”

M.T. Billings, Misguided Ideas of a Misunderstood Threat

Broken Thoughts
Layne Ambrose

Pretty odd place to leave things… honestly I wouldn’t waste my time… or yours… if I didn’t think that it meant something deeper… You have probably never heard of M.T. Billings before… and that is okay… because they don’t have a website… we are working on it… from what I can acquire they are still too busy working on any sort of material… if it sounds like I am being vague… imagine how I feel?… there is still a lot to learn about the mysterious M.T. Billings… see what happens I guess… in the mean time… Is That A Funeral? and I have offered to help them in any way we can…

Speaking of… as we move forward with this great big ball of shit… Is That A Funeral? and I have been discussing taking on more authors… we are looking at different ways to do it… different ways to balance the work load… finally catching up around here… has been nice… but I think we are looking for a new challenge… Using what they have learned from me… we are thinking of starting off pretty slowly… maybe a new feature here or there… know more later… look out 2021… Is That A Funeral? is coming for you… (They asked me to say this… honestly if they weren’t my friends… we are barely friends… but when someone believes in you… can’t really just walk away…)

Enough business for today… let’s get down to some thoughts on nothing at all… the empty void in my head has been throwing around a lot of ideas… where to go next… I think I mentioned this already… the thoughts come back in from time to time… which I think is why what Billings said really struck me enough to feature it… where I am and where I was is a space I am currently stuck in… I have more than enough ideas… just unsure if I want to stay where I am or give something new a chance… doesn’t seem like a big deal… and in the scheme of life it probably isn’t on the surface… but changing things up now would mean a few years of my life invested in something different… but what is a few years on a scared heart?…

It is a scary and exciting feeling… growing and expanding is an important part of life… a necessary part of all of this… it is not as though I will be abandoning everything I have done… the differences for you will probably be so minimal that you won’t even know what the hell I am talking about… I’m ranting and this is where I am in my head… on a cliff… ready to jump… now I just have to do it… and stop thinking about it… easier to say when you’re not chewing on glass…

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If It Doesn’t Kill… Then It Doesn’t Hurt?…

After so many rejections it becomes so much easier to ignore the vultures that come circling around my rotting corpse. Letter after letter. Email after email telling me they wish me well. Words copied and pasted as hollow as my soul. All of this self-mutilation for one person to just be like, “This is alright.” That’s all it takes. At least that is what they say. Who the fuck are, is this they? They never shut up like the voices inside my head. Constantly driving me into the grave.

Overnight is all that it takes and all you need is one semi-interested interest. So, I keep stabbing head. Cutting a piece of myself off little by little until there is nothing left. Then all of sudden, out of nowhere, “We’d love to work with you.” What the hell does that even mean? I’m in the business of cuts, gushing wounds, and scars. I have no prior experience in this kind of reaction. The messages come flooding in. Email after email the tides begin to change. Then the calls start coming in. “How the fuck did you get this number?” All of a sudden you are all there is. All there will ever be.

They say success goes to our heads. Not true. It is fucking bitterness. “Oh, now I’m something?” I want to scream. I want to beat the phone against the desk. “Last week I wasn’t much of anything. Last year when I was practically begging, hanging on by a lifeline, and unfortunately I wasn’t a good fit for Flowers Monthly. Now all of a sudden I am something?” It only takes one, but a thousand submissions later everyone can fuck off.

It isn’t success it is bitterness to the whole process that pushes everything along. Do you think after this sea of rejection you will be receiving anything of actual value? I mean I’m so special all of a sudden? Well here is the material I wouldn’t even put in my book. Here is the stuff I dug out of the trash after I wiped my ass with it. Keep everything. Sold out you say or getting even? Depends on what side of the screen you live on. An asshole or apathetic is up to you to decide. I have moved on. I have accepted that the vultures will take whatever of me is left. I sold my soul and I’m even more proud to admit that I don’t care. Check out my newest piece in Flowers Monthly, and don’t forget to like and subscribe. Food isn’t free and electricity isn’t cheap.

Rejection is never fun… you get used to it… I think… I’m used to it at this point… the hardest part of not writing about… like… for everyone else… is that you will face a lot of rejection… at least that is what my mom says… haha… So what do you do then?… After the bottom falls out once again?… After everything in you feels as though it has died once again?…

Well you get back up and do it again… I mean what else did we have to do today?.. Failure only happens when you give up… so I move the rejections to the rejections folder in my Gmail… and fire off another round of submissions… This business isn’t for the faint of heart… it isn’t for those who are willing to cave at the slightest resistance… creativity is a never ending battle with yourself and everyone around you… it isn’t bloody… and it always hurts… but don’t let it kill the dream left inside… I’m not going to give up and neither should you… and when you get there… don’t forget about the ones that got you there…

Thank you for all your support… every little bit helps… every like… review… comment… purchase… shout out… and even every negative response… We don’t do anything alone…

Happy Holidays… From those of us at Is That A Funeral?..

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Dancing At Our Own Wake… Broken Thoughts…

So many words without any substance
What is it all for, nothing
What is it all about, nothing
So many thoughts that go no where
Has to be adding up to, nothing
Has to be going somewhere, nothing
Digging a grave made of words
Of things to be said
Digging a grave full of ideas
Of things that seem to matter
Broken spirit, shaky bones filled with
Nothing at all
So hard to separate
The words from the idea
The thoughts from the point
Of nothing at all

I never said that… Sure you did. It is just that sometimes the words are hard to understand while screaming them…

Faith in the hopeless
Still have to try
Still must push against the wall
Built in the mind
Forever can’t last
Has it always been this way
Locked away
Left to die
Left to suffer
Abandonment
Isolation
Suffocation
Speaking truth in tongues
Turn to lies over time
Rambling ideas of the mind

A made up identity of all that I despise

Don’t take what was never mine
Get in fucking line
Wait to die
Know the order
“Know the way things are, are how they were meant to be.”
God’s words, natural selection
Do you understand?
A bible written in blood, truth, the only way
Look to Moses as he crossed the desert
Look to the prophet that said
“Stay here, for my people it is time to die.”
Where do you get the will?
To throw a book in the face of us all
Never understood a word at all

Broken Thoughts

Layne Ambrose

I’m sure there are about twelve other things I could address right now… but fuck it… I’m not in the mood… I’ve got Pokemon to catch after all… let’s be honest… can we be honest… Do we really need so many damn Pokemon?… Don’t get me wrong… I will trap… and collect them all… with a smile on my face… but it is starting to get a little crowded around here… do I really need a Pokemon in a teapot?… or one that looks like an ice cream cone?… I mean who thought… Let’s bring back the ice cream cone?… almost a thousand of these damn things… bring back the cone… and while we are at it… the chandelier…

Since we are being honest… and on the subject… What does it say about me as a person… that I am willing to leave a wake of “dying” Pokemon… in a long trail behind me… all in the pursuit to make mine stronger?… what kind of torture simulator am I playing?… pocket monsters?… I’m not so sure about that… I think we may be shifting the blame… the monster has been… and always will be… me…

Couldn’t make it to therapy this week… I apologize… for the outburst… but my therapist thanks you…

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