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One Step Ahead

(Shuddering) They kept coming back

Each time with different names and different stories
But always with that same blankness
Crawling beneath their skin
Faces pulled taut by snarls wearing the costume of grins
A phantom mien which reached across a crowded room
They would slip little notes
Into open doors and open hands
No one ever saw them going about on their dark business
Their shadows walked on a higher plane of existence
You tried to tell them boldly:
“Prepare for a crash landing!”
But they only sneered
At your spark of hope, as it smoldered out, beneath a clump of ash

Their sighs inhuman, like deflating balloons
When gun or hot breath was pressed
To the back of their pale necks
They are the Hollow Men
You first began to die
When the little, red clown sitting in the corner of the room
Pointed out the thousands of eyes
Twinkling in the ceiling of your bedroom
You tried to tie a noose from the handkerchiefs
Which he kept pulling from his laughing mouth
But you ended up tangled
In the ringing sound
Of his taunts
Their taunts

What’s left to trust
Drains from your closed fists
Whenever you shove it right under somebody’s nose
He never knows who’s in on it
You know to what I’m referring
The plan, the game
Your prison
Your life (now, that is)
So take his hand, will you, you pretty daughter of the outside?
Run away together, or try, at least

All the while
They are idly checking the hourglass
Which floats behind their unblinking eyes
It’s measuring the sands of time
Until somebody has to really die
So will you retire?
Or will you keep creeping down in that Cadillac
Through the sounds of gunshot in the nighttime streets?
Whatever you decide
They will be watching
And grinning
Because they always stay one step
Ahead of the game





Join the Discussion

This article has 35 comments. Post your own now!

RedFeather said...
Dec. 15, 2011 at 8:03 am
Your work never ceases to amaze me, raven. Perhaps because they're all pretty relateable to me in one way or another. The only way to survive in their game is to change the rules and stay three steps ahead, or if you're not, at least pretend to be. They say to hate the game, not the players, but it's pretty hard not to hate both sides of that dark.
 
Boosflash This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 23, 2011 at 7:20 pm
Tres bien,tres bien,love 11 + 13 and the part aboit dyimg and the hollow men and the clown and being tangled and I LOVE THE LAST STANZA.it woild be conducive for u to do ur dance at the time which is now.
 
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 24, 2011 at 1:15 pm
Then let the dance be done! And let the audience of ghosts and demons and snowmen curl around the stage which we we have all neglected.
 
Boosflash replied...
Sept. 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm
............................ ..........
 
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 24, 2011 at 7:42 pm
You haven't the courage to reply?
 
. replied...
Sept. 25, 2011 at 10:19 pm
(shakes head)
 
Aderes18 said...
Aug. 27, 2011 at 4:55 am

Your poem reminds me when I'm in another new city, in a big crowd.

Personally, I think you're the Lady Gaga of poetry. That's a comment from me because I'm a HUGE fan of hers. 

 
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 27, 2011 at 11:53 am

Lady Gaga? Hmmmm.

I'm not a huge fan of hers, but I'm quite grateful to receive that compliment from someone who is!

You then, can be the Priscilla Ahn of poetry.

 
Aderes18 replied...
Aug. 27, 2011 at 9:11 pm
Well, Lady Gaga, to me, is very creative and unusual and I'm just a huge fan of hers. I was so glad when she came out with her new album. And I'm so happy whenever a new poem of yours comes out! :)
 
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 28, 2011 at 12:29 pm
In that case, I am unspeakably honoured. :)
 
savetheplanet said...
Aug. 24, 2011 at 7:12 pm
Yes I was just wondering when you'd come out with a new masterpiece as well.  Weaved out of darkness this poem is.  It reminded me of gang wars too!  Well done, Raven, well done.
 
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 26, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Righ' outta ta' darkness. I could almost hear a sigh of complaint from the night as I stole some of its substance.

Thank you, Liz, thank you!

 
savetheplanet replied...
Aug. 26, 2011 at 8:54 pm
Darkness isn't meant to be hoarded, but shared.
 
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 27, 2011 at 11:51 am
Who is doing the sharing?
 
savetheplanet replied...
Aug. 27, 2011 at 12:00 pm
You obviously, you did write this poem yes? ;)
 
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 27, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I see now. :)

 

 
savetheplanet replied...
Aug. 28, 2011 at 1:53 pm
LOL, I was blind, but now I see.
 
IamtheshyStargirl said...
Aug. 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Hollow black bones, they have, not the diamond-space ones I am accustomed to.

I was wondering when I would get to read a new masterpiece of yours. This one is crafted of spider webs and vaguaries. Reminding me of gang wars, subtle corruption and a war without end. 

 
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 26, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Sometimes they are hollow and black, others they are diamond-space. Sometimes I've even seen them come in gift wrap, though I'm never really fooled.

Dzięki, Córka gwiazdy! I have indeed been testing my skill with these spiderwebs you speak of. I hate it though, when I get tangled, and the silky string obscures my view of the daylight.

 
IamtheshyStargirl replied...
Aug. 26, 2011 at 7:41 pm

But the daylight will always peek through to reach you, helping you to find your way through. 

あなたは歓迎、サイレントウィーバーです。

 
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