Release (4-4)



Cold steel rings cuffed to the wrist,

cutting into the flesh, bleeding out the stress,

ripping through the skin and bone armor

that not only keeps the dangers away,

but also keeps the perils in.


My face, beaten and bloodied,

pouring and dripping tears of distrust

and screaming cries of dishonor

grows numb from lies and abuse.


But I can feel a hope, an escape.

One more blow, one more indiscretion,

one more yank to these chains

and the shackles will break.

I will be free of this prison I have created for myself,

that you have worked so diligently to keep me in.


I will no longer be held down and tortured

by my guilt and my shame,

by my fear of failure,

by my need to hang on to the only thing I’ve ever created.


You oblige, and I release myself.

I absolve myself of your custody

and your responsibility.

I no longer feel your weight

or the one I imposed on myself,

thinking that I needed to,

not for the sake of you,

but for the sake of me.

That is over now,

and I will walk away free

and you will be left alone.


6 responses to “Release (4-4)

  1. I sense such a dichotomy of emotion in this poem. The speaker is clinging to this “creation,” that is his lifeblood, his pride, and yet is almost praying to have “one more indiscretion” save him from the turmoil of they very creation. There is so much tension here. The dichotomy of wanting to cling to something, yet needing to shed it; the dichotomy of surrendering yourself to another, yet “absolving” yourself of their authority; the dichotomy of clinging onto this creation for the sake of another, yet giving it up for yourself. There is so much conflict!
    The speaker begins the poem by contending with all of these emotional dichotomies, struggles of responsibility, and ends by resolving them all. Quite a masterful transition. The emotion underlying the language was very clear!
    I struggled with the literal/metaphorical meaning of the language. The image, idea, issue from which all of this emotion arose.
    What was shackling you? What was this creation? Whose custody did you absolve yourself of? I had trouble orienting myself to the story. Still a great poem!

    • I can see how not knowing what exactly the poem is referring to can make it a little harder to invest yourself into the poem but for me, for the poem, the journey and the emotions were more important than what was behind it all. Thank you for the feedback, though =)

  2. I loved this line; “cutting into the flesh, bleeding out the stress” because of the way the words move together and because it immediately portrays the inward outward struggle/conflict that develops throughout the poem. It’s holding on, feeling destroyed but setting yourself free to be rebuilt. there’s a your own worst enemy notion in the lines; “I will no longer be held down and tortured / by my guilt and my shame, / by my fear of failure” that’s an emotion all can relate to in different ways. In my opinion, you use powerful metaphors to describe a specific circumstance that has created all of these emotions that are pulling at you, as you try to overcome what’s done. It’s intense and deep, I really like it.

  3. i loved the way you wrote this in almost the format of a prayer. That was how I read it anyway. Prayers give me a cold, shuddering feeling. I imagine being in church and hearing everyone chanting them together and all you can hear is everyone reaching the “s” alliterations as a whole….

  4. This is a poem that releases a lot of power and emotion. Those lines that Tina mentioned are the core of it, I think. The speaker’s face beaten and bloodied and the shackles frightened me a little, but as I kept of reading I sense the hope the speaker has for a change, for a better life. A poem that, as usual, keeps me reading with so much interest!

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