More Than Words

I sit trying to find the words to describe how I am feeling. Words have always been my pals, my childhood companions that dared to dream with me, and aided in mending my broken hearts. Yet here I am, grasping for eloquence, for the “right thing” to say.

I’ve read the words of my peers, whose hopes are similar to mine—that their gifts with prose will somehow change who they are. Shield them. Define them. But it all feels so empty. The lines are aesthetically pleasing, thoughtful, and well composed yet they lack something. They lack heart.

Heart is something that cannot be gained by beaded bracelets or an affinity for the obscure. Trying to be special, to be different is a defeat in and of itself, isn’t it? How do we move past all the layers we add to ourselves and reveal the rawest flesh? No pretense. I’ve sat here today trying to figure out what that actually means. My love of old movies and peppermint patties and my unfailing belief that everyone should have a theme song just isn’t it. Sure, these are factors that contribute to my personality, but what about my soul? What about the cosmic imprint that will outlast any word that I could ever muster. So instead I try desperately to remember the experiences. The smell of my island, the feeling of laughter as it barrels out of me, in an uncontrollable fit of living.

As I try in vain to express an emotion, to expel the discomfort that has taken over my every conscious thought, I fail. No, tonight words are not my friend. They are reminders of my shortcomings, of my limitations, of my humanity. But they are all I have.

More Than Words

The smell of holiday ham in September
prepared with the movements of memory
and diabetic hands
fills my ungrateful teenage soul.

My oily fingertips fish for quarters
in large, dusty jars that hold pieces
of time that existed before me,
thinking pennies weren’t worth the effort.

My tongue is unsatisfied
with the Pepsi products offered.
I prefer Coke.
I prefer air-conditioning.

The crackle of an old T.V.
chronicles the ecstatic contestants
collecting their treasures
But I was the real winner.

This is how I look today—
A dull ache with no discernable origin,
waves of confusion, and wanderlust strike
all meaning from whispered syllables.

“I’m sorry for your loss.”
As if I simply misplaced him.



Salt wind weaves through
knowing tides;
heels pound sandcastle pavement,
rhythm piercing
bone and

Nature crowns
knight lovers;
dove lace draped
across an unmade

Sky weeps
crimson beads, molten
ancestral sketches,
to preserve antiquity.


A life without breath is unable to fill the cracks
left by the impact—
stone against bone.
Forgiveness is easy, acceptance is

Glide through a clear, suspicious sky.
Past naïve dirt groves and
submarine streets, where
saline speeches cease to

Stumble through kerosene
kisses left by lovers
drowning with honor
and regret.

Picture pin-ups laid
across swollen steel, sliding
past olive branches, and seaweed, and

Tip-toe the line
separating dizzy from dismal.
if you are the man you thought you would be.

Glenna Lynne Schubert