Codependency: A Poem

I was too late to submit to the July issue of Visual Verse which is:

An anthology of art, poetry, short fiction and non-fiction.

We supply a compelling image and invite writers – published or unpublished – to submit a piece in response. There is a catch: you must write it within one hour and it must be between 50 and 500 words.

Compelling right? I enjoy their images though I consistently submitted for them, sadly. Though I got published by them months ago with my poem “Beacon“. Visual Verse actually tweeted it:

Succinctly explains the whole premise that I never caught on til I read the tweet lol. I wish I wrote this latest poem before the deadline just so I can see what they would’ve written but oh well.

Anyway, that featured image above is a photography by Oscar Keys. Here’s his site and this is his facebook page. I wonder if he knows that there are scores of writing that was inspired by this singular, evocative photo? What surprises to treasure and hoard, damn.

Without further ado, here’s the poem:


By Eileen Ramos

Why can’t you let me go?
You bind me with soft caresses
and gentle threats.
You manipulate nostalgia
and dying love embers
to withhold me
from moving forward with my life.

You remind me of all the sweet love
you bestowed upon me while omitting
how bitter,
how rotten,
and how hollow
it tasted.

…but why can’t I allow YOU to let me leave?

And why do I always end up craving you?

Your overbearing grip is soothing to me.
Your loving stranglehold on our past
makes my future so desperate
without you.
Your sweet nothings make me feel
like an adored nothing.
You blind me to who I truly am,
to my full potential, but God
our grasp is so soft
and so cold.

I find a true comfort
in my dread of you.
A blooming power
when I deny you.
Adrenaline when I’m sunk deep
into our shared drama.
And such delight when you
distract me from all
my dreams and realities.

You’re a bruising escape
from responsibilities and aspirations.
A pain I feel I deserve.
You’re the guilt I proudly bear
and the excuse I worn out
from shirking from the stars
within my reach.

You’re the fear I follow,
the reason I’m fallow,
and the nurturing pillow
I want to smother
and still
over my faltering fugly face.

With you I was enough,
and the world was so full.

And now,
without you
I’m truly not
and the world is emptier
than I ever witnessed before.

I don’t know how to move on
without you holding me back.

I acknowledge this
debilitating addiction,
this reason for insanity,
but I don’t want to leave
the one obsession
that made me feel whole
and unforgotten.

Is it bad to hold
onto someone so cruel
despite your loss of growth,
peace, and well-being
just to know you haven’t failed
at being noticed,
and adored?

Hold me closer.
There’s too much
room between

I confess I didn’t write this within a whole hour, I went touch and go throughout a few hours, so I guess it was good I didn’t get publish for the integrity of site.

I wonder if any of my imagery matches the other images from the other works in this issue? I’d like to find out, but right now, I’ll keep this vision unique and mine until tomorrow.

I’d love to know what you saw in this photo. What it conjured within you. What did it evoke inside you?

It feels damn good to write poetry again. Just to write in general really, but especially this medium.

I should do it more often.


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