Belief in Hell Dies Hard

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Recently I read an excellent poetry book entitled “Shit House Rat“, written by Daniel Crocker (a fellow bipolar writer). The poetry in this collection is brutally honest, gritty, and humorous, and even engages some of our favorite characters from Sesame Street in a way that is unique and really outlines the harsh reality of adult life “on the street” .

One poem that especially triggered some thought on my part is one called “A Dream of Siblings”, in which the poet has a dream about his deceased brother being trapped in a sort of hell. Like me, the author no longer believes in a literal hell, at least not of the Christian theological kind, but as the following lines from the poem show, he still struggles to let go of that old belief in a fiery pit of torture:

“Even though I gave up
believing in this shit
years ago, I still wonder

Maybe I never gave up believing

Maybe, once having faith, no one
ever gives up believing

Even if the things we believe in
are horrifying.”

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How Crazy Am I?

Art by Maranda Russell

*I wrote this fun little poem while sitting at Burger King, eating my hamburger and onion rings. It just kind of “came” to me lol. It is meant to be cynically humorous, hopefully it is.

How Crazy Am I?

I don’t know
a 10?
Nah…
I ain’t THAT fucking
insane.

A 9?
Well, I’m not
quite drooling
on myself yet…
at least not
on a regular basis.

An 8?
That sounds about
right, but
over the years
I’ve learned
if something sounds right
it almost never is.

7?
Lucky seven?
I sure ain’t
been lucky
in this life,
or any other.

6?
Sure, let’s just
settle on six.
Because really,
who gives a shit
anyhow?
And I’m tired
of counting.

– Art and Poetry by Maranda Russell

Timid Tears and Fearless Frowns

"Lust and Envy" by Maranda Russell

Have you ever had
a timid tear
lace its way down
your cheek
and then hide
‘neath your ear?

Or tried to
smile – only
to find
a fearless frown
that refuses
to mind?

~ Art and Poetry by Maranda Russell

At the Crossroads

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You string me along
like floss
then toss me away
like a song.
You want me
only when it’s
convenient –
when your pastel
world loses
color and you
need me to
brighten the walls.

But now I see
your game –
I’m wise to your
disguise.
Not afraid to
walk away, I
leave you at
the crossroads
facing your own
demise.

~ Art & Poetry by Maranda Russell

Suicidal Ideations

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*Note: I wrote this a while back and am not currently feeling suicidal, but I thought it might be interesting to share this poem as it does illustrate a real mental struggle I have dealt with on and off for many years.

Suicidal Ideations

If I only had a dollar
for every time
I have looked down
from a great height,
shook a full bottle of pills,
held my breath under water,
or inhaled exhaust fumes
while thinking

I could actually do it,
I could end it all –

I would have more
than enough
to pay for all the
therapy sessions
I obviously need.

2 Mixed Media Collages: Poetry, Fashion & Social Media

I made the following two ACEO art trading card mixed media collages recently (which have already sold). My personal favorite is the first one, because of the interesting contrast of classic poetry and brash, high-fashion boots. For the second one, I wanted to do a social media themed piece, but make it fun and playful.

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