An Untoward Exchange

This was originally posted elsewhere, under a different title. Written for spoken word poetry. 

Inside my head where the lies we believe thrive:



I make a difference.


Prove it.


I influence others?


You do? Like I said, prove it.


Well, I have a community. I belong.


You only kinda have a community. Would they even notice if you were gone? 


Well, I did have one at least, back where I used to live. 


Key words: You. Did. They’ve moved on.


Well, I’m interesting–I think. Pretty? 


Keep telling yourself that, babe.


Dang it. It gives me shivers–I’m totally going to fail at, well, everything this year. 


Don’t have to work hard to prove that one!


Ugh! Why do I even try?!


That’s right. Why do you even care about having a meaningful life?


A meaningful life? I guess that is it, that’s what I want. I want my life to be worth something; for me to be worth something. If I only . . .


It’s all such crap. Meaningful, shityful. 


Shut up, you’re kinda a jerk.



Where’d you go?



Hey, you know, I do have a meaningful life. Even if I don’t do anything. I do have some self-worth.



And I don’t have to be afraid of failure. I’ll just learn from it; I’ll just call that success. . . don’t you think?




You’re back?


Who said I ever left?


Maybe I am just afraid of being lonely. You know, besides that whole failure thing. 


Oh, that is so right. You are so alone. Lonely and Failure sitting in the tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G . . .




First comes spite, then they disparage, then out YOU come in their baby carriage!


That is so  . . . morose. Surely I’m not born of failure and loneliness!


Prove it.


Well. . . I guess I can’t. . . Wait a minute! Who are you to tell me–


Oh, and, by the way, you can’t change the world either.


Who said I was even trying?


You said you were trying! It’s written all over . . . well, all over your everything! 


You know I can’t stand the evil in this world. And the indifference and misguidance as a response to it. Then there is the oppression and hate–


Like I said, you can’t stand to believe your life has no meaning.


Are you saying I have a savior complex?


I’m saying you have an identity complex. Which then manifests itself as a savior complex. So, yes, I am telling you that. You have all the complexes. You are way too far down that rabbit hole. I can’t believe you’re still even able to breathe. 


That can’t, that can’t be true.


I’m telling you, that is who you are!


I am so more than that! Why am I even listening to you? Just shut up for a minute so I can think!



You went away again. Whew. You are so LOUD.



I am more than that. I don’t need others to tell me who I am. Let alone you! I am valuable simply because I am.





You’re asking me again?  Of course you have no value!  You are a persistent failure and no one gets you. You’re a dog who never gives up even though the bone is clearly out of reach. You are worthless.


Sounds like you are complementing me on my persistence and audacity.


Trust me, I wasn’t. W.O.R.T.H.L.E.S.S.


Okay, that’s it. You are nothing–nothing but lies.


I am so the truth.


No you are not! Your voice is hate. You are the evil in the world. I think you need to be quiet now.



Did you hear me? Go away!



Are you gone?




Uh-uh. Nope. Hear me loud and clear: I don’t ever want to catch you whispering your antagonizing, conniving, disparaging, snide and venomous lies of hate ever again. And–so help me God–you are forever exiled out of my head and will continually be tenaciously guarded against. Capiche?



I said die monster, die!  


beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep —————————————————–


There. That is so much better. Now let’s find the truth.




My Boss, “Handsome Johnny”

This poetic story was prompted by the following image:

Coliseum in Rome. CC2.0 photo by Vlad.
Coliseum in Rome. CC2.0 photo by Vlad.

Whisking me off my sensible feet, Mr. Roselli took me out to play–

So giddy–I didn’t know he even felt that way!

This morning he called at eight, arrived at three,

Thrusting brusquely past our janitor to get to me.

My top button suddenly felt too tight,

My shy smile grew wide; inside I soared like a kite.

Just yesterday I was well-coiffed, pinned-down,

But in his penthouse my hair was ruffled under Sinatra’s soothing sound.

“It’s Secretary Day!” Roselli cried with glee,

He moved the years of imaginary employee’s flowers to pass me a key.

My trembling hands, forever smelling of our office soap,

Inched to open his envelope.

My blood rushed as I squelched my dreams,

Although my heart-wrenching wanderlust burst at the seams!

Hopefully glancing at my board, pinned with snapshots from afar,

I was distracted by the window framing his car.

Crestfallen, instantly my nerves were grating,

While he cooed, “My dove, why are you waiting?”

A relic from his travels, a scratched postcard from ancient Rome,

Scribbled on the back it said “Just call before visiting my home!”

Nuzzling my neck, he pressed the key into my palm.

I glared at the Marilyn Monroe in his Maserati, centering my raging calm.

Written for Flash! Friday flash fiction

Compare A.Ravenel Clay’s story, The Bastard’s New Job, written with the same prompt

Dark Skies: The Story and Song for the Weary Advocate

This story is not uncommon in the world of advocacy. Nor in the world of anything, where time passes and one works, works, works.

After expending, imparting to love and free others, it seemed their toil was in vain. Those they worked for were not really free. But neither were they- the freedom bringers. The burden they carried was just too immeasurable. And darkness waited, crouching for this hopeless moment. While alone, lifeless, and fading to just a shell from pouring into others, that is when it struck. Because, you see, they don’t always know when their life-saving canteens are empty until they are standing there, isolated in the forest, brokenly gazing at the unyielding sky.

But although the mountain they stand on is grandiose, and the night looms near, they aren’t truly alone. No. They cannot be. Because the wind still howls like a fire, battering and caressing, burning and beseeching.


Dark Skies

When hope fades

You carry these burdens away.

But you don’t. They’re still there.

I’m fighting alone like you’re not even here.


Am I by myself tonight?

Am I alone beneath dark skies?


The empty, it shivers,

My blanket pulled tight.

The wind howling deeply

Come forge me alive!


Am I by myself tonight?

Am I alone under dark skies?


Spirit, soothe me

With pure ancient love

Whisper sweet truth to

Douse this poison!


Am I by myself tonight?

Am I alone beneath dark skies?


Sing, breathe, heal this shadow of my ghost!

Burn through the bones making me forceful!


Consumed with the grief

That I’m failing outright,

Pointless I’m trying

To make myself light.


Am I by myself tonight?

Am I alone beneath dark skies?


Sing, breathe, flow into my empty shell!

Catch fire to whatever makes me whole!



Dark Skies Poem Excerpt by Elisa Johnston


Similar Posts:

The Tunic In The Night: A Short Story

A Song: Grander

Poetry and Song: Too Busy

A Song: On The Day it Feels Like Your World is Falling Apart



Poetry and Song: Too Noisy Busy (Clock-in)









 Too Noisy Busy (Clock-in)

I’ll tell you a secret

That everyone knows

My heart beats too fast

Infinity slows



Clock-in to





I might hear a secret

That I don’t yet know

My heart might be singing

A melody low



Tap-in to

The beat.




But it’s too noisy, rowdy.

It is too busy; they’re all screamin’

If I’d just check-in to rehab

If all humanity stopped.

If I just stilled to be silent

What would I hear?




I’d hear Him.


Here is His. Here He was. He will probably be tomorrow.

But right now I’m going to go real slow

To listen to Him and me

To hear what I hear

and make sense of anything

To hear what I hear . . .


But it’s too noisy, rowdy.

It is too busy; they’re all screamin’

If I’d just check-in to rehab

If all humanity stopped.

If I just stilled to be silent

What would I hear?

I’d hear Him.


Similar Posts:

A Song: On The Day it Feels Like Your World is Falling Apart

A Song: Grander

A Song: On The Day it Feels Like Your World is Falling Apart

There has been a lot happening in my life and in the lives of those I love.

I am not one of those people who doesn’t feel, despite that I try to look at things logically.

Considering, sometimes I feel so much I expect I will explode.

Feelings are like that sometimes.

But I don’t.

I don’t explode.

I sing (at least internally).

On the day it feels like your world is falling apart:

It is no different than the apple falling from the tree.

It’s the crisp fall day where the sky sparkles brilliantly.

But there it is, in truth be told-

A sorrow that feels deeper than your very soul.


In the linings of these organs lays,

The pulse of life, of breathe, and of hope at bay.

Tempered to release and be set breaking forth-

But that’s all ushered aside ’till your heartbreaking’s morphed                                                                                                                                                      

On the day 

On the day

On the day your world comes apart.

On the day 

On the day

Yes, that day when your knit apart-

It’s all new.


You drag your feet as they tread the ground.

The surface is the same, with the world still spinning ’round.

But you see below what others still don’t know-

That it’ll never be the same so then your feelings flow.


On the day
On the day
On the day when your world falls apart.
On the day
On the day
On the day when your knit apart-
It’s new.
It’s change. 
It’s new,
And its okay.
It’s just change.

Similar Posts:

A Song: Grander

A Song: Grander

Sometimes when I can’t express or feel or think, I write songs/poetry. Actually, although some of my music sucks, I’ve been told some of it is good.  Regardless, it is probably my ultimate best way of dealing with life and coming closer to God.


Even though in recent years I tend to avoid it. But sometimes it still just falls out of me.


Like this did today in a matter of a couple minutes. During my alone time I was praying and trying to process this past week, but I couldn’t make my tangled emotions come out when it came to my prayers for a heartbreaking situation and about what has transpired in this week. So, instead this became my prayer for myself, some hurt friends, and just all of us.


Because God is still bigger; He is in-charge.  He can heal every wound, cover every sin, right every wrong, and fill every void.


I don’t usually share my music because, well, that requires vulnerability and I don’t think people are really that interested. But I decided I should probably share this. I hope in some, even if little way, it blesses those it was written for.  It is dedicated to some good friends whom a part of me wishes  can adopt it into their own song/prayer.


I’ll always love them.




You are bigger than I could ever imagine.

You are wider than the deepest sea.

You are longer than the tallest mountain.

And one thing’s for sure, is that you are so much bigger than me.


When my world is small you are so much grander!

When my spark is small you’re the roaring sun’s fame.

When I can’t think ‘cuz my thoughts are swirling,

You hold back my rushing seas.


I think your light is always on me-

You’re in those times I can barely see.

If my smile is exhausted, you cradle cradle me.

Ya, you cradle cradle me.

Oh, cradle, holding me!


When my world is small you are so much grander!

When my spark is small you’re the roaring sun’s flame.

When I can’t breathe ‘cuz the pain is blinding,

You bend and mend in me.