End Stage (After All These Years)

Attempting to breathe in every ounce of energy that flees my ailing body,
Daily I inhale life-
No longer for the desire to live, but solely on instinct
I am supposed to live.
I am supposed to live because that’s what the brave do.
Because that’s what we tell ourselves—will ourselves to do
Despite the illness, the fatigue, the waiting…
And while I wait,
Razed emotions make futile attempts to emboss themselves upon my soul
They leave no lasting marks
They make no impression to stir my withering core
Yet the body keeps on
Separate but conjoined
Siamese twins of the psyche, unable to be parted without death of one or both
The courageous will forge ahead
Because that’s what they do
Valiant, heroic—the words of survivorship
 I am supposed to live.
I am supposed to live, because that’s what the courageous do.
Time has stolen the desire to live, in exchange for the compulsion to exist.

Among less seasoned survivors

I may appear fearless.
I am simply fatigued.

 This entry is for Two Shoes Tuesday. The cue is Breathe. Hit the link and go read a spell.

Josie Two Shoes


35 comments on “End Stage (After All These Years)

  1. Shamu Boo says:

    That is a work of great power. The numbness in your situation radiates. Your illness hanging above you keeps you in a constant PTSD-like condition, decades long; let alone the rough bumps along the way. It is all captured so beautifully and starkly here.


  2. Lizzi R says:

    What he said ^^^



  3. Christine says:

    I have no idea what to say. And I can't even say “frist” to cover my speechlessness.
    You did write this so well. Powerful doesn't even come close.


  4. I am wordless…….but…..stay strong. Just stay strong.


  5. Zoe Byrd says:

    at the risk of castrating my own poem… I hope I didnt worry everyone … just a lousy day… Gloria Gaynor and I have a lot in common…( Cripe are you old enough to know who she is?) Maybe I should save that comment for someone older… Where's Clark when I need a reference point? Thanks lizzi in all seriousness… your support is always a shining point for me!


  6. Zoe Byrd says:

    go ahead say it… yknow you want to … FRIST! Thanks Christine, I will repeat… I hope I didnt worry anyone…I dont usually write despair very well… so when I do I find I have saved it up too long … but really … I will press on and be fine tomorrow…just a hard day today.


  7. Zoe Byrd says:

    Im hanging on girl, no worries… I respect your poetry prowess… so wordless is high praise.. I am fine though as I said above…just a stinky lousy poop of a day… tomorrow the sun shall rise and so shall I.( and my little dog too!)


  8. Lizzi R says:

    Not worried, my dear.

    Just sad.

    And yes, I do at least know who Gloria Gaynor is. Thankyouverymuch.

    Your name, my dear friend, in the palm of my hand. ❤


  9. The cup is half full, the cup is half full, the cup is half full DAMMIT the cup is half full….


  10. Every once in a while, I stumble onto something that sinks far deep into my soul. And it just happened. Wow.


  11. Lizzi R says:

    What I meant was. Not worried NOW YOU CLARIFIED. Good grief. You and your saved-up despair just kicked my clark-ass into the next freakin galaxy. You sod.

    *sulky* You should come with a warning.

    ::Your set was momentarily obliterated. Do not adjust your set. Normal service will be resumed::


  12. Zoe Byrd says:

    Secretly I have always loved the idea of being called a sod! Dunno musta been the England days! SOD OFF… just so satisfying… Truly, you are not the first to suggest a warning label…for these occassions and shorter fused ones! Yeah, no worries, really… I just looked at your heart again… I saved the pics in my favs! xo me.


  13. Zoe Byrd says:

    Does one say thank you when I am now realizing Ive traumatized people? First let me say oops, then … THank you! That is what some poetry is meant for right? So thanks so much for the read and the comment… I feel a bit sorry for the heavy heartedness but am so grateful for the sincerity


  14. Zoe Byrd says:

    Oh Dyanne I know this is a struggle even for a self proclaimed polly like yourself… I hope I didnt worry or dig up anything for you! I so respect your struggle even when Im pissy about my own…Most days the cup runneth over just a bad one today… maybe I need a snow day huh?


  15. Lizzi R says:

    I could call you it about a million more times at this second. And possibly punch you, too.

    I just looked at yours, too. And maybe might've put my hand up against it on the screen.

    *le sigh*

    SRSLY. Warning label. With rainbows and unicorns and glitter and one of those JibJab majiggies doing an “I'm okay” dance…


  16. Lizzi R says:

    Perfection *hits replay*
    Perfection *hits replay*
    Perfection *hits replay*
    Perfection *hits replay*
    Perfection *hits replay*


  17. Do you want to borrow Ruby?


  18. Zoe Byrd says:

    You know there's more comment on the island of “lost.” will you settle for NHL?


  19. Zoe Byrd says:

    Believe me even Gloria wouldnt be insulted if you didnt…


  20. Zoe Byrd says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooo…. love, Skip

    I guess not… yes…oh shut up , skip! No thank you… maybe… SKIP! SHUT UP!


  21. oldegg says:

    Words are wonderful things. They can soothe, they can inspire, they can hurt and when written they can say what is difficult to speak. Writers are very lucky to be able to impart emotions in these funny scribbley things on the page. You do so with much feeling.


  22. Lizzi R says:



  23. Stunningly beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. My thoughts are with you.


  24. How very well I understand days like this, days where being brave and soldiering on feels like it requires way too much energy for too little gain. I also know, as you state in the comments above, that in a day or two or six you will your batteries will recharge a bit and life will feel a little better. Still, I have to admit that there are many days when one contemplates what we struggle so hard for. I like to think it is so that you can be a light of encouragement to others who struggle the same! Thank you for this outstanding contribution to Two Shoes Tuesday, Zoe!


  25. Zoe Byrd says:

    Thank you kind sir. I often go looking for your poetry so that is high praise indeed… I do appreciate it.


  26. Zoe Byrd says:

    Thanks . Im writing this the day after I wrote that… I was just too exhausted I think… it can be heartbreaking but also a whole different undefinable experience as well….hope that makes some sense.


  27. Zoe Byrd says:

    “being brave and soldiering on feels like it requires way too much energy for too little gain. I also know, as you state in the comments above, that in a day or two or six you will your batteries will recharge a bit and life will feel a little better. Still, I have to admit that there are many days when one contemplates what we struggle so hard for.” EXACTLY! Thanks so much , Josie… so well said. Thankyou!


  28. I was sad to see this one slip off the Two Shoes Tuesday roster, it is such a good and relevant piece, Zoe! I think it gives a healthy sense of balance to all those “thankful, smiley-face days” that we work hard to achieve. Yin and Yang, always. I am glad you've left it here, it is too honest and well done to disappear entirely. You could have written this for me this week, but I am slogging along, and by week's end I will hopefully be back in good form. Life cycles, thankfully! 🙂


  29. Ahhh, now you can see that my weary mind is befuddled at the end of the long day, when this link disappeared, and you put up a new one, I commented here before I went and read the new link to your blog… you've shared the same post there! Whew! I was sad that TST readers were going to miss out on it! 🙂


  30. Zoe Byrd says:

    no worries my friend. I share your muddle minded befuddlement this week!!!!


  31. psychochef says:

    OK, so I've been slogging through moving and family dramas, and I've been avoiding cyberspace. When I logged into my email this morning and saw the title of this piece, I NEARLY CRAPPED MY PANTS!!!

    That being said, this is definitely my new favorite piece of yours. The language is beautiful. The struggle is clear. The honesty is compelling and unsettling at the same time.

    I don't think there's any need to apologize for upsetting your friends/readers. Writing brings us closer to the truth of ourselves, and when it's done well (as this piece is), it reveals the ways we are all connected through the beauty and struggle of our shared humanity.

    Thanks for being you. Karen


  32. Zoe Byrd says:

    Karen, I so appreciate your perspective (not to mention your writing chops) and it always helps to calm me and bring me to where I need to be in my head. Thanks for recognizing this for what it is… a struggle…thanks for allowing me to be me as well, You are the best! xo me


  33. bethteliho says:

    Very deep and poignant, and of course beautifully written. I was worried until I read your comments and saw you are okay! Hang in there, sweet friend.


  34. Zoe Byrd says:

    Oh Thanks Beth,I appreciate it… No worries…promise no need… 🙂



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