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Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry

The Light of the Room

The truth is hard sometimes, like a dark room always circling with a cold draft, and we call to the shadows or we look away from the ghosts. I’m talking about the room that has a thousand blankets, the one with so many arms offering to hold you, the room with windows full of sunlight and perfect views, but yet nothing can warm you. It’s as empty as anything I have ever known. This room, with its frozen center, is the one place we linger into, where the doors and windows lock behind us. That room. If you’ve been there, then you know, not even god can open the door. Not even knee-pleading, raw knuckles, empty-throat screams aimed towards the sky can save you. It’s the room of your own mind, where your heart goes to die. And there’s nothing pretty about the slow death that seeps in, chews away with hungry teeth, and hollows you out so deep, the only thoughts that fill you are the ones begging you to end it. Whispers to you at night that the pain will stop if you do, the emptiness will end if you do, the worthlessness will stop stacking up against you… if you do. And sometimes we sit in that room for years, trying to turn those voices off, trying to shrug it away as if it will go away. But it never goes away. It stays. It stays. And those voices start becoming the light. You contemplate walking into it to find a quick route to a peace you once knew but don’t remember anymore. And fuck… it hurts. There are not words to describe the way it hurts. I only know that I could be on a stage, spotlighted perfection, with a million people applauding, asking for an encore of more… and still I would feel only that empty room of me, begging for the light that does not shine like the coldest, darkest reflection against the inner turmoil eating me alive and licking its lips after I finally give the voices the answer they were so hungry for. Until they are not anymore. I dance in the light and the weight of the world unlocks the room and it no longer feels heavy, but light and free. I fly to the place where I can be me once again, before the room locked me in and broke my soul when I wasn’t looking. And the eyes of the world turned blind, washed their hands, and swept the mess of me under the rug where out of sight, out of mind, means everything is perfectly fine.

And I am now. I am now. I am now. I swear to god and all the windows in that room. I swear on my smile that never ever was. I swear on my voice that turned silence into perfection. And I swear on you, wondering about the signs you missed. They were flashing right in front of you. You closed your eyes and sat on the rug, where my pieces lived, until they didn’t anymore. So, don’t cry now or pretend everything seemed fine. Don’t say I had it all or you never saw me fall. Don’t say anything. Just don’t say anything. Leave it to the silence of that empty room and remember how long I stayed there. Remember the suffering and turn it into a lesson, that sometimes the truth is hard to look at, but turning away from it does not mean everything is fine. It only means you saw all the signs, looked each one in the eyes, decided they were just too ugly to read, and too messy to hold without getting your hands dirty.

How clean are those hands now?

Stephanie Bennett-Henry #stephaniebennetthenry

Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry, Uncategorized

Feeding the Wound

Just along the center of the breaking, where the first crack was licked dirty, and the rest would spread like seeds planting new ones to take root, there is a bloom. You have not seen it yet, but you will. Just behind the glaze, left like a screen door slamming your eyes shut with tears, you’ve been on your knees far too long. Feeding the wounds, taking note of how to keep each one alive to save your life, but it’s time to let them die. You need to lay each one to rest to make room for the new blooms. Forget the wounds, doused in pain. They are all withered and half dead anyway. You feed them your tears, cover them in time, but each one sprouts a scar and your knees are covered in blood. Get up. That’s not your garden anymore. Your garden is so much more than that. Start digging it up. It has words and laughter, hope and dignity. It has your whole heart with all of your light. It has the version of you that you have not met yet. And she’s smiling. Take a shovel, love. Go find the garden where you are waiting to bloom.

Stephanie Bennett-Henry

Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry, Uncategorized

The Stars Come Home

Woman, made of spine, rooted deep where flowers grow, despite secrets long buried in the soil where ancestors died, holding their last breath like one last chance.

Woman, made of strength where one tree started alone, branched out with hands reaching, holding, bending, to welcome the others to evolve and rupture into a forest that never stops fighting to stay.

Woman, made of bones that break and flesh that tears, but a spirit that screams as a call to the brave to say, “your heart is wild, your soul is fierce, and without you, the universe would cease to exist.”

Woman. With those fearless feet, that sharp tongue holding words like knives beneath, there’s an echo in your throat that calls, a forest full of warriors that refuse to fall.

Woman, you are a legend of worth. If you ever forget, look around you at the other legends we call women. They are growing everywhere.

Birthing forests filled with brave hearts, kind souls, and unbreakable spirits. That’s why the ocean rolls and applauds in waves. That’s why the sky uses the sun the shine a spotlight on you. When the moon grows full, and the stars start to fall at your feet, they are falling home, because they know Home is you, woman. Home is you.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

#ragingrhetoric

Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry, Uncategorized

Hope Was My Weapon

I have had my feet kicked out from beneath me, fallen down to my knees, the breath knocked out of me. I have had to find out the hard way if I was brave or if I was weak, searched for courage in the lowest parts of rock bottom, lost my faith a hundred times. I have questioned my own spirit, misplaced my will, looked for grace in the ugliest moments and could not find it. I have tested the waters, swam against the most uncertain waves, begged the sky for more chances, screamed profanities at the silence. I have been tested to the limit, forced to prove who I am and all I am made of. It wasn’t easy, but nothing worth fighting for ever is. And the fight never stops, so I cannot ever stop. I was fighting for myself. I am still fighting and I will continue no matter what life throws at me. I am suited up and ready. I have scars stitched up with hope, faith in my own bravery, and strength running through my blood that does not let me quit. So, I stay. So, I fight. And maybe, I will win once again. But if I don’t, just remember that I never gave up, that I went out swinging, and I left a mark for the warriors to carry in my name, for my life was never once in vain.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

#ragingrhetoric

Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry, Uncategorized

In Dreams of Waking

There are spaces hidden in plain sight, between the white noise and the chaos, the peace behind the hell, the silence following the song. I hear them always. They wake me dead out of sleep, pinch and slaughter, yearn and bleed, hold me with promises, filthy me with lies, and they all break, like I break, torturing my pieces into the cruelest crumbling. Come to my window, sing me fast asleep with lullabies that swear not to make light of my heart as long as my eyes stay shut so tight, and just along the dark of night, the moon sleeps next to me and we dream of glowing in the dark in spaces that stay hidden. In my dreams I go there. Sometimes I make my home there. But I never stay to grow there.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry, Uncategorized

The River Always Knew

Don’t let them tame you.

Be the chaos that burns,

the wild heart with unruly strings,

the passion without a name,

the flames that cannot be contained.

Don’t let them settle your spirit.

Be the whole forest,

branching out from one small seed,

the quiet noise of birds taking flight,

the wind applauding the wings,

the trees that know they’re not alone,

the birds always come back home.

Don’t let them change you.

Be the river.

The way it breaks and bends,

but never loses sight

of where it’s going

and when it gets there,

it spills itself

into something bigger

but still feels worthy of being there

and the ocean thanks it

for the grace of every ripple,

carries it with the waves

to proves that it matters.

And the river always knew.

The river always knew,

same as you.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

#ragingrhetoric

Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry, Uncategorized

Dandelion Fields

Woman, you don’t even see your own power, but I do… I do and it looks like a downpour of magic, disguised within tiny brush strokes of brave hands, grasping madness from wishes you made under the stars once in that field of dandelions. The ones you thought never came true. But they did. They are hidden in those sad eyes, behind that smile you thought was wiped clean of courage, in your throat where those words simmer and wait. You pull them out, seed by seed, word for word, wish for wish, make them dance like you do. And my god, they dance after you touch them, like heaven held you once and refused to ever let go. Like me, I refuse to let go of this real life picture show. The reel spins soft and there you are… holding your power like magic and wishes, and you stand there as though your hands have always been empty. You don’t even know. But I do. I do and I refuse to look away from the shine that hides behind those sad eyes. There’s a world in your eyes that looks like magic, trying to tell a story of the woman whose hands were always full of wishes when she thought they were only weeds, until we all started wishing to be brave like her. And we all came true. Just like you, woman, just like you.

That story in your eyes has a happy ending. I hope you see it soon.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#ragingrhetoric #stephaniebennetthenry