Dear Gaia,

I adore catching glimpses of you.
I appreciate your illusions, miracles, and consequences. Everything about you
intrigues me.

Author Statement

I have a continuous passion for narrative storytelling using mixed media to showcase my creative talents. I’m naturally inclined towards writing in various forms; poetry, memoir, short fiction, documentaries, and journaling. Find my portfolio here – https://rileygstein.format.com/e8618ba8d9-content.

Like an alchemist, Goldstein transforms writing and design into creative
communication that inspires her viewers. Goldstein publishes work connecting nature
to lineage as she paints pictures with her words.

Whoosh

I breath solace
Tasting flurries of foam
Fantasizing of feathers
Caressing the water
Cleansing, I am here
This moment turns
Grey stones into safe spaces
Contemplating nothing
Enjoying my pencil tracing
Over my pages in the books
Carrying across the next moment

Until tomorrow,
Friend.

Author Statement

I have a continuous passion for narrative storytelling using mixed media to showcase my creative talents. I’m naturally inclined towards writing in various forms; poetry, memoir, short fiction, documentaries, and journaling. Find my portfolio here – https://rileygstein.format.com/e8618ba8d9-content.

Like an alchemist, Goldstein transforms writing and design into creative communication that inspires her viewers. Goldstein publishes work connecting nature to lineage as she paints pictures with her words.

Recovery

It took oh so long to get myself straight
Doubtfulness delaying all the right things
Herbal teas, mysticism, oral fixations
Wise words written by those from before me

Take lots of advice, some good, some not;
Whatever you do don’t try to heal too fast
Except if you accept or grin and bear it
Growth and change are inevitable

Played the fool by truth that was yet not truth
No one will take pity on feeble attempts
Such contrived representations: unless you
Want them to, and you don’t want them to

Picked myself up and dusted myself off
Chose to contradict - to deny my demise
Sang my song out loud without audience or reason
Smiled and laughed and reveled in it all

Ready to live for the here and what’s next
Forsake the past, the need to make right by
Fulfilling adolescent fantasies
Made of cathartic Hollywood endings

I had to look within while I was doing without
We all need to find one another but
The key to my recovery lay in
The discovery of what makes me, me

Author Statement

Poetry is healing. It legitimizes my personal experience, and makes me part of the universal conversation with every single person who can relate at all to what I’m talking about. My poetic expression gives me the courage to forgive myself for being hurt, and to forgive anyone who has hurt me. If my art inspires anybody, if it empowers one person to continue on their own journey of healing, then I know I have done something worthwhile.

In the House Where I Grew Up

The kitchen table
In the house where I grew up
Was wooden, cold and stained

Came apart in the middle
Like so many ruined meals
And other realities hard to digest

Silences which say more than words can say
Furtive glances the only I love you
Support incomplete, bond left unspoken

When we left the house where I grew up
The kitchen table stayed behind
But the dining room table came with us

A place to spend and fear the holidays
An anchor to hold us to our past
When we did not know how to be a family

Author Statement

“In The House Where I Grew Up” appeared in Zouch Magazine & Miscellany, in July 2011; The Friendly Voice, in April 2018; a Poetry Pacific, November 2018

Teenager

Look out the wind-blown window
Through the evergreen tree gone bare
Sun unseen lights the grey sky
Of air so cold even time is slowed
Until a bitter, vengeful gust
Threatens to take down the tree
The snow-covered roof of the house -
All which is on the horizon;
Try to sink deeper under the covers
And feel secure in knowing this
Is the most peaceful moment of the day

Author Statement

“Teenager” was published Verse Afire, in May 2014, and appeared in The Friendly Voice, in April 2018.

FRECKLES

Please, don’t cheer at my progress! You may smile,
But let your smiles be kindly and not wry -
Not “There you see - we told you so!”. That style
Can sting.
Picture instead a fractured sky,
Filtering sunlight to a still-dark place,
Testing my skin, and scattering only shy
Freckles of happiness across my face.

Author Statement

I wrote this tentatively cheerful one when I noticed that recovery is possible.

SHAME AND THE GROUP

Shame wreathes my morning, like the thickest mist.
I trickle through the day, craving the night.
I scour those nights. Does peace hide, in some scream?
But where to find it?

I can’t even find my car keys!
Brothers, sisters, I need you. Whisper in my ear.
Reflect my shaming in your tear-filled eye.
Your wounded healing takes away my fear.
Truth clears the mist, and I can see the sky.
Better: I see the circle, claim my place.
I breathe with you. Your courage is my grace.

Author Statement

The group I attend is for men, but I added ‘sisters’ because I know abuse affects all
genders, including trans-gender and non-binary. I found I was breaking rhythms all over the place – no matter. Recovery is not neat.

DANGER: RAGING.

I grazed my rage today. It flushed my skin.
A lava-storm erupted deep within
But stayed inside, for grown-up girls and boys
Are not supposed to make an angry noise.
Bugger that! I AM, I rightly AM.
Rage that is heard, transforms - to mighty trees,
Orchards that blaze a thousand energies,
That fruit a thousand futures, as is just.
The alchemy of anger into trust.
Trust! That’s the big one. That means me and you.
That what you say, and what I feel are true.

Author Statement

Learning that I have a right to my feelings was a major step in my recovery.Feelings of
rage, grief, fear, bewilderment, shame.

SEX EDUCATION (aged 9)

'Just tickling', but his grasp betrays the lie.
Outside, the playground squeals its playground fears.
He splays the me-child, flesh against his thigh,
Manoeuvres that shame shudder down my years.
The nature study jam-jars wink: I spy!
Bewilderment throat-retches into tears.
'Thank you'. He thanks me! Knowing no-one knows
Nor must, I tiptoe-flee, pretend to play,
Then work, smile, work, and up the goody goes -
Top of the class to teatime shine the day.
The teacher tends his purpose; nothing shows;
Un-crease the child, use, re-use, toss away.
My smile survives, until in middle age
I'll shift the slab, and liberate the Rage.

Author Statement

At playtime, my Primary School Teacher used to ask me to stay behind in the classroom to refresh the water in the nature-study jam-jars, or to change the posters on the classroom
walls. These were pretexts to enable his abuse. This was the first poem I wrote about my
abuse. I was afraid, mostly that the emotion might be overwhelming, so without setting out
to do so I found myself writing in the tight form of a sonnet. it just came out like that. I
learned about sonnets at Secondary School. I spy! was a children’s game.

The Gatehouse