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‘I can only assume’ and other poems by Linda Crate

By Linda M Crate

i can only assume

there is no warmth
in your heart for me,
and so i have gone away;
not to wound you
but in protection of myself—
so many thoughts and words
i swallowed down so you could remain
but i was so miserable;
so don’t expect me to be silent anymore
i have remembered my voice
this is my war
i refuse to surrender who i am to anyone—
you should’ve never asked me to throw my white flag,
but you should’ve helped me find heaven
instead of giving me every song
of hell;
you weren’t a dream but a nightmare
shot your pain through my heart as a weapon—
i’ll never believe you when you say you love me
you hurt me too bad,
and i remember once you told me if you did something
more than once that you weren’t truly sorry so i can only
assume you meant to hurt me then.


a pretty lie

i am always the strong one
no one ever holds me,
but i fear
sometimes i am breaking;
i just need someone who cares enough
to shatter all these walls i built
i don’t know if anyone ever will—

my heart is a war zone
there are dragons and sharp thorns,
but anyone who breaks open
with the key will see that i am vulnerable
and wounded with enough love to give the world
that no one would ever be lonely again;
i am just tired of carrying all the wounds and scars
of people who have never kept
my heart let alone my

when you say you love me
you may have to prove it
before i believe
i have met too many people
with hollow words whose actions
insisted they were not who or what they’ve said,
and when i hear “i love you” i will probably
believe it’s a pretty lie.


my own flame

too long you have kept me in bondage
so now i rise off my knees
i will be no one’s captive
tired of being a prisoner to the past,
and i am tired of you acting as if everything’s changed
when you really are the same man you always were;
proved that at my sister’s graduation party
with your impatience towards me
and the unsolicited advice—
you claim to love me, but your love is a lie;
just empty words uttered
in hopes of sounding like you’re a good person
the good man they always tell me that you are
yet we both know that fallen angels
know both heaven and hell
that is what i’m convinced you are—
dragged me through hell,
made me endure all your nightmares;
fashioned your pain as a weapon against me
so the tighter you try to pull me closer
the more i will resist
because i deserve to be happy and to burn
with my own flame.


more than you could offer

all of your carnal desire
was apparent in that
devil’s grin
you gave me
promised me heaven
when all you could offer me was
a hell colder than the air conditioning
work leaves running in winter,
and i decided to walk away;
you then demanded to know if i went
out with anyone
for you, darling, i am busy every day
of every life in every universe
i will ever have—
women owe you nothing
simply because you find them pretty
i am more than just a pretty face,
and i don’t appreciate being leered at
because of my body;
i am more than a sexual being
there’s a spirit and a soul and a heart
in this body of mine and they all want and need
more than what you could offer me.


this isn’t your kingdom, it’s mine

i don’t care that you find me pretty
more concerned
with possessing a beautiful mind,
a beautiful soul, a beautiful heart;
i am more concerned with reaching all
my gorgeous dreams and lovely hopes
don’t have any time to be slowed down
by your need or vanity—
i am more than my lips, my hips,
my breasts, and anything and everything
beyond and between;
i am not your piece of sexual gratification
nor your entertainment
too long i have swallowed down my words
in an attempt to be tactful or keep myself safe—
but i am done sitting on pedestals or behind
gilded cages
because a lie no matter how prettily ornamented
is nothing more than a lie,
and i have had enough of fools gold
because i am not a fool;
i desire spaces you will never give me just because
of my gender and so i take up the helm of my magic,
my love, my dreams, and my light
to take my kingdom back—
i am not someone you will rule.


the monster that breaks nightmares

i let you take away my spirit
break my heart
shatter my wings,
but no more;

i will not be apathy
drunk in ignorance and barely
scrabbling together an
existence to live—

don’t want any gilded cages
nor pedestals
so you can keep them to yourselves
this woman isn’t yours to own

i am mine
will reclaim myself from this patriarchy
only recognizing me for my gender,
and how i can provide them heirs;

i am more than the sum of my body parts
more than they’ll ever understand
they underestimate my power
which will be their greatest mistake—

i will become the nightmare
you accused me of being when i was young,
the monster that breaks nightmares
so that we all can dream.


our beauty is our own

you hate our power,
our divinity;
you know our magic
is fierce and strong

we are the mothers,
the maidens,
and the crones—

we’ve had enough with
all your superiority and your pedestals
enough of your condescending

and we are taking our kingdoms back;
because a queen without a king
historically speaking is stronger and too long
you have underestimated our strength

so here we stand ready to reclaim
ourselves and our own—
we will show no mercy when we smash the patriarchy
blooding our heels as we shatter glass heels

we were never meant to wear
because we are not your conquests
we are dreamers and magic weavers
our beauty is our own to own.

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