Smoke and Mirrors

And you,

with all your glorious flowering self-deception

Your words are glowing embers

and your tongue stokes the fire

that engulfs me like paper

but I think

it fills the void inside of you

How does it feel to sleep

with the lies you’ve fashioned from the flames?

Some may wonder how you sleep at all

but I think they keep you warm at night

Your words are a glass tower that you pretend is opaque

You can’t hide from this

or me

or anything

Smoke is filling your lungs

I wonder how long you can go on breathing

And I see cracks in the surface of your fortress

and tears in the fabric of your being

And I’d dare you to look in the mirror

but I know

that all you would know what to do

is to turn it back toward everyone else

As you remain nothing more

than a cold reflection

of anyone else

but you.


© Copyright Samantha Rose 2018



Fire Beats Ice (Memory of a Girl I Knew)

She walks along the somber path by the light of the moon, chasing snowflakes with her umber eyes. She’s careful as she trudges across the frozen ground, so as not to lose her ever so intentional footing. She doesn’t normally get along with the cold, but she knows she needs to get out, to escape, to let the breeze find and untangle her elusive string of never ending thoughts. Snow paints the tips of her curly midnight hair, which bounces with every springy step she takes. She presses on, one step after another, crushing the ice beneath her feet and leaving a trail of glittering footsteps behind her.

You’d never meet someone as warm as she, though you may have to search the deep fires of her soul to find it. Others, those who are cold like the ground she walks upon, have a way of freezing the outer layers of sensitive hearts inside a wall of ice. She’s known a lot of these.

There was a young man once, who tried to freeze her into time with his wintry claws. In the heat of passion she escaped him and his frozen grasp, but coldness tends to linger; it hunts hungrily within the confines of her interior; it stalks the corridors of her mind. She clothes herself in mystery like a fur coat, her soul, a stag, prances and leaps over rolling hillsides, and has only an evanescent awareness that it is being hunted.

And now, her spirit has become worn as the bottom of her shoes; her once rose-colored glasses have been frosted with melancholy and regret. But there are embers burning inside of her; you can still see them in her eyes. She was meant to be free; she cannot be contained. She was made to dance upon the icy winds amongst the snow and the sleet, in all its glorious treachery. She will not be brought down; she will soar; she will melt away the winter storm. She is the most beautiful triumphant tragedy. Fire beats ice.

And with that, she begins her walk home.


© Copyright Samantha Rose 2018


Recovery Looks a Lot Like Picking Up a Paintbrush



My skin isn’t paper

But that doesn’t stop me from carving the weight of the world

Into my wrists,

Crimson blood tiger stripes


Or from ripping apart the pages of a story

I never asked to be in

Don’t judge a book by its coverup

That is, pant legs and long sleeves


And betting on depression

Is like gambling with slits instead of slots,

The butterflies in my stomach

Are wingless wasps


But sometimes, scars do fade

And one day when I picked up a paintbrush

My story came back to me,

One letter at a time


And I saw my skin was flecked with gold instead of blood

The punctured veins on my hands became sapphire cracks

Ochre and acrylics filled my broken lungs

Instead of black tar and mothballs


And now, when I say my skin is a canvas

I mean to say

Not that I bleed in vivid color

But that I have paint running through my veins,


And you may often find me sketching ink roses on my wrists

And walking tightropes of guitar strings and poetry ~


© Copyright Samantha Rose 2018




I made a choice

To share a moment 

That fleeted faster than I could grasp 

And yet forgot to take my heart with it 

I guess feelings don’t fade faster than memories 

Which are like flowers 

That die slow and beautifully 

Some still stick like honey while others melt away

Like bittersweet chocolate on the same tongue you kissed me with 

I do remember 

Scraps of twilight peaking through the windows

And getting lost on neighborhood roads

And amongst the waves of your hair 

Your forehead pressed to mine in such 

Sweet comfort under the streetlights

I can still catch a glimpse

Of your illuminated collarbone,

And the stars that danced on your velvet skin 

But my memory is weak 

Yet I am afraid 

That what lasted only a moment 

Will stay with me for a lifetime

And once more

Instead of sheep

I lie awake counting miles. 


© Copyright Samantha Rose 2018



Nighttime Coffee Shop (Ode to Insomnia)

Dead eyes, night lights,

A sea of stars drowns in obsidian skies

And Time’s withered claws scrape across the mirror in your mind

Or is it a window? 


Eyes shine bright in the reflection but there’s something on the other side 

The huff and bustle of sleepy coffee shop life 

Rain drips down the glass beneath your tired eyelids 

Or is it a curtain? 


Stained-glass tear stains,

The rain melts the rose-colored windows into view

Is it steam that fogs your sleepy mind?

Blink. Stare. Repeat.


Pillow stuffed with dreams undreamt 

Held hostage by nightmares that are 

Or is it the feathers that tickle you awake?

Tickle? I meant choke.


Rip their claws off your neck, wake up and smell the coffee! 

Or is it desperation? 

Breathe it in, let the caffeinated air fill your lungs until they implode

And look, you’re alive! 


Insomnia loves the taste you leave in its gaping labyrinth mouth,

And my favorite color eyes are the ones that are open

Because obscurity

Is just another word for blinking too long


And what are you doing here, anyway? 

You’re looking for something, aren’t you? 

Or someone? 

Then perhaps this is a mirror after all. 


© Copyright Samantha Rose 2018