The Castle of Adolescence to Womanhood

My castle stood strong, so long
towering over green pastures







off more than I could count or contain
damage settled in,
leaks dripped from my eyes, unseen but rippling.

Wish I’d made time to restore my inner walls, build a fort
thick and firm with a watchtower to combat future attacks,
defend against enemy insecurity that had sieged then

Stormed in, firing cannons loaded with lack of confidence
flaming arrows lit with lack of self-belief
alongside an ally army that revelled in stealing hopes and dreams.





It took many years of rebuilding                   Let us rage against our inner enemies.
but my castle, newly restored                        Let us vanquish our voice of negativity.
is more resilient and beautiful                       Let us hold our turrets high in radiance.
than it could have been before.                    Let us never forget that we are enough.

Shaniqua Benjamin


The Heart is a Funny Thing

The heart is a very funny thing you know.

I could leave it at that, cos that statement sums up pretty much where I’m at right now and where I was at a couple of weeks ago.  In fact, I wanted to write this post a couple of weeks ago, but didn’t get round to it or didn’t feel able to write it.  Now I feel that I need to write it, otherwise I’m going to explode and erupt in tears that will drown me.

It’s already an emotionally-charged time and I’ve been feeling mad emotional all this week, but there are certain things that tip you over the edge and this matter of the heart has done that to me.  It’s mad how you can move forward and think you’ve fully moved on, but there are just these little bits hanging onto your heart and not letting it go so it can fully be free.

I’m not sure whether my heart is ever going to be fully free from two particular people, which I know is unfair for anyone who wants my whole heart, although that’s a concept I think I find pretty strange now, but that’s a post for another time.  All I know is that these two have the ability to get my emotions all jacked up and my heart riled up in a weird place, even though I have moved on and didn’t think I still saw them that way.  That’s why you can’t trust the heart you know – it wants what it wants and has a mind of its own.  I don’t think I’m here for it.

There’s the one I know for sure is no good for me (the devil in disguise), but keeps haunting me like a ghost I can’t shake off, no matter how much I pray about it or write about it – and trust me, I’ve written about it a lot.  And there’s the one who is a big part of my history and still a friend I hold dear, but there is so much depth and so much unwritten, how I could come to feel scares me.

One always manages to keep themselves away (usually intentionally) and one I think I need to keep away (at least from regular interactions and one-on-one conversations).

One brings nothing but foolery to my life, but one brings laughter and stimulating, easy conversation.

One has rarely played a part in my life or been a part of my life, but one has played a major part in my life and been there all my life.

Both have made me smile, driven me crazy, inspired me, impacted me, infuriated me, captivated me, hurt me, and surprised me.

Both have been in my prayers more than I can count, found their way into my poetry and are loved by me always.

Both have a little piece of my heart, where they forever stay, moulded like adamantium to Wolverine’s skeleton.

So here I sit solo, and you can probably see why.  How can I move from one to two when two others still hold a place in my heart, drilling away at my mind?  My heart, with so much to give, is playing so many games on me I may have to sit on the side-lines forever and not let another one in.

Photo by pixel2013

Line Up

You’d struggle to pick him out of a line up.
He looks familiar, like the others,
blending into a blur.
Doesn’t stop you judging:

Disgusted by low hanging jeans exposing tracksuit bottoms – an extra layer of flesh for long nights he knows the grind won’t stop;

Frustrated at constant hats that crown his head and wishing his feet would walk in something other than trainers – comfort and concealment in his domain;

Unnerved by glint of gold in his mouth, shining against darkness he’s clothed in head to toe – a glimmer of light in hell he’s living in;

Terrified by a hood covering his face and plaited hair – allowing him to hide from a world that hates him;

not as if he has put on a costume to spark terror
set people alight in their own homes.

He may have dangerous traits
but don’t we all have the devil in us at times?
He’s rarely a danger to the world at large
unlikely a danger to you,
unless you treat him like nothing
lower than gum stuck to your shoe
waiting to be flicked into rubbish,
because no one wants to be considered meaningless
simply cos they mean less
to you.

Shaniqua Benjamin