A Poem by Livana Lowell

a poem about a friend

I hear prison bars in your words
as you pour onto my ears
what's going on in your world.
I grasp the steel poles
my fingers trembling
at the hate, like coals,
burning through your voice
I want to reach you, but I can't
I am held back by your choice
You won't look me in the eyes
full of grief and desires to save you
as you rest easy on dying inside
You straighten your cell
with booze and weed
and a brimstone smell.
I release the bars
as you professedly insist
you like the way you are
Who am I to say anything, how dare
I tell you the right way to cope with life
You are right; I'm sorry I care

© 2017 Livana Lowell

Author's Note

Livana Lowell
all comments and criticisms welcome.

My Review

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Excellent word picture of how it can feel when we watch someone we care about who cannot stop harming themselves in one way or another. Your message is crystal clear & poignant & very timely with all the people facing tough times these days. This is one of life's hardest lessons, that a person has to want to save themselves . . . we can't save them until they're ready. You've captured all the twisted ways this can feel to the one watching it all go down. Love your straightforward style.

Posted 1 Year Ago

Hi there Livana. I was browsing and came upon your work. I read some of your more recent ones before this. And while I really enjoyed the sensual pictures you painted of sultry romantic scenarios I have to say this one really made me sit up - could be my mood - could be the impact of your words - could be the topic - don't know. But anyway, this hit home. Very well done. It's a very interesting and very difficult balancing act - on one hand the person you care for and feel sorry for and want to help appears to be in denial and almost wallowing in their comfort zone. On the other hand, we know in our hearts that most times the changes need to come from their own resolve - we try and get them to a perch where we think they should be able to see the benefits of changing, but they slip back. And we risk them feeling patronised, harried, etc. And on top of that, it feels like we're 'having to' listen to all their woes, but do they give a flying f*** about any that we might have? OK so we listen and then they don't listen back when we try and respond to their woes. Very very hard, and very well portrayed in this poem. I think my favourite bits are 'I hear prison bars in your words
as you pour onto my ears what's going on in your world' and 'full of grief and desires to save you as you rest easy on dying inside' but actually it's really the whole rather than single lines that has the impact. Nice job. BRs Nigel

Posted 1 Year Ago

A good concept, like he is in a prison of his own making, perhaps it is in his very mind. The fact that he drowns his sorrow with alcohol and drugs is sadly heartbreaking.

I have several friends whom have gone through stuff like this and I couldn't reach them nor help them in a meaningful way. Sometimes you just can't do a thing for them and it's horrible because you can see the guilt, anger, remorse and sadness eating away at them. So they indulge themselves with booze and hard drugs in a futile attempt to temporarily numb themselves of their emotional pain.

A good poem that is accurate and heartfelt in its near hopelessness of not being able to help a friend. The overall concept in this poem is very effective and extremely poignant and there is a certain amount of bitterness I detect in this.

I think this is an amazingly well-crafted and well-thought out poem.

Good work, Livana!

Posted 1 Year Ago

He is a victim and you just want to save him from himself so he does on tear himself to bits. Your praying for his better side to come out thank God he has a friend who cares as much as You Do.

Posted 1 Year Ago

I really really like this poem.

The structure is easy flow and the depth sparks a questioning fire in my mind. I want to know more but I feel I know enough kind of feeling.

Well done.

Posted 1 Year Ago

Wow.. I love this. the way that feeling of helplessness i so beautifully explained in words.

Posted 1 Year Ago

Self confinement - imprisoning the mind - is such a waste. Often the very help they need, the help they know they need and that we can see they need is the very thing they recoil from because it means having to step out of the bubble they meticulously created - and what if they can't cope - then the bubble will be gone AND they will be at the mercy of Life. No, better the devil they know despite the hurt that such a choice can inflict upon those who love them.
A really sad write - helpless - never a poem was more apt Jazz Lover.

Posted 1 Year Ago

first of all, yes...sometimes we want to apologize for caring...especially when the subject refuses to help him or herself...
we can only give support and a resting place for those who are killing themselves with booze or drugs or whatever...

but that person has to take the first step up!

really strong piece, Jazz.


Posted 1 Year Ago

Wow, just wow. I have to credit for you defining one aspect of human failure, and the relate able topic you bring up because I have been in that situation. Of course, I don't know if this is contemporary for you, to give you advice, but in the end, you will have to let go of the bars.
I've had to do that recently with a friend of mine, he kept messing up and I tried to rear him right, but he didn't want it, so I let go and it actually feels good because my stress for him is gone.
I like how this whole idea is driven by the picture of a prison cell and you being outside the cell. Their "happiness" is only trapping their true happiness and potential and while you try to tell them that, they want to keep being trapped in their own illusions of happiness.

You can do only do so much for someone, but there comes a time to stand out their way.

Posted 1 Year Ago

It is next to impossible to reach into the heart and soul of one who "thinks" he is happy killing himself. I know this for a full blown fact, Jazz Lover, I was that man during two terrible decades of my life. I wish you luck with him, but there comes a point when you will have to walk away.

Posted 1 Year Ago

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11 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on January 5, 2017
Last Updated on January 6, 2017
Tags: friendship


Livana Lowell
Livana Lowell

Huntsville, TX

Sooo, hello guys! Not much to say about me. I've been a writer since I was in kindergarten. I used to write stories about dinosaurs surviving the meteor (my favorites ones usually lived) because I had.. more..


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