Ashes and Hitchhikers

Ashes and Hitchhikers

A Poem by Elizabeth

Alone isn't so bad, kid.
Anyway, you'd better get used to it. Because there's no real secret to life, you know.
Along the way, you'll pick up strangers. They'll hitchhike on the same path as you for awhile. You'll share a cup of coffee and maybe a kiss. It might start to feel like they know you or that you've somehow found that rare kindred spirit. Don't be fooled.

They will leave, baby. They can't help it. It's inevitable. They will fade or show their cracks. They will run away in the middle of the night. They will brand your heart with the best of intentions. They will die.

People are really just ashes, love. They are just flesh waiting to be kept in mixed up memories or stored in marble urns or cold mausoleums. You will try to keep remnants of them pressed in the pages of your memory like flowers in an old family bible. You will want to keep photographs and yellowed letters to remind yourself that they were real; they weren't. They never were. It was always just you.

It's better to let these things go while the blood is still pooling. Wash it from your hands and from your heart with ice cold precision. If you let the blood set in, the stain will never leave your soul. If you’re not careful, you'll be a living tombstone etched with the
names and dates of other people's lives. It takes a hell of a sandstorm to smooth those etchings out again. The sand is mighty painful and it almost never completely erases the hitchhikers from your heart.

Alone is not so bad, baby. Once you learn the rules, you'll see.
Don't pick up hitchhikers.
Stay away from old photographs and keep out of the graveyards.
Don't ever look back. You'll be just fine.

I love you, kid. I may only be ashes. But I love you, none the less.

© 2018 Elizabeth

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It's good writing but bad advice.

The content shows classics signs of an abandonment complex. The advice you leave the reader with at the end will only serve to reinforce that abandonment complex.

Tragedy is not evil... it may have the same exact outcomes but their reasons for existence are entirely different from one another. People will come and go in your life, that is the tragedy of being a social animal... and also what gives unique meaning and importance to the specific individuals that actually do stick around. Without the reality of loss you would never have anything to lose, everything would be nothing but an object. Evil is when that loss was intentionally inflicted for no natural reasons; most loss is tragic but it's far easier to pretend otherwise.

If you want people to be ashes you can certainly make that your reality... you can also make the opposite true. I can't tell you witch one is better for you but I can tell you I've tried both... it's better to be more optimistic in people. It's harder, prone to be disappointing, not always straight forward and sometimes emotionally taxing but the benefits are unquantifiable... you will become a more well rounded person and you will find new perspectives you never would have otherwise.

In an extremely general way, you are very correct about the temporal nature of human existence and the seemingly irrational nature of social interaction... but that doesn't mean you have to succomb to it immediately and willingly. The struggle against s**t like that IS what defines us as concious beings, when you retreat within yourself part of your shared human condition dies - and you would be the one to have killed it.

Posted 4 Years Ago


4 Years Ago

I agree with your assessment. That’s the thing about writing: one can write about a perspective or.. read more

4 Years Ago

If you truly think you can fully articulate a feeling without living it in some way, shape or form y.. read more
A very heart felt sobering message to say the least. Undeniably true that people come into our lives and then leave us with a lot to be desired. Your poignant advice is glossed with the beautiful imagery you provided. Very enjoyable poem. Well done! :)

Posted 4 Years Ago

Great title. Got my attention right away.

I love the set up to. Almost like I'm the one hitchhiking and the driver is dropping pearls.

"People are really just ashes, love. They are just flesh waiting to be kept in mixed up memories or stored in marble urns or cold mausoleums"

Or from a corpse, or ghost...

It's somewhat paradoxical

At one end - cynical, indifferent and nihilistic

"It's better to let these things go while the blood is still pooling. Wash it from your hands and from your heart with ice cold precision"

On the other hand, bookended by love

"I love you, kid. I may only be ashes. But I love you, none the less."

And if life is truly nihilistic, why bother with the advice or the journey?

Fascinating piece. Lots of psychological fragments to puzzle together.

Posted 4 Years Ago


4 Years Ago

I got that that fatherly/motherly vibe too, so that for sure came through.

Aristotle .. read more

4 Years Ago

Funny how when you become a parent, , you simultaneously realize you have absolutely nothing and abs.. read more

4 Years Ago

That’s a piece in itself ^ thanks for the idea 😉
Stark, but it has a bleak kind of truth to it, no?
The imagery here is great, and the speaker's tone is simultaneously chilling and compassionate. I wonder if the speaker is addressing herself or someone else- and the ambiguity is oddly satisfying.

Posted 4 Years Ago

Nice poem, I like it in a schizophrenic way. On the one hand being alone is pure and beautiful. But then would we appreciate it so much without the hitchhikers to fill the gaps that we can't see ourselves?

Posted 5 Years Ago


5 Years Ago

Thank you. Interesting perspective. I was thinking more along the lines of viewing solitude as the o.. read more

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6 Reviews
Added on August 3, 2016
Last Updated on January 5, 2018



Wonderland, TN

I am Alice through the looking glass...I mix my metaphors with barbiturates. I take my mania with a glass of milk and I rarely look before crossing the street. Walk a mile in my mary janes, friend. .. more..

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