Makeshift Mattress – A Poem


Steel springs roll

cardboard slides

with grating teeth

and blinking eyes


The alarm clock sings

like cymbals in

the harsh melody of

an unforgiving city


Smearing grit and

sweat from my face

wanting to just forget

this place


Fingers slamming

on the Snooze

for even the briefest

of escapes


Burying my face

counting the hours

that I must stay awake


wishing this was all

just a horrible dream


As I shift my body

on this teetering


balance beam


Each move unsteady

Each move // I ache


Awakened to

the consequences

of my mistaken ignorance


Blinded by misguided

& falsified intentions

in a place I dreamed

would feel like home //


and not a life sentence.


About Gretchen Venters

I am 36 years old and I live in Montana. God has set my soul on fire to serve others through writing.
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28 Responses to Makeshift Mattress – A Poem

  1. liking the rhythm of this a lot. I am as as removed from LA as one Englishman can get but I can smell the misplaced hope…great stuff. Dave

  2. brian miller says:

    ouch…nice last line, really bringing home the feeling…
    hey some lessons are hard…and if it leads you to gratitude…all the better

    so great to hear from you…how are you?

    • Hi Brian! Thank-you. I think that experience damaged my lower back for good but it taught me a lot. I have been better but I will make it through. How are you? I loved that story you wrote.

  3. claudia says:

    oh heck…tight emotions in this gretchen… the close made me swallow…it’s tough when home doesn’t feel how it should.. it is painful and i can tell from my own experience…

  4. Gretchen, I was so happy to see you on my blog…it’s been a while. This poem is so evocative and emotionally draws the reader in to the experience of the “narrator.”I sense that this is a feeling that many, if not most of us who write poetry can relate to from time to time. It is a courageous invitation to understand and to crawl into the depths of another’s pain. Thank you for this.

  5. Sumana Roy says:

    everything is happening in the vast expanse of time and at the end of the day may be we would be able to fit all those pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that life is and realize all experiences add to our learning and richness…

  6. Grace says:

    Your words moved me ~ I hope you are in a better place and state today Gretchen ~ As someone who has a day job, I hate the sound of the alarm every morning though my hubby makes it a lovely melody, ha ~

  7. Mary says:

    Perhaps it is good to learn such things when one is young & can more easily rebound. A poignant write; and I am sure many youth can identify with the experience of not finding what one expected.

  8. MarinaSofia says:

    Oh, dear, that sounds rather unhappy… I hope it’s not your current experience…
    Where have you been, Gretchen, I’ve missed you and your poetry for the last few weeks/months on dVerse?

  9. Oh! There is so much I love about this, especially “cymbals in the harsh melody of an unforgiving city” and the “teetering emotional balance beam”! This is wonderful!

  10. Paula C says:

    “the harsh melody of
    an unforgiving city”
    … great poem, and I especially like this line. Sometimes you have to go through a lot of sadness but once you’re through you’re even happier. At least that’s my experience (hope it works for you as well).

  11. An emotional write, hard hitting.

  12. Bodhirose says:

    There was a lot of discomfort described here and I took it to mean both physically and emotionally…so sorry for that…hope things are better.

  13. Jeff says:

    Powerfully written–hitting the snooze to escape facing things for a few more minutes is something many of us can relate to. Nicely done!

  14. I love how your words take me through a journey into your mind Gretchen. Excellent poem.

  15. Kathy says:

    Love your title, Gretchen and it’s good to hear you again. How hard it is when we feel out of place, wanting to belong…whatever the circumstances.

  16. rmp says:

    yikes! especially that last line. I can understand the preference to dream as opposed to waking to a nightmare…

  17. Akila says:

    a home and not a life sentence…a stellar close to some profound thoughts! good to see you

  18. Madhura says:

    ‘In a place I dreamed would feel like home’… terrific last line.. very emotional write.. love the rhythm in this…

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