Ann Christine Tabaka was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry, has been internationally published, and won poetry awards from numerous publications. She is the author of 9 poetry books. She has recently been published in several micro-fiction anthologies and short story publications. Christine lives in Delaware, USA. She loves gardening and cooking. Chris lives with her husband and three cats. Her most recent credits are: Burningword Literary Journal; Muddy River Poetry Review; The Write Connection; Ethos Literary Journal, North of Oxford, Pomona Valley Review, Page & Spine, West Texas Literary Review, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Foliate Oak Review, Better Than Starbucks!, The Write Launch, The Stray Branch, The McKinley Review, Fourth & Sycamore.
*(a complete list of publications is available upon request)
The mountain stood before me, staring me down, with arrogance and pride. I would conquer him today, or die trying. Ice axe in hand I began my ascent, one chilling step at a time. Wind was his ally as it forced against me, fracturing my will, blistering my flesh. Sun beat down with vengeance, blinding glare obstructing view. Fighting for my hold, creeping inch by inch, I rose to new heights, I had never reached before. Had hours, or a lifetime passed before I reached the summit? 14,158 feet of rock, snow, and ice lay below. Joy raced beyond exhaustion. Outstretched arms towards the sky, I stood above the clouds. The mountain stood below me now! Mountain was real, mountain is a metaphor. I have defeated my own fears.
Teetering on the Rim
I sit and stare at four walls, shallow breathed, barely alive. Vacuous walls stare back in time, lost in some world that I long forgot. The surrealness of the moment overwhelms, frozen in a juncture of desolation. Oceans lay still, earth’s rotation halts, stars no longer burn. The great end calls to me. I no longer want to live, but, live I shall Time has not deemed me ready to leave my misery. I must stay. I am abandoned to myself. I sit and stare at four walls, counting breaths.
The Weary and the Strong
There are two kinds of people with slight distinctions in motif, ones who are driven forth and thrive, and those who barely subsist. Some toil with tireless energy feeding off an endorphin high. Others prefer to stand idly by, only doing what is required. As if a cruel trick upon mankind was played, these two usually end up paired. As an old saying goes “opposites attract.” I was once strong, but ebbed, waning into the low reaches of doubt. Do I get a chance to redo what I have duly discarded? A matter of ‘nature or nurture.’ A question of who or why? The black versus white, and fate versus fact. Are these traits woven within us, or do we thrust them upon ourselves? Are we born to go forth and conquer, or is it something that we choose? The weary and the strong, side by side march along. There is no reason nor rhyme in both, and the world continues to spin.
Alligator skin and button eyes. The devil himself would cry at seeing such a man. Twisted hand held out in despair, begging for a pittance. Gaping wound of hunger weeps out injustice spent for a dime. Cardboard castle and newspaper bed against a bitter cold blast of truth. Breath held tight in defiance to a storm of unrepented sins. Again, and yet again I say, but for the grace …. Time turning orange to brown, fingers aching blue. Discarded man, hunched figure, a pile of rags upon the sidewalk. Head bowed low, not in contrition. Empty shell with hollow stare. Words of ice melted by the fire of unforgiving masses. No one sees, no one cares. A procession of woe slowly spirals ever downward into a whirlpool of the damned. Tear stained vision of impassioned pain, forever cursed to walk this earth alone, calling street corner home. But for the grace … * Originally published by Voice of Eve, March 2019
Smoke and Mirrors
Words that do not say a thing, spout vague persuasions, dancing around on a tongue of fire. Heads tilting, nodding, turning, What was that you said? Writing a thesis of the damned, we follow bread crumbs of doubt. Ring around the Rosie, time has all but passed. Sweet garlands of discovery, upon the ocean cast. A breath held blue, a quandary spent, we plunge ahead anew. Devoid of sense, we seek the prize, a lanced boil. Meanwhile paintings of colorful decent adorn a contrived world. Rising from the throng, visions of disbelief profess to be real. Fabricated phrases fill our lives with words that say but nil. Alas, all is smoke and mirrors, … and smoke * Originally published by Leaves of Ink, January 2019