“I opened my eyes to see the ugliness and beauty of humanity”

Braeden Michaels creates a curve in the poetic stratosphere revealing glimpses of the characters who walk amidst the life of newly-widowed Stella Walker. By exposing the flaws, scars, quirks, and the light we see in each other, this profound collection generates a fine line between friendships and acquaintances.

Within these pages, we are introduced to different shades of colorful characters in varying points of their lives. Every poem describes the hidden truths and realities of human attributes. Each perfectly imperfect person we meet is a representation of the people we run across in our individual journeys which then become stepping stones in our own growth.


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Grappling with a toxic incubus
Static tangled up in hallucinations
A diabolical perpetrator is lurking
Dabbling with molecules and carbons
And I sleep with annihilation

Memorizing the periodic table of elements
Sinister mind combining mercury and lead
A splash of chromium, pinch of caesium
Blending a explosion in a wicked bottle
And I sleep with obliteration

Ensuring a plague like disease spreads wide
A blackhearted voice speaks with a chuckle
Corrupted hands, apocalyptic intentions
Selfishness wrapping around throats
And I sleep with termination

Belligerent critters stalking the lands
Referencing the last chapter of the divine
Symbolic torture rest within the dollars
Greed softens up the lips and tongue
And I sleep with eradication

A clash of reasons, brawl between sins
Fears sobbing until the break of dawn
Scent of misery swarmed the dirt
End of virtues, end of light
And I sleep with a contagious virus

I drank rain from a malevolent cup
and I couldn’t touch the terror in the wind
I distinctly felt the extinction in the air
and the intruders inside me left fingerprints
I anticipated the rumblings, jitters, and
the despair to rest in my esophagus

I stood in the fog seven miles away from
the shadows and the vile from the hill
I swallowed ignorance with a blend of
dismay, concern and suspicion
I fell before the behemoth’s sins and
I stared at the tarnished wisdom

I inhaled the scent of darkness
and I could feel the breeze of agony
I witnessed my logic, quirks, and talking
Skeleton disappear into the clouds
I was consumed by crisis oriented faith,
misplaced psychology, and charades

I stared at the dementia with my lip
quivering and with the aftertaste of sorrow
I stood six feet apart from the quicksand
and the rattle swimming in the sea of chaos
I severed the gospel from my identity
and I muttered words of inadequacy

I stepped on the carousel of deception
and shrugged off human decency
I became one with the vile from the hill
and detested the color of my pupils
I was obsessed by the anxiety and the
venom in my stomach turned into stone

I was crushed by my weaknesses
and the stench of loneliness dispersed
I devoured the indecisions, complexity,
and the tears in my eyes evaporated
I despised the grave of my haunting past
and ignored the road to the sunrise

Antidotes tasting like black coffee
A chalk outline of Patterson’s grumbles
China dolls parade 13th street with
residue on the corners of their mouths
Adversaries hack up off colored jokes
under a jagged and teary eyed sun
whispering forgotten fairy tales
“I can’t shine, I don’t have time,
I’m lost and forgotten in these rhymes”

And the ghost of Patterson counts his secrets
Smears his name at the gates for attention
Picking the lock, shouting at the kingdom

Romantics playing hopscotch on
cracked and overused sidewalks
Protagonists and thieves banter
in the smog at Jameson’s bar on Kingsman
Cynics and skeptics erasing evidence
of hope on belligerent walls
Butterflies flying over restless Samaritan’s
chained to oxidized dumpsters
Walker struts with a nervous alibi

And the ghost of Patterson counts the bullets
painting his name on the golden walls
Crouched down, yelling at the kingdom

Walker stalks the neighbors, wrestles with friction, and turns into a killjoy
Leaking out minor details and spilling of a lethal homicide filled with inquiries
Butterflies swarm the garden, surrounding a sealed box
Sounds of an ax break the venerable crate
Intriguing signatures, bag of money, and a letter from Patterson to a world class criminal
Conviction and Walker go hand in hand

And the ghost of Patterson sheds its feathers
Staring up at a dot of light,
Staring down at a dot of black,
Cemented in a glass underworld

Smiles turn frail and sapphire

Grins carrying cobalt bullets

Wrestling with a pocket of change

Standing in front of a phone booth

Eight hundred miles away from truth

Love took a freight train to misery

No emergency brake on this passage

Faster than a speed of light

Lost in all of the choices and indecision

Eight hundred miles away from lies

Wearing a royal trench coat of pain

Feeling like a thousand pounds

Too frozen and solid to remove

Still standing in front of a phone booth

Eight hundred miles away from her

Debating and contemplating

Fumbling with the quarters

Should I call her from Indigo

She slips on theological rhetoric
She hides behind the voodoo stuck to her silent tongue
Wearing her vixen like dress
She acquired accolades and accommodations from the saliva of the burnt orange wolf
She spoke the language of love in riddles and teenage rhymes
Wearing her Madusa like pearls
She mishandled truth and washed down a liter of half bitten lies
She threw away fortunes and laughed at others misfortunes
Wearing her witchcraft perfume
She roared liked the bitch she was and ignored the crowd who carried her on a Persian rug
Wearing her battle ax over her shoulder