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Awareness Campaign and Despair Stalks

Haley Joray Arnold and Cassandra Golds |  31 July 2017


Awareness Campaign

You used to have feet like a Russian ballerina 

Arches (like ones plebeians would stand under, lose their breath for a moment)

The weight they carry remarkable for the

Tiny bones inside

When you’d move… there was an undetermined 

Beauty. An unmeasured glass of wine

With legs dropping frequencies no one could count.

No one wanted to. 


Toes tired like a gargoyle’s

Clawing onto a ledge you used to dance on 

when you’re still, those beneath you come back for a second look 

Can you answer the questions buried in their brows?

Are you really that untouchable?

They now see spidery lines in your calf and cracks on your feet -not even the sweetest blood could excuse-

And all of the sudden their tongues are coated with the skin of cheap grapes, on oil slick on a cobble stone street

And from this height they’re all staring up at you, fat little circles, clusters of soft grapes themselves 

And you finally know what it’s like to be seen 

To cheat the world of knowing your Silhouette. 




And there is only falling, knowing you will not fly

But sink (into the crooked arm of God)

and you smile

Your toes stretch out wide like little wings 

You are moving again, 


And this air is everything.

Haley Joray Arnold





Despair Stalks


Despair stalks the house
Outside, like weather
Inside, like air
It has no form
but is heavy like no other weight—
The force that fights against
    the typing fingers
    the stepping foot
That must be pushed against, impossibly, upwards, from beneath,
    as one rises every morning
It fights each decision
    every hope
    every action
It defeats
It lies like dust on the shelf
    of self-help books
It laughs at Mindfulness
My love fights it single-handed
Like a fighter in a travelling boxing tent,
    he takes on all comers
Is that all you got? he cries
He is injured, but he gets up
cast down, but not destroyed
He bears the weight of two lives
His own
He does not sleep
I sleep, and the dust settles on me
But he brushes it off
His will to live
will have to be enough
    for both of us
Two can live as cheaply as one
And despair stalks the house
But my love despairs
- Cassandra Golds


 Haley J. Arnold is a social media marketer and freelance writer. She has a performing arts background with a passion for creative non-fiction and ardent love for poetry. A graduate of Florida State University and self-proclaimed world traveler, Haley resides in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

xxxxxCassandra Golds is the author of six books for children and young adults. She has been shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Awards twice, and her novel The Three Loves of Persimmon won the Victorian Premier's Literary Award Prize for Writing for Young Adults in 2011. Her most recent novel is Pureheart.


Haley Joray Arnold and Cassandra Golds


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Submitted comments

I have been a fan of Cassandra's since Michael and The Secret War. This poem is so beautiful and has touched my heart in many ways.

Deirdree 01 August 2017

I am grateful to Cassandra for the poem "Despair Stalks". I have inserted it into my diary and put it up where I can read it every day. Poetry is enigmatic and the who and what carry many meanings, which is why it can be so personally consoling. Despair stalks my home and I have to be the "he" of the poem for someone close to me until he finds his own vanquishing hero.

Lorraine 04 August 2017

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