“Losing Me” by Cortney Joseph #YoungCortWrote

Ever felt the walls caving in

The whole world drops down on your shoulders…

Stress takes over and your mind imagines everything that’s wrong.

Nothing you do is right. And the closer you get to “perfection”…

The more you lose your sanity.

Ever felt the need to run

The need to hide, escape the pain that seems to find you regardless

Because the further you run from your “imperfections”…

The less you THINK your heart will break.

No one ever knows how it really feels…

And I can’t talk about it.

“Drink & F*ck” by Cortney Joseph #YoungCortWrote

I sit here, in tears as I stare into your eyes,

Thinking about our predicament.

 

Every other day I say I’m done,

But we drink and we fuck, and we’re back in love all over again.

You love it so I love it, and I accept it and I condone it.

 

It’s like He made you just to argue with me, and we break up temporarily just to come back together

And argue all over again.

You love me and then you hate me,

You think I’m beautiful and then you berate me.

Break me down as you build yourself up,

Giving the same old excuses day after day if I find the audacity to say find someone else to play

 

I walk away and you pull me back, I push away and you push me against the wall.

You kiss me and I taste the wine on your tongue…

We drink and we fuck then we’re in love all over again.

 

 All over again.

 

I say I can’t take this and your hands are all over me,

Touching the places you know grow weak…

I slap you so we fuss. You curse, I curse…

Every other line is fuck you, I’m through

But when I turn to walk away, you pull me into an embrace and stare into my eyes

Yours, pleading for forgiveness as your hands work their way into my panties…

And I’ve lost again.

 

That’s how we love is all you say, and I go along

I’ve got nothing to say.

I hate you, but I love you. Can’t stand you, but I need you.

So we drink and fuck … and I’m still in love with you.

 

 And all of your bullshit too.

Old Finds

So, I haven’t been doing as much writing as I hoped to do. And that’s okay.

More importantly, to me, I’ve been working at not beating myself up for not cranking out content (especially content I don’t love) and I’ve been doing very well with that.

However, I have come across a few old works of mine. Specifically, POETRY.

If you didn’t know, I’ve been writing since I was 10 years old, and it all began with an English teacher being kind enough to tell me I was decent at it. I recall that very first poem, and trust me when I say she was being polite, loll.

I, however, took that and ran and I’ve been writing ever since.

To get the site going again, until new works do come along, I thought I’d share some of those early poems over the next couple of days.

I’ll begin tomorrow, and they’ll all be shared with the hashtag #YoungCortWrote at the end. Let me say this now … PUH-LEASE don’t judge young me. I was feeling my way around with words, and while some may not be great, a lot of good came throughout and over the last 20+ years.

As always, I thank those of you who have stuck with me and my inconsistency over the last 5 years, the support means the world to me. And welcome to all who have followed me recently! I hope you’ve enjoyed any of the reads you’ve stumbled across and I hope you enjoy what’s to come.

xoxo, Cort!

I Don’t Want To Do Wrong by Cortney Joseph

There was an uneasy silence that filled the dimly lit living room, tension as thick as the smoke that trailed from lips of a man that should have been reveling in the joys of returning home.

Turmoil and distress should have been a distant thought, left behind in the barren and burned fields of a country on the other side of the world. Those woes separated from the ones he’d walked away from just a few short years before.

He should have been celebrating, starting anew with what health and mobility he’d been able to retain. Safe in the company of family and friends. Safe in the arms of the woman that’d stood beside him through it all, making great sacrifices of her own.

But, with a now empty home, and no one to intrude or interrupt the things that needed to be said; what semblance of peace he thought he’d felt upon his return had faded.

Soft static from the record player that rested across the room made it known that the record they’d thrown on had come to an end, prompting the lady of the house to stand. Nervously, she rubbed her hands down the front of her apron, taking slow steps.

“Anything particular you wanna hear? Anybody you weren’t able to hear overseas?” He shook his head, advising that she’d been making great choices all evening, to go with whatever she liked most. Soon, the soulful sounds of Gladys Knight & The Pips filled the small space. It did nothing to cut the tension.

Toying at the curls she wore, Lisa said what they both were thinking. “Coming back didn’t feel as great as it should have, huh?”

“No, not at all.”

“I saw the way you were staring all night, Gregory. And there’s this one particular type of glare you’ve tossed my way a few times. Almost as if the sight of me sickens you now.”

Putting out his cigarette in the ashtray that rested on the coffee table before him, Gregory took a long moment before he responded. “You’re as beautiful as the day I left Lisa. Prettiest thing I’ve seen in years.”

“I don’t mean in that regard.”

It’d been pounded into Lisa’s head from day one by the elder women and wives in their small community. He ain’t here, but keep yourself up for that man. He’s gonna want something pretty to look at when he comes back from all of that ugly. On that front, she was not worried, not that looks could keep a man anyway.

“I don’t know what look you mean then, Dear. If it’s because I haven’t smiled much, right now that’s just something I can’t help.”

He’d smiled more than enough. Perhaps, for Lisa, there wasn’t a way she’d be able to explain it. She’d try anyhow. “It’s as if you’re here, you’re home, but you’re not with me, not your heart.” And if she had to take it a step further, it felt as if he’d been looking at her and envisioning someone else’s face.

Gregory let out a deep sigh. “I guess I can imagine that look now, kind of like the ones you were giving, not at me but over my shoulder.” And while he couldn’t pinpoint which man it was, he felt that someone who’d entered their home tonight had in some way captured his wife’s affections.

Up until this point, Lisa had not turned to face her husband, ashamed of all the thoughts that ran through her head. She felt foolish. How could she, in a roundabout way, accuse him of cheating when she felt she’d done the same.

“I guess the only thing to do is figure out how far things have gone.”

She looked at him then, tears filling her eyes. “And if one of us has gone too far?”

“Can either of us really be mad? Could we really have expected anything different?” He didn’t, though he did hope to come home and they’d both act as if nothing happened, as if nothing had changed.

Everything had changed, and drastically.

No doubt, it was the standards women were held to that made Lisa feel more guilt than she probably should have, but she decided to go first. To get it all off of her chest.

It had only been within the last year and a half, about the same amount of time since she’d last heard from Gregory before his return. Correspondence between the two of them ending in a series of angry letters, with her last few going unanswered, and she’d begun to think he didn’t care to keep trying at such a great distance.

She’d settled with herself to just remain patient and wait, for a telegram… a call… anything. Nothing came. And then one day, into the diner where she’d been working to support herself walked a fast-talking salesman that didn’t seem to mind flirting back and forth with a soldier’s wife.

It was a bit of playful bantering, a bit of attention that she didn’t realize she’d missed and craved. It began with his daily visits, her constant refusals to entertain the ideas of a date or anything more. And then one night, angry at the thought of what Gregory might be doing a world away, she agreed to one little date.

It won’t hurt, and it didn’t. And neither did any of the others that followed. The salesman was attentive, doting, respectful. He made her feel alive, made her feel wanted and loved. And while he had no qualms or shame in admitting he was head over heels in love with Lisa, he respected that she could not fully make a life with him without proper closure. He said he’d wait for her, no matter how long it took, and he was doing just that. There’d been nothing more than stolen kisses here and there, fireside cuddles on the nights sadness occupied her emotions, and endless love letters and poems.

And while Gregory probably thought this man was in their home tonight, he was not. But Lisa wished he were. The comfort she wished for now was not from her husband, but from the other man.

For Gregory, it’d begun long before the angry letters back and forth between he and Lisa. Some drunken nights that he’d initially felt regret over. Something to satisfy the urges he felt from time to time in the different places he found himself. And then came one woman in particular. A nurse that had come to his aid within the last few moments of his time at war. Someone that offered much needed comfort, compassion. Someone that offered relief and refuge from the darkness surrounding them. Someone that offered a new sense of peace, a type of joy he hadn’t felt since the early days of his youth.

Originally, he’d settled with himself that he would return home, admit his faults and pray that Lisa would forgive him. Pray that they could work through their problems and move forward to repair their marriage. After all, they’d said for better or worse, and both agreed that divorce would never be an option.

But just like Lisa and her salesman, there’d been tender moments between Gregory and his nurse that he wouldn’t be able to shake no matter the distance. And while there weren’t as many as the ones Lisa had experienced in her new love, Gregory knew that this nurse had taken residence in his heart and she wasn’t letting go. She too had decided to wait, however long it took.

“Do you love him?”

Lisa nodded slowly. “Very much. And I still love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore. I don’t think I have been for a long time.”

Gregory looked into Lisa’s eyes, offering a bit of reassurance in a smile. “I feel like we could have resolved this a lot sooner if I hadn’t been an ass and replied to one of those last letters, huh?”

“I think I let that be the sign to let go a little, I just didn’t think I’d be in the right if I went off and did what my heart wanted. Felt wrong.”

“Everything feels so wrong, but when the heart wants what it wants-“

“Do you love her?”

Gregory looked into his wife’s eyes, making his admission. “And at first, I thought to just stay over there. But like you, I didn’t think that’d be right. Not to just leave you hanging on and waiting around for nothing.”

Taking a few steps forward, Lisa did something she never thought she would. Removing her wedding band, she placed it on the table beside Gregory’s ashtray. “Maybe these second chances at love will treat us both better.”

“I hope so.”

Excusing herself, Lisa headed towards her bedroom to pack a few things. In the morning she’d be gone, starting over.

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“Untitled 3/26/22” by Cortney Joseph

In my dreams,

I have searched far and wide,

For the sight of you,

Just once more, for a moment more.

For the chance to talk,

For the chance to hold you close,

To express my gratitude, give thanks

For the time I had,

To be in your presence

To have been loved by you.

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a little random.

There have been so many things on my heart and mind as of late.

So much that it’s starting to make a bit of sense as to why I’ve been feeling so stuck and stagnant.

I hold on to so much fear and doubt, while simultaneously holding on to this idea that I have to follow and live this dream for someone else and not just myself.

Initially, in December of 2019 I thought I could quit my dreams and talent that God gave me because my reason for following them and trying to succeed was gone.

That was it, who else was there to do it for, right?

Then I realized that in my grief and anguish, God was tapping me on my shoulder telling me I wasn’t done. Nowhere near that.

Okay, cool.

So if I’m not done, why is it and has it still been so difficult over two years later? What am I holding on to mentally that’s blocking me from giving my all and doing my best at this gift I’ve been given?

As of today, I still don’t know.

But right here, in this post, I release whatever it is.

I let it go, and I’m moving forward… for me.

There’ll Be Bluebirds : Intro by Cortney Joseph

Intro (Sentimental Journey) :

Pressed closely to the window, William Taylor tried his best to find some sort of comfort in the seat he’d taken as he stared aimlessly at miles of trees that seemed to blend together without interruption.

He’d tuned out the sounds around him hours before, wondering when this part of his journey would come to an end. It had begun in another country, brought him home to the arms of his family safely, and away from their comfort when he could not regain confidence in his place. It no longer felt like home.

It took him to a new city, and then another, until it seemed nothing and nowhere near ‘home’ would satiate. He crossed state lines, searching.

His search for something different taking him to a place he’d only heard of once, though he couldn’t remember where or from whom he’d heard the name of the town. From the memories he could gather, it was to be quaint and peaceful, something he needed after years of strife and confusion.

For days before leaving the city, he’d held the thought that he’d miss the sight of buildings stacked on top of one another, cars piled up for miles, and bodies stumbling over more bodies as they walked hurriedly down sidewalks.

He didn’t. There was something about the long stretches of woodlands and excess bodies of water, the slow and quiet days, the short nights filled with the sounds of crickets and other critters that filtered through when he’d let the window down just to feel a breeze while he slept, that brought him a strange contentment. Brought about thoughts of someone he was certain he’d never met, a voice dancing in his memories though he couldn’t recall where he’d heard it. If he’d heard it all.

At brief moments when doubt hit, he felt a fool chasing something and nothing at the same time. 

Lifting the handkerchief he’d kept in his hand, he dabbed at the droplets of sweat that danced down the side of his face, praying for some sort of relief to come when the sun set. 

“You got that lost, empty stare I’ve seen on so many faces lately. You a soldier?”

Breaking from his thoughts, William looked to his left and gave a small nod. Beside him, sitting to the edge of the seat was an older gentleman, his wrinkled hands holding tightly to the back of the seat in front of them. He hadn’t noticed when the man joined him, but he swiftly made room by placing his bag between his legs. “Yessir.”

“Figured as much, though you look to be getting back on this side of the world a lot later than all the others.” William nodded again, assuring that he could move in closer out of the walkway. “Thank you for the seat. Kindest person I met on this bus. Where are you heading, Soldier?”

“Brooksdale.”

The older man leaned forward, staring intently over the brim of his glasses. He gave a look that confused William, one that nearly made him wonder if he’d made the right choice. “That’s where I’m from. Ain’t nothing there but shotgun homes and tumbleweed. A bit too slow for a youngin’ like yourself, if you ask me.”

“I’m thinking ‘slow’ is what I need right now, Sir. Seen a little too much fast action in the last few years and I don’t think I could handle much more at the moment.” William looked out the window again, leaning his head against the pane. “Slow will do me some good, I think.”

The older man nodded, making himself comfortable as he sat back in his seat. “I’m Herman, I’ll be glad to show you around when we make it there. Ain’t but two or three steps to take to see everything, but I’ll show you anyhow.”

“Nice to meet you Mr. Herman, I’m William. And I’d like that very much.”

Continuing in a comfortable silence, William found himself lost in his thoughts again. Slow is just what I need, he told himself 

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First WIP of 2022. “There’ll Be Bluebirds”.

I’m so excited to announce my first full project of the year!

I’m hoping for it to be a short novella or full novel (we’ll see what happens and how the story wishes to be told as I go along), and I have a feeling that it’s going to be one of my favorite stories to tell.

As I’ve learned about myself recently, I TRULY enjoy writing stories set in past decades, sometimes decades before I was even a thought. I truly believe that is my niche. I have my most fun as a creative doing the research and learning about the past while piecing together a world and story worth exploring through the eyes of a Millennial.

With that said, I’m so happy and excited to make a quick introduction of “There’ll Be Bluebirds”. I’m sure most of us are familiar with the myth or idea that the bluebird is a signifier of overall happiness and/or hope, of faith in the future and what may come.

While this may not be the final title for this work in process, happiness (or finding happiness) is what I intend to be the overall theme of the story.

Set in post war 1940s, an African American soldier finds himself in a town he’s never lived, trying to navigate a new life with unfamiliar yet friendly individuals. In one of those individuals, he feels a sense of peace and familiarity but neither of them has a full understanding of why. (this is NOT a full synopsis, just what I have for now).

I intend for this to be a bit of a drama and romance, but I have this tendency to blend multiple genres, so I’m not truly sure how to define it just yet. I can only say, as long as this idea has been in my head and the way it won’t go away, it is a story that I am meant to tell and it will come straight from my heart.

I will share the first few snippets or chapters here, with the full story being posted on my Wattpad.

I cannot wait to share, cannot wait for you all to meet these characters. With the growing ideas and the way I’m shaping them, I just know you’ll love them as much as I do.

xoxo, Cortney!

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#ValentinesDay Repost: Little Green Apples by Cortney Joseph

They were in his father’s apple orchard. Vibrant shades of green all around, providing a cooling amount of shade on a scorching summer day. A dainty hand lifted itself to pick of the fruit, a smile dancing across lightly glossed lips as she waited for a response. Time seemed to move a little too fast, and she wondered if he’d felt the quickness too.

He could only stare, admiring the way her skin glistened beneath the sunlight that forced its way through the leaves. The droplets of light kissed her bare shoulders the way he wished he could, gently with each slow move she made as they walked a straight line and filled baskets.

A hand placed at the small of her back, she froze at the chill that ran down her spine. Turning to face him, she smiled. Instantly lost in the beauty of his bright blue eyes.

“Am I only here to pick apples today, Liam? Or did you have other things in mind?”

 

Liam shook his head, tucking tufts of his curly blonde hair behind his ear. “This just seems to be the only way we can be around one another, without watchful eyes, to enjoy ourselves. Sucks not having a car; otherwise, I could take you all over the world for more fun.”

“What bit of it there is outside of Hollygrove, right?”

He nodded, shoving his hands into his pockets. Sweat was forming in his palms, his nervousness becoming far too evident. Liam chose to hide it, forcing a question that had been on his mind for quite some time. “Imani, I want to ask you something.” Moving to the next tree, she asked him to go on while she picked a few more apples. “How come you always leave at the end of the summer while your parents live here year-round? Don’t you ever miss them?”

“I still hear from them too often to actually miss them.”

“Ever miss Hollygrove?”

She stood still for a moment, taking the time to think before she answered his question. It was something she’d never focused on, something no one had ever bothered to ask her. Not her parents, not her guardians back home, and not the few people who knew of her summer trips and excursions.

She answered honestly. “I miss absolutely nothing about this place. Not the heat or the bugs, not the airs I have to put on when I’m here, the friends I am forced to associate with to keep appearances. Certainly not the country club. Nothing.” Liam lowered his head, and at that moment, Imani realized how harsh her words must have sounded. She dropped the apple she’d just picked into the basket beside her and turned to Liam, smiling. “Except for you. I always miss you. When the school year ends, and I know where my summer is going to be spent, you’re the first thing on my mind. The only thing that gets me excited to come here.”

“Ahh, Imani, you’re just saying that.”

Without warning, she threw her arms around Liam, holding on to him tightly until he returned the gesture and affection with a comforting embrace. He cared for Imani deeply, felt relief that she cared for him too. “I mean it. And I’m going to miss you, but I don’t want to dwell on it because I don’t want to cry.”

 

Imani pulled away, adjusting her top as she looked around aimlessly, her brown eyes landing on the bit of the sky that peeked through the trees. “And why dwell on it and think about it now? We’ve still got all afternoon to spend together before we have to get on with the hard part. No use in thinking about sad goodbyes right now.”

They were alone in the orchard, nothing to be heard but the sounds of a few birds tweeting and fluttering overhead. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” Looking down at his watch, Liam took a deep breath. “Want to go somewhere else, find something to get into? Maybe we can meet up with Austin and Makenzie. I know how quickly you get bored being in one place for a long period.”

Imani shook her head, making an admission she’d kept to herself for many summers. “No, I like it here with just you and me. I like being around you, without others, because nothing is forced. Things are never weird or awkward. We can laugh and chat away about any and everything, or we can just chill while doing and saying nothing at all. I like the comfort I feel, that we can be bored together and still somehow have the best times. I like that this has become our thing. I enjoy your company, the safe spaces you create for us to be free. Most importantly, I’m not ready to share my best friend with anyone else. Not while I still have time to keep you all to myself. If that’s okay with you.”

Throwing his arm over her shoulder, Liam planted a kiss on Imani’s cheek. “Perfect.”

 

The remainder of their afternoon was spent in bliss and contentment. Their time in the orchard ended, to be followed immediately with a playful swim at a lake only they knew about, hidden away from the prim and proper surroundings of the gated community their parents loved so much. Away from the eyes and negative energy of those that didn’t approve of their relationship in the first place.

When that concluded, they lay beneath the setting sun, lightly swatting away the few bugs that dared to flit around them as they talked about everything and nothing.

When she returned to her parents’ home, Imani was greeted with packed bags sitting beside the front door. They were lively, oblivious to the lack of excitement in her eyes. Walking into the living room, she spoke softly as her mother and father shared an embrace, dancing with one another the way they did every evening. Their love and zest for their life evident and sickening to the sixteen-year-old that stood before them. “Celebrating early, huh?”

“Don’t start that, Imani.” She threw her hands up, taking a seat on the couch as she watched them sway back and forth. She recognized the song playing as her mother’s favorite Nat King Cole standard.

“I just think it’s a mighty big coincidence that you’re busy all summer long, and then the night before I leave to go home, suddenly, you have all the time in the world to laugh and enjoy life. Must be great to get the kid out of your hair.”

Candice sighed lightly, slipping out of her husband’s arms. “Now you know better than that, Imani. There’s no place we’d rather you be than here with us. But we want you to have the absolute best in everything, and that includes education. As great as Hollygrove is for the wealthy, their school system is not one of the best. We kept you at St. Croix because they have the best teachers, the best programs, top rated…”

“Yeah, you’ve explained it all already, Mom. It’s fine.” It wasn’t. However, at this point in her life, Imani had learned that there was absolutely no use in arguing back and forth with her mother. A woman who made up her mind the first time, and kept it made up for all eternity. Her father, though she adored him, simply shelled out the money and Imani had yet to be able to step to him without him offering a raise in her allowance as a solution.

 

Kirk looked at his young daughter, pained to see anything other than the bright and beautiful smile Imani usually wore. Taking a seat beside her, he waited patiently for her to move into his open arms, holding her close as he spoke. “I know it’s not easy, but before you know it, you’ll be back with us. How about next summer we take a family trip?”

Candice perked up, nodding her head in agreement. “Yes! I bet you still want to go to Paris. It’ll be an awesome trip before your senior year, and you’ll have so much to tell all the girls at St. Croix.”

“I don’t even like them, but sure.”

Candice continued, brimming with excitement as plans formulated in her mind. “In fact, we can spend the whole summer traveling around Europe. Lots of food, lots of shopping, the arts and theater. How’s that sound?”

Imani shrugged her shoulders, wiggling out of her father’s grasp before she stood. “How can I object? You’ll think something’s wrong with me if I do.” She headed upstairs to wash up.

Dinner was short, to her relief, and she made the first excuse she could think of to avoid last minute family time.

 

Imani rushed to her room, locking the door so that neither of her parents would barge in unannounced. She set an easy atmosphere for herself within her personal space, throwing on a pair of shorts and an old hockey jersey after a long shower. Lying back on her bed, her box braids dangling over the side, she stared at the ceiling, wondering if Liam were thinking of her too.

As she did at the end of every summer, she wished she’d gathered the nerve to tell him everything she felt for him. The things that went beyond what she knew best friends should feel for one another. And at the same time, she thought they may have not been meant to be anything more than what they were.

Just as she felt herself dozing off, lightly humming along to the song playing from her stereo, her phone began to ring. Looking over at her nightstand, the lights flashed throughout the clear receiver and it’s base. Turning on her stomach, she reached over and took the phone off the hook, placing it to her ear a moment later.

Her voice was soft, fatigue dripping through the single word she spoke. “Hello?”

“I don’t think that last goodbye was good enough. I think we should keep talking until the very last minute possible.”

A smile spread across her face as she twisted the phone cord around her fingers, lying back as she shook off her sleepiness, jumping into another conversation with Liam. They’d say all they had to say now, Imani would make sure of it.