Fiction photo photography portrait Prose


I tried my best. I really did. But things fall apart. My mother was bipolar and wouldn’t take her meds, so the highs were too high and too dangerous and then the lows were dark, prolonged and scary.

She fought going into the hospital, but it wasn’t safe-she wasn’t safe. We had no alternative. She’s been in there a week and won’t see me. I feel like I deserve that because I failed her, even though the rational part of my brain knows that there’s truly nothing else I could have done. You have to help others if they can’t help themselves, even if the price you pay is steep. I only hope she may forgive me when she stabilizes.

© 2023 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

Fiction photo photography portrait Prose


There is a crackling sound, over there, don’t you hear it? The cars scream by, but it’s still there. A consistent noise I can no longer run away from, then it fades out to silence with the dusk.

I have to know what it is. Why it follows me all day long

© 2022 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

photo photography Prose

More Than Blue

Grandmother called it the blues
Because she didn’t want to give
It any more weight.
She thought she could contain it.
But it rolls down the generations,
Gathering dark energy all the while.
It got you at the umbilical, child, and
Now you’ve grown and it’s got you whole.
Every day a version downgrade from
The last. The last.

© 2022 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.


Long Way Back

Inside the endless night
I’m prisoner to the poisonous ways
Depression has to take root
And blackout your days.

Insidious and random,
The victims are too many to count.
Discovering at some dreadful point
This disorder, this jail, won’t let you out.

Giving in to the immense black hollow
Is easy and sometimes we do.
I’ll try to come back,
To be the person I once knew.

It’s such an long fight
When it’s burrowed so deep.
Your mind, the your soul.
What else can you keep?

I will feel worthless and I’ll stumble
And fall down the long flight of steps
That lead the way back
To the light that signals success.

I hope when I get there,
Because I have to believe that I will,
That you’ll be waiting,
In love with me still.

© 2022 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.


What is Left to Prove?

You can remove the bars,
But you’re still nowhere else but down.
A pathetic state of affairs not even
Worthy of the tears of a clown.

A life you never asked for
In a world with no boundaries.
You’ve carried on, through towering fears
And rolling waves of anxieties.

Others succeed and rise and rise.
It’s never mattered how much you gave
Or how deeply you cared.
In this moment, it’s yourself you must save.

© 2022 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.



Must you admit the jet-black thoughts
And the dreadful anxiety to anyone?
Does it make anything better?

You don’t need to confess.
You own your toxic mélange
And if you bottle it up,
You think you get to choose to uncork it.

I know only this: It will come out.
Seeping through the fissures
Or exploding like a suppressed volcano.
Tell loved ones to stand clear,
If there are any left to damage.

© 2022 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

essay Health non-fiction Prose

A New Outfit, but the Same Enemy As Before

Ointments, lotions and creams. Not in a good way, as some kind of foreplay, but for ailments and pain, recently diagnosed and life-changing at that. There were pills, of course, and painful tests, followed by follow-ups and re-checks. Ad infinitum.

When you’re young, a variety of things signal being old in your mind. Some are vague and others sharp and clear. Medical woes existed as a collective: vague, but certain. And now that they are here, it’s not quite what you expected and that is probably a good thing. If you’d known that the toxic fog of frustration, pain and uncertainty would hang over you along with the diagnosis itself, your anxiety would have skyrocketed in advance. Little favors, I suppose.

With this new reality comes the knowledge that life will have new limitations. At some point, very drastic ones. So now you fight the demons of depression and anxiety and the physical barriers. As you lay in bed, the same feelings wash over you as when you battled your thoughts and feelings: my body and my mind are my enemies.

© 2022 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.