Next Time

Submitted into Contest #45 in response to: Write a story about inaction.... view prompt


Creative Nonfiction

I’m confused

As to why

You would want 

Your friends to die 

People you loved

Now you hate

Did we put

Too much on your plate?

I know she hurt you

I know she did

But this is not the way

To finally show the feelings

You hid.

You were friends 

You knew her well

You started dating 

Things were swell!

Confession of love

At the amusement park

Sitting and talking 

All alone in the dark.

I was glad you were happy 

I was glad for you both

But when things turned sour

And you started to loathe

The girl you once knew

The girl you still loved

The girl that you swore 

Was a gift from above.

She told you one thing

And did another 

But you were closing in on her

Trapped; you made her shudder

I didn’t get involved 

But I saw you fall apart 

I didn’t mention it

But I watched her break your heart

I watched as you grew bitter

As she pushed you back away

I watched your eyes grow cold

Every time you heard them say

“Please leave us alone,

We don’t want you here today,

Please just take your things,

Just pack up and go away.”

We were scared of what you’d do

If you still wanted love so true

If you still wanted her to see you 

As when you both first met.

A boy who funny, who liked to sing,

A boy who would one day 

Buy her a ring 

And you’d say, today,

Until death to we part

And nothing, no nothing 

Will tear us apart. 

But that’s now how it went

That’s not how the story goes

Ask anyone in school 

And they’ll tell you what they know. 

They’ll say they heard you talking 

Saying what all you would do

Saying that once you were done

Then we would all get a clue.

I’m sorry that she lied

And I’m sorry you were scared

I’m sorry that they whispered 

Even though you were right there.

I would have been a better friend 

I would have tried my best 

I would have helped you see

There are better ways to test

The limits of human nature 

And the boundaries of human hearts,

I would have shown you other ways,

To deal with the broken shards.

I wish we would have talked more

And I wish I would have known

That every minute you walked the halls

Was a minute you spent alone.

What you threatened wasn’t right 

And you never should have said it

But now you’re gone away

And I know that you regret it.

Would you really have brought that thing to school

And blown us all away?

Would you kill our friends and family,

Just so she would have to pay?

Or did you say you would do that

To see what we would say? 

I’m confused 

And I’m not

I’m distraught 

But I haven’t forgot 

I guess I’m sad

More than mad

But now the case is iron clad

And there’s no way I can break

The chains you made yourself. 

When you laughed 

Were you laughing 

Or crying inside?

When you smiled

Were you happy 

Or wishing you had died? 

I don’t know the whole story;

I don’t think I ever will

I’m just upset that what once you loved

Was what drove you then to kill.

I should have listened 

And not just heard

The words you said

When you were hurt

I could have called

Someone who knew

How to help

Better than the way I 

Could help you.


Maybe one of issues

Was that I wanted to 

Keep my life

Our friends

These high school years

Away from the kind

Of drama I thought could

Break us further apart.

I don’t know why 

I thought silence was

The best plan

But that’s the way I ran;


And now I, 


Know the moon sets on

Us in the same night sky

Though I just want to live

And you feel like you could


You could be remembered 

As a boy who aimed to kill

But still part of our hearts 

Can hear you laughing still

Crowded around a table

In a school 

Was it so bad?

Were they too cruel?

Next time

I say

Next time 

I think 

Next time

I won’t let

You fall to that brink 


It won’t be you

I’m trying to save

It’ll be someone else

Just a guy with your face. 

Just a guy who loves

A girl I know

Just a guy

Who slipped too far below

Just a guy

Who needed to control 

But didn’t see how he could

Reach it

Without the click

And the snap

Of a gun 

Pressed tight against cold skin.


My reaction 

To your divided heart

Broken like fraction

To your traction

I lacked action 

I should have had

More compassion.

It’s not a popular opinion 

Most kids would be angry 

And I am too

But my anger for you 

Isn’t overcoming 

The anger for me

And all that was right there 

But I neglected to see.

(Authors Note: Well, hey. I wrote another poem. This one is from a while ago, back when I was in school and I knew this kid who kind of dated my friend. We were friends too but eventually my friend felt like she had to break up with him because he was possessive and needy. He left school later after making threats against it. This poem... it is about inactivity and about someone (me) not helping to stop something from happening when I could have. I think it could have been better, if not perfect and could have at least started both of us on a different path. So the point is to not be quiet about issues, whether they be acknowledging police brutality and racism in the United States or intervention regarding school shootings, two very different things that have people at both ends of them and that means only people can be the end to them. So don’t let others tell you to be quiet when you have something important and true, not always happy, not always good, but important and true and helpful to move forward. It’s always better to say these things and risk making someone you know or even someone you don’t know mad, or upset, than to stay quiet and risk losing an opportunity to help someone, to raise awareness for causes that matter to you, or to have hard conversations that make both you and anyone you love but don’t think the same as stronger and better than you were whether you change a mind, a heart, or not. I hope you all are doing well and while we’re here, I wanted to share some links with you that have helped me to be more educated on the Black Lives Matter movement and organization, and the protests and riots going on right now. The first one is a video by Thoraya Maronesy, who asked protesters what they wanted to get out of their efforts. In the description box of that video, there is a link to a google docs that is an ally resource guide that has petitions to sign and places to donate to. But if you can’t donate, that’s okay! There are lots of videos online that make money from ads and donate to organizations like the ones Reedsy is donating to this week. All you have to do is not skip the ads and you’re already helping. One more thing I’ll mention is that on June 7th, there is a nationwide economic blackout led by the Black Lives Matter movement that encourages you to not spend ANY money that day because “money talks, let’s speak their language.”

I‘ll put links in the comments section.)

June 06, 2020 19:12

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Neomi Shah
13:12 Jun 07, 2020

Wonderfully written! I loved the line: 'Inaction, my reaction'.


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Kelechi Nwokoma
03:45 Jun 12, 2020

I really love your poems! I loved how you conveyed your message, and I really applaud the efforts you put in to make everything rhyme. You're really talented to be so good at fiction and poetry. I love writing poems, too, but it's been long since I've written one. Great work!


Jubilee Forbess
03:46 Jun 12, 2020

Aw, thanks! If you get to writing poetry again I'd love to read it! :)


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𝔸. Triangle
20:16 Jun 06, 2020

More Poems!!!! I'm actually a three-time published poet so I am proud to say that this read was filled will plenty of sad vibes that created a certain darker mood that I've come to love! It conveys a great message as well. Sincerely, A.


Jubilee Forbess
20:22 Jun 06, 2020

Wow, my poems never have been published other than what I put on Reedsy. That’s so cool! And I’m glad I conveyed my message well. :D


𝔸. Triangle
21:59 Jun 06, 2020

Ya, I mainly write in freestyle though. Welcome! -A.


Jubilee Forbess
22:23 Jun 06, 2020

Well, I’m trying to get my other poems long enough to enter some more here. Guess the authors note works okay.


𝔸. Triangle
22:32 Jun 06, 2020

I mean... You gotta get those words in... -A.


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Jubilee Forbess
19:16 Jun 06, 2020 That’s the first video. The ally guide is in the description box. There’s a video you can watch or have on in the background for donating money with ads, don’t skip them! And for more information on the economic blackout day June 7th, just look it up! :)


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Noor Ahmed
14:37 Jun 12, 2020

This poem is awesome! I loved the sad vibe it gave. Your rhyming is impeccable! Keep writing and stay safe! ~noor a.


Jubilee Forbess
14:40 Jun 12, 2020

Thanks, you too! Be sure to read my other poems and my newest weird experimental prose. Also. This is completely off topic, but you signed your name as Noor A. I got a puppy yesterday and her name is Eleanor so we call her Nora. Is this an excuse for me to talk about my dog? Yes, thanks for that too! Stay safe and I like the updated bio.


Noor Ahmed
15:08 Jun 12, 2020

Good excuse to talk about your dog hehe. I love dogs so much!! Also, I will make sure to read your stories, I promise, but I am writing right now. I will find some time. Thank you, about the bio thing!


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Avani G
00:56 Jun 12, 2020

Hi, Rhonda! Such a great poem (😉) and it really spread the awareness of not saying quiet and take some action. It fit perfectly with the prompt!! However, after I finished reading, I felt prone to asking myself some questions... 1. Did the guy really kill his girlfriend? (If he did, OOF!) 2. Did he leave the school and start to threaten his girlfriend, or did he kill her because she broke his heart ... while he was still going to the school? 3. Was the guy your friend (as you mention in the author's note) or your friend's girlfriend?...


Jubilee Forbess
02:29 Jun 12, 2020

Ah, so no, no one killed anyone. He was my friend’s boyfriend and she broke up with him after a while of him being kind of needy and so he got pretty upset and threatened to shoot up our school. He did get caught and he left before anything happened; the poem is just me saying I’m sorry for not being there before then, basically.


Avani G
03:16 Jun 12, 2020

Thanks for the clarification!


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Peeker Jones
16:25 Jun 10, 2020

Thank you for your time spent on this and all the other stuff you have written! The most important thing is the feeling from the beginning and it always been the same thing i have always done. I love you and your stories, I love the fact i am taking on the doubt and anxiety about myself and my stories will be given more attention with the fact that I do have fears of the reader being disappointed by my mind not being when I am human and I'm fine with needed improvement. Thanks for the inspiration and advice through words I gave with eyes and...


Jubilee Forbess
16:45 Jun 10, 2020

❤️⭐️💕🌸 Thank you for reading so much! I appreciate your comments Giantly and will be SURE to keep up with your stories as well.


Peeker Jones
17:11 Jun 10, 2020

I appreciate your honesty and respect it all as much as when I was not respecting anyone or anything. The company of a good story is always a blessing.


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Guilherme Copati
23:01 Jun 07, 2020

This poem has such mellifluous quality to it. You can feel the pain in every word. Keep up with the good work! I'll be looking forward to reading your upcoming material.


Jubilee Forbess
00:12 Jun 08, 2020

Thanks, same to you, sir! 🌸💕⭐️


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Jan Querubin
05:25 Jun 07, 2020

This is such a beautiful poem. You really do have a way with using words. Another job well done, Rhondalise!


Jubilee Forbess
13:53 Jun 07, 2020

Thank you, Jan, for kind words and reading and writing your own wonderful works!


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Arya Preston
05:05 Jun 07, 2020

This is really well written, Rhondalise! I can't wait to read more of your poems :)


Jubilee Forbess
13:52 Jun 07, 2020

Haha, please do! And thank you so much for reading this one.


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L. M.
01:36 Jun 07, 2020

Another good poem that expresses so well changing feelings.


Jubilee Forbess
02:09 Jun 07, 2020

Thank you! I appreciate the comment.


L. M.
03:08 Jun 07, 2020

You're welcome. :)


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