I can offer your woundedness
only my own woundedness,
presented in honesty,

To those with battered hearts,
tattered hearts,
hearts ripped out of chests in ribbons
like entrails;
to those with crying babies behind their faces,
with crying babies inside their chests,
with crying babies inside their guts,
with crying babies inside their privates;
to those who’ve lost hope,
to those who’ve never had hope,
to those for whom hope has been fool’s gold
in mousetrap after mousetrap
after mousetrap after mousetrap:
I can offer your woundedness
only my own woundedness,
presented in honesty,

Our wounds are different
but we hold them out to each other,
not to compare or compete
or play mine-is-bigger-than-yours,
but to connect,
and to feel like we’re not alone,
like a child with a missing arm
meeting a child with a missing leg,
or a dog on a leash who was stolen from its mother
meeting another dog on a leash who was stolen from its mother,
or an immigrant in a cage
meeting another immigrant in a cage.
We share an intimate bond
and we speak our own private language,
and we are recognized,
and we are seen,
and we are understood.

To those who’ve been bashed, thrashed,
brutalized, betrayed,
abandoned, abused,
mistreated, misunderstood:
I can offer your woundedness
only my own woundedness,
presented in honesty,
Not to spin my own wounds as special or unique,
not to reframe woundedness in a positive light,
not to lie and say everything happens for a reason,
not to lie and say everything works out for the best,
not to lie and assure you that the hard part’s over,
but simply to show you that I too am made of soft stuff,
and I too can be ripped open to the bones,
and we both are fragile,
and we both have known pain,
and we both live that truth,
and truly see each other.

A little girl meets a little boy on a bridge
and says “I’ll show you mine
if you show me yours.”
He shows her his prosthetic arm.
She shows him her prosthetic leg.
And they stare at each other,







Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics onTwitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my books Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Latest comments

  • and another thing… thanks to poets and to poetry (truly the people’s art form)
    Bright are the stars that shine
    Dark is the sky
    I know this love of mine
    Will never die

    And I love her

    Writer(s): John Lennon, Paul McCartney

  • merci

  • 256 Responses to “The Sum of All Broken Promises”

    Couldn’t agree with you more – here’s someone on your side i side with also

  • Utterly beautiful Caitlin. You broke me open with this poem. Crying. Joyful. Thank you xxxx

  • So today I read an article that named the United States of America the ” Imperium Americanum “. I like that. The article is here:
    Black Swans Fly In by Patrick Armstrong!

    • MSM is into ” bad USA” memes. HMMM as though the country is independent from the banking cabals economic monopoly and shadow govt(UN) . Ha.

  • The truth in this poem is central to the healing power of AA.

  • We clothe ourselves with spun fabrics, chemical adornments, and a matrix of narratives and images we dispense and crave to have others believe about us.

    We hide ourselves from others. But first, we’ve hidden ourselves FROM ourselves.

    Why are we so afraid to really see ourselves naked? What are we so afraid of? Why are we not good enough for ourselves?

    How can we let another see us when we can’t bear to look at our own self?

    How can our true beauty go unseen and unnoticed? Why do we refuse to see it? Or believe it?

    Are we afraid that we’re ugly… or that we’re beautiful?

    Let’s make a deal. How about… I call you beautiful. And you call me beautiful. And we keep doing that until we both really mean it.

    Then we can both see ourselves as we should.

    As we have always been.

  • Through your brokenness may you find your unbroken wholeness.
    Through your pain and suffering may you discover your Joy.

  • Chaos is coming; there is no getting away from it.
    Along with people’s hopes and dreams of a decent life. What you see then, is a nation, and a system, that has come to be based on broken promises. That’s what the restless public will take away from this morass of statistics. The discord will rapidly leave the statistical frame and take hold in the emotional frame, and that frame will feature entirely negative emotion: rage, resentment, grievance, vengeance, feelings like that. The sum of all broken promises is a broken social contract. That’s the agreement that we will behave civilly in exchange for the liberty to go about our business — within clearly defined rules (laws) about what is legitimate business. A broken social contract is exactly what all these machinations are leading up to. Hence, the appearances of the state — the system and the people who run it — become more and more fantastically and transparently dishonest. Please readthis fine article here:
    The Sum of All Broken Promises by JHK

    • Chaos is here.

  • My woundedness receives your woundedness. Thank you for the gift.

  • This made me cry.
    Perhaps we’re all wounded …

  • Poignant poem, full of awareness of and compassion for self and others, the delicate bonds thus formed between us…and within us. Thank you for it. Surely our common vulnerability, revealed through our particular stories, needs to be shared. Yet, this powerful poem aside, let me confess that I’m feeling increasingly overwhelmed, frustrated, enervated, and (God help me) bored by the incessant torrent of commentary (at least from the left, where I hang out) which pours forth by the hour, by the minute. ALWAYS, it’s this or that outrage, this or that atrocity, this or that obscenity, each spelled out in vivid and excruciating detail, whether the horror be presently occurring or extracted from the charnel house of history. Am I alone, and becoming less sensitive and humane, in beginning to wonder, after a certain saturation point seems to have been reached, what purpose continues to be served by this monotone litany, in beginning to wonder about where the endless lament, the constant outcry, is taking us, can take us, desires to take us, intends to take us? Might this fixation on (obsession with?) pain and suffering, often without the faintest suggestion of a viable way to ameliorate it, help to heal it, perhaps even transcend it, be at least a piece of the obstacle that prevents the contemporary left from gaining social and political traction? Again, I loved and was touched by Caitlin’s poem, which far from being the target of these comments merely happened to trigger impressions formed from years of reading leftist books, articles, and blogs of considerably less substance, elegance, and helpfulness than this one.

  • My woundedness accepts your woundedness: the most precious gift anyone could give. Thank you.

  • I hope you didn’t run into another psychopath, so I have a friend up here who killed my mother over an unpaid parking ticket, now that she’s dead he still wants to get paid. This is how a Mafia run country like the US operates where every Mafia thief steals under color of law. Very soon your poem will apply to every non-Jewish human left alive.

    • Don’t be racist Roy .
      And don’t confuse Zionists with Jews.
      And don’t confuse your conditioned beliefs with the fact we are all one human being.
      PS Sorry the Crown mafia killed your mother condolences

  • Honestly – Heartwarming, Ms Johnstone. Thank You!

  • Unadorned woundedness is unfasshinable
    Unadorned woundedness leaves
    A mark
    Unadorned woundedness is akin
    To rabbies
    They want to put us down
    The wounded people
    They want to bring in
    Animal control
    Were no different than
    The wounded wolf
    We’ll bite anything that comes near.

  • A perfect follow up to your last piece. Bravo. Thank you for your honesty.

  • A shy teenage boy called Saadullah survived a drone strike that killed three of his relatives, but he lost both legs, one eye, and his hope for the future:

    “I wanted to be a doctor but I can’t walk to school anymore.
    When I see others going, I wish I could join them.”

    And, of course, he is not the only one:

    “Sometimes I am so sad that my heart wants to explode.
    When your body is intact, your mind is different. You are
    content. But the moment you are wounded, your soul gets
    damaged. When your leg is torn off and your gait slows, it also
    burdens your spirit.”

    I’m tired of feeding children to the machine. Aren’t you?

    We’ll grab Uncle Sam by his devil horns—the question is: who will help us wrestle him down before he disembowels us?

    November 2024.

    We are coming. Expect Us.


  • Your poetry is a personal expression from your heart but when exposed to witnesses, it becomes ours as well So we as witnesses have preferences. Truthfully, I enjoy all your poems, but prefer when you see that men also suffer. We suffer when the world denies honour and dignity, so thank you for not casting men as perpetual villains and women as perpetual victims

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