August (A Poem)

Today is my grandpa’s birthday. He passed away August 9th, 2017. I wrote this poem a few days ago about him. Enjoy. (The photo I took last Spring. I love tulips.)

I watched you fade away into a man I barely recognized anymore. Like an old fade photograph going yellow from age and neglect.

I tried to see the man you used to be but I couldn’t. It was like I was looking at you through a thick heavy fog.

You kept fading and we kept clinging to you like a child to their mother.

It was hard to see you like that knowing the man you used to be. And I realized that we were clinging to all but a memory. And though I felt guilty, I stopped coming to visit you towards the end. I couldn’t bare seeing you turn into a husk of the man you used to be.

You got worse, of course, and we all knew the end was coming but we didn’t know when. We didn’t want to admit it to ourselves that you were at the end of your rope. That Fate had her scissors on your string as she slowly sawed, the thread getting weaker and weaker.

Just like you.

And as the August leaves faded from bright green to fiery orange to a dull brown, I saw you in them. I realized that you were like them. You were fading, and though we didn’t want to lose you, we knew it was your time to go.

And though I cried – and smoked two cigarettes that I knew you’d be disappointed in – I knew that you were at peace. I knew that you never wanted us to see you like a fade photograph, a dead leaf. I knew that wherever you were, you were looking after us.

And the childish part of me wonders if like the stories say, you were reborn. And in my mind, I see you as a bumblebee, pollinating the flowers you so carefully tended.

I think about you all the time.

I think about you when I see the tall oak trees stretching out towards the sky. I remember how you used to tell me about all the different kinds of trees. I wish I had paid more attention then.

I think about you whenever I paint wine bottles. I wonder if you’d like the galaxy I painted or the one that looks like a tree.

I think of you when I read a new book. I finished Carrie by Stephen King a few weeks ago. I devoured it. I remember ho we used to talk about books. So many books.

I think about you every time I see a cardinal fly into a bush at my school. I remember the canary I drew for you and how happy you were at that simple gift. To you, it wasn’t simple. I haven’t done another one like it since. Though I’m thinking I should. A whole collection of birds.

I think about you when I write. The story based on that house. I remember how you always talked about the werewolf in the shed. I wonder if it’d make you happy that I’m turning that into a novel.

I think about you when I raise up my camera to snap a photo of the bright red and orange tulip at my school. Like you did, I take photos of nature, trying to capture a moment.

Or maybe, I’m trying to capture the memory of you.

-K

I’d Tell You (A Poem)

If I could say all the things I wanted to say, I’d start by saying you are the reason why it’s so hard to let people in. I’d tell you that you are the reason and why I keep myself guarded.

I’d tell you that you are the reason, why I smile even though I want to cry, why I laugh when I feel like screaming.

I’d tell you about how many meals I missed because you didn’t get groceries. Instead you got your nails done. I’d tell you about how I missed 30 days of school, because you never came home and someone had to be the parent. I’d tell you about staying up late cleaning the house because I knew if I didn’t, you’d wake me up screaming that I was lazy and ungrateful. I’d tell you about falling asleep in my first hour class – sometimes even my second – because I had homework to finish the night before.

I’d tell you about how everyone asked me about my home life. About you and how I lied. And lied. And lied.

I always lied, because back then I still considered you my mother. Back then I made an excuses and reasons. I’d tell my friends ‘She’s doing her best,’ but you weren’t doing your best.

Were you?

I’d tell you how I wanted to run away almost every week. How that one time I did wasn’t the first time I thought about it. I’d tell you how disappointed I felt when my grandparents didn’t even try to keep me. Instead Grandma told you ‘You need to fix this.’

I’d tell you how for a few weeks you’d try. You’d do better but then you’d go back to the same things. And you did try but I wonder now if you really tried hard enough.

I’d tell you that I loved school because I didn’t want to be home with you – not that you were ever home. I’d tell you how I’d meet my friends’ parents and wonder why I didn’t get that. What did I do so wrong where I didn’t get a loving mother and a doting father?

I’d tell you how there were moments where you were a good mom.

You’d make us dinner and we’d watch movies and play board games.

But those moments were few, and usually drowned out by the bad moments.

The moments where you worked doubles all week and didn’t come home for three days. The moments where I had to beg for money from my friends or stepdad so we could have heat or water or gas or food.

The moments where I took care of a child with a 102 degree temperature and had no one to turn to. The moments where you would come home after work and then leave to go drink with your friends.

The moments where you’d come home drunk and I’d have to clean up after your vomit and tuck you into bed, when it should’ve been you tucking me into bed.

The moments where I’d break and be a normal teenager and act out and not do my chores. Then you’d yell at me and tell me you were disappointed, and I’d go back to being the perfect daughter even though all I wanted was to not be. All I wanted was to be a kid, but I couldn’t. I had to be the parent. Because you wouldn’t be. The moments where I’d lay in bed crying and all I wanted was you, but you weren’t there.

If I could, I’d tell you how many times I contemplated death. How when I first put that blade on my wrist, I felt like for once I was the one in control. I’d tell you that I didn’t hide those cuts on my arms and legs because a part of me wanted you to say something. I wanted you to ask what was wrong. I wanted you to be the mother and comfort your daughter but you never did.

You never said a word.

I’d tell you that my friends saved my life because they cared. They asked questions and comforted me. I’d tell you that I was too cowardly to commit suicide even though I thought about it, because all I could think about was my brothers and sister. Who would take care of them when I was gone?

Certainly not you.

I’d tell you that leaving was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m glad I left. Because I was drowning. I was a day away from self-combustion. All of my friends knew it. They could see that if one more thing happened, it’d be over.

I’d tell you that I used guys for sex because it made me feel something,

And I let them use me because at least someone wanted me.

Even if it was just my body. I’d tell you that I burned some bridges because of how angry I was.

If I could, I’d tell you that when I left in that car heading to Arkansas, for the first time I could breathe. And yes, I was scared. I didn’t know what was going to happen. But I didn’t care. It was the first time I felt like I was going somewhere better.

If I could, I’d tell you how I listened to “Break Away” by Kelly Clarkson on repeat, Over and over, because I was the one breaking away.

I’d tell you that I no longer worry about my brothers and sister, because they are so much tougher and braver than me. They’ll be okay. They’ll make it.

If I could, I’d tell you that you wear rose colored glasses, that even if you read this you wouldn’t understand. You would still claim you’re a good mother, and that you are doing your best.

You’re not though. You repeat the same actions over and over again. The same mistakes but you never learn. And I could try to tell you but it’d be a waste of words. A waste of air.

If I could, I’d tell you that I don’t hate you, though sometimes i wish I could. It might be easier to hate you. It may save me some grief if I could hate. But I don’t.

If I could, I’d tell you that every time we speak on the phone, I want to chain smoke. I want to light up that cigarette, pulling out the smoke, as if I could blow the anxiety you make me feel.

If I could, I’d tell you that the reason why I dye my hair and refuse to have dark brown hair is because everyone always tells me how much I look like you. And I don’t want to look like you in fear of becoming you.

If I could, I’d tell you that I pity you, but most of all I’d tell you that I don’t think about you at all. You barely cross my mind. I don’t need your approval. I don’t need anything from you.

If I could, I’d tell you that I got where I am today, in spite of you. You didn’t make me the woman I am.

I did.

My friends did.

My grandparents did.

My cousins did.

My aunt did.

I did.

Everything I have done I did myself, with the encouragement of the people who love me. You had nothing to do with it.

If I could, I’d tell you that I am no longer that little girl wanting her mother’s love. I am a young woman. And I’ve long figured out that the only person you love is yourself. Or the bottle.

If I could, I’d tell you that the reason I don’t any of this, is because it wouldn’t matter. You still wouldn’t listen nor understand.

If I could, I’d tell you that I’m happy where I am, and I can’t wait to see where I’ll go next.

If I could, I’d tell you that I am finally free.

-K

Only (A Poem)

In the end

There’s only this

There’s only now

There’s only this moment

There’s only your breath on my skin

There’s only words left unspoken

Because we are too afraid

There’s only late nights

Laying under the stars

And telling each other

Our dreams

There’s only a lie

Because you left

There’s no breath

There’s no words

There’s no late nights

There’s only me

There’s only staggered breathing

As I try to forget you’re gone

There’s only regret as I remember

The words I never said

The words I wish I had said

There’s only late nights where

I can’t sleep

And the silence is loud like

A wave crashing on the shore

The sand being worn away as the

Waves keep coming in

There’s no our dreams

Because there’s no us

There’s no you

In the end

There’s only an empty bed

And a cold tombstone

There’s only the sharp

Cruel moment of sudden loss

Of a loved one

Suddenly being gone

Like a sand castle on the beach

Being swept away by

An angry roaring wave

And being gone

Just like you

Gone

Like you never existed

At all

-K

Sail (A Poem)

Will you sail away with me?

Far behind the reaches of the iron jungle

and the electric wires that strangle us in our sleep

and the bright little screens that blind us with the

hateful information they show.

Far past all the war and the pain, the blood and tears,

the bombs that kill millions

and the mothers who cradle their dead children,

screaming into the dusty night that it wasn’t fair.

Will you sail away with me?

We can live off the sea, and try to name all the fishes we see.

Perhaps if we sail far enough,

we’ll see the great sea serpent of old.

We’ll race it to the edge of the world,

neck to neck,

and instead of eating us, the great sea serpent

will tell us that our people once were voyagers

before we became afraid of the sea.

Or perhaps we’ll see the churning, roaring

Charybdis and let her swallow us whole,

her sharp teeth not sharp but instead

like the caress of a mother tucking you in for bed.

She’ll take us to a new world

with no war and pain, no blood and tears.

No mothers who cry over corpses.

No iron jungles and wires that strangle us

and little bright screens.

Instead it’ll be us and the Earth,

back to our roots.

Doesn’t that sound nice?

Why don’t you sail away with me?

-K

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/your-daily-word-prompt-sail-march-14-2019/

When My Eyes Are Closed (A Poem)

I see you in the sunrise, as the blue breaks through the orange like ink into water.

I see you in the way the wind makes the leaves dance like a ballerina on a stage, bowing to the captive audience.

I see you in the fluffy clouds as the sharp “V” of geese fly across the sky, always in perfect formation.

I see you in the busy, chaotic streets of the city as everyone moves about, their heads tucked into their own lives.

I see you in the wonder on a child’s face as the homemade volcano explodes into vibrant reds, showering glittery ash everywhere.

I see you in the face of an old woman with lines on her face as she tells her grandson about hiding during the first great war.

I see you in the smoke swirling out of a cigarette lit between two fingers as a young man talks to his mother and tells her that he loves her.

I see you in the theater as the credits roll on a movie and then the screen goes dark, the smell of popcorn and candy in the air.

I see you in the deep blue dress that still hangs in the closet. I haven’t touched it since you left.

I see you in the wine glass as I pour that special red we always loved. My second glass.

I see you in the sunset as the day ends, the blue bleeds into red.

I see you….everywhere. Even when my eyes are closed.

-K

Drabble #1: You’re My Starry Night

My back was to him as I looked out the window. The glass was fogged up, rain running down like sweat on cold glass, preventing me from seeing the city. It was a much-needed distraction as I prepared myself to speak. The room was cold and damp. I pulled the sweater tighter against me as if that could help me with what I was about to say. “Here’s the thing you don’t realize. . . .I love you. But you don’t love me.”

“That’s not true,” he protested. I knew if I looked back, his jaw would be tense, eyes dark gray like the weather outside, all anger and grief and stubbornness. I didn’t look at him because I knew seeing his handsome face, would break my resolve. And I knew – I knew I had to do this.

I should’ve done it a long damn time ago.

“Let me finish,” I said sharply. He goes quiet and I know he’s waiting on me to continue.

“What I mean is that you don’t love me how I love you. Do you love me? Yes, but it’s not the same. It’s like. . .It’s like that first love, yeah it’s there but almost faded like an old photograph. That’s what I am to you, I’m an old photograph. The colors all faded, and though I am important, every day, you look at me a little less. Instead, you look at him. He’s a damn Van Gogh painting. . .” The lump in my throat gets bigger. I had to get these words out though. I had too. For my sake. This love for them was going to destroy me and I couldn’t let that happen. Of course, once I thought about it, this love I have for them had already destroyed me.

I took a deep breath and finally turned to look at him.

It breaks my heart. He’s leaning against the kitchen table, his arms crossed as he looked at me with those beautiful gray eyes that right now were flat and emotionless. I stepped closer to him but didn’t take his hand. It wasn’t time for that. Not right now.

“I love you,” I whispered like it was a secret. Like the whole world didn’t know how much I loved him. Like the whole damn world didn’t know that everything I have ever done, I did for him. Like the whole damn world didn’t know that I spent half my life waiting on him and for him to never stay.

“But you,” my voice cracked like a 12-year-old boy’s. It’s embarrassing. “you don’t love me the same.”

He reached for me and I hated myself for stepping back. He looked like a kicked puppy. “I. . .” I ran a hand through my hair, then started fiddling with a piece of my sweater that’s unraveling. Unraveling like my love life. How did I explain it to him? Finally, I got it.

“You are my Starry Night,” I continued. “You’re everything. You’re the sun and the stars, the moon, and every damn planet. You’re the galaxy. I have spent half my life waiting for you. But you never stay. You leave again and again. But every time you come back, here I am. I am always waiting for you. Always. And I. . .I can’t do that anymore, James.”

“Katherine-” he began.

“No. I can’t do it anymore. I’m not saying I don’t love you. I do love you but love. . .it isn’t enough. Not when I see the way you look at him when you think I’m not looking. Not when I see the pining and everything. It’s not fair to him and it’s not fair to me.” I swallowed.

This time he ran a hand through his hair. “I never meant to hurt you, Kat.”

I smiled. “I know. Now, you gonna stand here or you gonna go ask a certain someone out on a date?”

He walked towards me. His hand was cold on my face. On instinct, I turned and kissed his wrist. “We’ll still be friends, right?’

“Of course,” I said.

We both knew I was lying.

He kissed my cheek gently before he turned and left. And once again, I was left behind.

(Excerpt from a fanfiction I’ll never write.)

-K

I Wish (A Poem)

I wish you knew how every time I hear that song, I die a little more.

I wish you knew that there are movies that I can’t watch anymore because we watched them together.

I wish you knew that sometimes I catch myself thinking about you and it takes me hours to forget you again.

I wish you knew that sometimes I see that black velvet box with the diamond ring and haunts me.

I wish I knew that I hear your voice everytime someone calls me “sweetie.” But then I look and it’s never you.

I wish you knew how hard it is sometimes to not dial your number. I still have it memorized even now.

I wish you knew that breathing is hard when I see photos of you on social media and you seem so happy.

I wish you knew that I finally made it to London and saw Big Ben. I took a picture to send to you and then remembered. . .

I wish you knee that I donated the dishes we bought together. You know the ones with the blue flowers.

I wish you knew I changed my hair color back to brown because I couldn’t stand to see the red hair you said always looked like flames.

I wish you knew how much I have grown and changed in the years since you left.

I wish you knew that I still think about you every day but I have to move on.

I wish you knew that my dreams are slowly coming true. Without you.

I wish I knew if you missed me.

-K

Starry-Eyed (A Poem)

She comes in

like a heavy fog

over green,

green hills,

slow and steady

as the sun rises

in the east,

breaking into

blues and oranges.

She walks like

A cheetah,

Each step placed

With purpose,

Graceful and poised

But ready at a

Moment’s notice

To speed off

And save the day.

Her voice is

Like water,

Calm and cool,

Soothing all hurts

And easing

all sorrows,

But ready to rage

And rush like a

Waterfall.

In her eyes she

Holds the universe,

Eyes sparkling with

The stars

Like diamonds

And with the

Knowledge of all

Those who came

Before her.

-K