In the End (A Poem)

I wish I didn’t love you.

I wish that I didn’t think about you every second of every single day. 

I wish that when I heard your name called in a crowded room, even if you weren’t there, I wouldn’t automatically turn and look for you. 

You’re never there. 

I wish that I could ignore your late night calls, hit decline instead of answer. But I don’t. I answer and we spend hours talking on the phone, and with every word that comes out of your mouth, I fall even more in love with you. 

And I hate it.

I wish that I didn’t smile when my phone lights up with your good morning text that you used to send me every day. It was only a good morning when I got that text. But then, that text stopped coming. 

I wish that I could walk away, that I could finally let you go, because all you ever do is hurt me. All you do is leave me standing there, looking a fool. You’re never there when I need you, yet I drop everything for you. Everything.

I ruin myself for you. 

Sometimes I try to walk away but then you smile at me, and it’s like the world stops. Like one of those cheesy Hallmark movies we would make fun of, snuggled up on the couch and feeding each other popcorn. The world stops turning. My heart stops beating. Then you’re gone, like the snow in the south.

I wish I could burn you out of my head. That I had never met you. That I had never walked over to your table at the cafe where you sat, looking lost and alone.

I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger, stupider self that all you’d bring me was heartache and pain. That I’d bend over backwards, give you every part of me. My heart, my body, my soul. And all you’d give me was fake smiles and cold shoulders. That you’d break me down then build me back up then break me down all over again. Over and over again. It’s the same cycle. I repeat it. 

I come back to you no matter what you do to me. Even though you’ve never chosen me first. Not once. It is always someone else. I am always the last one you chose. And you know that I always come running back.

I wish I didn’t love you. I wish that I could yank you out of my heart, out of my life. Like a broken, rotten wisdom tooth. Tear you out and slap a bandage on it. I’ll be okay. 

But I can’t. 

The truth is, that I love you. I’ll always love you. Even though you’re going to ruin me in the end, I still love you.

-K

Snow (A Poem)

You disappeared like the snow in the south — the snow that falls, barely sticking but we all cheer as it does, like a child, and the snow is perfect, pristine, and pure, so, so white that when you see it, it blinds you. The trees are coated in cotton balls, the branches almost crystalized like a mosquito in amber. A magical frozen picture.

But then people march all over it, soiling the snow with their secrets and lies and pain, and then the snow is gone, melting into nothing. It was only there for an hour, but oh, what a beautiful hour it was. One shining, blinding moment where everything stood still.

That’s how you made me feel.

You stopped the noise, the world with your very presence. The calamity, the fear, the cruel words that dug into my head with sharp claws, was soothed like honey on a sore throat. Like the first crisp taste of tea in the cold mornings. Everything went away and all that was left was us.

And I assumed you’d be there, next to me, like you always were, your warm hand in mind as you pulled me into the world I’d long hidden from — ashamed, afraid but you always made me feel brave. But you let go of my hand and I was left, cold, oh so cold. I reached for you and you were no longer there. And I’ve never given thought to what I would say when that happened.

The girl who scrawls words in a battered notebook so rapidly that ink stains the paper, always struggled to speak. The words getting caught in my throat like glass, silencing me with all the edges. You always had the words, perfectly delivered while for me, getting out a Hello was a struggle. When you left, you took my voice with you.

Now I can only write this and hope you see these words:

Thank you. Thank you for making me brave. Thank you for giving the strength and courage to step out of my shell and to taste the cool air on my breath and explore the beauty around me. Thank you.

-K

Bruise (A Poem)

The eye is left to bruise,  while the sky bleeds into blues.  I take a breathe but I feel nothing,  the air a cold and brittle thing. The eye closes and cries, oozing tears of black sticky smears. 

To kiss is but lies,  all pretty words and ties,  bounding each other hand to hand.  The bruise is like a brand,  red and shiny, gleaming with fear. 

There’s only one more bottle of beer. 

Cool and sharp, the tongue is a whistling whip that makes a sharp crack into the room, and even butterflies flit and flutter in the stomach, turning a blind eye into the skye. 

The song sings I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, like the croon of an old country song, while tattered curtains cover the windows and hide the lies.

-K

I Should’ve Loved You (A Poem)

I should’ve loved you.

You looked at me like I was the moon, full and orange and bright against the inky sky as the stars winked. You’d smile at me as I named the constellations, talking about Neverland and how I wished that there really was a second star to the right that could take me where pirates roamed, mermaids swam, and children flew. Where faith, trust, and pixie dust was all you needed.

I should’ve loved you.

You held me tenderly, as if I was something precious, like the fragile vase that your great-grandmother brought over from Europe. She’d tell you stories about the vase and how it survived the voyage from the Mayflower just so it could set on a small plywood table, gathering dust as the fake tulips wilted. Your grandmother would’ve liked how I listened to tell her stories, writing them into a beat-up composition notebook that one day would turn into a book.

I should’ve loved you.

You touched me like I was a spider’s web, strong and sturdy as it stretched from corner to corner, dew drops sparkling in the sun, until harsh hands tore it down, the spider falling to the ground, and meeting it’s end under a steel-toed boot. You understood why I was guarded and you approached me cautiously, but not fearfully. You never pushed, instead, you waited until I was ready. Never afraid of my cobwebs and the skeletons that hid in my closet.

I should’ve loved you.

But I didn’t love you. I couldn’t love you.

There was no last kiss, there wasn’t even a first. Instead, I dropped your hand after you took it and begged me to stay. I turned and I walked away. My name on your lips. I couldn’t be who you wanted even though all you said you wanted was me.

-K

Books (A Poem)

I open the book, hiding under the covers with a flashlight in my hands. My greedy eyes take in the words eagerly, hungrily. I trace the words, pressing my palm against the cool paper, wishing that I could fall into the pages like one falls into a lover’s arms. (Have I ever fallen into a lover’s arms? No. I think not. Instead, I step into those arms. Timid. Unsure. Frightened. Wary. Those arms might squeeze me too tight.)

I talk to the books like they have all the answers. (Get your head out of the clouds, Keely, they used to say. They stole the books away, stowing them in boxes to gather dust. My brother got a book for me. Our own form of rebellion.)

I ask if they were scared when they faced the dragon, giving riddles to stave off the fear, and clutching a little gold ring in small fingers. (Did you wish you had stayed in your hole? Never opened your door. No. I think not. You enjoyed the adventure though we know you’d never admit it.)

I ask if they wished they had never got that owl and stayed under the cupboard where it was safe and sound. (Where it was dark and cold and spiders crawled all over you. Where you did all the chores and only got a scrap of crust for your efforts.)

I ask if they wished they ignored that strange wardrobe and prayed like all the other children did for father to come from the war. (No. You stepped into the wardrobe where animals talked and witches ran amuck, cursing sweets and shaving cats. Looking for something that no one could give. Only a father could. Only a mother could.)

I ask them if they regret the decisions they made and if they could, would they make a different choice?

Would they take a different path?

What was it like to face your death?

I talk but they don’t answer. So I create answers myself. I have conversations with the characters. They help me through heartbreak. They give me advice when I feel lost. They give me encouragement when I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders.

It’s no wonder my first friend was a book.

We lose ourselves in castles, surrounded by dragons, fairies, swords in stone and the knowledge that the hero would always win. Because life isn’t like that. The guy doesn’t always get the girl. The girl doesn’t always find her prince. The heroes don’t always win. The books give us hope, love, faith, courage.

You turn the next page, holding that crisp paper that smells like home, looking for something that you can’t find in the world. Books are more than an escape. They’re a solace. An adventure.

-K

Loud (A Poem)

You tell us silence but there is none. We only scream louder, louder, louder.

You slap a hand over our mouths but we bite, drawing blood and keep screaming our truths. The penny taste might taste foul but it reminds us what we are fighting for.

We’ll eat crow for the truth. The truth you don’t want to get out. The truth that you don’t want to acknowledge.

You turn a blind eye and a deaf ear. You think that if you ignore us we’ll give up. But no, we only get louder. We follow you through the streets, holding up our signs and waving them at you.

You call for silence. We call for justice.

You call us traitors. I say we are rebels. I say that we are honoring what it means to be an American by sticking up for what it right, what it is true, what is just. By not believeing the lies you spout out.

We will drown out those lies with our voices. We will prove you wrong.

You can not silence us.

We will only get louder.

-K

Regret (A Poem)

Regret tastes like a rusted penny and the sharp tang of too much salt.

It’s that feeling after you say words that you can’t take back. The words pour from your lips like a glass full of water that’s been knocked over. The glass shatters into a million pieces. You can’t fix that, instead all you do is admire how the shards looks like the stars in the black as pitch sky. The water pours over the linoleum, making it slick and slippery. Dangerous.

You try to pick up the pieces, making tiny little cuts on your fingers, little rivers of red. Sharp, piercing pain that fades over times.

You wish you could take the words back, but you can’t. You grip the shards tighter and tighter, your skin falling apart as you fall apart too. As they walk away.

You want nothing more than to apologize. To scream I am sorry into the dark abyss of regret. But the words get stuck in your throat. Like you are choking and you need someone to pound on your chest to dislodge.

And as they get further and further away, as their silhouette becomes nothing more than a tiny speck in the distance. You regret.

Oh, do you regret.

You wish you could press rewind. Wish you could rewind and start all over. Start with I’m sorry instead of I blame you. Start with I love you instead of I wish I didn’t. Start with I need you instead of I hate you. But it’s already too late.

You crash to the ground, knees bruising, hands flat on the ground, blood pours from your hands like the water on the glass.

The curtain closes.

-K

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