so many words i wanted to say
untouched spaces, fragments, mind
untouched heart caverns, rivers
and where is the hard,
where is it when all i see is water, ruins, drown
your softness cuts into my chest
empty cave, gravel grinding, crush
dark and where, where is the hard
where is the hard when the very place
where i once felt safe now scares me to death
dark corners, mirrors, walls and walls and walls
pain, no love to be found.
i see you in smoke rafters the beams, the cigarette butts falling between the grates
i see you in the stillness of candles, the slow burn, the flickering of desire
i see you in music and every time i pick up my dusty guitar the ashes fall off and you linger in the shine
i see you standing there.
i see our breakdown, i hear you say “you just told me you didn’t love me” i hear the break in your voice
i feel it die in my chest
you sit hunched over in that familiar position with your boots on, staring at the floor
i see flowers i see ashes i see the light that once was, the sun how it shone when i heard your voice
i see you in street corners. alleyways. the fleeting glance of a stranger rushing by
i see gray. the dull pain, the end.
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
– Elizabeth Kubler Ros
I read a story written by someone about her husband’s struggle with cancer. Her story touched me so much I decided to write a poem inspired by her experience. Here it is.
Cooking For One
There is nothing worse than staring at your empty plate
one sad egg staring back at you
you used to joke with me about what would happen if you died.
laughing, I’d tell you stories about how I would survive on a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
I take my fork and push the egg to the right side of my plate.
How I would love to make a pork roast, home-made yorkshire pudding and some scalloped potatoes with rosemary and thyme
you’d come home and tell me about your day.
That smile used to crease your face like sunshine.
We’re laughing in our bedroom, arms and legs tangled around each other. I don’t know where I end and where you begin. It’s bright and warm, there’s food in the kitchen and music plays from the laptop we have hooked up to the speakers next to the heater. We’re dancing in the hallway the way we always do, right next to the open bathroom door – you look at me and my heart feels full. If happiness is anything, this is it and this is the most I’ve ever felt. You laugh and pull me close and your smell brings me to where I know I belong.
Suddenly you fade from view. The lights turn out and I am standing alone in the dark crying.
She walked away from me on a Sunday morning and the pain lay on my chest like a ton of bricks.
“I love you,” I had said. I heard the birds in the trees. “I love you.” She didn’t respond. “I love you…why won’t you say it back?” I start to cry. She stares ahead. I can’t find the one I loved.
She sleeps in the other room, away from me. I lie awake, drowning.
Someone gently taps me. I look up. She looks different but she looks like the one I loved. She smiles at me and my heart melts with warmth.
The Memory: I’m sorry I hurt you. I just don’t know how else to deal with the pain. I love you, so much. I hope you know that.
Me: You do?
The Memory: Yes, always. You will always be mine.
Me: Do you remember all the things we did and the places we went, and how much I loved you?
The Memory: Yes, and I’ll treasure those moments forever. I remember everything. I love you, so much. Don’t ever forget that.
Me: I love you too.
I fall asleep.
This innocently wistful song tells a story of loss and heartbreak through the eyes of a girl who has been forgotten.