Mama, did you know the precious amethyst shadow hours
I spent beside you, cuddled cosy-close, nestled in blankets of light,
shawled in your red-gold hair? I kissed each tear you cried;
each one a starlight pearl forged from the depths
of your fragile soul. I rocked seashell-shut to each lullaby note
and silently watched as you rocked my cold, empty cradle.
Sometimes you sensed me coiled at your breast -
a small balled knot of grief. You felt my tiny fingers plucking at you
as tingling shivers. And sometimes I bounced sunshine-free
on your knee, a giggling orb of light.
Little one, once again I felt you here,
entombed in the womb of this eternal everywhere room,
your spirit sifting through my fingers like hourglass sand.
Pain has blanked my mind wraith-white, but I felt
your lips nip the warm rosebuds of my nipples
as I pressed a lullaby to the delicate shell of your ear
and brief blessed seconds spun out like years.
My sentient heart will always hold you, my grip will never slip
as my earthbound hands, human-warm, reach through time
and heather-shadowed ether to love and care for you.
*'phantasy' is a deliberate misspelling, an amalgamation of 'phantom' and 'fantasy'
like visitors from outer space
they came with tears, and lined the sidewalk
long in face, and arms embracing
some (I have no inkling) who
they were or why they felt compelled to come here
dozens came with casseroles
a few with flowers, wads of tissues
tender words of helpless mutterings
many acts of generous offerings
don't get me wrong, I watched the suffering
expressed in words or acts of kindness
I watched it all, and felt the love
did not dismiss the warm compassion
returned it all, with pure compliance
a thankful heart, a swollen throat
I hugged these strangers at the door
to comfort them, who shed their tears
upon my shoulder, offered them
a place to share their sympathies
a place to spend their mercy, pure
but, this was my child who suffered loss
impossible........I can't express it
protected from the very start, by
loving hands, her dad's and mine,
we watched her grow, and let her go
she grew from the vine ....into a rose
but life composed a tragedy with goals
beyond our reach...beyond our wildest dreams
and left her with a loss beyond control
like visitors from outer space we watch
as others come, and others go
they blow into their tissue wads
and empty the boxes one by one
and cry with us, and then they all go home
do we cry........? Oh no, not yet...
instead we smile a grateful smile
and thank them kindly for the while
and for the ways they share their love
but we can't cry into our own clenched wad
of tissue from the tissue box
she needs us to be strong, somehow
and so that is the way it is, we vow...to hold back all the tears for now
for, this was my child who suffered loss
impossible........I can't express it
Visited you today
as the sun set in the horizon…
the orange tinged carnations
were a perfect complement
for the skies
and for you…
orange and blue
always remind me of you
the winds softly blew
and I just sat there
staring at the grass,
well more at your name really…
what I am looking at,
that it’s been seven years
of missing you,
of just putting that reality
at the back of my mind…
But there are days,
such as today
which make me
confront that reality—
I see your smile,
remember your laughter
celebrate your spirit
and your love
Tears, I tell you I have
the most stubborn tears
maybe because they
make it so real for me?
I look around me
and look for that sign
Nope, not there…
I say a prayer
and speak to you
thankful for the life shared
I kiss the date that you were born
and walk away
my reflection on the car window
One last look around,
and then I see it…
a cat, as we drive away…
Skies now streaked purple and pink
**My brother would have been 40 today, May 6…
Things that seemed poetic were always sad,
though I yearned for sparkle
and my dad's guffaw, which never came.
Familiar things were always drear --
repeated motions in the same old game.
There were only distant glimpses
of budding spring, fleeting views
of daffodils. The strongest
poems dealt me death and dying.
Yet I always hoped, never went under
to gray despair, always dreaming
of a garden of love that we could share.
But those forbidden delights faded
quickly away; the only reality
I understand is the ever-looming
and final one. Nothing's changed.
The strongest poems deal death and dying.
I’ve distanced myself
I didn’t mean to
Didn’t set out to do it
An unconscious act of the mind
For self preservation
My visits went to once a week
Sunday dinners that once lasted for hours
Became shorter and shorter
Until now its get in
Get it cooked
Clean it up
And we’re out
Occasionally circumstances would
Happen and one would be missed
Oh well I’ll go during the week
Sometimes I did
Sometimes I didn’t
Today my heart cried to be near you
I entered the home and immediately
Settled my mood into the atmosphere
Funeral home-esque for lack of a better description
I speak in hushed tones
Slow my movements
And quiet my spirit
You want something
Oh thank you give me a job
What do you need???? Anything
I’ll gladly do anything
So many things hurt you now
You who were so tough reduced to such pain
Questions, answers, questions, answers
Over and over and over
This is the part I know
I’ve practiced this so many times before
You speak and in mid sentence you cry
Have I seen my sister,,you can’t remember
Ever seeing my sister, have you seen her
Yes mom remember mom
My answers are calm
You look searching in my eyes
Yours, sunken, confused,
Pained, with a depth of sadness
I haven’t seen before
I look away.
I meet all the needs you’ve asked of me
I pat you, hug you, pray with you
I look at my brother, the saint
He’s tired, worn, sad
I leave, I’m OUT
How’d I get here
How long have I been driving
The sky so desperately gray
Muted tones of nothingness
The air feels so heavy
Like a shroud encompassing me
The river runs beside me
It rages from the wind
There’s no stopping its power
It’s dark and gloomy and brown
And suits my mood
I try to pray
HOW DO I PRAY
Do I pray for healing,
Health, life, death
Joy, maybe peace
I cry out to you
I DON’T KNOW HOW TO PRAY
I look to the sky and see
The smallest spot of the most beautiful sapphire blue
In a sea of nothing
And I cry
This battle brews inside me
The pain I feel in my heart ripping it apart
And my soul who wants to be redeemed
The movement of my pen beats in my chest
In my veins my words flow like the rage of rivers in storm
I’m caught in these lyrics that Awaken my soul
That cry out for eternity
Yet my heart is trodden
at times I swear it is not beating
Our hearts rose up like kindred knights ready to defend our land
but the soul was fulfilling its destiny
it would not be beaten, no matter…
it had awakened to truth
but our hearts knew only torment
and could not understand
all that was happening,
that God had a plan
so my pain exposes itself
in my thoughts manifesting to script
as it beats in my chest with a rhythmic pulse
that brings me to my knees
We had no time to prepare
Only to fight
Flailing around Hope
With all of our might
as if it were the weapon that would save us from our enemy
for that’s all we had was our sword of Hope
This battle we were not prepared for.
Like a sneak attack, it caught us in slumber
when the army of death ascended upon our world
my heart said I love you
you are my universe and life has no meaning without you
I will fight till my shallow breath abates
Till your soul takes the last blow...
And I did!
We did not surrender
We had no chance
Our hearts fought a losing battle
My awakened soul shouts out with acceptance…
“you will one day know the reason, but not now”
For this is your time to experience
what was lovingly bestowed upon you from our God,
who knows what we need
So now I write from my pain… It helps me to cope…
It is the sword I carry…
My only Hope
I stumbled through twisted tinsel streets,
oblivious to ice and seasonal shouts,
muffled by snow-silence; a mannequin moving through mists,
quietly fragmenting behind frost-fragile walls of frailty.
Bleak winds blew open the hinges of my hypothermic heart,
wailed a wintry lament only I could hear -
ice-shrapnel words blown to lodge in my ear: you've lost the baby.
Those four words were spiked icicles, glacier-cold;
hope disintegrated like snow-powder as they pierced me.
Streets seemed pregnant with the plumpness of babies,
their waxen doll faces bluish and cold,
their pink gummy mouths demanding, demanding.
And my breasts were frozen roses,
too iced to feed their tiny need.
Snowflakes trembled like butterflies blown from the Arctic,
or the feeble flutter of a failing foetal heartbeat.
The town became a barren expanse of white:
cold crystals drifting, acres of snow-diamond light.
But shops shimmered with heat, bulged bauble-gaudy
with the fatness of consumerism.
And I was reed-slender, my womb a hollowed-out tomb.
Everywhere, babies bloomed, precious as poinsettias,
mouths like petals, squirmy with hungry red cries and squalls,
echoing, echoing, as I squinted into the white squall.
And a ribbon of milk unloosed itself silently,
sudden and scalding, like a fountaining of tears;
a lacework trace soaking my shimmer thread sweater dress;
a single, small, white thaw as I silently unravelled,
stumbling through streets that spooled like silver yarn -
for 'Fragment' contest
You’re dressed in gray, and
tattered like the clouds
that hover above you.
with the look of a person
who knows of his own
Like the willow that cradles
dawn's mist of unwept tears—
a practiced sorrow,
earned from decades of watching
the slow meandering river,
as it draws closer,
and the banks weather and fall.
for your arm wrapped around
my clavicle. I thought
I would loose my breath.
for the cusp of our hip bones
struggling to pull the drunken color
from our orange cheeks.
and our sweat, our sweat, our sweat
in the drenched summer air.
Our pants futile afterthoughts
Left crumpled on the floor
It is here I asked for your respect
And you filled me with it.
for the musk smell of our blanket den. I would watch the way dawn light
speckled your shoulders, pale, white-blue
I would trace the ink
of your skin, fingertip hovering a half inch
from your bone.
for how my name would hesitate
on your breath in brief puffs
like dandelion seeds blown from
My wistful lips when I was
waiting for them to bring back my wish.
for my sleeveless dress, as we strolled from
your father’s funeral.
It was the only time I watched you cry.
There were little holes in the cement sidewalk.
They filled with rain, oil
And your tears.
I watched your face change through
their watery colored reflections.
for the way your skin repels from my
Touch, quivers as though my finger-
print were a red hot poker.
You haven’t allowed me to touch you
In a year.
for the color of her font, as she responds to you. It is an eager
Color. She responds with all the passion of an Eskimo kiss.
You left her waitng..always.
I have been special to you,
she replies to your
like a maid
Who’s felt the hot moist
whisper of something naughty
tickle against her ear lobe.
for the way your eyes punch accusations
sharper then your razor tongue.
blue crackled lightening,
like an angry alley cat.
My words cannot reach you here.
You will leave.
We will divide our booty
Words that once held my name like a piece
Of carefully folded origami
now hiss cold
devoid like the plaster of our empty room.
for the morning
now knocking on my window.
I am livid in my withdrawal, tossing and turning
I can find no comfort
the tangle of these vacant sheets.
Sometimes between the lines,
trembles the hallows of unspoken goodbyes,
expectant and charged, like a theater scene,
in the moments before the curtain rises.
In the dream that I've had,
I am southward bound, so it must be early autumn.
Someone has turned a giant dimmer switch,
and the sky is grayer.....
Wild thorn-berries have been picked, all the branches are bare,
the gutters are filling, and evenings are long.
Through the limbs of knotted trees,
a sun flitters between light and shadow.
Leaves are adrift, disturbed,
littering the twilight sky
with unfettered words,
clamoring against the leadlight of a window,
pleading to be heard.
Somehow, the leaves are swept away,
by a bridled hesitation.
No summer aria has been sung,
and the words go unsaid.
Leaves fall to the ground,
and the light leaves the world.
The red velvet drape descends,
leaving unfettered leaves, and unsaid words, adrift, in the dark.
For The Contest "Vibrant Verse" Sponsored By Charlotte Puddifoot