Monday, June 30, 2014

Ode to his Sideways Smile

I wrote this in London.. Proof that when you fall for someone, you carry them wherever you go, no matter how far away :)

He has this way
When he smiles
He tilts his head slightly to the side
And looks inquiringly into my eyes
And thinking of it now
I can barely stay inside this car
I want to run into the sunlit street
Fling my hands in the air and
Dance for the joy of knowing him,
For the joy of being the one
He is trying to figure out.

Where We Said Goodbye

The final night
Of your voice echoing
In the melting rays of twilight
Spilling lazily under the hills and valleys
I watched the colors grow
From pale gold to deep indigo
I searched for you within the stars
A last flare to light up a long-lonely sky

But I didn't find anything
Just a quiet ache between my heart and my stomach
I haven't quite digested your absence yet
But maybe when I wake up
The birds will sing louder
The sun will bathe me in her radiant light
And within the beauty around me
Sprinkled generously with a warmth like melted gold

You'll be gone

And I'll drive the miles back to my home
Leaving you in the hills where we said goodbye.


Words are my
Unconscious process
The awkward arrangements sticking out like
Light in a darkened room
Flowing freely,
Steady like a savior
I pile them, shape them, coax them, soothe them
They are my good friends
The trust is mutual
The creations are beautiful
We understand that what we share is
An unbreakable bond
A place free from judgment
Just me and my soldiers, my partners
They are graceful and flexible
Allowing me to arrange them fluidly
To pour out pain onto an innocent page
They receive me,
Happy to be useful
Happy to be set free
From the dust of my hamster-wheel brain
I whisper them from the ink stand of my fragile heart
And, in my vulnerability
I am free.
It's all thanks to you,
My bright and brave soldiers-
Thank you for being there for me.


Three months.

Three months.

It wasn't long.

I can't say it meant much, just your average
Hopes soaring, hopes crushed
A handsome face with a shy smile and deep brown eyes
I thought he was going to be
I thought he was going to give me a
I thought he wanted to know who I was
Underneath the outer layers,
Peeled back to the raw soul

If only, if only

Those three months are simply wind-chimes now-
An ancient, wistful song
Trickling through
The noise of busy days and stuffed calendar pages
I can't hear his voice in my ears so much anymore
I can't say that I've shed tears
I can' say that I put my whole heart into him

He said to me,
"Depth over distance,"
But he never showed me the depths of what his heart contained
And the distance grew each day,
Silence stacked
A thousand and seventy
Miles high

Except for-
The one night
The one night I could write songs about
The one night I will remember forever

He came just before eight
It was cold that night and he was nervous
We went outside by a small fire
He sat so far from me and
Into the quiet flames he gazed
He opened up his heart
And trusted me with a glimpse into
The struggles he faced,
The people who have hurt him,
The girl who broke his heart

I sat, breathless, eyes wide at the fragile truths he breathed into my honored eardrums

I showed him little pieces of my heart, too,
And for a silent second
In the April air
I felt our souls lift
Out of our bodies
And meet, mid-air

He looked at his watch and
We were late
We ran to his car
My teeth chattered in the cold
Like silly nutcrackers
And he offered me his scarf to stay warm

In the car we drove,
We talked about country music
He teased me
And my cheeks burned
When he used my first name,

"Oh, Katherine,"
He said
And I sucked in my breath, heart pounding like a runaway horse
Staring out the window in his car at empty, nighttime city streets
Feeling perfectly placed
Next to him

At the church
We stood side by side
Silence so thick
You could taste it
Glorious, gold candlelight
Glowing through the impending darkness

I looked up to the Lord
And I thanked Him with all the thankfulness
In my toes and arms and teeth and shoes

Thank you, thank you, thank you

And we stood solitary
Until he turned and embraced me
With that innocent smiled
And a warm touch

My heart melted
Months of icy snow-caps
All in a single embrace

That night I could have sworn
We were onto something
For when he walked me to my door
He said,
"Until next time,"
And I thought I saw something flicker in his eyes
Something that made my knees weak
As I closed the door, breathed out a deep sigh, smiling like a naïve child,
All I could say was,
"Oh my, oh my."

Two weeks.

It isn't long
Until the person you were falling for
Starts to forget about you
And you can feel it in the air, all around you
In your silent phone that refuses to ring

Then it feels like two years.

Hopes compressed
Into a now-tight chest
I close my eyes and let plans and people and poems and pretty moments swallow me
I practice the art of letting go
I pretend not to care
That you are gone
I try not to feel stupid
That I got so excited

I refuse to dwell on nagging questions
Such as

What happened?

Did I do something wrong?

I'll never have the answers to my questions
For only you hold the key
And my pride keeps me silent
My common sense keeps me from reaching out,
From searching for a way to start a fire
In a drenching rainstorm

But even in the monsoon,
I can't help but wonder

How is it
That you don't care
After that night?

He came from up north

I finally wrote a poem about this.

He came from up north
He was the last thing I expected
He was utterly different
From anyone who had ever noticed me before
And he fell deep in love with my image
Like a man staring at a sprawling painting
He climbed a lengthy ladder, knit with dreams of
Who he thought I might be

He gave me a nickname,
He called me
No one around my hometown
Called me that
But how could he know
From up north?
And we spoke every night
He told me so many things about who he was
He said,
"You look nice with glasses."
He sent me two letters
One with a drawing, written on paper from his favorite notebook
And, because of that, he said,
"You should feel special."
I laughed at his witty words
I smiled shyly at his many
I believed solemnly that
We were growing a friendship-
Something deep,
Something that would last.

And then, one day

He was gone.

I never understood why,
Although he offered many excuses
But at seventeen I blamed it on my own imagined inadequacies

Two years later,
I laid on the grass outside of my home
I looked up at the perfect blue sky
And I cried
Then I gently laid those letters to rest
Inside of a black, bottomless trash can

But he would never know that,
In his mind I was just a dream girl and
Dream girls can't get hurt.

Dream girls can't get hurt by
Idealized, witty and confusing boys
Who come from up north
And then leave, without a word of truth
To answer the endless, haunting questions.

The Ballad of the Sanguine

You like girls like her
She's shy and dark and oh so deep
And I fall hard for boys like you
Who don't like girls like me
I'm wild like the whistling blades of
Tall grass in the summertime
Simple, smiling, silly
My arms out wide like endless skies
A burst of sunlight beaming
Inside a clear as daytime glass
I tried to wear a grimace but
It came out as a laugh
And I tried to sit still quietly
But instead I leapt and danced
I tried to win you over but
You looked through me instead.

your word

your word has been bent and broken and twisted and ruined
so many times before
you break promises like
flimsy shards of fragile glass
falling effortlessly onto
cold, unfeeling tile

i hate to say it but
you should know

your word means nothing now.