I stroked her as she died
it was hard to put her to sleep
but we could not let her suffer any more
She graced my world for 14 years
did my sweet cat April
and when this month comes
I always cry with April tears
That day I sent her to her eternal slumber
I looked into her big amber eyes
I could not let her suffer any more
I watched as she slowly succumbed to the drugs
knowing this would be the last time I'd see her
I walked out of the surgery after she died
it was rush hour, I did not care, I cried
She had been my trusted feline friend
and I loved her so, I miss the one I so adored
now she is gone my April forever more
By Christos Andreas Kourtis aka NeonSolaris
If you go, I vouch to never write another poem about love. Because here's the thing: with you I have shared too much. My hopes and my fears, as well as my body and my heart. When you asked about each scar that I had, I pointed out every one of them to you, offering an explanation. You proceeded to trace your fingers over them, one by one, kissing them better. Now, if only I could shut you out. Clasp the words that I said within my palms, pressing them back between my teeth and swallowing them once again.
Now that you know the way I take my coffee and the way I pout my lips when I sleep, you resort to leaving me. Tell me how that is fair. Tell me. How do I go on, knowing that you know all of my greatest mishaps? The things that keep me up at night. About that time I cried alone in the washroom in the 7th grade, because I was afraid. About the first time I felt weak in the knees for someone else. About the 3 minutes I brush my teeth in the morning and how I always carry a lip balm in my purse.
If only I could wind back to when you were simply an illusion. A pretty boy with a wicked smile and a ton of charm. When you had not left fingerprints on my spine and on my ankles. But I blew it. I fucking blew it by giving into you.
there's something truly nice with writing long, poetic notes
it makes the baggage easier to carry and manage
keeps you from further damage
to what is already broken beneath
and underneath the beautiful surface
as a poet, i've experienced a lot
as a young girl, i grew up fast
my childhood didn't last
had to be an adult
before the appropriate age
had to feel heartbreak
and sadness all over the place
i could feel an ache in my bones
a sense of sadness when alone
cried my eyes out at home
and hid the pain away
to disguise my tears
hoping sadness would fade
wrote about love for hours
dreamt of you and my fears
destroyed myself to cope
pain changed my view on life
and the relationships i'd had
thoughts are like knives
stabbing me deeper
each and every time
A Self Portrait
I Stayed Honest
“I am a creature of grief and dust and bitter longings.”
-George R.R. Martin
I’m the explosion and throwing things when I fight with my mom about money or what is or is not appropriate to bring up in front of her parents.
“You’re not the only who misses him!” Screaming was the only way to get through to my mother when my dad was deployed. It was like she entered this other world that was nearly impossible to pierce, even by the people who needed her most—her three children. She was a strong woman when she left the house, but being in her living room without her best friend, sleeping every night without her husband, it took a toll on her as a human. When my dad was gone there was no music allowed in the house, because it made her cry; same with movies and TV, even board games. Joy of that nature had to be hidden away in our bedrooms. Having friends over was almost always out of the question. That held true even when my dad was home, because he finally was, it was ridiculous to want to interrupt the little time we had with him. I remember distinctly a night toward the end of my freshman year of high school. My mother, two sisters and I were sitting in the living room talking. As it often did, the conversation turned to my dad. Mom’s eyes started getting watery; she talked about how difficult things were with him being gone, and with money being tight because of the move and the new house and school uniforms and supplies and Amber starting college. I’m still not sure why I was so upset by it, her concerns were legitimate. Maybe I was angry that she was telling us this in the first place. I was fifteen, I wanted to worry about military ball and boys and school, not having to eat stir fry and beans and rice for the next seven months because it was the only thing we could afford. I didn’t want to consider the hours Amber worked at Johnny’s or the pizzas she purposely messed up so she could take them home to feed us. I threw down the pillow I’d been clutching and yelled viciously through my sobs the only thing that made sense at the time, “Would you just shut up?! You’re not the only one that misses him you know!” I didn’t take the time to look at their faces, I just went to my room, locked the door, and laid face down in my bed to cry. She came by later, knocked, but let herself in with a barbecue skewer. I think she apologized the way a parent always does when a child lashes out wrongly, but with understandable or even pitiable emotion.
A few years ago I realized my sexuality was not what my parents considered normal. I never really told them, figured I’d just leave it be until I started a serious relationship with a girl. Then, a few weeks ago, I was telling my mom a story about how my (female) best friend and I pretend to be dating to ward off annoyingly persistent boys.
My mother warned me, “You should be careful Emily; people are going to think wrongly of you.”
I was taken aback, “Mom, you know I don’t care what people think about me right? And… what’s wrong with dating a girl?”
She sighed. She knows I’m a huge advocate for equal rights, “Not everyone is as liberal as you are Emily. People aren’t always kind and accepting. I’d hate for them to think you were something you’re not and do something.”
I wanted to lose my mind. “Mom… you know I’m not straight right?” The silence on the other end was deafening.
She said something about her phone beeping and not hearing what I had said. I repeated myself. “You know I’m not straight right?”
“What are you then?” She asked, confused. I’d been with guys all through high school.
“Well, I identify mostly with pansexuality. It means I’m gender blind, I experience attraction based on looks, intelligence, whether a person makes me laugh or not as opposed to being limited to one gender.”
“So you’re bi?” She asked.
I recited my well rehearsed explanation. “No. I’m pan. Bi means two, pan means all. There are more than two genders.”
My dad said something in the background and my mother responded, “Oh just the fact that your daughter likes boys and girls.”
I remember putting my head in my hands at this point, just silently waiting for her to say something to me so I could end the conversation.
“Emily, could you just not bring this up ever again, especially in front of my parents?”
I’m the falling for someone who seems to want me too, when I’m already committed to another.
The distance between the Francis townhouses and the rest of campus may not seem like much, but combined with the distance between a second year undergrad and a graduate student, a long distance relationship of sorts is created. Said grad student may be absolutely perfect in every way you’ve thought of, but if he cannot grant you the attention during the week that a new relationship requires, you start to feel like a booty call. Before you clarify your exclusivity, you flirt like mad with the people who can grant you the attention you seek, because what’s the harm? But, even after you clarify if, you flirt like mad with those around you because, how will he ever find out and it’s not like you’re actually doing anything? You’re just trying to get the attention you require as a needy human being, that’s not a sin. But… another person comes along and they’re wonderful. They’re just as fantastic and understanding as the grad student, except they’re a senior and their townhouse is open to you during the week and the attention they give you is innocent but overflowing. What more could you want? When you start falling for the senior… what can you say to the grad student? Then, when the attention from the senior grows less innocent and you think less and less of the grad student when the senior is looking at you from across the table or helping you with your poetry, you realize you and the grad student were doomed from the start. Are you a terrible person? You tell your roommate you are every single week night you come home from “harmless” cuddling with the senior and every single weekend morning you come home from snogging the grad student. She tells you you’re just human.
I’m the two ales, three shots and half a bottle of wine later, declaring my love and sobbing about my past into a shoulder.
This past midterm break was the most story-book-like episode I’ve ever lived. I had met someone almost exactly a month before. Everything about him was perfect. We got along so freakishly well and were compatible in every way we had had time to discover. He was fiercely passionate and book smart, he cared about what I had to say. He was everything I’d been looking for in a companion. All his housemates were leaving for break, but he and I were staying. We spent the weekend in a hundred cliché romantic ways. We walked the river trail holding hands and talking about our lives, sat on benches cuddling and listening to the wind and the ducks. We stayed up all night watching movies and kissing. We also did a lot of not so cliché, but romantic things like eating pizza and watching cartoons naked. We ordered AJ’s and ate while drinking ales then finished the last few shots of someone’s liquor and then, because I had mentioned never having it before, he let me drink nearly an entire bottle of wine. We ended up on his couch, cuddling, but then I started talking. The alcohol had stolen my ability to shut up. I kept going on about my freshman year here at Bonas, about how terrible it was, how depressed I was, how many times I tried to off myself, and how I have a history of self harm. I started sobbing, he cried too, shared his secrets. Then I told him not to worry because he was loved, he said, “I love you too.” I had only meant it in a way like, God loves you, your parents, your friends, but I went with it. Why not?
I’m the stillness of not knowing what to do next.
This past weekend was the strangest I’ve ever lived. A boy at school, in my year, went missing Saturday morning after midnight. Found dead Sunday evening. The explosions death drops in our world have never landed so close to me before. I feel shell shocked. I wrote about it. I want to keep writing about it, but I feel like I’m not allowed to, like it isn’t my place. I don’t know. I’m sick with what I can only guess is grief, but it feels more like a poisonous concoction of many painful things locked in my intestines. I’m heavy with the news of him. I feel like I’m going to sink away at any minute. Everything feels like needles in the wound. The snow and the cold (loved parts of this time of year) make me wonder why he didn’t wear more than a sweatshirt, but how do I know if it would have mattered? I was out that night, well morning, Saturday, before two a.m. I was on the exact opposite side of campus though. We were walking to Walmart; I was beyond drunk and so elated. We rolled down the hill with the ST. BONAVENTURE bushes, got ourselves covered in mud. We sat at the bottom and laughed and laughed. We walked and discussed sex and books and plans for when we got back to campus within the hour. …He never made it back. And I wonder if he had plans. I wonder if his girlfriend had stayed in that night, if she was waiting for his return so they could screw, or cuddle, I didn’t know him, at least not well enough to know that. I wonder if he liked the cold and that’s why he was in a place where people couldn’t see him. The snow didn’t start until much later so others returning from parties would have seen if he was closer. Or maybe they did, maybe they thought nothing of a passed out drunk guy, isn’t that a normal thing in college? Maybe their veins were tricked warm from their strong drinks and they couldn’t imagine he was cold, they didn’t feel it, and there wasn’t even snow on the ground. Not yet. Maybe they thought it would be funny if he woke up outside. Or maybe the rumors are true. Maybe there was a fight earlier that night. Maybe he wasn’t even that drunk. Maybe some boy-men, foolishly angry, were trying to prove their false superiority. Maybe they didn’t know they’d hurt him so bad and that someone else would come along to help him. How can we ever know? I see nothing when I close my eyes except his. Looking, but not alive, his lids frozen open, his lips slightly parted, the cold paling his skin, fashioning him to look more ghost than human. I suffer in the fear that he died knowing he was going to, knowing he was alone. How afraid he must have been. How could he have known what was coming next? How can we go on living knowing his life was meaninglessly extinguished? He was undeserving of an end so lonely. I’m haunted by the image of him being trapped in that loneliness forever. I’m haunted by his face, he always seemed so happy, but don’t the dead always seem more shiny in our memories? Will he be remembered fairly or only as a good who died young? And the guilt of feeling that hurts me, eats at me, but the doubts are trying to kill me. What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to feel about this? I hardly knew him, am I allowed to feel so blindsided? Is this allowed to send me into the tailspin I feel I’m already lost in? If I fall back into the bad habits because of the weight of what’s in my head will anyone understand or will they shame me for “wanting attention?” If I cry often, because I will think of this often, will anyone be there to comfort me? Is it selfish to ask for these things? Is it wrong to have partied Friday and Saturday because I didn’t know Sunday would pack such a punch? Is it valid to be distraught by the death of someone less than even an acquaintance? It’s just that… he was nineteen.
Assignment: Six page self portrait.
The day began on a sunny note
For hours it shone
wet clothes wrinkled in heat
the clothes of the labouring man was wet.
the sun shine went bleak.
The winds arose in its greatness.
Sands and weightless filth rustled in laudatory.
was a sound like a Tornado,
sweeping through the trees and dry land.
Doors and windows rattled in response.
forcefully delivered its fruits.
Road gossips fled.
The clouds thickened.
The lighting struck,
making free-hand sketches on the clouds.
The sounds made
felt like God was smashing bottles in heaven.
Children ran under their beds
and tightly blocked their ears.
This went on
for a while
till the wheather blew the whistle for 2nd half.
The clouds cried sweetly
The winds pacified the clouds.
Children came out in troops,
They delighted in the taste and feel of the rain against their skin
Whatever that wanted to remain dry stayed hidden.
all was quiet
except for the children.
Soon it was nightfall,
bon fires were made.
The youths gathered to hear and tell stories.
The occassional flies made their way to these gatherings too.
Amazing night ahead
Weather in Africa
She was the girl everyone loved
She had a smile that went ear to ear all day
She knew her friends inside and out
And could tell with one flinch
If something was wrong
She was the girl they went to
If they needed a pep talk
Or a hug
Or the truth
She was always there
She was the girl who seemed perfect
She came to school
She was put together
She had a line of friends
And a couple of boys to choose from
She had a big family
They were happy
She was happy
She was a pretty soul
She was the girl who didn’t know she was loved
She didn’t smile at night
Her friends didn’t know her inside and out
They had no idea anything was wrong
She was the girl everyone went to
Yet she had no one to go to
She never got a pep talk
Or a hug
She got the truth
she got from herself
No one was there
She was the girl who just wanted to be perfect
She came to school
Mascara thick and black
Like her mind
To distract from the bruises on her knuckles
Like her emotions
And her lips glossed
The one thing she could maintain
She seemed put together
It looked like she had a line of friends
But she didn't have many close ones
And she didn’t know that those couple of boys liked her
She didn’t think anyone could possibly love her
She had a big family
They weren’t all that happy
She wasn't all that happy
She was a wrecked soul
To bed I took, in habitual slumber,
cursive prayers die at my cynical tongue,
all pinned badges of the day cast-off
to the floor, only for my sorry soles to
impale upon, come morn. ‘Come morn!
I called, to the chasted walls;
‘come morn!’ I sang,
hoping to fill the thinned curtains
with a filter of light.
In oil paints, old dreams coloured themselves
in patient, kaleidoscopic hues. Though
withered of form, they delight in me,
promise to deliver in utero joys,
connection to the Great Mother;
all that was lost in the fall.
The fall of man,
so gravely reported, and so
limiting to humankind.
I fell. I fell to sleep as Romans did peace.
With grudge, with dissonance; mind-silence apparent
only upon the death of the day.
With stubborn regard, my ears tarried in vigil,
I awoke to each pine of the hallway,
each tremor of heart, pulse of thought,
and Lord of sound.
‘Come death!’ I sighed,
to my life’s rushing blackness,
‘come death!’ I cried, to my stars.
In cannabis, I attune, only to calm;
to bask in the light of some meadow-less dawn,
and in pains, I pray only for dullen thoughts,
to poison my days in some indolent mess.
And of Ávila, Teresa
shelters my mind. She comes to me
in sorry demise.
‘My child,’ she calls, voice echoed since,
‘fellow child,’ she pines, entrusted sphinx.
Spawn of Thebes, she riddles through centuries,
all panicked pores, all sickening spirals,
forgotten in the present, all-eternal.
A shepherd am I, amongst my thoughts,
she calls thus that I am not my mind,
rather, a chosen observer,
to be confused not upon the
idiocratics, more, ‘what is.’
A lowing at my window, she calls unto me
in reverberated tongue, nutritious tone,
a cyclone of holistic power.
Bright glimmer of light, she calls once more, ‘my child!’,
she cries, ‘my fellow child of the Lord!
Please, rain unto me your sorry state,
lack of appetite,
cooling plate. Oh, you that live so solemnly,
you who knows not of the arbour of life.’
I call not in terror and I call not in my fright,
upon the window, that ghostly glimmer,
she heals the walls in half-light, swimming
in opal reflections of ripples and chimes.
And, she is calling for beauty,
she is singing unto me,
‘come morn!’ she weeps,
‘come morn, and with it, the tidings,
of your blessed life to be!’
Stumbling, I trip over the apparition’s words,
she speaks not in life’s shadows and sinister plot,
but only in those that speak like a God.
In the awful haze of light-polluted skies,
auspicious streets and government plot,
her prophecies fair, but yet
‘Come now!’ I say, in no hope, ‘come
now,’ I say, an adult.
‘There’s no space for me here in this lifetime,
there’s no soil for my roots to embed,
in painful years past, I’ve been in sorrow,
and I’ll be expecting them in all the years, hence.
So what, if I’ll join the army,
or some other capricious,
All tributaries lead to the river,
as all humans to their torturement.’
Teresa, she radiated with colours,
and Amy, who lived within my chest,
they called out as one in my silence,
as a union, a conquest of the childhood mind,
to abolish the present tense.
As one, they sang unto me,
They sang, ‘be born!’
under the moonlit streets, ‘be born
to all that you are, and ever you could be!’
And from this dream I came out in denial.
From this dream, I appeared to awake. I awoke
to the song of the starlings, and to
the precious pleasure of life’s augment.
With this groggy thought I’ll admit that,
in separation I fell apart,
I call, ‘come out!
‘come out and greet me!
Old Eden, my eternal womb.
The union of mankind and nature,
and the union of our pasts combined.’
The Toadstool Man
He was known as the local Mycophagist
In the dales, the woods and the hills,
What happened was sad, for he wasn’t so bad
Just a tad underdone, Toby Gills,
They say that the cord was around his neck,
He was born with a carroty mop,
And a pale white head, he was almost dead
When the doctor had called out ‘Stop!’
They cut the cord and they let him breathe,
The damage was already done,
The blood had been stopped to his carroty top
So they said that he’d always be dumb.
But he found a niche where the fungi creeps
And went out collecting the spore,
In a year or two he knew more than you
And the college Professor next door.
He studied his mushrooms with loving intent,
He knew about hen of the woods,
He knew about bracket and shaggy manes, magic
And paddy straw, they were the goods;
He fostered his lobster and hedgehog and oyster
And coral fungi and stinkhorns,
But didn’t discern between fly agarics
And toadstools that grew in the lawn.
He grew his spore in a deep, dark cellar
And sold to the folk who came by,
And never would judge between Widow Weller
And the ordinary witches of Rye,
He’d sell death caps, and pigskin puffballs
Not thinking to question them why,
Or who would be eating his laughing Jim’s
And whether they knew they would die.
The air was thick and the air was damp
And he fell in the dark one day,
Scattering toadstools into the air
And their spores had floated away,
He breathed the spores right into his lungs
For he hadn’t been wearing a mask,
But sucked them in right over his tongue
And they came to his lungs, at last.
I happened to see him out in the street
He was finding it hard to breathe,
He could only take a couple of steps
Then sit on the kerb, to heave,
I tried to help but he waved me away
And his eyes were yellow and cruel,
Then I saw what he’d thrown up on the kerb
Some yellow and red toadstools.
The man was a walking toadstool spore
They were popping up out of his hair,
Pushing their way though his carroty top
In a bid to get to the air,
And his skin was blotched like a puffball, he
Looked up at me, and he cried,
As a giant toadstool grew from his throat
And he lay on his side, and died.
David Lewis Paget
I stood, smoke twirling around my fingers,
Cheeks tingling from the cold,
Eyes turned upward, toward the magnificent and bold.
Ice was melting off the branches,
Dripping onto my face, shoulders, hands.
The trees were crying, and time slipped away like sand.
The lamp post glowed and my cigarette burned,
The sound of cracking ice and water droplets echoed in my ears,
I stood there listening as I was baptized in cold tears.
I hadn't cried in what seemed like ages,
And tonight I believed the trees were weeping for me.
Thawing from their icy burden, it felt like an apology.
Sorry that you like how the cold makes you feel numb.
Sorry your sleep is haunted by things that were and have ended.
Sorry you are at war with your heart which you left undefended.
I silently nodded, thankful for their sympathy,
Flicking my cigarette I walked away from the dripping sorrow,
Hopefully like the ice on those branches, my worries will be gone tomorrow.
She was a very kind girl. She was there for me throughout my divorce. A month before Alyssa left I was drunk and on Facebook. I thought I recognized Crystal from somewhere but couldn't remember exactly, so I added her as a friend. I was too far gone to really hold a conversation but I remember exactly what I said, "I'm skittles too drunk to be talking to a beautiful girl like you."
The month passed, Alyssa left, and my devastated mind grew insane. Once to the point where I was crying in misery on my bed, sleepless, starved, and desperate. So desperate I turned to God. Something happened in that moment I can't explain. I prayed and felt a peace wash over me. Was it real or just a sleepless mind? I think I'll be asking myself that for the rest of my life.
During that time I wrote again for the first time in years. Picking up pen in the form of thumbs and I spilled blame, cursed my name, I painted myself a demon on Facebook for all friends and family to see. Crystal commented on my post with encouraging words, this perfect stranger. In loneliness, and desperate for someone who understood I messaged her. She had been separated from her husband for two months. She was walking me through the emotions, the rocky path of loneliness, and letting me know I wasn't alone. I was not alone.
We did some harmless online flirting as was my custom from too many hours typing and not enough staring a girl in the eye. She sent me pictures and in return I wrote her poetry. I think I fell in love with her too quickly and "in love" isn't quite right. I just knew for a fact that she was something to be revered. I wasn't nearly over Alyssa, still not to this day, as sad as that might seem. Crystal freed me from feeling guilty about writing, lusting, and loving someone else. It's one of the reasons I fell.
After one month of constantly talking, day to day, hour to hour, and minute blended into minute. Becoming acquainted with a beauty I had never met and a beauty in a way I never knew before. One night she finally agreed to have me over. I had no idea what to expect and I think she had a much different plan. Something submerged in lust, and likely to end up touched. I wish I had been in a different place because she dropped her lighter multiple time just waiting for me to smack her ass. Just waiting for me to be that escape she wanted, and needed. I hadn't hit rock bottom just yet, for that was to come later, but I was still a mess. I think I shaved but only because I didn't want to look like a complete ass. I remember grabbing a bottle of Seagram's Vodka cause she refused to tell me what she wanted to drink. I've come to understand that she's a lot like me in that aspect. It doesn't really matter, it does the job. I knew she had kids, but had no idea what that would mean. I don't think I saw them once that night and that thought haunts me.
That night I could tell she was going crazy. The house still a mess and her clothes dirty. A smudge across her face that I dared not say anything about. It was shocking because the only girl I knew was painted in beautiful pictures on Facebook and scantly clad teasers, texted on lonely nights, a lovely body devoid of attention. I wasn't nearly prepared for this encounter and thank god she's as forgiving as she is. The women I've been used to are abrupt and opinionated. She is but she was shy with her eyes and would rather be turned away to speak. She was anxious and distraught. I know now the situation of men, alcohol, and frustration. A heart breaking story of rape and the terror of being a girl coming back into the dating scene after so long being out.
Her soul is attracted to unsavory types, to bad men, with unkind intentions. She was as unprepared for me as I her. That night she told me a lie. That she was sick and scared she was going to die. I had my reasons to disbelieve but I find it best to trust until proven otherwise. She played the sickly mother so I bought it and I cried. I had only just met her but she meant so much to me. I had barely any friends, cut off from life and family by an self conscious ex who complained if she had to go out. So I clung to her as a newly found relationship, as a human connection which therefor made me human. I am barely human if at all.