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Kate Dempsey Nov 2013
I have every reason to back out if I need to.
What have men ever brought me?
Every kiss brought with it a surge of pain,
every previous love a filthy little heart cancer.
But something about you compels me
to be brave and let love be.
One more try.
I wrote this last week. Perhaps ironically, he broke up with me last night.
Kate Dempsey Feb 2013
Hanging around cemeteries,
carrying shovels.
Work that breaks hearts and hands.
Singing bittersweet songs that
feel like a great cry but sound like a whisper.
There's not many to listen anyway,
only the corpses, spirits, and undertakers.
It's not meant to entertain,
just to keep me moving.
Every day is the same,
unless of course I find something interesting
during a dig.
All sorts of neat stuff.
Keys, coins, bottles.
One time I found an Irish coin.
My work is cheap, but it's important.
Without me, the dead would be haunting you,
attacking you, cursing you.
In a way, I am trained to serve Hades himself.
I pave the passage into the next world.
My work is a necessary chore.
A long and necessary chore,
my family's always asleep by the time I get home,
covered in grey dust and black and brown earth,
smelling like corpses and gasoline,
my face a little more brown.
My work is cheap.
My work is menial.
My work is laborious.
but don't judge me based upon my wages.
If you do, I just might dig your grave next.
Kate Dempsey Jan 2013
I really don’t like being at my new school.
It’s far too big for me and I don’t know anybody.
So I sit alone most of the time,
Which I don’t mind.
It’s better than the alternative.
It’s so lonely here though.
I feel alone even when I’m in a room
with dozens of other students.
How I wish I could do this.
Math class.
Nobody answers the teacher’s questions
Except for me and a fellow a few rows behind me.
He’s so quiet though.
He talks to the teacher in an accent I’m not sure I recognize,
Though it sounds oriental.
In broken. But deliberate. English.
He volunteers to solve a problem on the board.
I glance at him.
Casually dressed with a stiff short haircut.
He looks harmless enough.
Maybe I’ll try asking him.
I sit anxiously waiting for the end of class.
Only 2 minutes left.
I feel sweat pouring from my chest and neck.
I practice and practice in my head,
becoming more of a nervous wreck every second.
I hurry and pack my bag so I won’t be distracted then.
He walks by.
“Ummm… excuse me.”
He doesn’t seem to hear me.
Instead, he stops to ask the teacher a question before he leaves.
I wait.
And wait.
I wonder if I should just not say anything.
Something tells me to just keep quiet.
He heads toward the door.
No, I’ve got to!
I tap him on the shoulder.
“Excuse me.”
He turns around.
He doesn’t smile,
His round face covered in red blemishes.
Eyes blank and non-judgmental.
“Hey, you seem like you know what you’re doing.
You see, I’m new and I don’t know anybody here yet.
I’ve been looking for someone to study with.
Would you maybe like to study together sometime?”
He nods.
Oh my gosh.
Oh. My. GOSH.
I’m doing it.
“I… My name is Kate.”
He stares.
“What’s yours?”
I’m becoming dizzy again.
The lights in the hallway get brighter and brighter
With each step we take.
Or at least that’s what I think he said.
Between my own racing thoughts and
Fretting over my sweating
I couldn’t concentrate enough to hear him clearly.
He’s so quiet.
“It’s a… Pleased to meet you.”
He waves me off as he turns abruptly down
the next hallway on the left
with no warning or goodbye at all.
Did he seriously just do that?
At first I thought it rude of him to just walk off.
But then I realized it was probably my fault somehow.
He sensed that I was scared.
But what could possibly me more frightening
Than saying hello and asking someone’s name?
This was definitely a bad idea.
This happened at school today. It's a little personal...
Kate Dempsey Jan 2013
Hometown boys today aren’t like the ones my grandmother remembers.
Back then they looked like decent folk.
Hair combed, pants the right size,
always greeting with “Excuse me, miss.”
But today, most of them ain’t worth your while.
Standing in shadows, lurking by the train stations.
Looking like criminals.
There’s no formality or decency with these boys.
“Hey, girl! Where you goin’?”
M’ name ain’t girl. You aren’t supposed to answer these kind.
“Hey! You hear me talkin’a you?”
These are the kind of men who you’re supposed to run from.
So relaxed and limp
like snakes.
Not a care in the world.
Up on their high horses when they can’t even find the **** saddle.
Who the hell do they think they are?
Hometown boys ain’t nothing like they were
decades ago.
The kind you bring home to meet your mama and your sister.
The kind that bring sunflowers on Sundays.
The kind that call you late at night
just to see if you made it home safe and sound.
The kind that sadly go unnoticed today.
So few of them left.
So few of the sweet old-fashioned boys.
The kind that never call you ‘gull’.
They don’t come out much these days.
Probably looked at all the other hometown boys
and decided to throw in the towel and stay home.
Not much to say on this one.
Kate Dempsey Oct 2012
For all of his homeliness,

he walked with an air of majesty and purpose.

A hard and sunken bespectacled face, hollowed out from weight loss

emphasizes knowledgeable grey eyes

He shuffles through papers and runs his fingers through his

long blond hair.

A never ending cycle,

he’s always doing one or the other.

And fidgeting with his head phones- he hands me one.

“What do you hear?”

His eyes are searching mine for my thoughts,

dancing with anticipation as to what I might say.

“Do you hear that?” he asks.

He always looked so hungry, like he wants answers.

I can’t remember the last time I saw him eat.

I touch what was once a cheek.

“You look so thin.”

He doesn’t say anything. His eyes just flash- each one different.

The left says “Shut the **** up.”

The right says “Help me.”

Please don’t be afraid to let someone in.


He walks hard, every stride like he plans to take over a country.

Oh there is purpose in his steps.

He has the brightest mind.

He’s hard, but he can see beauty where others can’t.

He knows absolutely everything about me.

“Why would something so beautiful want to die?” he asks me.

I’ll remember those words for the rest of my life.

Life is precious.

And despite all of the hardships we have seen, the years that have passed,

I still love him.
A poem about someone that I miss very much. I care about him so much.
Kate Dempsey Jun 2012
Precariously balanced on the back half of a metal chair,
Tipping somewhere between stability and pain,
Sat the man.
Olive skin, thick black hair,
Eyes the color of the finest hazlenuts money could buy.
From the first glance, one could tell that he had known suffering,
Poverty, despair.
His hungry eyes, weathered hands, and beaten shoes could tell no lies,
Though he was half-shrouded by the sweet smoke which he breathed.
Yet he seemed so relaxed and content,
Prepared to take whatever might be hurled at him next.
He asked me if I would like a puff.
"It make you to relax, miss."
The words rolled off of his tongue like a Jewish cantor's song.
"No, but thank you."
His hazelnut eyes glistened in the impending dusk,
Bare hands wringing themselves.
Was he nervous?
He began to fidget with his collared work shirt,
Shorts sleeves thin from wear,
As if he were afraid to say anything else.
"Well, I best be going now. It was a pleasure talking to you, sir."
I stood up and continued to walk back down the street.
I thought of the exotic man,
The way he looked and what he wore.
I thought, "Why would he wear that in December?"
I did not need to ask myself.
I wrote this about a young man that I encountered this past winter. To say the least, he left an impression on me.
Kate Dempsey Feb 2012
Drinking and laughing with a soldier.
Heavy boots stomping when he laughs,
Dressed down in suspenders,
Each “ha” resonating like an earthquake.
A strong laugh. A masculine laugh.

We are a pair. He and I.
There are things hidden in photographs of us.
Only we can see them there.
We have seen many things,
Wonderful and terrible.
We have felt many things,
Moving and pure.
We have done many things,
Dangerous and daring.

We compliment each other. He and I.
He is the hammer. I am the sickle.
Our bond is beyond that of comrades,
Of friends,
Of lovers.

I have seen may things invisible to others,
Things I would not recommend seeking out
Things I should not have seen alone.
But that’s okay.
He can see them too.
For Nikolai
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