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Nov 2013 · 691
One More Try
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.
Okay.
One more try.
I wrote this last week. Perhaps ironically, he broke up with me last night.
Feb 2013 · 1.2k
Gravedigger
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.
Jan 2013 · 836
My Worst Fear
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.
3:43.
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.
“Han.”
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...
Jan 2013 · 3.7k
Hometown Boys
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.
Pity.
Not much to say on this one.
Oct 2012 · 990
My Best Friend
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.

Please.

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.
Jun 2012 · 686
The Turk
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.
Feb 2012 · 1.2k
Comrade
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
Sep 2011 · 601
The Ghost
Kate Dempsey Sep 2011
Finally, you notice me
a ghostly wallflower upon the wall,
in a congregation of elegant women and lordly men.
Most people do not look,
even after I go to such great lengths to
catch their attention.
I move the chairs around,
look through their books and carefully replace them-
only they’re on the wrong shelves,
tip the cups over sideways so they roll
and flipping bowls upside down.
I set the clocks to display the wrong time.
Only enough for them to question
if someone is trying to reach out.
We phantoms do not like to show ourselves openly;
we only leave clues,
just enough to make people wonder
if someone is there,
if we truly exist.
But out of all of the lovely women here in red,
you choose the wallflower dressed in green.
The lights flash and we dance,
you offer your name assertively,
my name I only whisper.
I avert my eyes and twirl my hair
and you cannot take your eyes off of me.
I don’t mean to be aloof, I promise.
I am only too shy to meet your eyes.
I could be your apparition if you want.
I could haunt you if you like.
Do not worry, I am a friendly phantom,
even if I am a bit mischievous.
But you do not want that to be so.
You want me to reveal myself,
to manifest,
to speak.
The wallflower has blossomed,
having someone to observe it, to admire it.
I am a ghost no longer.
Jun 2011 · 1.8k
The Boss
Kate Dempsey Jun 2011
I kneeled on the polished wood floor, panting and sweating. My body was writhing in pain, having been mercilessly beaten two masked men; I knew not who they were or why they had come for me. Nor did I know where I was now. I didn’t know anything anymore; everything was drowned in a rising sea of confusion. There was nothing but my battered body, slowly letting forth blood and the wooden floor, gluttonously sapping the heat from my hands and legs and hoarding it within its cold, polished surface.
My ears perked as I heard a noise outside of my elegant prison. As I strained my ears to their fullest extent, I almost grasped what the sound was. Soon, there were several noises and they were louder than the original one. After an unknown period of time, I recognized the sounds as speech even though I could not understand it. Fear swelled within my heart. I feared that the goons who had battered me and sealed me in this room were among those who conversed in the hallway and what horrific things they would do to me if they returned. I prayed for the voices to stop, for them to leave. I waited for the worst, but prayed for the best. I silently and fervently prayed to a God that I only halfway believed in.
Silence. My prayers had been answered. I let out a sigh of relief. It was the first unrestricted breath I had taken since my troubles began. I savored this breath; I inhaled solace and exhaled fear. I rose to my knees and straightened my weary back, feeling the bones crack several times. How wonderful it felt to be upright again!
The doorknob clicked. My eyes darted toward the door. Almost immediately, five men entered, all of them splendidly dressed. They walked with elegance, like kings. Two of them stood at the back of the small room, their eyes watching me like those of a bird of prey pondering ******* a rat. A large man approached me, slowly but menacingly with his great girth shifting with every step. I felt my body tense as I waited for him to strike me. Even with this, I noticed the other two men standing in the corner, continuing their conversation. I tried desperately to listen in. Perhaps they would mention why I was here? But no understanding was to be gained as I could not understand a single word. I recognized the language, however, was Mandarin. Without a moment’s notice, I felt a shove and my chest and face came into an abrupt and painful contact with the floor. It took me a moment to realize that the fat man had kicked me. He shouted at me, in an unintelligible anger. I rose back to my knees and hands and looked into the face of my assaulter.
He was massive. His body was that of a great pig in an elegant, well-tailored suit. His skin was a very tanned yellow and his hair was combed back. He had an upturned nose and small, accusatory eyes glistening with ire as he looked down upon me. He stood before me with a sinister smile as my eyes wandered to his hands. I watched as he ran a fat, jeweled hand over a gorgeous cane. As he continued to stroke the cane, I wondered how he would abuse me next. He circled me once and stopped at my side, his patent leather shoes shining brightly. I could see nothing else of him but his shoes. At that moment, he shouted something at me, and beat me with the cane.
I could not understand his question. Had he asked me about drugs, embezzling, money? I knew nothing of such matters, for I was a simple person. The second I replied “I don’t know”, he struck me again and again, over and over. He soon began to kick me simultaneously, until I collapsed back onto the floor. My stomach and legs had had about all they could take. I was already bruised and I could feel my bones aching. I began to cry. I thought of my husband and my daughter and wondered if I would ever be able to return home. Surely they would wonder why I had not returned home by now and would worry. I somehow believed that I would not ever see them again. It was a terrifying thought.
The pig man began to giggle hideously, his voice gurgling and unpleasant, sounding simple-minded and unrefined. He then began to **** my shoulder with his magnificent cane as he began to tease me, like a demented child. I thought him to be a savage, uncivilized and impolite. For some reason though, I could not completely fear him; I could only hate him. One of the two men in the corner addressed me, and scuffled to my front. His plain face addressed me with a cool and aloof manner, showing neither disgust nor compassion. His spoke to me with a tone that was calculating and observatory and it made me long to know what he was saying even more. But somehow, I welcomed his presence. He was so much less offensive, not striking me or adding to my confusion. He turned away and addressed his companion, who was now seated at the beautiful mahogany desk at the front of the room. His gestured to me rigidly and spoke smoothly to the man.
I could not see the other man particularly well, as the room was dim and most of his form was hidden from me by shadows. How I wished they could have hidden the pig man as effectively. The cold man then knelt to my level and my eyes rose to meet his. I was afraid of what someone so stoic would do to me. I knew not what he was thinking. His slender lips parted.
“Do not fake ignorance. We know it was you.” he said slowly, the words slipping from his lips like water. I was relieved to discover that one of them spoke English. Perhaps he could help me understand why I was brought here.
“What was me? I have not done anything! I promise you!” I had no earthly idea what he believed I had done. I was completely ignorant. I wracked my mind, hoping to think of any obscure reason as to why they had apprehended me and what I might have done to anger them so. His eyes never left mine. He slowly blinked and reopened his eyes. They were cold and unforgiving, shining brightly like black, polished beads. I felt shivers travel down my spine and into my legs. His blank stare somehow felt like a death sentence. He rose and continued to speak to the man at the desk, who was shuffling through papers, and rummaging through what I believed to be a cash box.
With a quiet emission of speech from the man behind the desk, the room grew silent. He rose from the desk and floated over to my limp body. His feet glided gracefully, always stepping perfectly. With only a short phrase, the cold-eyed man walked away. I panicked. He was the only one who could understand what I was saying. I scrambled after him, grabbing onto his leg, begging him to allow me to accompany him to anywhere but this frightening room. Without so much as a glance at me, he shook his ankle free and departed. I felt my only chance at freedom leave with him. A chill passed through my body as I submitted to silent desperation. I lowered my head and cried.
The man gestured me back to him, calling to me in his exotic language as he switched on the desk lamp, allowing me to see him. I was nervous from having seen the two goons at the back of the room. His appearance alone was a relief. As I crawled toward him, I felt that I was meeting a god.
He wore a red silk jacket, embroidered intricately and elegantly with gold flowers and calligraphy that I wished I could read. His hand bore a simple ring, silver with a round stone in the middle, obviously jade. His face was no less impressive. He had smooth pale yellow skin and pleasing brown eyes, large and misty. His hair was pulled back into a ponytail. His smooth lips were wrapped around a long and slender pipe. I watched him inhale and exhale a dancing little cloud of smoke, admiring how gorgeously his chest rose and fell. He looked somehow lukewarm, neither kind nor cruel, not gracious or threatening. He spoke briefly to the two men standing steadfastly at the back. I immediately knew that the graceful one was the leader of this group.
One of the two men grabbed me by my arms, shocking me while the other proceeded to unbutton my ripped and sullied shirt. Why were they removing my clothing? Were they planning to **** me and dispose of me afterward? I feared the worst as they removed my shirt and bra, revealing my upper torso and proceeded to roughly remove my pants as I struggled to free myself. Once I was completely naked, they released me and I crouched upon the ground and cried. Soon, they would have their way with me. One of the lesser men picked up my clothing and inspected the pockets as if he was searching for something. Whatever he was expecting to find was beyond me. I looked back up at the beautiful man, wondering what horrors he had in store for me. His eyes met mine and we both stared for a long time; our gazes were only interrupted once we heard the crumpling of paper.
The both lesser men were inspecting a sheet of paper that they had found in my pocket. One of them waved it about triumphantly and handed it over to the boss. He too examined the paper as an expression of mild confusion overcame his round face, like a moon as it waxes and wanes. Once he grew frustrated with the paper, he handed it to me speaking in his foreign tongue. I did not need a translation, he wished for me to decipher the paper somehow. I inspected the paper with weary eyes and gasped. It was a shopping list! I tried to explain to the boss that the contents of the paper were merely what I planned to purchase for tonight’s dinner. I could tell that he did not completely believe me. His eyes grew suspicious and uncertain. I felt that somehow, this man’s displeasure would be enough for him to end my earthly life.
He took the paper from me and twirled his pipe in the fingers of his opposite hand. He picked up a piece of paper from his desk, comparing the two papers as he delicately balanced his pipe between his teeth. The look of confusion vanished from his face, looking as if he deciphered my language. Perhaps he would set me free? Surely, he could not draw a valid conclusion from a shopping list. He spoke to his subordinates with resolve and confidence, seeming somehow certain of something. He spoke like he uncovered a key detail that unlocked a great mystery. I knew not what he was speaking of, but I knew that he had decided what to do with me. I was somehow more afraid than ever, thinking that he would somehow ****** me, despite my innocence. He kneeled to my level and took my face into his hand and plunged his hand into one of his pockets. I feared that he would pull out a gun or a knife. I snapped my eyes shut, and was afraid to open them again. He spoke a benign and gentle-sounding word and immediately, I felt something graze my face.
Against my better judgment, I opened my tearful eyes, and saw that he was wiping my face with a handkerchief. He wiped my tears away from face. After my face was clean and dry, he swept my hair from my face. I tried to decipher his eyes, looking for a twinkle of kindness of a glint of malicious intent. He gave no such signal. Instead, he placed the handkerchief into my hand. He rose, looking mighty and fearsome and rose his pipe to his lips, but not taking a puff. Even though he looked non-threatening, his lack of emotion baffled me and I was somehow more afraid than ever, despite his fleeting moment of kindness. He rose an elegant and slender hand and waved dismissively toward me. He gestured to the two men and pointed toward the door. He was completely silent. I was about to be taken away.
The two subordinates grabbed me by the underarms, one on each side of me and stood me up clumsily. I watched as the gorgeous boss began to inhale slowly, savoring the flavor of his tobacco. I somehow felt that his breath was connected with my life, that I was doomed to die the moment that little puff had been expelled. The men began to drag me away with my bare heels dragging along the ground. I watched the boss desperately, praying that he would say something that could save me as the goons dragged me over the threshold of the door. One of them placed a bag over my head just as I saw the boss emit a thick smoke which masked his face, the way that clouds hide the elusive moon. I was blinded, but knowing that I was about to be killed. I did not need any clues to be sure of it. The boss had exhaled and I knew that by the time the smoke had cleared, I had vanished from his view.
I am aware that this is technically prose, but I still wanted to submit it. I wrote it a couple of months ago, believing that it might one day be something of merit. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I hope everyone enjoys it.
I'm back, babies.
Apr 2011 · 550
Man-to-Man Talk
Kate Dempsey Apr 2011
The young boy sat in the leather armchair
in front of his father’s desk,
all the while trembling in fear,
crushed under the weight of his father’s imposing presence.
The man tapped his fat, jeweled fingers on his desk,
blowing cigar smoke into his son’s face,
the ultimate form of disrespect.
The boy shivered, knowing that his mother was outside,
anxiously waiting for him to come out
because she should not hear their private conversation,
lest she be scolded as well.

No.
This was men’s business.

The boy sunk into his chair slightly,
leaning back as flecks of spit
glittered his face, knowing that the slightest
slouch or fearful gesture would cause his father
to look down upon him even more.
He did not want to be unfit to be called a man.
Or even more so, his father’s son.
Impatiently, the fat man opened a drawer and drew out charts,
Then slamming it shut with the force of an earthquake.
He spread out the sheets in front of the little boy,
explaining their contents with a cold, reserved harshness.
The boy nodded, pretending to understand;
he would work hard. He vowed to himself
that he would understand soon.

However, he could only worry about his parents,
his mother cowering outside, a meek and frail existence.
He could only listen
as his father broke him, trying to talk business.
Flecks of spit and cigar smoke
choking his innocence and his youth.

He would have to grow up soon
if he were to be a valuable successor.
He would have to endure the smoke and saliva.
He would have to understand the papers
with lines and long words and no pictures.
He would one day have to become
this man’s image and likeness.

So this is what Mom calls a “man-to man talk”.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2011
Apr 2011 · 959
Hunter
Kate Dempsey Apr 2011
A fearful submissive creature
stares up at its captor with anxiety and admiration.

His ivory skin glistens like the first dews of spring,
His eyes are prudent and observant,
full of thought, but absent of any sign of compassion,
His hands neither taking nor giving.

As the ugly creature looks up at its captor,
aggrieved that it was not the hunter’s target,
he did not even want to capture it,
if anything, he probably regrets it.
All the poor creature can do is fear and pray,
fear that the hunter will set it loose again, never to meet again
and praying that he might be a kind master
to his pitiful but loving creature.

Perhaps even offer… kindness?

Will he listen to its stuttering words,
desperately trying to convey a desire for approval?
Will he willingly accept its dishonored form?
Its long disheveled hair?
its uneven skin?
its hideous and shameful body?
Will he sympathize with its silence,
its fear of rejection?

Regardless, its wishes to know what its master
thinks of it.
Does he disapprove of it?
Does he disdain it?
Does he merely not care about it?
Please show compassion, Dear Hunter,
it loves you.
It only wants to know whether or not
you care about it.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2011
Mar 2011 · 845
To Put it Bluntly
Kate Dempsey Mar 2011
Passive-aggressive men
and women
poorly impersonate docility
while suppressing frustration and
resentment, annoyance
with each other for whatever
inconsequential reason.

You are even annoyed with me,
almost certainly
without good reason,
but you bear a reluctant smile.
Hiding your motives in the hopes
that I will unknowingly
submit to your will.

I was once just as guilty as you,
for I may have given you my
sweet, well-rehearsed smile
while I was actually
thinking of
digging your grave for you.

But now I will speak candidly.

Do not judge me
for I am merely speaking my mind.
Or rather, judge me if you wish,
it matters not to me;
I don’t give a ****.

And do not mistake my grimace
at your counterfeit smile
for anger
or condescension
or contempt.
I merely tire of your antics.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2011

I have finally grown fed up with people who try to hide their animosity. They are all liars, and now I'm calling them out on it.
Feb 2011 · 748
Red
Kate Dempsey Feb 2011
Red
Red lipstick, red silk. Forget them.
They don’t matter.
They will be removed,
lost somewhere in the
throes and thrusts of temporary
passion that he will soon forget.

I want to be irresistible,
to be remembered,
to be desired.
My wish will never be granted permanently.
I am unremembered, undesired, unloved.

This desperate wish
of a woman who has already
given up on herself,
submitted to anger and unfulfillment.
The loss of innocence, chastity,
the curse of reaching maturity.

He is only mine physically;
he dreams of someone else.
He doesn’t even realize that I am here
or that that I want to be,
that I want to mean something to him,
to someone.
While he is with me, he dreams of her.

*I am the lust.
I am the passion.
I am the wrath.
I am the sound.
I am the confusion.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2011

My second poem in my colors series. I think this one will make more of a splash than "Orange".
Feb 2011 · 689
Waiting
Kate Dempsey Feb 2011
The oppressive winter, a fierce warlord
revels in his victory over the summer,
forcing all that was once living
to bear the heavy burden
of his frost,
confiscating our colors,
giving us only ice as payment.

However, in some obscure corner of this land,
Mother Nature hides,
waiting to restore our hues, our animation-
cowering, shrouded in secret.
Somewhere, she waits anxiously,
plump with child,
to bring us what we crave so terribly:
Spring.
Somehow, she is certain that
Spring will restore someone’s lost joy.

Now it is just a matter of time.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2011

An English assignment inspired me to write this piece. I had to write a poem based upon one of Dorothy Wordsworth's diary entries (William Wordsworth's wife to those who may not know of her). I finished the assignment, but it begot this.

Hmmm... I seem to have an affinity for ice imagery.
Feb 2011 · 722
False Piety
Kate Dempsey Feb 2011
A sterling silver medallion
dangles between developing *******,
tarnished though holy,
somehow looking crestfallen.
A bland yet pretty face stares
at me with wonder as I pick it up,
inspecting the tiny inscription.
Her curious brown eyes
watch me as I openly admire her
Saint Jude medallion.
Her small lips open
like the petals of a blooming rose.
“Saint Jude? Who is that?”
copyright Kate Dempsey 2011
Feb 2011 · 614
Nikolai (revisited)
Kate Dempsey Feb 2011
I watched in awe as
Nikolai faced his wife,
not like a husband, but like a soldier.
His countenance was the essence
of a nation hardened by animosity,
his pale face clean-shaven,
his black hair slicked back,
his eyes bloodshot and world-weary.
He was leaving his wife for a country
he no longer loved, no longer pledged allegiance to,
despite her pleas for him to stay.

I knew not why he had to leave;
I knew not why he chose to comply.
He never acted of his own accord;
he only followed orders,
the devious wishes of his superiors.
His broad imposing figure towered over us,
steadfast and unaffected,
his face bearing neither smile nor frown.
He only clasped his wife’s hand
and looked into her tearful eyes.

До свидания, моя дорогая.
With a slow, statuesque dignity
he affixed his military cap upon his head
and departed,
stoically descending into battle
virtually unaffected by the
bitter and ruthless Russian gusts,
with me in tow.

To me, he was not Nikolai anymore;
now he was Lieutenant Colonel.
We were not brothers anymore.
He was my commander.
I was his subordinate.
We weren’t familiar with each other anymore.
After all, I was only a child
who had never known war
And he was a man
who had never known peace.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2011

Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.

До свидания, мое дорогое. = Goodbye, my dear.

After many revisions, I believe I am getting close to perfecting this poem. I am not giving up on it because I am particularly proud of this one.  I would like to thank my wonder English professor, Doctor Diedrick for being so patient with me and for encouraging me to continue my writing (not to mention helping me to improve my mechanics and the flow, with which I have been struggling). This might just be the one.
Feb 2011 · 1.4k
Orange
Kate Dempsey Feb 2011
Orange is a color of few words-
It doesn’t seem to have much of a definition.
No one has ever said much about this one.
Most people forget about it completely.
But I wonder if
Orange is a merely a more melancholy yellow?
copyright Kate Dempsey 2011

I'm trying to write one about each of the colors.  Orange however is pretty bland.
Jan 2011 · 797
Melting the Ice
Kate Dempsey Jan 2011
Today, he lives his life unchanged,
unaware of the gifts he gives,
the joy he brings.
My heart has long since
run out of summers.
All my leaves and flowers have gone-
I only have the snow now.
His body looks like ice,
pale and beautiful,
just like porcelain-
his hair black like my sky
between the blizzards.
But his lips are red and warm,
like the heat I yearn for.
There is fire in this body yet.
But alas, he does not want me-
I will only rob him of his warmth,
the fire that fuels him.
It is unintentional.
I swear I don’t mean to.
I want, even though I cannot have.
Selfishness.
Unbalanced.
But when he holds me
he becomes my shelter.
When he kisses me,
he offers me warmth and release,
relieving me from my Siberian winter.
When he pretends to love me,
he brings me Spring
even if it’s just for one night.
Yet I can give him nothing in return;
he does not want anything from me-
I have nothing to offer him,
for I am all out of summers.
He will not be able to keep me warm for long.
He will not stay here.
He will soon move on and search for someone
more worthy,
more profitable,
someone beautiful just like him.
I only have ice to give,
even though I love.
Love is no good when one has no warmth.
I can only be half a lover,
unsuitable and inferior.
But just for tonight,
he offers me spring
in the form of an embrace
and a kiss.
I love.
I melt.
*Снегу́рочка.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2011

I wanted to write him a poem to tell him how I felt about him. I wasn't able to capture all of it, but I think this is a step in the right direction. However, it came out to be a bit sad. However, I really don't want things to end that way. There is joy in here as well.

Снегу́рочка=  Snegurochka (translates into “the Snow Maiden”)

Snegurochka is a figure in Russian fairy tales, who often accompanies her grandfather Ded Moroz  (who is basically the Russian equivalent of Santa for those of you who may not know). In one Russian fairytale, Snegurochka develops feelings for a man named Lel, a shepherd. However, she is still unable to feel love. She craves a relationship with him and longs to understand what love is. Her mother feels sorry for her and grants her the ability to love. However, after she falls in love with Lel, her heart warms up and she melts.

I certainly hope I did not mess up the translations.
Jan 2011 · 519
Fred
Kate Dempsey Jan 2011
My dearest brother,
I go blind so you can see.
Like Cain and Abel.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2011

To an old friend- Even two years after our parting, I believe he will somehow be the death of me. Any more of this and my hair will begin to grey.
Jan 2011 · 2.0k
Payphone
Kate Dempsey Jan 2011
A forlorn and simple scene.
The payphone dangles
lifeless
limp
and silent.
No words enter.
No words exit.
Is someone waiting on the other line?
Waiting to hear good news?
Waiting for even just
*hello?
copyright Kate Dempsey 2010
Jan 2011 · 1.0k
Inadequate
Kate Dempsey Jan 2011
I sat there staring at her from across the table
as we shared yet another quiet meal together,
observations buzzing around in my already crowded mind.
Her face looked clean and resheshed,
her hair soft and coifed and freshly washed,
her white gloves unstained and clamped snuggly
around her slender arms.
Would she noticed my threadbare coat,
the circles underneath my tired eyes,
the cloth cap that used to sit upon my head?
Was I truly good enough for her?
Her smile said yes, but the condescending
grimaces on the faces of her parents upstairs said
no.
I didn’t need to see them to know that they were there.
I just knew it. I just knew.
How discouraging.
I looked at her, watching her silently from across the table,
eating with one hand
and fumbling the lump in my pocket,
running my fingers over it,
meditating whether or not I was foolish enough
to claim her,
whether or not I was selfish enough
to want her to be mine.
I was a narcissist to even think of it.
What would her parents say?
I bit my lip and pulled the parcel out,
summoning her attention toward my hand,
eyes glowing with curiosity and anticipation.
I stood up, but paused.
Just say “Will you marry me?”
It’s that easy. Only four words. Just say it!
As I opened the box with numb fingers,
I began to stutter the words,
like my humble tongue had been enchanted with some
kind of curse.
Cowardice.
I slid the parcel back into my pocket,
having been defeated without even having fought.
The look in her eyes shifted and it took me a moment
to fully process what was going through my
beloved’s head.
As she slowly returned to her meal,
I recognized it as disappointment.
Somehow, the feeling was mutual.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2011

Eh, this one's not so great.
Jan 2011 · 2.4k
Blossoming
Kate Dempsey Jan 2011
A cold breeze, chilling only the skin,
deterring nothing deeper,
nothing sacred, or secret, or obscure.
Everything within her was still and calm,
undisturbed by the inhospitable outside,
the snow and empty town.
Because she knew that soon
spring would be coming,
bringing life to this town,
restoring her happy little place.
Soon, she would call it home again.
The empty trees.
In one of them, she saw two blossoms.
Both of them thriving,
two pinks lights in a world that was otherwise
white and grey.
Confirmation.
Her lips curled upward.
A serene and content smile
on her glowing face.
She walked on
thinking of the coming spring
and the child that would arrive afterward.
She knew that soon
happiness and vitality would be restored
to this barren little town.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2010

Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.

Since it is the beginning of a new year, I wanted to begin with something beautiful. It is also my last full day away from home. Normally, my style is kind of depressing, so I wanted to do something more refreshing. I hope this is a turn for the better.
Dec 2010 · 2.0k
Practice Makes Perfect
Kate Dempsey Dec 2010
Beads of sweat escaped from my forehead,
leaking from my back,
lubricating my hands and
making my work difficult.
Through years of practicing ever day,
The piano had become
something familiar,
something dear,
something intimate.
In it’s simple black and white surface,
I saw reflected years of commitment,
years of grueling effort,
and still something more:
a key to a future that is otherwise, unattainable.
Something that my yellow skin
would only stand in the way of.
Today, like a thousand days before,
I put everything that I had into my trade,
the only thing that made me unique,
my hands going numb
and my tongue growing thirsty.
Next to me, my guest watched
silently and intently,
with a focused expressing in her brown eyes,
carefully watching my hands as
they performed the song perfectly,
her lips curving into a smile
as I completed my song.
I began to play again,
content that my spectator was pleased with my work.
Her brown eyes focused upon my yellow hands-
her mouth curving upward into a contented grin
each time I completed the song,
her white hands clapping as I smiled,
enjoying the tiny limelight,
rejoicing in my handiwork-
the song that I had learned to play perfectly.
“Just like magic” she says.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2010


Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.

Someone wanted "Discipline" from the pianist's point of view. I'm a little sad to say that he has since gone home to China. I could say many more things, but I will choose not to reveal too many details.
Dec 2010 · 536
Artist
Kate Dempsey Dec 2010
He was a star.
His nova is over.
After he died, he kindly
removed his mask,
revealing himself to all.
He who devoted his life to becoming
genderless,
ageless,
nameless.
He who hid himself for the sake of his art.
He who made himself become
an invisible voice as a
stepping stone to
becoming something greater:
a messenger of his own words.
He devoted his life
To meticulously transcribing
his own messages
into his own words
in his own font and delivering it
to his people anonymously.
He was faithful until the very end.
He gave his talent,
his livelihood,
and asked for
nothing in return.
Not even recognition.
He gave all that he had until
his supernova,
his judgment day,
his detonation.
He will never create anything else.
I’m not sure which loss is greater:
his life
or his art.
Regardless, in the midst of the destruction,
We will love him more than ever before.
In the wreckage, he became
Art.
Let us rejoice him quietly.
Let us mourn him quietly.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2010

Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.

I must confess that I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I wrote this; I hadn't originally wanted to put this one up. Oh well, I've written things that I'm far more ashamed of.
Dec 2010 · 1.1k
Red China
Kate Dempsey Dec 2010
Feng collapsed into the snow,
looking up into the sky and
thinking of lost comrades, all lost
in the war against Russia.
Not far away, Nikolai was doing the same.
Both of them, neither of them
could forget the other’s identity.
Russian.
Chinese.
Feng ran, approaching the Russian border.
The sound of an accordion.
The Chinese man runs faster,
running out of breath,
long, jet black hair hitting his face like little whips
as the Russian snow dried and cracked his lips.
Finally, Feng spots what he is looking for:
a grey coat and a flourish of a red scarf.
Feng calls out. Nikolai turns around.
The accordion falls to the ground
With a soggy thud.
They run together and embrace,
the coldness and the warmth both
Redden Nikolai’s face.
Feng falls, Nikolai catches.
Feng cries.
A wetness on his head.
A summons to look upward.
Nikolai’s… tears?
Will we meet again, Russia?
No, China.
Can we speak again, Russia?
No, China.
The two men release each other and stand tall once again
like soldiers.
Can we forget, China?
No, Russia.
Can we forgive, China?
No, Russia.
Feng stares.
Nikolai stares.
Nikolai’s hard, rough hands, cracked from the cold
reach toward his own neck.
His scarf.
He wrapped the scarf around his friend’s neck.
This is yours now. Remember me.
Feng’s teary eyes said Thank you.
Nikolai stares.
Feng stares.
Red eyes.
Red cheeks.
Both white faces longed for another word.
Finally, a movement.
Feng salutes and smiles to his forbidden friend.
A soldier’s farewell.
Nikolai smiles, but turns away,
Picks up his accordion and begins to play;
play the tune that his friend knows so well,
hoping that he would remember how it goes.
Feng’s cue.
He draws a flute from his sleeve
and begins to play
the tune that his friend knows so well.
They stand with their backs toward each other
and play that one last song together,
Memories of fellow soldiers and deceased friends
their war-torn countries,
how they were forced to hate each other,
their forbidden friendship.
The song ends.
The music stops.
A heavy pause.
Without another look, they walk away,
Enemy soldiers once again
But forever friends.
The snow falls between them,
Nikolai’s black hair thrashing
In the unforgiving Russian gust
That whispers betrayal! Mutiny!
Russia’s scarf cascading down China’s back,
waving goodbye to Russia
and turning China red.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2010

Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.

I'm not entirely satisfied with this one. I believe that it has a really good concept behind it and I think it has a lot of potential to become a great poem. However, I would really appreciate some feedback. I really want to improve this one, as I think it can be saved.
Dec 2010 · 972
Delicate
Kate Dempsey Dec 2010
This body has seen better days;
it has suffered  hard times.
Its skin is stained with scars,
the bones have endured both heat and cold,
the legs having walked thousands upon thousands of miles.
A young, yet world-weary body.
Every bruise,
every scar
a memento, a story, a memory,
a snapshot of when times were hard.
A sturdy, stocky body, more often than not
in tatters.
However, I immediately sew myself back together.
I am a scarred woman, not a broken one.
There are many stories inside this body;
I am a relic, full of stories and history.
But don’t let my look deceive you;
I’m fragile.
So when you look at me,
your supple hand preparing to touch my ****** skin
for the first time,
you must remember-
handle with care.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2010

Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.
Dec 2010 · 824
Handlebars
Kate Dempsey Dec 2010
Daring.
Bold.
Too scary?
No. Maybe? Yeah.
Hesitations? Anxiety?
Yes.
Just let it go, Katie.
Just. Let. Go.
Release.
Look, bro! No handlebars! No handlebars!
Accomplishment.
I finally gathered up the courage and let go.
I abandoned my security blanket.
My inhibitions, my fear, my hesitation
Gone.
Al gone.
I’m a conqueror! A mighty conquistador!
Fear me, for I am daring and intrepid!
I’ve finally conquered fear.
Time to conquer something else.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2010

Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.
Dec 2010 · 521
The Procession
Kate Dempsey Dec 2010
I watched as my husband trudged through the snow,
rustic military boots crunching through
the ****** drifts
to join the other soldiers,
his younger brother trotting behind,
eagerly and blindly running to his demise.
Each of them being forced into a war
For a cause in which none of them believed.
Ба́ре деру́тся - у холо́пов чубы́ треща́т.
The young men without passion
Without reason
Set out on their funeral march.
Thousands of them sentenced
to a grisly and gory fate.
Standing in the doorway,
I weep not only for my husband,
But for every young man in Russia,
Praying
Hopelessly
For a safe return.
I watch as they disappear into
The endless white oblivion,
Listening as the church bell tolled.
Suddenly, I feel that all hope is lost.
All young men must go.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2010

Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.

Translations:
Ба́ре деру́тся - у холо́пов чубы́ треща́т. = When masters are fighting, their servants' forelocks are creaking. (Russian proverb)
Dec 2010 · 1.3k
Wet Sand
Kate Dempsey Dec 2010
Seashells, twigs, and sand.
Brick, iron, and mortar.
Something as weak as shore debris
will be carried away with the tide,
but what of the iron?
It will corrode and the mortar
will wear away.
It’s the same as the sand castle.
It just takes it longer to
fall apart.
They are also the same because,
at one point or another,
someone took the initiative
to dream them and create them.
True, I am the master engineer
who created the stone fortress,
but before that I was a child
and all I could build was a sand castle.
I put hours into making it perfect,
only to have it rinsed away
by the afternoon tide,
never to return again.
But I suppose that’s alright,
because for those few minutes
that they castle was finished
I was happy.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2010

Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.

I felt like revisiting an old friend. Besides, despite being a pretty cheerful person, most of my poetry is pretty depressing. So it was high time I added something happier. I wrote this six years ago when I was only twelve years old, so I understand it's probably not that good. However, I hope that you will enjoy it.
Dec 2010 · 873
Nikolai
Kate Dempsey Dec 2010
I watched in awe as
Nikolai faced his wife,
not like a husband, but like a soldier.
His countenance was the essence
of a nation hardened by animosity,
his pale face clean shaven,
his black hair slicked back,
his eyes bloodshot and world-weary.
He was leaving his wife for a country
he no longer loved, no longer pledged allegiance to,
despite her pleas for him to stay.
I knew not why he had to leave;
I knew not why he chose to comply.
He never acted of his own accord;
he only followed orders,
the devious wishes of his superiors.
His broad imposing figure towered over us,
steadfast and unaffected,
his face bearing neither smile nor frown.
He only clasped his wife’s hand
and looked into her tearful eyes.
До свидания, моя дорогая.
With a slow, statuesque dignity
he affixed his military cap upon his head
and departed,
stoically descending into battle
virtually unaffected by the
bitter and ruthless Russian gusts,
with me in tow.
To me, he was not Nikolai anymore;
now he was Lieutenant Colonel.
We were not brothers anymore.
He was my commander.
I was his subordinate.
We weren’t familiar with each other anymore.
After all, I was only a child
Who had never known war
And he was a man
Who had never known peace.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2010


Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.

12/13/2010- I made a couple of changes to this poem based on the comments and messages I received on it. Thank you all for your wonderful comments. I am glad that this poem has been successful so far, as I am very proud of it. Happy Holidays, everyone!

12/14/10- After several people sent me messages asking me what the line in Russian says, I believe a translation is in order.

До свидания, мое дорогое. = Goodbye, my dear.
Dec 2010 · 7.7k
Discipline
Kate Dempsey Dec 2010
Raw energy.
Despite the stiffness in his fingers,
despite the way his fingertips harden with calluses,
the industrious pianist hammers out the same tune
that he played last night,
and the night before,
and the night before that,
and unnumbered evenings before that.
Each notes falls magically into place,
none out of tune or without purpose,
perfectly in time.
Raw diligence and focus flooding his brown eyes,
gazing deeply into the sheet music.
His yellow forehead wanted dabbing,
Steeped in his sweat.
A manifestation of his time spent in his trade.
The conscientiousness in his eyes.
The raw vitality of his weathered hands.
The way he fills each note with sentiment.
Perhaps those are what keep calling me near?
copyright Kate Dempsey 2010

Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.

Even though I would never tell him why I was looking at him so intently while he was practicing, this is what I was seeing. Oh, how I miss my little pianist <3
Dec 2010 · 2.1k
Accordion Man
Kate Dempsey Dec 2010
The French man looks up toward the sky,
Cigarette puffs mocking the minute traces
Of clouds above.
Each puff transient like his youth
Long since sunken,
Immersed in sand and snow.
He plays his accordion,
A forlorn and saggy tune,
One that he had learned in his ancient youth.
A tune with no words,
No meaning.
A love song,
A battle hymn?
As the old hands wove the song together
Only three people noticed.
A woman who was walking alone
Suddenly began to cry
For her lover who had abandoned
Her with child.
A Polish grandfather just across the street
Cradles his young grandson in his lap,
Telling him stories about his
Experience on the battlefield,
Much to the boy’s enchantment.
Granddaughter leaning against his side
dreaming.
And the old accordion man,
Dejected and forlorn
continued to sing his song
While the rest of Paris was asleep.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2010

Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.
Dec 2010 · 1.0k
The Scarred Woman
Kate Dempsey Dec 2010
An imperfect being.
A shy and shameful creature.
A scarred body,
a flawed body.
She grows her hair long
so that he won’t see the scars on her back,
so that he will not count the marks,
ghastly adornments from her worldly experience
too disgraceful to be called badges of honor-
so he will not see the imperfection.
A naked body,
a chubby body,
a dishonored body,
fit only to be obedient.
Wanting of love,
but not deserving,
not receiving.
All she can do is submit
and hope that he won’t look.
copyright Kate Dempsey 2010

Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.

— The End —