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Kathy Z May 2017
I woke up today,
17 for the last time
feeling normal, nothing special, nothing different,
not really.
A bitter nostalgia, maybe
Maybe the sky won't be as resplendent in an adult's eyes,
no longer as brilliant or bursting with color at ripping seams of laughter

I woke up today, still 17
Fumbled around for my pants, threw sweaters aside as I anticipated the intransigent rain
Didn't do my makeup because I didn't care,
Ran out the door with chocolate as a spontaneous breakfast because
my metabolism flew on the wings of my brilliant youth
and I thought I'd never die.

Got to class at 8:02, there was a guest speaker on environmental law and
I ripped out my eyelash
It was an accident but
The ghost of the pain crushed my eyelids for the next period
I painted a peacock in art class, smeared goldenrod across its cashmere feathers
Broke off more blocks of chocolate
Sat next to an ex, so young, thinking that this was
my first and last great love
and still
foolishly hoping for another chance

In band, filled with inexpliciable anxiety about
a competition that didn't even matter
and I'd thought
in life, the biggest worry that I would ever have was
an oboe performance
in the rain.

Laughed until I cried in English class,
Debating on the merits of design and scrolling more miles on my phone than I'd ever walk

Went home and ate ramen so spicy my eyes watered with painful fire, looked at fireflies and realized
as surely as I knew the skies were blue
that one day I would die
and everything that I knew to exist and to be true
would be gone
and everything that made me and myself would vanish
and I would never wake up again

and being 18 was only another step towards
being scattered to the wind in grey soot, over the mountains of China
ambrosia on my lips and nothing in my eyes
heart loud in silence and fierce in stubborness
Not willing to beat
I'm writing this the night before my 18th birthday (not only am I eligible for the death penalty, but also I'm an adult, so that's cool, I guess!)

To tell the truth, I'm not sure if what I'm majoring in university next year is what I want, I'm spending more time on things that I don't want to work on
I don't feel like I'm doing things for myself or for other people because truthfully I am a people pleaser and I've never known any other way. I hope that when I look at this again (if ever!) I'll be able to truthfully tell myself that I'm at a better place.
Kathy Z Jul 2014
A cashier in aisle 23, Lane 4,
Hair pulled back into an ***** bun, flyaway strands of hair framing her face,
Eyes adorned by shaky eyeliner, (It must've taken her years)
The hands that grab the groceries are trembling
with the use of age and alcohol,
Still wishing at 30 for that Prince Charming who ran away with another princess,
Still wishing she could be somewhere else in life.
And you thank god that you are not like that cashier, a slight feeling of guilt twisting your chest
as you walk away to the car.

You don't know what the hell Lady Gaga's lips look like, (or care)
but if someone said that your lips looked like her,
it would be the first priority to see what they looked like
Seeing if your lips would fit the 'standard' of society,
40% acquired self obsession and 100% U s e l e s s E f f o r t

A father who thinks that winning is the minimum requirement
A mother whose vision of a perfect child is to be of metric height and square body weight, all charted down to the exact millimeter
A testimony you were born required to say
A task you were burdened with on the day you were born.

And you fulfill it.

You run, chasing past those days of tears and desperation-
ignoring that self who still cries out for mercy and pity
You stumble past, clasping hands over your ears and shouting until your voice cannot be heard,
drowning all useless prose and beauty
Falling, falling, over and over.
The clear and twisted road has thrown you off many times
Into the grass, where even the slightest prickle of dew
(Such a translucent silver)
feels like the cold desolation in a thousand years of vivid monochrome.

Now, walking back to your car
Thinking of what a brilliant, triumphant life you have lead,
You thank god that you are not like that cashier,
Rotted away at the age of 20
Fabric of skin dulled with desperation and time
Wishing moronically for something premeditated only in her own mind
(How many bottles of wine and cigarettes did it take to chase away the pain?)
"Tranquility is a drug", someone had once said, inspecting immaculate nails by the illuminated window.
Lament and Languish were words you never learned, after all.
Kathy Z Nov 2013
A mother who listens to soft classical Mozart
Reclined against the soft, worn pillow from ages
slender fingers easily flicking through a catalog,
while a father is hunched over
in the cold den, racked with coughs and pains, trembling fingers trying to hold on to the metallic foil of medicine.
And a child, barely 4
playing with stuffed animals on the couch
a victim of Tay Sach

A car, and a windowpane, that have both seen too much,
ragged advertisements fluttering in the wind,
advertising a movie coming out yesterday,
A burger shop ad that had already long closed,
and deals long gone.
The downtown urban forest, turned into a junkyard
full of scraps of rusted silver and infected bronze.

A bystander who can do nothing but laugh
as a boy's nose gets crushed in,
a ****** lip,
A swollen, purple eye
A boy of 18
who is still waiting for her somewhere
to see her colored smile
and eyes of glass
bitter and emotionless, glazed over with sterling silver,
who has a family, siblings,
who is now turned into nothing but a ragged playtoy for the sick, sick entertainment of others

A broken air conditioner that can do nothing but clack clack clack over and over again, metal blades spinning vainly for nothing,
while a broken family is screaming in the other room,
and a child is crying, hands to his face, covering his eyes
as a father hits his wife, knocks her against the sharp, tiled kitchen counter,
and the screaming intensifies, accompied by the hurtful insults that are thrown at each other-by the father and the teen.
and still the air conditioner goes on and on
oblivious to nothing.

A world that is so breathtaking and cruel at the same time
where little, insignificant families are torn apart without a second thought,
where the 'strong' prey on the 'weak'
Where the most beautiful sprawling cities turn into rejected second handers just because of a rumor
A mother who listens to soft classical Mozart
Reclined against the soft, worn pillow from ages, ages ago
full of tears and stiches  
slender fingers easily flicking through a catalog, searching for the most effective medicine, eyes flickering in worry
while a father is hunched over
in the cold den because
he doesn't want to risk spreading his sickness to anyone else
racked with coughs and pains, trembling fingers trying to hold on to the metallic foil of medicine.
Working hard to support his family because the economy is going down again
And a child, barely 4
playing with stuffed animals on the couch
a victim of Tay Sach,
dead at 6.
Kathy Z Sep 2013
Her smile is beautiful
but it trembles ever so slightly
so that you can hardly see it
an autumn leaf, in the middle of fall
deciding whether or not to break from the branch

Her laugh is tentative
deciding whether or not to really let go
and her laugh is shaky
a small accidental vibrato in her throat
that catches its tremor ever so slightly

And her words wash over you,
accompanied by the cool breath of Altoids
and a leaf of the iceberg salad that she had for lunch
(no dressing please)

When she walks into a room
the air stills
not because she holds presence,
but merely because she lacks it
a rippling shadow that's gray and silver
against the dark ebony of the chalkboard

Her shoulders are ***** and upright
stiff and still
like a solider's stance
when standing at 'attention' in the middle of a battle
with the same dead expression
of seeing too much
that you want to go blind because of that
with the same stiff arms
that grip a pencil tightly
so that the whites of her knuckles are prominent and jutting
and you fear that the wood will snap under her detached temper

But her tears are not beautiful
because frankly,
sadness is not beautiful in itself
when it's on the page that you're reading
further ahead, maybe
but not in the present

And this is a girl who strives to be normal
without even looking up the definition
who eats skimpy iceberg salads at lunch with friends who all

have pizza and fries  
who constantly buys Altoids so frequently that she has a whole

box in her room full of empty tins
who is more aware of herself than anyone else
and this is a girl
who is insecure
A girl who loves without return
A girl who can laugh and cry and be just fine the next day
A girl who swears on a god that she doesn't necessarily believe
A girl who feels something when a boy smiles at her just the right way
A girl who is you
Kathy Z Aug 2013
I wanted to believe.
Thinking that everything that I doubted was for the sake of my useless, worrying mind-
Even though I had a feeling-
That those beautiful days would end-
Decorated with the soft sprinkles of everlasting snow-
Topped with a little light happiness,
I thought and wished that those days would go on forever.
I wanted to think that you were being truthful,
To have no doubt for you-
Even though I had a feeling that you were going to leave me.

Flying into the dark abyss, eyes closed just like a fool’s
The soft sound of sighs pass me
And I can do nothing but try to touch them

The bitterness of coffee is too cruel
For my taste buds,
And I always have to add spoonfuls of sugar, upon sugar,
While you look on, laughing.

Those broken shards of glass falling
I am ashamed to say that too scared for myself,
I didn’t pick them up,
Didn’t rebuild them into what it was rewinded
Running together, the earbuds in my ear kept falling off until you
Told me that it would be easier
To get headphones instead.
Going to store together,
And shopping
Those times were meant to go on forever, really.

That time in winter
Where we lay together in front of the fireplace
Silent, together
I remember thinking-
If this is all, it’s enough.

When you, with nothing but a sad look
Fell off the cliff of sanity
I could do nothing but cry.
Cry useless tears
To bring back the past that would never come back.
Why am I so alone?

How did I not know?
The screams that those silent eyes held-the little spark of pleading and worry in those conflicted pupils-
How did I, so good at reading people, not read you?
It is as if the radio station changed,
Into a different FM, not available in this country.
Why can’t I tune in?
Why are your screams silent?
Is the mute button on?
*If so, where is the volume control?
Kathy Z Aug 2013
Something without a definition, I guess,
is one of the most curious things about this world.

Something that isn't in the dictionary of words that overwhelm and pour
over and over and over again
in your mind, like a water spout
cannot be stopped sometimes-
You just have to accept that

It's amazing, really.
How many words that you cannot simply "define"
Like 'sweet' 'salty'
words that are in your brain, but no matter how you dig and uproot the word
it's not there anymore.

Leaves, trees, and infallible, useless things
they all make up the world as we know it,
millions of little things upon little things
sugar crumbles and salt sprinkles
upon salty and sweet caramel sundaes.
Kathy Z Jul 2013
Before I saw you,
I thought that angels didn't exist.
Before I saw you,
I thought that hope was just a empty word, with a meaning that was ripped out of the dictionary in my mind.
Before I saw you,
I was lost, confused, wandering off the road that everyone at least, seemed to be on,
Seemed to know what a road was,
Even if they were on the "wrong one" as my preschool teacher used to call it but I think I was the only one who raised my hand in class and said-
"Teacher! That doesn't make sense!"
Before I saw you,
Music was just notes on paper,
Something for me to hum and string along on the viola.
Before I saw you, stories were just stories,
And not keys to worlds beyond my fairest imagination.
Before I saw you,
The key to the word "love" was locked
Thrown somewhere on a ***** train track that you fearlessly went on and saw and you brought the key back to me saying with a smile on your smudged face
"Here. I think this is yours."
Before I saw you,
I think I was just living life for the sake of living, just eating for the sake of surviving,
Just studying for the sake of pride,
Until I met you.
When I met you,
The world had color.
A fierce rouge for sunset and lipstick for women
a dark hue that wasn't exactly "black as night" as they called it
A gleaming, neon green that was the color of the hideous jumpsuit you wore for track just once
When I met you,
The word myself had a different meaning, and the broken dictionary that was in my mind fell apart.
When I met you,
I learned the meaning of catching all the Pokémon in the game Pokémon Emerald that I always borrowed, but never returned, but you didn't care, did you?
(Oh look the word Pokémon is in spell-check)
When I met you-
I learned how to write poems-
Mainly because you dragged me to that poetry writing class that you always went to.
When I met you,
I thought, beautiful
**Until the day when you left me
Here alone in the dark.
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