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Kay Reed Apr 2020
its 7:45am and i'm barefoot in my grandparents kitchen
freshly brewed coffee steams in my grandfather's mug
as cinnamon rolls bake in the oven.
the tile is cold.
his smile is warm.

he lets me lick the spoon after he spreads the icing.
we pretend to fight over the best roll, he lets me win.

today, i was alone in my kitchen in a different state.
my coffee was mixed with bailey's and it steamed in my mug.
i bake the same brand of cinnamon rolls in my oven.
the tile is cold.
i smile at the thought of him.

i lick the icing off the spoon out of habit, its almost too sweet.
i don't have to fight for the best one.
Mar 2019 · 445
426 stanley avenue
Kay Reed Mar 2019
do you ever think about our old house?
the yellow one
with the red door
and uneven steps

i do

i think about whoever might live there now

i wonder if they can feel our presence
lingering in the walls of what used to be
our bedroom

i wonder if the footsteps of the ghost of our love
keeps them up at night

i wonder if they can hear the echo of the front door slamming
the walls shaking
the shatter of the picture frame that fell
the sound of your car door closing

i wonder if they found the sock that fell behind the dryer

i wonder if the door frame that we broke ever got fixed

i wonder if they wonder about us

sometimes i try and pin point the exact moment we lost ourselves
but there isn't a single moment

the ache of it still keeps me up at night
Mar 2019 · 115
03.12.2019 - 9:54pm
Kay Reed Mar 2019
i've spent weeks
curling up
pulling my legs in,
knees to chest
occupying as little space as possible

small enough to fit in any
empty area in your life
small enough to take up
any vacant corner
that you'd let me exist in

but i will not make myself small
i will not make myself small

i will
not
make
my
self
small

i will not make myself small
enough to be an after thought
when i deserve center stage of your psyche

i will not make myself small
just so that i can be in the same room as you

but i will not make myself small
i will not make myself small

i will
not
make
my
self
small
Jan 2016 · 623
01.27.2016
Kay Reed Jan 2016
If you asked the locals, they'll tell you to watch out; "She has a tendency to set things on fire and then walk a fair distance away to watch them burn," the women at the pastry shop will tell you in a hushed voice. "I'm not talking about things like paper, or logs, or houses. Her arson is worse. Typically its the hearts of those who tried to love her that she's likely to set aflame." And then under her breath she'll warn you, "keep an eye out for that one and keep a fire extinguisher handy."

If you asked the bartender at the bar two blocks down and one block left of the apartment she used to live in, he'll look up from the ***** glass he's watching and shake his head. "She's a wild one. Some days she'll show up with a book, sometimes a pen and paper. More often than not, though, she'll walk in with a blank face and order a double shot of Jameson. I mean I know she's got Irish blood, but I've never seen a grown man shoot whiskey like that with a straight face. The **** doesn't phase her." He'll finally dry off that glass and set it on the counter and ask you what you'll have that evening. And you'll order a double shot of that Irish whiskey just for the sake of irony. "She's somethin' else, man. Drinks her coffee black." He'll shake his head again and then direct his attention to the red head at the end of the bar.

Oh, but if you ask her mother...if only you asked her mother. She'd tell you, "She's always been a little lost. Her soul never rested for long. Doesn't say much anymore. Never home much, either. Not sure where she goes or what she spends her time doing, but I hope it makes her happy. She's been gone awhile. Mentally, I mean." And then she'll look out the window of the front room, her hands wrapped so tightly around her coffee mug her knuckles will turn white, and a look will pass over her face. And you'll wonder if heartbreak is genetic, if it was passed through generations, or if it was just a learned trait.

Because you have seen that look before, on the face of her daughter when you first mentioned all those years ago how you thought you loved her. And you'll feel a tiny pull in the center of your chest. And you'll wonder if maybe you'll run into her by chance on the corner of 14th and Clay street, or at that coffee shop she always took you to.

Or maybe you'll be going through your closet at the start of next fall, and pull out an old jacket you retired when spring rolled around and find some relic of her in the pocket. Maybe an empty cigarette pack, or a pen cap, or a crumpled up napkin with a doodle in the corner that most would throw away, but you'll fold it up and stick it in your wallet for memory's sake. She'd hate the sentiment of it, but love the irony.

If you asked, and if she answered honestly, she'd tell you she never wanted anything substantial, she always hated having a lease, or a car payment, or a tab (she'd always pay on her way out, on the off chance she never came back). She'll tell you she just wanted some freedom. But in the freedom she ended up with, a little string got tied around her ankle. She never knew what the other side was tied to.

And when you hear about this string, you'll remember that little tug you feel in your chest every once in awhile when you know she's on the highway headed towards another city for the weekend with no phone and a few hundred dollars cash. She was never one for leaving a trail.
Dec 2015 · 312
12.29.2015 - 2:06am
Kay Reed Dec 2015
I want to bleed into the creases of the comfortable life you've built, the same way your favorite pen bleeds through the page of one of the notebooks you've collected over the years,

because the thing about bleeding ink is it makes its mark on the next few pages, even when you're done and finished with the original page you wrote on.

I want to be stationary and not the kind of stationary that is the home of your to do list or the things you need from the store that always ends up tossed into a pile on your kitchen counter and forgotten about.

I want to be the kind of stationary that a tree is: rooted and solid, but still moves and flows in the breeze

I want to be a defining point you come back to time and time again,

like a bookmark in a book you can't finish, not because of lack of interest but purely because other things held your attention more than I ever could.
Kay Reed Nov 2015
He asked if I believed in God and I said I didn't know
Because its hard to believe in God when you can feel
Your heart breaking into a million sharp edges and
Tearing holes in your lungs
(or is that the consequence of smoking an entire pack of cigarettes in one sitting?)

He asked if I believed in God and I said I didn't know
Because even though I was raised in a church,
You can't recite Bible verses to cast away the pain people have caused you
And singing hymns to the cold that has settled into you nerve endings
Only makes them colder.

He asked if I believed in God and I said,
"I don't know, does God believe in me?"
Apr 2014 · 538
untitled 4/28/2014
Kay Reed Apr 2014
I'm sorry I don't always remember
our anniversaries or
that I often forget to tell you
to pick up the dry cleaning
but it's your fault
the milk expired two days ago
and it's still sitting the refrigerator
with the leftovers of that Chinese food
you always get that I refuse to eat and
you forgot to water the house plant
my mother bought for us
and I'm sick to my stomach
because you always steal the
sheets at night and I've become
so very cold inside.
k.l.r.
Kay Reed Mar 2014
V
I suppose you could find us caught
somewhere in the space between
"what was said"
and
"what was actually meant,"
internally debating the level of
commitment that came from
buying the other a cup of coffee
at the cafe down the street.

VI
I dated a boy once
who asked me if I thought he
did too many drugs as he exhaled
smoke on a lazy Saturday afternoon.
I had laughed and said no,
all the while thinking
quite the opposite.
I still have yet to kiss him
when he was sober.

VII
I once got lost in the idea that there
is no differentiation between lust,
infatuation, obsession and love,
that all were simply mirrors of
each other, or parts of an
ambiguous "bigger picture."
I took a left down the path the led
to Confusion and have yet
to find my way back to Clarity.

VIII
I have a bad habit of reading into the
actions of others, exhausting
the dictionary with a continuous
stream of questions regarding the
meaning behind the way he knew
I took two spoonfuls of sugar in my tea
or the amount of times he would blink
as I told him were the scar
on my left knee came from.
Feb 2014 · 712
2/25/2014
Kay Reed Feb 2014
you have not flirted with death until you have made love to a boy whose skin smells like cigarette smoke and whose lips taste like *****
Feb 2014 · 407
2/23/2014
Kay Reed Feb 2014
there was something romantic about the way he remembered my favorite brand of cigarettes even though i promised i'd quit three months ago.
Feb 2014 · 490
2/20/2014
Kay Reed Feb 2014
I've tried for weeks now to find a poetic way to say "it still ******* hurts" and have failed every single time so instead I set fire to every love letter we wrote and burnt the tip of my finger on the flames.
Kay Reed Feb 2014
I.
Everyone's heard that saying,
the one about not making homes out of people,
but that's a hard rule to follow,
especially when its midnight and cold out and
he pulled over on the side of the highway
because he "just knew" where to find you walking alone.
Its even harder when he offers you his coat
and wraps his arms around you
and you feel safer surrounded by scarred skin
and whiskey blood than you did in the
walls of a house you've never considered home.

II.
My mother told me once that I shouldn't
make someone my first choice if they
only made me an option. And my father
chimed in with a comment about
how I was a young, naive teenage girl who didn't know
a **** thing about love.
They may have been right about falling
for the wrong boys but its hard when
every single one of them put their foot out
and tripped you as you walked by them that
one day in April at the local library.

III.
A homeless man once told me that I
should be careful because "the drugs
might help for awhile but the fall
will always be lower than the high"
and for the longest time I wrote that on
my arm in a marker that promised
it was permanent but would always wash off
in the shower and that's
when I realized that yes, **** is bad, but
love is a worse drug and
things that promise to stick around never do.

IV.
I once played my favorite song on repeat every night
for three months and by December I could tell you
exactly what second breaths
were taken and where the drums were loudest
and when the guitars got a little shaky
because of sweaty hands. And its February
now and that song came on the radio last weekend
and I turned it off so fast my head spun a little
bit because now instead of ceremonials
and drowning, that song makes me think
of that time I was so broken I couldn't get off the floor.
To be continued.
Feb 2014 · 818
Bad Boys
Kay Reed Feb 2014
Mama always warned us girls
about the boys who rode motorcycles
and carried empty lighters
in the pockets of their leather jackets
but she never said anything about
the ones that drove stick-shifts
and were on a first name basis
with a man named Jack Daniels.
written January 26, 2014
Kay Reed Feb 2014
it was at 3am
on a sunday
when the word
"love"
became synonymous to
the phrase
"premeditated manslaughter"
and since then,
i have begun to shy away
from everyone i thought i knew
because they have all
turned into
murderers.
if only i had the words to convey the ache that surrounds not only my head and my heart, but the overall soreness of memories and indispensable thought processes
Feb 2014 · 763
Sunburnt
Kay Reed Feb 2014
I guess it happened because you were my sun
and I spent so much time around you that,
when the nighttime fell and I retired to my bed,
I was burned and more than a little sore.

And I guess it happened because he was the temporary relief
I needed from the pain that blistered my skin
and he held my attention long enough to ease the stinging,
even if only for a few hours.

And I guess it happened because the sun sets and
even though it comes back around eventually,
it takes time and your skin will still feel burnt even in the dark,
causing you to rely on the short-lived bliss of convenience.
what i really wanted to say at 6:16 pm this evening
Feb 2014 · 1.5k
july flames
Kay Reed Feb 2014
my eyes begged him to stay
even as his hands pushed me aside;
i chose to follow the advice of the more
physical threat.

the parts of his knuckles that were't red,
were white, and had little beads
of bright crimson blood
forming on them.

my lips still felt slightly swollen,
but so did my right temple and it was
throbbing hard enough to make me question
where exactly in your body a heartbeat came from.

the room was cold, even though it
was the middle of July and every window was open;
the sun couldn't seem to be able to thaw out
the ice that had frozen in his pupils.

the dandelions i had picked on the walk here
were scattered and flattened into the cracks
between the floorboards, their bright yellows
slowing darkening to a dull, ugly brown.

and when the sun had set, the dusk brought on
the relentless demons that hid in the night
that we both feared yet continued to feed,
stretching our necks for them to sink their teeth into.

i thought maybe there was a softening to the
rock hard grimace of your face only to realize that
my eyes were playing tricks on me in the low,
flickering light of your lighter.

it was when you asked for the last cigarette in my pack
that the vinyl we had bought that afternoon
screeched to a halt and white static from those
second-hand speakers filled the room.

i stood, my knees less-than-stable and hands
far-too-shaky, and walked to the door.
i turned, expecting at the very least a salutation
only for you to blow smoke in my face.

i closed the door on the remnants of your french inhale.
yeah don't know what i was goin for or where this poem was headed
Feb 2014 · 1.8k
2.8.2013"He never"
Kay Reed Feb 2014
he didn't **** me with kindness;
he killed me with blue eyes that
sometimes looked green and
lips that he had a bad habit of biting.

he never took a walk on the wild side;
he took a walk down the street to  
my front door and sat on my porch
all night, even though we weren't talking.

he never broke any of his bones as a kid;
he broke every vertebrae in his mother's back instead,
intentionally stepping on every crack
in the sidewalk outside his elementary school

he never bought me flowers;
instead he called me a wildflower, ripped me from my roots
and put me in a vase for all to see, sustaining my life long enough
just to watch me wither and die.
Feb 2014 · 362
2.3.2014
Kay Reed Feb 2014
have you ever stared at someone so long their features start to change and blur, and for the first time you notice the dust that has gathered in your father's tear ducts?
Kay Reed Jan 2014
Step One:
     L
     for the Late summer nights we swore
     we'd never forget as we dreamed of one day
     becoming stars. not the kind in hollywood,
     but the ones that made up the constellations
     that we admired and Labeled as our own.

Step Two:
     U
     for the way you were always a little
     Unsure of things, like where your hand
     was supposed to be when you kissed me or
     the proper Use of "your" vs "you're."
     you still can't figure it out.

Step Three:
     S
     for the "Soon" that you always promised me
     but never came when "forever" ended a hundred years
     prematurely in my parents basement on
     a Saturday night and you realized i was
     a little too headstrong for your liking

Step Four:
     T
     for the Times you wished you'd forget but
     can't because the memories are tacked onto
     your skin permanently, it seems. much like
     that Tattoo you got when you turned
     eighteen and soon regretted.
part one, more to come
Kay Reed Jan 2014
I was never very good at geometry, but I could draw the shape of your eyes from memory and I knew the exact angle at which you would glance over at me out of the corner of your eye whenever you were driving.

I was never very good at foreign languages, but you taught me everything I needed to know about French in one night. We even coined our own language, exclusive to late summer nights and composed of hushed words we weren't brave enough to say in the daylight.

I was never very good at music, but we sure as Hell made our own little symphony of whispered laughs. I never was a singer but boy, I sang your name like it was my saving grace, the vowels resonating on my lips a little too long and tasting faintly of Marlboros, hanging in the air above us, caught in your stale, exhaled smoke.

I was never very good at history, but I knew the story behind every single one of your scars as if the memories were my own. I knew your mother's birthday and the story of your first kiss and the meaning behind that Red Hot Chili Peppers song you always sang to me.

I was never very good at geometry, but I didn't need to be. I knew every curve and contour of your jaw, your neck, your back, as though it were my own skin I traced with shaky fingers at dusk.
Jan 2014 · 2.1k
plastic roses
Kay Reed Jan 2014
and
i always knew you liked
the blondes who dyed their hair black
and wore shirts that showed a little
too much cleavage
better than the natural brunettes
who had scars on their chests
from heart transplants
so instead
i'm going to shave my head
and pray that poppies
grow from my scalp
and dandelions sprout between the
healed over stitches and hope that
maybe then i'll appeal to your senses

but we both know that won't work
because i'm just an overgrown ****
in your garden of plastic roses.
Jan 2014 · 2.4k
car wrecks
Kay Reed Jan 2014
today, while at a red light,
i sat in my car, the radio off.
i couldn't remember the last time
my car was so silent.

but then i did.
the last time that the silence in my car
was so loud it suffocated me
was the night i asked if you loved me.

you said "yes" in a hushed tone
as though it were a secret you
didn't want anyone to hear
(even though we were completely alone).

i didn't believe the words you spoke
because the truth came in the
deafening silence that preceded your answer
and the look in your eyes.

silence that was long enough to
make my head hurt,
but not long enough to kill me.
(i know because my heart stopped beating).

i don't really remember how i got home that night.
i only remember that when i did,
i stared at the ceiling and wished i hadn't swerved
to avoid a head on collision

because i know that it would have hurt
a hell of a lot less than this.
and so today, when the light turned green,
i swear i have never hit the gas so hard.

i tuned the radio as loud as it would go,
closed my eyes and let go of the wheel
holding that pedal to the floor until the
darkness came.

the last thing i heard was the lyrics to your favorite song.
Jan 2014 · 615
subtweet
Kay Reed Jan 2014
light those cigarettes you always carry in your back pocket off my burning bones
Jan 2014 · 1.5k
alcoholics
Kay Reed Jan 2014
you can find me in the worn wood of the bar at that pub down the street and I know you're in the empty shot glasses that get slammed into the counter, leaving little ridges in the surface of me as forgotten drops of Jack Daniels seep into my core.
Dec 2013 · 406
12.30.13
Kay Reed Dec 2013
i bet the sky sighs deeply every time someone stops fighting for the one they love and i bet thats why there’s so many ******* clouds
Kay Reed Dec 2013
I'm a little drunk and this song has never sounded so good
Dec 2013 · 562
in response:
Kay Reed Dec 2013
or maybe she'll stay up all night too wondering how the hell you knock down brick walls with a feather
Dec 2013 · 900
poem for Nathan
Kay Reed Dec 2013
he crushed every vertebrae in my back
leaving me spineless and
reliant on alcohol and flickering candlelight
to make my shadow dance.

he taught me that maybe
cigarettes aren't that bad,
because they sure as hell numb the pain
even if they take down your lungs in the process.
written at the request of a good friend named Nathan
Dec 2013 · 503
#104 continued
Kay Reed Dec 2013
and I guess I still wonder if your mom still asks about me, (but I know she does because I saw her at the store and she commented on how my hair was longer and you haven't been the same since I left) and you'll wonder if I still stay up all night drinking tea that has long gone cold and playing my favorite sad song on repeat, but I guess we both know that I do. And you'll remember the first night I said I loved you in the stale air of your car that only the silence that comes after a huge fight can create and I'll remember how your lips did more damage on my skin than a bottle of whiskey and drunken flirtation with razor blades ever did.
Dec 2013 · 581
#104
Kay Reed Dec 2013
the simplicity of losing myself the way I lost so many of my bobby pins in your car (and theyre probably still under the passenger seat)
the irony that you're driving across the country listening to the cd that I made you trying to forget about the girl who broke your heart only to realize you've been carrying me with you like that dollar and forty six cents in your pocket. (and I don't mean those bobby pins, although I'm sure a strand of my hair is still knotted in their metal arms). I'm still there because those are my initials that are scarred into the skin on your left thigh and you can't really drive away from someone if they're etched into your pores (much like the scent of you still lingers in mine).
Kay Reed Dec 2013
in love with the juxtaposition of how the skin on your hand is tough, but your grip on me is still gentle
Dec 2013 · 932
sext: 12.08.2013
Kay Reed Dec 2013
oh, my dear, let's not pretend that you don't remember that I know where you keep your spare lighter and how that scar above your eye is from when you fell out of a tree trying to hold my hand last summer (not from tripping down the stairs when you were ten)
Dec 2013 · 411
09.26.2013
Kay Reed Dec 2013
I met a boy
once
who spoke in tongues.
one that never really
understood
the difference between
"there" and "their"
and who had more smoke
in his lungs than thoughts in his head.

I met a boy
once
who knew how to sing
and taught me how to dance
without using my feet
and taught me how to speak
French when we were skin to skin
in his parents' basement.

I met a boy
once
who was never really
"mine" but that didn't stop him
from tripping his way through
my arteries and who's lighter
always burned a little brighter
than I ever could.
Dec 2013 · 562
12.08.2013
Kay Reed Dec 2013
I don't have the guts to tell you
that I miss you
so I'll write a poem comparing
the way your lips were cracked
to the sidewalk in front of my childhood home
the first time I kissed you and how
I held your hand a little too tight
when you told me you had to go.
Dec 2013 · 307
12.07.2013
Kay Reed Dec 2013
you never really know what loneliness tastes like until you drink coffee (black) at 3 am because God knows you're not sleeping tonight
Dec 2013 · 279
12.05.2013
Kay Reed Dec 2013
my favorite love songs are the ones written in minor keys
Dec 2013 · 821
types of boys:
Kay Reed Dec 2013
messy handwriting, track 06 on repeat
foggy car windows, cracked spines
black coffee, spider webs
scarred kneecaps, mix-tapes
page 346 in the book your mother gave you.

candy hearts, empty gas tank
"lost my train of thought"
5 o'clock shadow, flannel shirts
empty lighters, ripped jeans
your favorite ballpoint pen without ink.
Dec 2013 · 306
08.24.2013
Kay Reed Dec 2013
they tossed the word "love" around almost as often as they tossed their clothes to the floor and the only thing they had in common was that they could both speak French.
Dec 2013 · 527
11.09.2013
Kay Reed Dec 2013
he's the feeling of
being 8 years old and
realizing that dandelions
are weeds, not pretty flowers
we picked for our moms.
Dec 2013 · 379
06.06.2013 (#396)
Kay Reed Dec 2013
he was a toxic combination of
his mother's eyes and
his father's aggression
(and the alcohol never really helped much)
Dec 2013 · 289
10.20.2013
Kay Reed Dec 2013
falling in love with him
was a lot like
getting a degree in fashion,

and then spending
my the rest of my life
dressing corpses.
Dec 2013 · 293
03.13.2013
Kay Reed Dec 2013
we weren't poets,
nor were we novelists;
we wrote our story
with hungry eyes and
learned to love with
our hands, not our hearts.
Dec 2013 · 410
untitled #116
Kay Reed Dec 2013
i admired the way his
cigarette-smoke-covered breath
hung in the air a second too long
and how his eyes gleamed a
dark green in the low light
Aug 2013 · 624
#412
Kay Reed Aug 2013
he's the feeling of
hushed voices into telephones
when you're 7 and
the grownups think
you're too young to
understand a thing like
death.
Kay Reed Aug 2013
They used to say
That my head was in the clouds
And that one day
I'll float too far away
To be found again.

So they praised the boy
Who came along and
Became the anchor attached
To me by the ankles,
The boy that kept my head out of the clouds
And my feet on the ground.

But didn't they realize that the boy
That kept me grounded wasn't
Actually an anchor to a heart too light
To stay on the ground?
Didn't they realize that he was a rock and I
Was a paper airplane and
All I ever wanted was to fly?
Jul 2013 · 342
496 Days Later
Kay Reed Jul 2013
With you:                                                                          (With you:)
                                             the definition
of love                                                                                 (of heartbreak)
                                         came in the form of
a pack of cigarettes                                                            (empty lighters)
                                                  and
the vinyl records your dad gave you.                                (white static)
Jul 2013 · 313
05.08.2013
Kay Reed Jul 2013
I guess falling in love is the equivalent of sitting in the middle of the road with your eyes closed, listening to the sound of cars.

You hear them coming closer and closer, and you brace yourself for the impact, not knowing when it’ll finally hit.

And I guess that’s what makes it so terrifying.
Kay Reed Jul 2013
As a kid, I would
Climb the tallest trees
I could find,
Hoping that maybe
I'd catch a glimpse at
The "Real World"
The grownups told the big kids about.

But as I got older,
I began to realize the
The higher you climbed,
The further you
Fell.
And suddenly the "Real World"
Wan't so appealing anymore.

— The End —