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Jade Apr 24
⚠Trigger Warning: the following poem contains religious allusions that some might find offensive⚠

Memories belittled by dust,
preserved, taxidermal fashion
inside an anthology
of vintage photographs.

Though,
I am aware that  
"vintage"
is only a euphemism  
for a possession
that was once beautiful.  

Your treason
has turned all the photographs
ugly,  
their corners curling up  
like the spiral of a chameleon's tail.  

Vivacious colours devolve
into lacklustre,  
sepia tones,
blending in with  
the palette of my
surrounding melancholy.  

Ensnared in a dilemma:  


Do I miss you?  


or  


Do I hate you?  


(perhaps a bit of both,

but never

I love you--


not anymore.)  


Apertures mewl,
bruising the gallery walls
with tears.  

I frame your
betrayals
with gold and
garlands of daisies
in an attempt to soften  
our past  


(it never works).  


These
vacant
hallways
trap your phantom footprints
beneath the cobblestone.  

Was it really  
such a guiltless task  
to walk away from me?

Embedded  
across the rungs of my spine
are the scuff marks  
from where you wiped the dirt  
off your boots only after
wrenching the welcome mat
from underneath me.  

I have accepted that
our friendship was
merely transactional
to you;  

I served up  
all the love I had to  
give
like John the Baptist's head
was served up upon a silver platter.  


You feasted  


while


I starved.  


Yet,
full is this menagerie
of lost things.  

I know
I should burn  
the polaroids
in the name of closure.  

Perhaps
I am just afraid there will be no art--
no poetry--
left to sculpt
from the cinders that
remain.
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Photographs
by Michael R. Burch

Here are the effects of a life
and they might tell us a tale
(if only we had time to listen)
of how each imperiled tear would glisten,
remembered as brightness in her eyes,
and how each dawn’s dramatic skies
could never match such pale azure.

Like dreams of her, these ghosts endure:
they tell us a tale of impatient glory . . .
till a line appears—a trace of worry?—
or the wayward track of a wandering smile
which even now can charm, beguile?

We might find good cause at last to wonder
as we see her pause (to frown?, to ponder?):
what vexed her in her loveliness . . .
what weight, what crushing heaviness
turned her lustrous hair a frazzled gray,
and stole her youth before her day?

We might ask ourselves: did Time devour
the passion with the ravaged flower?
But here and there a smile will bloom
to light the leaden, shadowed gloom
that always seems to linger near . . .

And here we find a single tear:
its shimmers like translucent dew
and tells us Anguish touched her too,
and did not spare her for her hair
of copper, or her eyes so blue.

Published in Tucumcari Literary Review (the first poem in its issue). Keywords/Tags: photos, photographs, pictures, album, keepsakes, mementos, ghosts, phantoms, past, memories, recollections, tears, grief, anguish, glory
Album
by Michael R. Burch

I caress them—trapped in brittle cellophane—
and I see how young they were, and how unwise;
and I remember their first flight—an old prop plane,
their blissful arc through alien blue skies ...

And I touch them here through leaves which—tattered, frayed—
are also wings, but wings that never flew:
like insects’ wings—pinned, held. Here, time delayed,
their features never changed, remaining two ...

And Grief, which lurked unseen beyond the lens
or in shadows where It crept on feral claws
as It scratched Its way into their hearts, depends
on sorrows such as theirs, and works Its jaws ...

and slavers for Its meat—those young, unwise,
who naively dare to dream, yet fail to see
how, lumbering sunward, Hope, ungainly, flies,
clutching to Her ruffled breast what must not be.

Keywords/Tags: album, photos, photographs, pictures, mementos, keepsakes, cellophane, yellowed, leaves, pinned, held, imprisoned, time, delayed
I guess I wanted you more,
that's why I let you hurt me the way you did.
Tore me down till I was worthless,
But in the pictures you don't see the tears I shed
The photos taken between tear stained nights
will never show the way you hurt me so.

I guess I wanted you more,
as I tried to overlook the way you spoke to me.
Degrading and demeaning - never worthy of your time.
But when I look back at our memories
no-one could have seen the way I was dying inside
Because these pictures are so good at hiding all the hurt!

I guess I wanted you more,
By the way I fought for you through all the pain.
Maybe it was a moment of weakness,
But I hated myself more with you, then on my own.
So while I fight for my freedom
At least now I know, I don't need you!
I don't need you anymore!
Bardo Sep 2019
I left photograph albums of her out on
    the coffee table
Thinking the neighbours might like to
    see and so, celebrate her life
Her youthful days spent at home,
playing among the fields, by the river,
In the little country village where she
  lived,
Her time in England and in America,
Her joys, her loves, her hopes,
I thought it was a good idea.
But when the neighbours came by
They talked only of their own families,
    their kids
About their hobbies and what Clubs
   they were in & what they were doing
      the weekend,
About their cars and how big they
    were
What horsepower the engine was,
They talked of Life and of getting on
    with life
And enjoying life,
Maybe they had it right, trying to be
    positive in the face of sorrow
It must have been awkward for them,
Maybe it was my own fault too, for not
    drawing their attention to them (the
        photograph albums)
But I was busy getting drinks, making
    sandwiches, serving tea
(And had a fair bit of drink taken
    myself by then)
But the photograph albums they were
left their untouched, not a single page
was turned like no one was interested
Like no one wanted to know, like no
    one cared at all
I thought it kind of sad, and my Dad
    who had sat there silently for a long
       time
Listening to what was being said
Suddenly got up and walked out in a
    bit of a huff.

We needed a suit of clothes to lay her
    out in, in the coffin,
I thought rather foolishly I suppose,
    that I should put them on the
     radiator first to warm them
It would be cold in that coffin, and colder still down in that deep dark
    clay.

In the Nursing Home she had
    complained of being very hot
I used to take her in a little tub of ice
    cream
And give her a few teaspoons every
    night,
Now when I open the freezer door,
    there's still one tub left inside
The last one, the final one I'd brought
    in
But never used, that same fateful night
    she died.

It's funny but I try not to think of her
    that much
Because I know if I did, it'd only upset
    me, make me all sad & teary eyed
And I'd be no good then, no use to
    anyone,
There's a time and a place I suppose, a
    time and a place to grieve... to
         remember.
I know she wouldn't have liked to see
    me that way either,
She would have wanted me to get on
    with my own life
She used tell me, "Don't waste your
    time on me, my life is over now,
        my days are done,
It's your turn now, go live your own
    life and find your own happiness".

It only hits you when you go into her
    room & see her clothes still hanging
       there
And you realize she's not around
    anymore to wear them,
I bought a lot of them for her myself
Used to embarrass me going into the
    Ladies Section to get her stuff
The pyjamas, their the saddest, they
    hurt the most
The ones with the little woolly sheep
    on them, the ones with the nice
        bunnies
( Heh! they always used to joke I had
    such poor taste)
The one with the bright red flowers
And the one with the little penguins
    on skis
With the scarves wrapped around
    their necks.

We had to write a final farewell
   message to put on a card
To go on the bouquet on her coffin
I struggled at first, looking over at my
    brothers, not knowing what to say,
My mind, as always, wanted to say the
     'right' thing
But luckily, my heart got in the way
I said, I wrote " Thanks for all the
    Years Mom,
It was a great pleasure knowing you,
Enjoy the next life, you deserve to,
I'll be seeing you! "
This was written several years ago after my Mom died, it kind of wrote itself, it was the things that stuck out to me in the days just after she had died. - Is a bit unfair to the neighbours, most of them went to the funeral home where Mom was laid out. Me & my Dad stayed at home just in case anyone came to the house. Only a couple of neighbors came & one brought their grown up sons whom I knew. I was glad they came & despite all we had a good night. -Also the ending of this, it isn't some death wish, I like to believe in reincarnation and that we all come back, every time I see a little girl or boy I think that could be my Mom or Dad (he passed away too a few years later).
Amulya Aug 2019
I spent hours picking a dress,
Because it is a big deal to look good for pictures with friends,
I got up early just to do my hair really curly,
For the only fest that comes once a year,
You all made memories,
You all took pictures,
You didn't ask me to join,
Uh oh,I thought you were my friend,
You probably didn't notice me holding other's bags,
I didn't feel like asking,
I didn't want my friendship forced on you,
If you really want something, you'll go all the way to get it,
Sorry I got my hopes up.
This really doesn't sound poetic but I had to get it out x
Nicole Aug 2019
and you were just there
sitting at the corner of my cabinet

     in a box
     full of photographs

wrapped in cinders
trapped inside are the memories


that will forever be treasured
I wrote this poem qhile crying on my bedroom floor. I found out my mom threw that memory box i had with my ex's memories with me. It was a heartbreaking moment for me that is why this piece was written
John Glenn Jun 2019
is this how we fix bad photographs?
saturate the focus, craft the perfect banner,
grain enough to feel the gloom
in between the curved lines.
then before our eyes -- perfection
of disgust & delight
if so, then i am just a bunch of
bad photographs
loading
unloading
still
load
- ing
to be curated, and
to create its own color corrections.
-all from Karen
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