To a Father,
please, don't bury her. she is afraid of the dark.
From a Mother.
Fragment #4One thousand black umbrellas
unfurl, nylon wings spread &
shadow strange faces: the
world fades, grey.
within her lies a weightwith hazel eyes shuttered,
she feels the thunder roll over her senses;
it is in this moment that she is beautiful,
though her space is empty
and there is nothing to witness it,
except an apple tree too shy to bear fruit
and a handful of disgruntled red hens.
she waits for the rain,
her face upturned
and impatience throbbing in her bloodstream;
rain has been one of the few comforts in her life
and she revels in its tang still.
slowly, as if to tantalize her,
the rain falls to strike her face
in a quick, bruising flurry
and within moments it coats her eyelids,
blue with sleeplessness,
and her mouth,
half-pursed and wilting from disuse--
but oh, we are not here to watch it rain upon her.
no, we are here for something more,
something that lies deeper,
something that she does not let linger--
we are here for the shyest of souls.
below the soft,
tanned flesh her body writhes,
ever moving in its desire for fulfillment.
is far from sexual
and she does not desire the c
some things aren't solid outside the mind.you couldn't know
that the boy sitting
beside you in Advanced
English was going to
fetter himself to the ocean
and break the sound barrier (and
his mother's heart) with his
you couldn't know
that the girl sitting three
rows back in Computing One-oh-One
would fall so deeply in love with
the colour of the sky that she would
spend a summer practicing knots just to
mirror the pale, bloated hue.
you couldn't know
that the man walking by
at seven a.m. with a briefcase beneath
his arm was on his way to
blow his world apart, along with
half a dozen strangers.
you couldn't know
that the woman rushing through
the supermarket was on her
way to drown her sorrows
in the eyes of another woman
while her husband was busy
drowning in himself half a mile
and a gunshot away.
you couldn't know.
The Anatomy of a Teenage SummerThis is not a poem about you
and me, because;
It is not about the collision of
lips, or the wild stirring of young hearts
that beat in tandem.
It is not about the whirlwind
between the sheets, or the emptiness of
young lungs after a skin to skin marathon.
It is not about eight fingers and two
thumbs meshing together like a flesh and bone
zipper, or the way whispers caressed premature scars.
It is not about mussed hair the color of
burnt oak, or the way clothes never quite straighten
after being tossed aside in a frenzy.
It is not about kind words and clammy
palms, or the childish innocence shed below the
boardwalk in forty degree heat.
This is not about you and me because
it is no love story. It is a memory.
alcoholism is the last to blamewhen you don't drink,
you can't blame the mistakes you make on inebriation.
you have to hold them close to your chest
and pray that nobody else sees them before you prepare your defence,
before you scratch away their most soiled parts
and spit-shine the rest,
and even then you spend your life
praying that nobody will ever look any closer
because spit and hope can only conceal so much.
The Problem With Elia.she could have been a violin;
born a week too late, she had
melancholy in her bones: doctor lizbet
took time out of her schedule to pluck her
newborn strings - calloused sanitation against
mottled pink-and-yellow flesh & thrashing limbs.
in three more years, she will have
nothing in her bones at all: doctor estair
diagnosed her with iatrophobia to fuel her
instinctive chords - ripple-free shells of liquid
lobotomy & a capsule to callous her pink-and-yellow
flesh against the thought of just getting over it all.
ten years after that, her mother will
find her face down and thrashing: her dust
bunny bones will flex as she retches up her memories
for display - lawyers will spend the next few years pawing
through them with clawed hands and heaving breathing until
one day, they find lizbet and estair huddled amid the rubble of her bones.
there are mice in the
walls. i share my
secrets with them in
you left a mug
of cranberry tea on the
windowsill and the local ants
have made a swimming
pool of it -- their bodies
leave a dirty,
trail across the bench
i didn't bother to
feed the cat and she
has calcified, tortoise-shell
body wrapped around the
only pair of shoes
you didn't take.
the neighbors collect
your mail because i refuse
to scoop it out
of the old postbox you
nailed to the fence -- the
spiders are at home
your mother calls. it
might be once a
week or every
other month, i've
lost track. she talks
about seeing me, cooking
a casserole or three
and force-feeding me: i
dead or gone
or both and
i can't afford the
a time to rise, and a time to fallI have never asked her what it is that she misses so much. Whatever it is, it turns her eyes blue mid-winter and chases the heat from her cheeks. The truth is, I never thought it was my place to ask: after all, I'm nothing but a stranger in her quiet heart. And even now, years after we first met, I do not ask her.
She stretches one morning, all smooth edges and warm spaces. She looks at me as she always does before she tumbles out of bed, and her eyes are blue. Again. The weeks melt away and I am staring at six years worth of winters, all rolled into one. It chills me and my teeth chatter. She doesn't say anything but I know that she has caught me looking, has inhaled my shiver and tasted old winters in it instead of fresh laid snow. There is no fooling her, there has never been any chance of that: she always knows.
I give up all hope of further sleep and step out of bed and onto rich, plush carpet. It is a violent hue, bu
on begging to be yourselfI don't want to die. I've never wanted to die, not even when I curled into an apostrophe and muttered the half-wish to the walls of my flesh.
All I've ever wanted is a word. I want a word for the ache between my xylophone ribs that doesn't make my loved ones shudder with misinterpretation and distrust of my volatile heart; I want a word to encompass the missing parts that I cannot remember the names of; I want a word that will explain to people that it's okay that I'm not whole, because not-whole doesn't always equate to being broken.
I can tell you that my heart aches the way a blade of grass bends in a summer storm, my skin feels like drying watercolours on pavement and I can feel the highway of my veins inside my flesh, but I can't tell you that I have the word I need. I don't have it, but my knees are puckered from prayer that someone out there does and that one day they'll press poetry into my ears and share it with me like a secret.
I don't want to die. All I want is to be allowe
MapsWe marked the deaths on a map in little black tallies,
every day we counted the numbers and they had come to a strong incline.
You sat in the dust by the flames
playing with a cattail
and you asked me
“When will it be over?”
The smoke drifted into open sky above us and I tried to count the stars.
The map was held together by rivers and
And we were held together by a commonplace drive:
The poem in your eyes had no backbone and it was falling apart at the seams and it made you
The map is held together by little black tallies on the edges from an old charcoal pencil.
And we are held together by a thread of life that could very well be
Alas, that is out of our reach but we must remember to always
fight! and to stay alive
please keep holding on
Because home awaits with open arms and we are here counting stars and
we must never die.
The mayor warned when we came home to
never leave again
never go agai
here is my heart, and here is my home.i am done writing about
you can find me
in the "new beginnings"
isle, splashed with scar tissue and
dear child, open your
there are stars, a galaxy, and
there is breath in your lungs.
the past is never
you have lived through it,
swam through it and
maybe died a little
through it, but you
came out on top.
when this winter ends, it
will end harshly;
but spring comes every year,
and i hope that you
i hope you open your eyes
to rain and i hope
that you fall in love with
it, and i hope
that you let life move
like i had to.
they always saypeople always say that
they were born on days which
or boasted sunny skies -
me, i don't remember anything,
i couldn't remember anything,
my mind wasn't made up yet.
all i know is that i was born
in a month that
comes roaring like a lion
and leaves like a lamb -
it's just before the flowers come
and dreams fade away
to the smell of roses in the
i must be a lion-girl,
'cause the bitter cold still grips my bones
people always say
that childhood was dream-like
and that they miss it
and that it was the best in their lives;
me, all i remember
is flowers in my hair
and rainbows in my eyes,
the wind knocking me over
to a coming storm -
fireflies in a jar,
hitting glass against hope while their lights
blink out one by one -
television in the morning
when school should have been
i remember so much,
but not enough to piece it all together
people always say
that they want to grow up so fast
and then wish they hadn't;
can you remember how it used to bei.
when our world shattered, i wasn't
old enough to know. i knew our
mother cried at night and clutched the sheets
until her knuckles
turned white; that you shut
yourself in your bedroom and turned your
back on what was breaking;
i only knew for sure the day he
said it's only temporary, kiddo, that it
was done, a permanent fracture
in glass already strained. my world was ending,
and i could only watch.
our father didn't count as
home for the longest time. he wasn't a
replacement for the
mother we missed during the days, and he knew
it, i think.
i think it broke his heart.
that first christmas was half a tree because
there wasn't enough room
in the duplex for a full one, decorated
with bud light coasters
and tiny ornaments strung on with unfolded paper
clips. a lot of them broke when
they were flattened, and i never saw the
symbolism til my childhood was gone.
i think mother lost
herself for a while, there. i knew she
wasn't sleeping, but an eight
year old doesn't know h
Funeral WeatherMami touched my back,
reminding me to kneel. The prayer lasted
until the rain stopped pouring,
the pallbearers standing by the casket,
white gloves on white wood.
The grass was wet at the cemetery.
Papi told me he didn't want a Catholic funeral
when he died.
"It was right for him,"
he whispered as Abuelo descended
with his red roses. Papi squeezed my shoulder,
trying his best to cry like he had yesterday
and the day before.
I held the printed obituary. It promised,
"He was born into eternity."
Now the priest rambles about communication,
how kids today don't bring situations to their parents,
and tragedies like these could be prevented
if everyone just opened up at the dinner table
or at least sat together.
I know when to kneel,
when to stand,
waiting for Michael to move his head
so I can catch glimpses of the pretty girl
whose picture has been cropped and enhanced,
blown up into a portrait that looks more watercolor
unlike the flesh and blood
of Jesus Christ o
On Wanting Everything to Be RightYou got too comfortable,
forgot he could make mistakes,
and set your consciousness aside
so he could mend the thoughts
which have remained disordered
in your fumbling sobriety,
despite the years of learning to cope
with the pace of regularity:
scraping the mailbox with his key,
dining out every Sunday,
setting the thermostat to sixty degrees,
and changing despite every effort
to remain apathetic about his plans,
how your name became a constant
in his living equations,
the variable which defined the function.
On the morning you leave,
only your luggage and body will move
through the summer shadows
of oak leaves shaking in a breeze,
and only your barest senses
will know the satisfaction of hearing
his footsteps behind yours,
cicadas composing another song,
a car door slamming shut,
the engine firing up,
though your muscle memory isn't enough
to bring you peace or independence,
money or place or dignity.
When you turn onto Justamere Road,
you'll picture the nightstand
on your side of the
what to do when he doesn't say it backa)
you will give all of yourself to a boy who won't know you at all.
he will recycle your parts, make you stationary, bind you into
paper that he will gift back so you can write poetry about him.
you, too, say i love you quickly.
when he doesn't say it back, evaporate.
he will kiss you in places you didn't know existed.
until him, you were a peasant in your body's palace.
he crowned you princess, broke the lock of your castle's gates.
when he doesn't say it back, load your cannons.
you are a fountain pen.
look him in the eye when you write him letters on your skin.
when he asks to read them, surrender.
you have always been this way: too eager
to make wildflowers bloom inside of him.
when he doesn't say it back, trim the stems.
when he tells you that your eyes remind him of tree bark,
show him that your gaze is sturdier than nature's limbs.
without breaking eye contact, slowly back him into a wall.
when he expresses discomfort,
ask if he knows what choking is like.
being dawnistart late-- come into the world
all screaming face and flailing limbs
and grasping fingers
that hold to the womb, the room
you've lived. welcome a brother
before you have learned what the word
should mean; before you are carried
on the shoulders of another brother;
before you can begin to understand
the responsibility of you. watch yourself,
your existence, tear apart your family--
be the reason she wants him to leave,
be the reason he can't control
himself. be the reason two brothers
don't understand a father's love.
drown. be flailing limbs and stolen breaths
and splashing water and your father's hands
holding you down. when he is bored,
gulp for breath, gulp for air; don't let yourself
remember this for long. drown again, drown
again; each scenario a different prison,
and you, barcoded into bravery you don't feel,
can't breathe. trail a teddybear from loose fingers,
but be a big girl. stumble over words
like daddy and love and no, no, no,
please. fall up stairs instead of down,
GreenwareGod took a pottery class
and could have spun perfect
pots from the store-bought
clay the instructor found half
off with an expired coupon.
He could have thrown slender
vases on a rickety wheel
or molded leather-hard discards
into elegant tea cups.
The glaze on his biscuits
unblistered; His earthenware
free of crackle; no shivering
to be found on His mugs.
God took a pottery class
and made sure every piece was flawed,
and called them perfect.
Darkness vs. LightDarkness creeps so slowly,
I am caught by surprise.
Somehow my world plunges into unending sorrow.
All it takes is a song,
Then I am falling.
Silent screams echo in my ears.
I struggle to find a light bright enough.
Something to fend off the darkness like a sword.
It isn’t fair to face the darkness knowing there is no escape.
I will not die.
Life clings to me against my will.
Where is my other half?
My soul mate?
I don’t want to be alone,
Facing down my demons without a shred of hope.
Shine so brightly I will be drawn to you.
I can’t forget I need to shine.
I just feel as if my light is dimming.
How will you find me if I am swallowed by my darkness?
A spark of hope.
I need a way to defeat my sorrows,
So I can help battle yours.
Just a glimmer of hope?
Endorsed By The Surgeon General.She was like cigarettes.
She took his breath
and filled his lungs with promises
that evaporated like
DustThe picket fence is worn and broke
The swings have turned to dust
The flowers died from all the smoke
This dream is far too much
There's cracks in every sidewalk here
And through them grow the weeds
This beauty just a thin vinear
Atop the lives we lead
There's vines that grow on every sign
Disguising what they say
The bricks have stood the test of time
But every one has greyed
There's not a tire left intact
They've all succumbed to rot
There truly is no going back
Back to the life we sought
In every broken windowpane
I see a broken dream
I walk across this empty lane
It`s splitting at the seam
And so I leave this empty place
That once was full of life
But in the end there's no escape
And no one else in sight
© Jarrett Douglass DeLude
Absent WordsIn no-man's land, I try to herd--
like cattle--all my absent words,
but my pen has a way
of being led astray--
stories caught on the wings of birds.
Tapestry of TimeParting ways is natural.
No one stays close forever.
Love is the stuff of dreams and fairytales.
Friends walk away.
Love takes work.
Life is full of surprises.
Sadness and darkness.
Beautiful light and glimpses of joy.
Forever is a really long time,
But can pass in the blink of an eye.
Life is a beautiful tapestry,
Shimmering with possibilities.
BrokenI tried so hard to put my faith
Into your waiting hands
To let you bear a bit of weight
To help you understand
I gave my trust as if it`s free
And not too hard to earn
I let you past the gates to me
And then the tables turned
Within my walls you tore me up
You chewed and spit me out
And when I fell you kicked and punched
You knocked me all around
And then you left, without a word
No sorry or goodbye
And here I've laid, both bruised and hurt
And still I wonder why
What did I do but give to you
What you had wanted most
Why did you tear my heart in two
And put it on the roast
I heal, but questions burn within
I wish I knew the truth
But in the end I guess you win
I'm broken, just like you
© Jarrett Douglass DeLude
Human NatureWhy do we need to connect to people,
yet are able to have the mindset to
hate almost everyone we meet.
Why do we fall in love with the unattainable.
And get hurt when the concept is fulfilled.
Why can we be surrounded with people,
yet feel so alone.
Why can't we feel happy,
but sad comes naturally.
What is the point,
when our life is not our own.
The writers and readers see meaning,
when they are blind.
The ignorant and disinterested will
not even see this.
And the world goes on.