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.
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.
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
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
the march of the seasonspale doe, summertime:
tree tongues in their thousands
curl upon themselves, sunburnt
edges creak beneath a hot, heavy
downpour - momentary reprieve.
shadow crow, autumntime:
slow fall the leaves of the wood-weeper,
willow tree, who tenderly muses its song, the
silence of a ministry where winged
things take to the skies, bearing carrion
from a faded destiny - begotten.
dappled mare, wintertime:
frost-crust shatters beneath gentle
pressing, reveals puckered purple shoots
of bruised and battered feed - cold
lips caress the susurration.
maple fair, springtime:
while the gentle winds spread themselves, scars
burrow through the earth to delight in the death
of old and birth of new. tattered limbs are reaching,
unfurling soft green tongues - love echoes in the
whispers they drop from on high.
How (not) to transplant a heart.your mail doesn't show up in this old letterbox anymore. when i asked the mailman about it, he shook his shape-shifter face and left me shuddering on our porch.
months later, i am still lying here. summer has come and sunny days beckon the parts of me that are still fused to you, parts that would have indulged in a picnic or a bike-ride a year ago.
spring is too far off and i am wilting beneath the combined weights of summer and the loss of you. the neighbours stare at me and whisper behind the safety of their shutters; and i wonder, will they think to scrape my dried husk off this porch once it is all over?
Dreamscapehis mind was lost in music, played
by the gods: headings
she saw potential energy, and
there was a synergy
it's the last time he'll try for
skies, too pitch black for
it's three a.m. and her sheets
are riddled with pilling, the by-
product of a restless
one has met the other, if
only within a dream.
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
ScabbageCrust clings to skin, puckered edges spreading red
On elbows and knees, shouting out where you’ve been
Raised white lines across wrists indicate attempts
Salvation, damnation, maybe just blissful sleep
Fog rolls in your eyes, bees buzz in your head
You paint the world bright and colorful, sarcastically
Because all you’ve ever known was darkness
And you do like your primary colors to dream in
Walk down the street, head hung low, mumbling
Expecting nothing from the world, and getting it
Knives in your eyes and poison on your tongue
Born to be crucified; who am I to deny you?
Love does not conquer all, not the likes of us
Festering wound souls finding a moment’s solace
Before the wind howls our names again
I am you, you are me; together we are we
Briefly opening the coffin lid to daylight’s touch
You raise your head high for me, and indicate love
Clasping hands, we jump together into the maelstrom
Leaving two hearts carved on an aging tree
in Appleton, Wisconsin, there is a boy named Cael
who dreams of Copenhagen and draws demonic flamingo.
his spine is curled the wrong way from countless years of binding.
his parents do not approve of his gender. he loves them anyway.
in Bay Village, Ohio, there is a girl named Roxy
who sleeps with her eyes open. her dreams climb
up her purple bedroom walls and sprinkle into her hair
as she watches, wide-eyed. she smiles like sunshine.
in Salem, Oregon, there is a boy named Andrew
who writes poetry about the laws of physics.
he is going to college to learn how to be a professional.
he has ramen-noodle hair and soup in his veins.
he told me once that sometimes, love can swallow you.
in Farmington Hills, Michigan, there is a boy named Jordan
with big hands and a smile that makes him look 6 years old.
his favorite word is cumbersome because he likes the way it rolls.
he kisses like a firework and hugs like a fireman.
i look for him in everyone.
in Pawtucket, Rho
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
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,
DaleHear me read it
They will not silence the bells for you.
The roses will not halt their will to wilt
and lilies will disassemble under the earth.
They will not dust Frankincense over cities
and trees will not bow down in grief
willingly donating limbs to become tissues.
But throats will dry out mid-sentence and
black hankerchiefs will be dubbed into pockets.
There will be enough salt to melt the ice
embedded around the hearts of old enemies.
Old enemies will turn friend once more
and the church will be full, packed with love.
The world is unlikely to take a moment's prayer;
Earth spins too fast to pause for any of us.
But the meagre collection of people you touched
(meagréd only by the tear-ridden knowledge
that you would have touched many more in time)
Will ache tonight and whisper of your friendship.
You were and always will be; loved.
AbsenceLifeless inside the void - -
part of me is missing:
Though I died long ago,
the moment I lost you,
your absence kills
the part of me
that's still living.
And I wonder
on cold, gray days
at the ticking of clocks;
they know nothing of time.
I wonder how long now
'till I become
absent like you.
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?
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.
LifePlease grab my hand before I fall
And pull me back to you
I feel I'm slipping after all
Or maybe breaking through
Just take a shot and save a life
Before I'm gone for good
I vow to you I'll hold you tight
The way you know I should
If I should fall I'll die before
I ever hit the ground
And I'm not waiting anymore
I'm drowning, let me out
You have the choice so make it right
And lead me back to shore
Without your hand I lack the fight
Without you I'm no more
© Jarrett Douglass DeLude
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
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
But SometimesSometimes I am not trying
to help you keep on
Sometimes I am tired,
my legs are heavy, and
I just want to wrap my arms
around your neck
and drag you down
(Down, down, down
onto the tangled bed sheets,
so you can drown
But I always
swallow my selfishness
along with my tears,
force my spine
and run no matter
how heavy my legs
Sometimes I pretend
that I am not human
because I love the way
your eyes shine like stars
when you smile
ways you are comparable to coffee (i). you make me tingly all over,
your warmth delicious and comforting.
(ii). one dose of you is enough to keep me going.
(iii). on rainy days and cold days
when no one's home and I'm all alone
there's nothing I'd like more
(iv). you leave a bitter aftertaste—
interesting and terrible
all at once.