Posts Tagged ‘life’

copyright Gay Harper
It seems that,
with every death,
I lose a part of me.

There’s very little left,
now,
of who I used to be and

this person
I’m becoming
isn’t able to see

the person
who I was then or
treasured memories.

Locked in this head
are places to which
I no longer have the key

My identity
must have drained out
with the last bag of my IV.

A hollow shell;
mask on tight,
I still resemble me.

The me
I used to know.
The me
I used to be.

Cringing white,
terrified,
I anticipate
the swift slap
of ink & metal

just before
the key
strikes,

crushing into
my thin, blank chest

a mark
that will be here
forever.

Fire Engine Red

Posted: July 11, 2012 in My Poetry
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Raining ash
for forty days.
Everything’s on fire and
you, with your small words
like “god” and “hope”,
beg to be burnt
to a cinder.

Smoky skies;
days dark with
spent embers from
mountains blazing
with raw fury;
anger,
a question,
answered in flame.

Even futility
is useless
against this towering rage.
The world is aflame.

Hope,
like love,
is a dirty word.
It gives you faith in
nothing and

you, with your petty dreams,
small words
bleeding dry to white spit,
at the corners
of your parched mouth,
are insignificant.

In the face of nature’s wrath.
you are nothing.
No one.

Your words
are sounds
coughed up by
dying animals.

Everyone protests
that last, great
blast of
life.

My Father’s Ghost

Posted: January 24, 2012 in My Poetry
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I dreamed I saw your ghost last night.
You seemed to have lost your head.

I followed your gaunt shuffle,
waiting for a sign;
some reason you’d come back

but you wandered, headless,
down the hallway
turned a corner and were gone.

You’d gone into your office,
so I went there too.

You weren’t there, just
your books, the newest published
a month after your death.

So many things you cared about
with passionate intensity.

The publisher asked
what we wanted done with the royalties.

Of course, they’ll fund your scholarship for
botany students with promise:
your namesake and your baby.
Plants were your only true love.

I guess you’ll live on
in leaves of various kinds.

Leafing through the pages, now
I feel your quiet presence.

You don’t want to hear
the truth
so you kill the messenger.
Block out anything
unpleasant to your ears.

Does it work for you,
this way of not dealing with
your fear?

Growing piles of dead friends
littering your past,
your present, your future.

You can’t see them;
eyes closed tight as
you swing the blade.

Red rains down in
clotting gore

stains you and
everyone near you
painful crimson-black.

There are other ways
to cope with loss,
instead of ruthless slaughter.

Hate
yourself.
Hate everyone.

Truth won’t stop for you.

Like cold wind,
it will find you.

No matter where you hide.
No matter who you kill.

Grief is
an uphill climb in sand
with no oasis in sight

Hot wind erases footprints
as if you came from nowhere.
No path to show the way.

This journey is taken alone.

Unable to find your bearings;
Maps become senseless
when blinded by harsh light.

Stumble through a world
where nothing ever changes and
everything looks the same.

Perhaps it is the same and
you’ve been walking in circles
like a dog chasing its tail.

There is no past –
not anymore.
Memories are unwelcome.
They make people nervous.

Death is so uncivilized
especially suicide.

My sister says she misses you.
I wish I could agree.

I don’t miss you.
I hardly knew you –
at least any “you” I liked or respected.

To me, you were The Bogeyman;
origin of my self-loathing.
I’m relieved that you are gone,
happy that you’re dead.

Not because
I hate you, though, and
I thank God for that.

All those nights, alone with you –
You could have been my victim too,
a bitter role-reversal.
But I made a different choice.

I rubbed your back, held your hand,
changed your bedding, clothes and diapers.
I loved you when you were helpless,
because you couldn’t love me when I was.

When you died,
I was happy that you’d escaped the pain,
free from that worn-out body.

I too, was freed:
released from a lifetime
of hate and fear;
your whipping post, no longer.

We went our separate ways,
finally at peace.
Who could ask for more?

Then why do I feel so envious
that my sister had something to miss?

That darker dawn is coming.
The light of remembered lies;
lies I was told, lies I told
to protect my innocence.

It’s gone anyway,
shattered in a hundred
different ways.

I hide in the shadowed warmth
of the old bathtub,
shower curtain half drawn
to keep out the light,
the eyes.

The lavender curtain
turns skin to bruised petals,
soft and wet,
as if from spring rain.

The faucet drips constantly,
accompanying pain.

Nothing will wash this away.

Between a breath and

the one that never follows,

you slip away;

crippled body left behind

like leaves dropped after a storm.

Forgotten, unnecessary –

marking the end of a season.

The monitor
picks up
my father’s breathing,
the occasional moan, a cough,
some swearing.

Dying is not easy.
It’s hard on him.
It’s hard on us.

Watch him wither
like a flower, cut;

first drooping,
now drying out –
becoming something else.

He wavers
in and out
of focus
like a star
too dim to clearly see.

Muttered halves
of conversations
held with people
invisible to me.

I wonder what he sees
when his eyes
turn blank
to this world.

He comes back,
eventually.
Asks for a cola,
maybe ice cream.

The simple pleasures
of childhood.

Then he turns,
curls back to that place
of lucid dreaming.
Eyes open,
but unfocused.

Like a brittle husk,
he’s mummifying
while I watch,
helpless
to stop the process.

I wouldn’t if I could.
He wants what he sees
when his eyes dim
to this world.

It must be something
good.