Category Archives: Sad Poems

Feast and Famine

 

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                     Feast and Famine

 

More is less,
I have heard.
I take another bite of chocolate,
starting more of me.
I keep getting fatter,
tasting delicious
love in my cheeks,
on my tongue.

It nibbles at my teeth.
My dental bills send my dentist to Singapore.
I floss more between my teeth.
I don’t listen
when other people discuss their diets.

It is painful
filling cavities with food.
It gets hard to sit in theaters,
my stomach pressing against my chest.
People ask if I am pregnant.
I say yes.
I am giving birth to more of me.

Meanwhile, I’m a good listener.
People eat my ears up,
take big chunks of them.
I can grow more.
Right now,
this third croissant
is going to my ear.
The next will grow me
more tongue, bigger lips.
When you notice and inquire,
I’m going to tell you stories
that will wind around your skinny waist
like snakes or punk belts,
coil over coil.

This mouth has blistered
in the sun of Africa
in countries now starving.
Well, they were even starving then.
And children sat very close
and learned the words I pointed to.
In the market,
women taught the words
that my mouth needed
to buy their goods.
This is what I bought
in Bati market
on those three hills
where the desert caravans
would wind,
where the high black breasts jutted,
where the scarred faces sought beauty.

In the red dryness,
I bought a silver beaded marriage necklace for myself.
An old woman offered it.
I thought she had done with it, it was such a bargain.
Years later, looking through my photographs,
I saw my necklace on the neck of a young girl––
her bride price purchased for ten dollars.
I never wear it.
It is so beautiful
and I
am growing larger
to feel more ashamed.


I bought also:

lemons, string and wooden beads,
embroidered strips to make a belt of,
Lalibela crosses out of brass,
Shawls as thin as gauze,
a bride dress to be packed away,
camel dung chips for my fire.

On the dead television
in the other room,
some nights they show worlds
that are not strange to me.

Things haven’t changed that much,
 though fewer die now than back then.
I’m not insensitive. I send money
I send money
I send money
but it’s never enough.
What I want to send back
is the necklace.

Too late. That young girl is dead,
buried in a woman forty years older.
I eat for her grandchildren.
I imagine their bellies
swelling with the food I eat for them.
I can hardly ever eat enough.

 

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Picture taken at Bati Market, Ethiopia, 1973

 

For the dVerse Poets challengeto write about some hidden part of ourselves–something we would ordinarily not talk about.

Ashes

Ashes

A handful of memories, discounted by time.
Five for a nickel and ten for a dime.
Burned down to ashes, their bodies erased
along with the dreams they achieved or they chased.

How we incorporate thoughts of the past
into our lives may alter and cast
the present in molds that are better off shattered.
Better new memories than those aged and tattered.

Life is for living, so best throw away
corpses of the past that get in the way.
Living is glorious, but it’s not portable.
By merely living, we become deportable.

Thoughts hoarded in dreams should dissolve in the day.
Think too much of the past and it gets in the way.
As hard as it is, it seems that we must
render ashes to ashes, return dust to dust.

 

Prompt words for today are ash, portable, glorious, incorporate and erase.

Falling Star

 

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photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash. 

Falling Star

We saw her in the movies. Her name was in the news.
This pulchritudinous starlet was hogging all the views
on youtube and on other social media sites—
the drinking and missed call times, the drugs and barroom fights.
Until America’s darling became a laughing stock—
a harried aging party girl for tabloids to mock.
Another crumbling idol turned to dust by fame.
Another aging loser of the movie game.

Today’s Word Prompts: news, pulchritudinous.

The Memento

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The Memento

Yes, I received your letter and the enmity enclosed.
And yes, it has accomplished what you probably supposed.
I here enclose your photograph. I have no further need of it.
If I want to end the grieving, I must dispose of the seed of it.

I’m burning all your letters and crumbling your dried roses,
disposing of your paintings of me in different poses.
I’m in need of no mementos to bring you back again.
I need no souvenirs to remember all the pain.

These ashes are the lovelock you asked me for that night.
I found it in your pillowcase the morning of our fight.
Its cremated remains were easiest to send.
They are so easily scattered to signify our end.

The prompt words today are letter, enmity, photograph and accomplish.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/01/11/rdp-friday-letter/
https://fivedotoh.com/2019/01/11/fowc-with-fandango-enmity/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/01/11/your-daily-word-prompt-photograph-january-11-2019/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/01/11/accomplish/

Dead Possum

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Dead Possum

A rude surprise,
it lay like breakfast rejected
on the patio outside the dogs’ sleeping room.

The dogs were restless this morning,
barking for their kibble,
unwilling to follow the rules
that decreed paws known all too well
as lethal weapons needed to be contained,
the dogs in their open cages before I’d venture out to feed.
But some wildness recently sated
drove them to assault the door
and refuse repeated demands to
go to their beds.
They staged their impatient war dance,
telling with growls and claws
the tale of the hunt—
That won battle.

I lock them in their cages
and, order restored, I dish their meals
and free them to their feed.
I walk behind them to secure the sliding glass door,
gather dust pan and broom, plastic pail.
Their quarry too large to fit, let alone be lofted
by a dust pan, I grasp the tail and lower the possum
like a colossal tea bag for a dipping,
into the wash bucket,
walk the long path down to the lower wall,
heft it over into deep underbrush
of the vacant lot next door.

I own that land.
It has been the burial place
of sixteen generations of those possums
too slow for escape,
with teeth and claws insufficient for defense––
every one a battle won
by the dogs
and each one equally mourned––
their wild ferocity not enough
to best even dogs seemingly grown docile
until these night battles
gone unnoticed in my dreams
are brought to view in light of day.

The possum’s fur wet and matted but only slightly torn,
every time I hopefully delude myself
that perhaps it’s playing witness to its name
and only playing possum.
Optimistically, I don heavy gloves and winter coat,
ready for the struggle as I try to save
what an adult part of me knows
no longer is in need of saving.

Each corpse ironically made heavier by loss of life,
that dead weight of it
is echoed in a central part of me
as I try to lift with reverence
this newest evidence
that most of life
and all of death
is out of our control.

Burning Your Journals

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Burning your Journals

Who knew fidelity’s even stance
could be mitigated by circumstance?
That a subtle smile, perchance,
exchanged between you at her advance
would wind up in a swift romance
that flourished in that small expanse
between us and her winsome glance.

Who knew that you would go freelance
when love became our ritual dance?
And that I, still in loving’s trance,
would only learn it later, by chance.
Reading your words, caught twice askance.
First by your death, then grief enhanced
as I suffered loss anew
with this further death of you.

 

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The prompt word today was trance.

Against the grain

 

 

Against the Grain

On those days when constant rain
spits against my window pane
with droplets forming into chains
and rushing down like liquid trains,
I try to keep my thoughts in rein
to guard against the certain pain
of remembering one who was the bane
of my existence. So I fein
a cheerfulness that is inane.
Attempts at humor that in the main
go against sincerity’s grain
are voiced in vain.
They do not light a shrouded brain.
They do not stop the constant rain.

The prompt today is grainy.