Hat

 You were wearing this hat that made you look like a kid.

Your car keys hung round your neck on a child’s lanyard.

It was dark and you stood with one black boot

pointed at the door, telling me that you were going and

don’t worry and you’d be back, later.

It’s raining I said.

No you told me.

It’s only wet.

Please I said.

What you asked.

Drive slow I answered.

Willing myself not to make a big deal

because we had been getting along so well.

You laughed and rolled your brown eyes.

The door slammed and I never got to say,

“I love you,” and the whole night,

I knew it would never be the same again.

The Poetry of Harriet the Spy

I write often about grief and loss but today looking through quotes from one of my favorite books, Louise Fitzhugh’s 1964 classic, Harriet the Spy, I noticed some of the most beautiful poetry throughout. Here is something I wanted to share:

“WHEN SOMEBODY GOES AWAY THERE’S THINGS YOU WANT TO TELL THEM. WHEN SOMEBODY DIES MAYBE THAT’S THE WORST THING. YOU WANT TO TELL THEM THINGS THAT HAPPEN AFTER.” 
— Louise Fitzhugh (Harriet the Spy (Harriet the Spy #1)

I think maybe every writer should ready Harriet the Spy at least once, or maybe ten or a hundred times. 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/232576.Harriet_the_Spy

 

 

Reseda

Between the broccoli and the curry

comes the flash and disappearance.

Then the wondering, what’s next?

The screams, like a tsunami’s wail just out of sight.

The pain, better, when it comes,  has bright hard dimensions

like a gutted swimming pool.

All I have to do is climb  this side to that.

It’s not like the waiting, which is forever.

 

There are stains on the carpet and I can’t remember why.

It’s bothering me now and I don’t know about that either.

The stains are black but less black than other

things. Maybe that’s it.

 

You say he packed his suitcase and he won’t be back. 

My brother and I  huddle at the table and cry. Not because

he’ll stay away. He won’t.

Because we are supposed to do something but

we don’t know what.

 

Later I will try to write a poem. Many times and

I won’t because I love you.

But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Coming of Age in the City of Angels

Once I cried
but now I don’t.
Once I hurt
But now I won’t.

Time I gave
But now I take.
Once I loved
but now I hate.

I told them no
They call me bad.
I told them yes
They call me mad.

Built a wall of stars
So full of shame
To keep me out
Cause I’m to blame.

But I’m coming back
They don’t know when
Three to five I’m
out the penn

I never played
and now I will.

I never lived
and now I kill.

2014

Scissors

A laugh with the boys
Ribs getting a poke
A run round the place
She can’t take a joke

He always said
He don’t like short hair
Why the hell would she cut it
She’s puttin on airs

His words she keep saying
do nothin’ but cut
like a serrated scissors
just tear up her gut

A night on the town
A punch in the eye
A belly full of rum
ten or twelve lies

He touches her hand
She pulls it back through
The filthy brown glass
of the Ford ’92

His words she keep saying
do nothin’ but cut
like a serrated scissors
just tear up her gut

“You aint leaving” he screams
through the passenger side
and he pounds on the hood
Till there’s blood on the drive

“I aint scared” she screams back
looking up at the sky
Prays theres a God
to cover her lie.

His words she keep saying
do nothin’ but cut
like a serrated scissors
just tear up her gut

“Please” he is begging
in a quieter tone
“I can’t do it myself
I can’t do it alone.”

Now she is tired
No words left to say,
Sadly she smiles
and just drives away.

And all that he said
did nothing but cut
like a serrated scissors
aimed straight at his gut.

Blood from old wounds
stains Valentine red.
With her hand on his heart
He’ll soon lay down dead.