how could i not know?

facebook told me it’s your birthday today
and so i quickly typed out a post to wish you
a fantastic day
but something told me to check your page first
where i found out you died fourteen months ago
and my bubble burst
how could i not know that you’ve been gone all this time
all while planning to see you again and say hello
just like the good old days…
how could i not know?

you were only forty-five, brin, way too young to go
i can still remember you telling me to stop driving
that little car while i was pregnant
oh the things you knew that i did not know
yet you trusted me all those years, too
how we laughed at the stories we both told
as we spent those afternoons believing
life had so much to offer us
as we’d both grow old
with our vices and our sins…
how could i not know?

It Was The First Time…

It was the first time
but it wouldn’t be the last
that she’d watch him leave her
and become a figment of her past.

He’ll be back in many guises,
a friend, a lover, a son –
each of them taking a page from her past,
each one of them soon to be gone.

Daily Post – Opening Line

Forty-Eight Hours

Forty-eight hours since you took your own life
and everyone’s struggling to pick up the pieces,
trying to figure out where they went wrong
hoping the pain burrowing deeper inside them decreases,
even as your friends back at school
talk about you now in the past tense,
did you find the peace you were searching for
when the demons finally breached your last defense?

To Kathryn

books

“When a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.”
Mik Everett

I guess when someone you love dies naturally
everything just slows down –
today her heart rate slowed, her breathing stopped
and just like that, she was gone

but in my heart she’ll live on forever
even immortalized on the page
I just can’t help it for she was always there for me
the sweetest woman, a gentle sage

and in all my books, I always see her
sometimes unintentionally
but she lived such a life, and without fear
that writing her in just comes naturally

and as imperfect as my stories are
typos still left unnoticed on the page
it doesn’t matter now, not anymore
she’ll live forever; she’ll never age

 

Old Books

sometimes I look through old books
for fragments of my past
an airline ticket maybe
something that was never meant to last

maybe half of an old greeting card
I’d cut to remind me of you
of the many ways you told me you loved me
and just how much I meant to you

or maybe a dried pink flower
picked up on a lonely walk
that day you said we would last forever
oh, how you assured me it wasn’t just talk

or maybe a short note
written on the back of a theater stub
‘sorry i can’t make it, babe, gotta work,’
just before everything we had blew up

so I close those old books forever
no point in dredging up the tears
not when my life turned out so much better
than the life I had with you all those years

 

Liz Madrid © 2015

So Much To Say

For the first time in a long time
I thought of you today
the second of my two fathers
there is so much I want to say –

you were the first man to believe in me
not because you wanted something back,
you stood by me when no one else did
even if it made you different from the pack

Even when you’d be ostracized,
set aside, and ignored
you stood by me no matter what,
even when there was no reward

And when I left, it was so sudden
I never really said good-bye
I always thought I’d see you again
I never thought that you’d die

The wind rustled the leaves outside
the day you breathed your last
though I was a thousand miles away from  you
it was your whisper of the past

of the days we danced to Broadway songs,
tuning that shortwave radio
to listen to a recipe about cookies
even when there was barely any audio

but we laughed through the static
we laughed with real smiles
you gave me my first real hug
you made so many things worthwhile

like that bond between stepfather and daughter
even if it came just a bit late,
but you arrived just in time
before bitterness would have turned to hate

I don’t really know why
I thought of you today,
but it was time that I did
for there was so much I wanted to say.

Daily Prompt: Losing You

Unexpectedly, you lose your job. (Or a loved one. Or something or someone important to you.) What do you do next?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us LOSS.

Distance tempered the loss, but it’s there
Lingering still in the shadows
Too many words unspoken,
old promises broken
What’s left to do now?
You’re gone. Too late
to call you
to come
home.

15/365

Nonet: A nonet is a type of poem which has nine lines, with the first line having 9 syllables, the second 8 syllables, the third 7 until the ninth line has only one. Some nonets may also have an iambic meter (stress on every other syllable).

Daily Prompt

Daily Prompt: Outside Looking In

Tell us about the experience of being outside, looking in — however you’d like to interpret that.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us OUTSIDE.

p_solarized

The thing about Daily Prompts that I discovered last year, is that they often feel like a knife that’s set to slice open one layer of me at a time.  Sometimes it comes out in poetry, like nonets, that don’t seem to say much because they’re meant to cover up more than they’re meant to reveal, and sometimes they’re prose, like this one, that’s meant to slice open an artery that’s been clogged up for so long with junk from the past, and left to bleed out till there’s nothing left.

When my father died last year, it was a quiet affair.  None of us went home to bury him, and though we weren’t there for the hasty memorial set up by his estranged second wife, we accidentally witnessed the filming of his body being pushed into the crematory oven, because someone posted it on Facebook without any privacy settings set up.

And through that glass that separated the crematory attendants from the friends and family I barely knew, I realized just what an outsider I was in my father’s life. An outsider when he was alive, and an outsider when he was dead.

I was always considered his favorite because I was the only girl, and they said he doted on me.  And maybe he did.  But when I was five, my parents separated and after that, I only saw him for one or two days at a time every Christmas and the two summers we spent with him and my stepmother.  He was always the busy businessman, taking care of everyone who came to him for help, giving them jobs, and money for food, and paying for their children’s education.  I adored him, and I loved him more than anything.

Then one day when I was about ten or eleven, I heard one of my friends talking about her father.  She talked about the piggy back rides he gave her, the hugs, the kisses – the constant presence of a father in a girl’s life.  But what stood out to me that day were those three words:  piggy back rides.

At that time, a father to me was a man who lived too far away, whose telegrams told me, ‘Wishing I was there for your birthday STOP love Daddy STOP,’ and whose voice I often swore I heard coming from the other side of the confessional box at the church – and the only reason I’d actually go to confession.  He was the man who handed out five crisp one-hundred peso bills when a hundred would have done nicely to a child, and whose visits later on would signal to friends that we were all about to have a grand time.

But piggy back rides….damn.

There were none of those things in my life then, and none to come.  But it represented the father who was never there,  one whom I believed should have been there for me when I needed someone to talk to, or someone to tell me that he still loved me, regardless of what I believed I must have done to cause his and my mother’s separation, and many other ills that often beset a young girl going through puberty surrounded by pedophiles masked as father figures so eager to listen because they know that no one is listening.  I know it’s a harsh thing to say, but this is what comes out of me, when unfiltered by false poetry.

So when the memorial was held, I saw one or two pictures that flashed onto the screen and none of them, I remember now, were of anything familiar to us.  There were children there, yes – but none of them were of us.  Or even of me, his favorite.

So even in death, I was still outside looking in, a daughter seeking for her father within.

Daily Prompt