I sometimes wish
you would reach across the miles
to somehow smooth over
mountains of wrongdoings
oceans of salty tears
shine sun rays
on the tropical rainforest of my heart
where the colours just haven’t been as bright
since the day you went away
my fingernails once left bloody crescents on my palms
my jaw ached from gritting my teeth until they were broken
your empty promises split my skin like the edges of paper
how much I enjoy sleeping through the night now
wish I could hold your hand and giggle once more
wind up at the bottom of another coffee pot together
whisper secrets and promises anew
while writing poems about ghosts that linger in the shadows
wish that I was still the one you turned to at 4 AM
wind up choking when I hear your voice
whisper your name to remember the taste of it in my mouth
while writing poems about a love that never made sense to me
pretend that I never happened
only speak my name as a curse
only look my way when time stands still
only hope to keep me broken-hearted
like a child.
But friendships are not like playgrounds
and long after the bell rings
you are going to remember me
if only to sing yourself to sleep
if only to hold yourself when you are lonely
if only to remind yourself of a time when you had a home
I remember your name when I light my Shabbos candles
because no matter what, I still pray that you are blessed
I may not be able to look at the pictures yet
but the memories are never far from my mind
I will always look for you in a crowded room
I will always answer the phone when you call.
My heart will always be full of you.
I will see you in another lifetime
where our history together will be as light as butterfly wings
and we will be together again.
This work, “Afternoon Thoughts” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
They say that when someone’s been stabbed
it’s safest to leave the knife blade in the wound.
The weapon acts as a plug to keep blood in the body,
and additional organ damage can be caused by pulling out the sharp edge.
In the movies, the hero pours whisky on his own pierced flesh,
grimacing as the alcohol stings his slash marks –
makeshift antibiotics for his barely-there medical care.
Hypovolemic shock never sets in before the bad guys are brought to justice.
I’ve been staggering around with a knife stuck inside my body.
Even though my muscles have stopped trying to force the foreign object out,
and my skin has grown over the place where the blade entered me,
I can never forget the feeling of being punctured.
There’s a tourniquet around my heart, Baby,
But I’m still bleeding out over you.
I pour bourbon down my throat but it doesn’t heal the nerve damage.
I think this time the bad guys just might win.
This work, “There’s A Country & Western Song in Here Somewhere” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
The juicy sound of the cat barfing
raises the hairs on my neck before I even open my eyelids.
I check the sheets for menstrual blood stains as I make the bed
and then my piss splashes in the toilet bowl like a golden tsunami.
The sting of peppermint toothpaste attacks my senses
while I brush and spit the remains of a restless night into the sink.
There is nothing delicate about morning.
The scent of freshly ground coffee beans
competes with the fragrance of the freshly used litterbox,
and the milk has gone as sour as my love life.
Yesterday’s dishes are piled in the sink.
Yesterday’s ashtray is overflowing.
Yesterday’s used condom sits in the wastepaper basket,
and I’ve been wearing the same nightgown since Tuesday.
There is nothing more revealing than the bright light of morning.
In the steaming shower, soap bubbles trail between my legs,
while I lean my forehead against the cool tiles.
My muscles are like fists,
unclenching one by one,
And I think for a moment, of
golden bars of sunlight streaming through the cracks in the curtains…
…and I think of morning.
There’s nothing quite like the dawn of a new day.
image by King of Wallpapers.
This work, “Morning Song” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
You never washed the dishes properly.
You would put plates in the cupboard that were smeared with food.
You would place forks in the drawer crusted with old condiments.
I would pour my coffee into mugs that would taste like sour milk and dish soap
While trying to organize the pots and pans you shoved into the places they didn’t belong.
Now, my kitchen is clean.
Bowls are stacked according to size.
Spoons are nested together in an orderly fashion.
Everything has its place,
-even you –
It’s just that it’s no longer in my life.
This work, “Kitchen Wisdom” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
“…and the flowers she planted, narcissus and hoa mai which cracked open each spring – the sky, she brought it low, until the air was hot and wet and broke into a rain…” – Cathy Linh Che, “My Mother Upon Hearing News of Her Mother’s Death” from Split, Alice James Books, 2014.
Don’t go there,
Where the hoa mai blaze like a fever
Near the riverbanks where her collection of sun-bleached bones glisten in the rain.
It’s beautiful, but dangerous
Where the narcissus bloom
Amidst rusted tin cans in overgrown cul-de-sacs.
She brings the sky low,
Makes it heavy and hot like breath,
Speaks to me ancient languages of pollen and nectar
Using cyclamen lips and a tongue like a tuber cracked open in spring.
Her belly rolls like distant thunder during her sudden summer sizzles
It’s beautiful, but dangerous there
Where the trout lilies riot in silence,
Near the creekbeds where her hair weaves into bulrushes,
Amidst blown tires scattered down endless highways.
And the flowers she planted…
And the flowers she planted…
This work, “Beautiful Yet Dangerous” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
On a Christmas day without snow,
the white, generously- bellied moon shone in an India-ink sky,
pouring incandescent light through your truck’s windows,
dancing off your mirrors until your chocolate eyes held diamonds.
The seat captured the cold night air and pressed through your clothes,
drying the sweat that glided down the winding roads of your body.
Your hands, still covered in the sweet resin of trees,
left the wheel only to turn up the volume on the radio
as you hummed along to the corn-kissed whine of Southern pedal steel.
The road stretched wide and endless before you,
and in that moment of possibility,
you thought of me.
Image taken from Pinterest
This work, “On a Christmas Day Without Snow” by Beth Murch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
“You’re so lucky,” they say. “The words come so easily to you.”
This poem took me three days to write
and I carved out my insides with a pen like a serrated spoon attacks a grapefruit.
The hopscotch jump from bottle to cigarette to coffee to knife drawer…
My every sentence a secret suicide note written in the blood type of ink.
Pushing past the hunger in my belly that punches me like a fist,
Convincing myself that if I can only keep writing the desire to eat will fade,
The fear of poverty will evaporate,
That the Universe will move so that my rent will get paid
Just this month…just this month…just this month…
Words don’t just “come” to me like a sheepdog bounding towards his human companion –
They are chipped away from each of my bones like ice from a wedding sculpture,
Melting before I can even hold them in my mouth.
Poems do not arrive with grace:
I pull them from me with tweezers and rubbing alcohol like splinters from infected flesh.
When I stand before you with a piece in hand,
I am more propped up than a corpse in a Victorian memento mori photograph,
I’m leaning on a bewildering sense of self-satisfaction that comes from stringing sentences together like patio lanterns.
It’s easy not to write another poem.
It’s easy to believe that the new poem will never be as great as the last poem.
It’s easy to believe that words are like bombs and that poems are PTSD flashbacks.
It’s easy to believe that no one reads what you put down on the page and that you will be forgotten.
But the words…
The way the words come…
The way my thoughts manifest into lines for you to read…
Those are anything but
Image by Mr Fox Composting
This work, “Easy” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.