Tag Archives: Sadness

Under A Bushel


They say love is a light:
To let it shine, let it shine, let it shine,
But the bulb in my kitchen has been burnt out for a week now,
And my apartment is sitting in half-darkness most of the time.
I spend my days writing poems that no one will read,
Waiting for a phone call that never happens,
Creating origami flowers from letters that never come.
I’m hungry for something other than potatoes and rice,
The ache inside me like a sinkhole –
Swallowing up people, places, and things
As if nouns could ever satisfy the longing.
This kind of sadness requires adjectives.


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This work, “Under A Bushel” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


There’s A Country & Western Song In Here Somewhere


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.

bloody-yellow-melon-killed-by-knife-wound-with-blood-metaphor-stock-photo Stock Photo.

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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.

That Trick With The Cherry Stem


Even if you learn that trick with the cherry stem,
they won’t stay.
Your lovers will evaporate like water in a kettle boiled dry,
before the coffee is pressed,
before you are dressed,
because your mouth is a graveyard of kisses.
Other people’s teeth and tongues
pass between your stained lips to die.
Sighs of desire, of lies, of satisfaction, of lies, of promises, of lies
float like ocean debris on your saliva.
They don’t say your name because they don’t know who you are.
You don’t hear your name because you don’t know who you are.
Your bed is a container for the carcasses of caresses gone by,
the sheets are a museum displaying the ancient burial techniques of a lonely womyn:
hopes mummified in cotton, perfumed with stale cigarette smoke, sprinkled with cracker crumbs, matted in cat fur.
A night with you is more funerary rite than passion.
A knotted cherry stem is only a headstone in a place people are afraid to linger.



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This work, “That Trick With The Cherry Stem” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

The Darkness


“Yes. Yes. Yes. I hear. Your silence is loud.” – Anne Sexton, A Portrait in Letters

My arms only stretch so far.
I have popped them out of their sockets to keep reaching for you,
Hoping that if I try a little harder my fingertips might actually brush yours
And I might be able to pull you out of the darkness.

Sometimes, I think you prefer to stay in the darkness.

I have carved off pieces of my heart and laid them at the altar of your friendship.
I have fasted to become pure for you,
I have tithed to become holy for you,
I have spoken your name like a prayer.
You hide your face with your hands in order to blot out my existence with the darkness.

Sometimes, I think you prefer to stay in the darkness.

I have been calling to you for weeks now,
But my voice only bounces back to me off the cliffs of your concrete spine.
You refuse to turn around, refuse to hear me, refuse to answer back.
This is how you remind me of what my worth really is to you.
I am only another shadow in your room full of darkness.

Sometimes, I think you prefer to stay in the darkness.

Love is a ridiculous emotion.
It keeps me ripping the cartilage in my arms
As I keep stretching into the abyss,
Hoping to find you somewhere out there,
Reaching out to me,
Taking hold of my hand,
Speaking words of kindness,
Instead of pulling me into a darkness of my own.

Sometimes, I think I prefer to stay in the darkness.

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This work, “The Darkness” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

~ 4 AM ~


~4 AM ~

I’m not reading C.R. Avery in the bathtub,
Prostate-exam deep into the middle of the night,
Chainsmoking Djarum Specials because I am depressed.
Really, I’m a big mama burlesque queen holding court in Bubble Kingdom.
Some birds wash for the hell of it.

~ 4 AM ~

I left my heart and my phone charger in Vancouver.
I miss one more than the other.
The mountains were the headboard to our bed,
And the ocean was the wet spot on our sheets.
I really wish I remembered my phone charger.

~ 4 AM ~

There is a piece of mail that I never open.
That last Christmas card you sent me
Sits on top of my stereo between the case for Erykah Badu’s Live
And some seashells from a vacation I never went on.
It’s getting harder to remember the sound of your laughter.

~ 4 AM ~

It scares me that when I die,
No one will notice that I am gone.
Everything that I ever loved will end up in a dumpster.
Flowers will grow through my ribcage.
Tree roots will crack through my pelvis.

~ 4 AM ~

He told everyone that I was too sad.
I didn’t have his cocaine to rub into my love to make my heart numb.
I had confessed I had a fear of abandonment.
He said he would never leave, and it is true.
I still find bits of his lies wherever I go.

~ 4 AM ~

I’ve stopped writing love poems for people who don’t appreciate them.
Instead, in red lipstick on cocktail napkins,
I write “if you park on my street after 2 AM, you will get a ticket.”
It’s not romantic, but neither is a $30 fine at 4 AM.
And let’s face it: nobody is staying for my complementary continental breakfast.

~ 4 AM ~

Dried umbilical cords, resin, old teeth, feathers, and herbs.
Prayers, spells, chants, incantations, dirges, and degrees.
Psalmistry and palmistry.
Someone once asked if I was a good witch or a bad witch.
I said if they ever figured it out to let me know.

~ 4 AM ~

She writes me notes saying that she hopes that I am okay.
I don’t know how to tell her that at 4 AM,
Nothing is okay.
The only thing to look forward to is the contused eye of night
Finally fading into the orange-green bruise of dawn.


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This work, “~4 AM~” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Black Light Beauty


The important thing is not to leave a trace.

I empty the ashtray,
Clean the pipe,
Rinse out the wine glasses.

We touch, but leave no fingerprints.
Our kisses drift off our lips like stray eyelashes in warm, summer breezes.
You always leave after soaping me off your face and hands because I am the scene of your crime,
Your black light beauty,
The reason you flip the mattress and sleep in a t-shirt.

I burn cedar and sage,
Dump out the trash can,
Push bleach around the floor with a mop.

My apartment is tidy,
If you don’t look too closely.
My heart is pure,
Except for the gun powder burns.

It is as if we are never inside each others’ bodies,
Except for the DNA residue.
It takes forensic serology to place us together.

The important thing is not to leave a trace.

forensic evidence

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This work, “Black Light Beauty” by Beth  is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Stable As Eggs Served Over Easy


You set yourself on fire for people who are only too happy to watch you burn.
They dance hand-in-hand around your pyre singing horrible top 40 hits,
Celebrating with margaritas,
While you watch your body melt like wax,
And wonder why no one cares that you are starting to feel the heat.

Your hands are bloody with abrasions as the old woody rope you tie to friends in hopes of keeping them connected to you
Unravels so quickly between your fists that it smokes with heat.
A great white shark will struggle for its life while caught on a hook, smashing everything around it in the attempt to break free,
But you expect humans to behave so differently.

You live in a glass house so you know exactly who throws stones and how well their aim is,
So why are you so surprised when you find cracks under the eaves
And ragged holes with jagged teeth along the walls?
Car crashes always occur in slow motion, even when someone is speeding,
And yet, you never learn to get out of the way.

Nobody but you wears their heart on their sleeve as a fashion statement.
Ventricles are so last season
And love may be grand, but it is covered in blood.
You should spend less time concerned with pathogens and more time learning to keep your organs on the inside of your skin.

You are as stable as eggs served over easy,
The yolks of your eyes always on the verge of spilling out,
Getting feelings all over the plate, dripping them onto the table,
Knocking over water glasses as you try to mop them up with the hem of your skirt.
No one wants to eat with you because you are a mess.
Maybe if you learned some bloody table manners, someone would actually want to split dessert with you
Instead of running away and leaving you with the bill.

Some people know how to love appropriately.
They recognize wolves playing dress-up with cashmere.
They portion out their affection according to the calorie chart on the back of the box.
They don’t pray over strange babies or make up songs for their cats.
They don’t need anyone to stick around or to take care of them.
You have no concept of how to love appropriately.
Your expressions of love are the equivalent of broken heels on shoes, runs in stockings, lipstick on teeth, and stray M&Ms melting in the cups of your bra.
You love like the cloud of fragrance in a department store cosmetic aisle: too much, too strong, too migraine-inducing, too asthma-attacky.
You can’t tell the difference between predators and lambs, and you would probably still fight to give the wolf the benefit of the doubt even while you were halfway down his throat.
You think if you perfect your buttercream frosting recipe that you will heal the world.
You think if you hug someone hard enough they will just stop resisting, surrender, and stay forever.

In 2013, Walt Disney released a musical movie called “Frozen” with the breakout hit song, “Let It Go”.
For three years, you have heard this children’s anthem at nearly every home, every coffee shop, and every karaoke party,
But you still haven’t realized that the words won’t change into “Don’t Let Go” even if you shout them really loudly,
Because you are still hoping that someone will come build a snowman with you,
Because you still wish upon stars,
Because you still think there are pots of gold at the end of the rainbow.

When will you learn that growing up means no longer needing to hold hands,
And that love, much like most fast food, should never really be supersized?
People are going to leave you.
People will not want your love.
This is called “reality”.

Maybe it is time to go on a diet – a love diet.
Maybe I need to stop being an all-you-can-eat buffet of emotions,
And more like one of those microwave Lean Cuisines.


heart-shaped egg
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Creative Commons License
This work, “Stable As Eggs Served Over Easy” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.