the artist is gone, part II

the artist is gone, part II

a year since my grandmother’s passing

these mercenary words cannot hold

all of the feelings that I contain about this date

they do not carry the weight of my grandfather’s tears

my brother’s sobs.

they cannot hold all of my guilt and grief,

the lifting of a great burden off of my father’s face.

The artist is gone,

but I know what she would think about the mercenary words

that I repeatedly have to sputter out and sell to my friends and professors,

words that are like swords, for defense against enemies that are unseen

but unemotional.

The artist is gone,

but I know she is inside of me,

and it is the oddest feeling,

tracing her handwriting,

learning from the words she wrote years and years before,

when she is sitting in front of me in an urn.

The artist is gone,

but her paintings,

her prolific collection remain in our homes,

on the wall of my apartment next year, in my future showroom.

The artist is gone,

but I look like her,

in a way that is uncanny,

my face is a tessellation of hers at my age.

Her clothes quietly exist in my closet,

and I wear them feeling my grandmother’s hands on my shoulders

guiding me with our shared fashion sense.

Her thoughts about being an artist,

tracing her handwriting,

tell me how to be my own artist,

because she was truly her own.

I love you, Grandma Judy.

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this is real.

this is real.

this is real,

coca-cola red real.

heel stuck in the side walk, real.

skinned knee stinging real,

runs in my stockings real.

the way you smiled at me on the bus, real.

texts at 1 am, real.

forgetting my text book in my dorm room real,

running into you on campus unreal,

eyelashes- yes, they are real.

wide smiles, white teeth, real.

fingers touch, I blush coca-cola red, real.

it could be so easy if he was real.

steam for asher

steam for asher

Eery and unworthy.

fogging up my glasses,

you steam, obscuring my vision,

lust vibrating within us and between us.

I just wanted to love you,

just wanted to hold you,

but that steam wrapped itself around me,

and the colors were so blindingly glorious,

but we never reached that deep red rose,

I never flew above the desert, as portrayed by Salvador Dali.

We sparkled like the night sky, vast and temporary, unknown to our earthling eyes.

It wasn’t really me, we reached deep blue,

we reached lavender too.

You and your pearly white words the morning afterwards,

comparing me to a swan whose feathers shined with the morning dew,

clean and pure and nothing I really am but what you wanted me to be.

Me and my earthy brown response that afternoon, later;

comparing you to an oak tree, big and solid, and stretching around me, providing a home for me to nest in,

but this wasn’t you because you are not earthy nor a tree, but who I wanted you to be.

I am not like a swan, you are not like a tree, we were deluding ourselves, you and me.

I thought you were like water, pure and clean until you met me.

How wrong was I, but that doesn’t excuse you. You were wrong too.

Now I am alone during these cold autumn nights, no one to hold my hand as I walk through the fallen leaves.

You are still twisted up inside of me, but I save you until I am going to sleep, and I think about when it was you and me under my red sheets.

Maybe I am like a swan. Maybe to you I had grace and fidelity, and was as white as snow. Now I’m more like a crow to you.

Maybe you are like a tree. Your roots go down for miles, beyond just beneath you, but this makes you so inflexible still.

Maybe the comparisons fit.

I, as a bird, can fly away to those far away places, while you as a tree only provide me one place to nest. You will not move for me, because you can’t…

But you aren’t a tree, as I am not a bird, and we were not in love,

but maybe we could have been, but does it really matter now if I was a swan or a monkey or if you were a tree or a kite?

I just wanted to love you and prolong the fogging of my glasses so I could just continue to be so incandescently happy that I was content being compared with whatever he wanted me to be.

Your smile was the first thing I would see in the morning, your hands the first thing I touched. Your lips, the first thing I would know.

You don’t smile for me anymore, I haven’t touched you since that morning, and your lips are folded in a tight line.

We never reached deep red.

nineteen

nineteen

nineteen years of age spent flying.

crow’s feet come from falling off crow’s wings.

many flowers bloom at night, and die before the sun rises.

Maybe they were intended to be admired by only the bats and all the other things that stalk the night.

nineteen.

I write poems because when I experience the world I feel overwhelmed,

when I experience the world I notice so many small things that I think are

exemplary

special

and worth noticing,

and I don’t know if anyone else feels that that thing is worth noticing as well.

I write poems because things that are beautiful can be understood only by other beautiful things.

I write poems because it is in my nature to notice and observe and to love and to feel,

even though feeling is hard and love is hard and observations are dangerous.

I write poems because I love you and I love life and because I have to, because if I didn’t

how would I know how to feel, how would I know what has meaning, how would I know what was beautiful?

I write because I breathe and I live and not only am I just alive, but I am nineteen years old, and not old enough to live through everything yet, but old enough to live through some life,

and I am a human and I feel and do all these things like love and care, 

which aren’t efficient or “effective,”

but that’s not the point.

At my funeral, they will say,

she lived a good life,

not that

she lived an efficient life.

I am nineteen and I feel confused because by some I am old and to some I am young,

but I am nineteen and this is why I wrote poems:

To write and write well is not easy, but neither is living. 

 

“I write poetry because I am a member of the human race.”

-Dead Poet’s Society

am i beauty?

am i beauty?

reading your poems

makes me lonely.

butterflies cluster in my stomach,

gently prodding me forward.

i am intrigued.

the gentle slope

of a swan’s neck,

the derivative of nature,

feminine, gentle, kind.

who am i?

freckles and old scars

reflected like the galaxy

on my face.

high cheekbones, i’m told.

someone, please tell me i’m beautiful.

who am i?

thin lips, kissed by cupid,

a dark rubarb mauve just the way they are.

please, someone tell me.

who am i?

am i beauty?

hazel eyes, like mine, stare back at me.

long eyelashes, blonde at the tips, blink blink blink.

i have learned to love my face,

but is it beauty

i cannot say.

love, her.