I am empty
I have been empty for weeks now.
Is it because I have stopped writing?
Or have I stopped writing because I am empty?
So why do I feel
I must prove it to you?
Because there’s nothing in me
I will tell you about someone I knew
From a distance.
She wasn’t particularly pretty
But you never realized it
Because she had charisma.
A smile you were proud to earn
Bright intelligent eyes
She would decorate the office
Her own, or the common areas
Leaving little pieces of her personality
For you to encounter and delight in.
She could cook food like no one else
And she was good at her job, too.
She fixed your problems without trouble.
She was a bit of gossip
I don’t think she even had a very tender heart
So what was it about her
That fascinated us?
I’ve been trying for years to understand charisma
The it factor
Something to do with being who you are
Something to do with purity
Something to do with confidence.
There are things which defy definition.
There are people who, when described,
Yet if you meet them
You count yourself lucky for having had the experience.
And if they asked you
You would follow them
Without knowing why.
This woman, she retired.
She doesn’t keep in touch
She doesn’t attend functions anymore
She has faded out of casual conversation.
We were never really friends.
But every Halloween and every Christmas
Some of her decorations make it back into circulation
Sometimes one of the long-time staff mentions her fondly
She was popular
Though she is out of my life in almost every sphere
She lingers in my memory
A bright fingerprint on my brain
Unique to her own face and voice and charm.
I didn’t need her, I don’t miss her.
She has made an impact nonetheless.
That is charisma.
That is how
I fail to define it.
The future is a hydra
With many grinning heads.
It can only attack
With one head at a time.
The Holidays Approacheth.
I’m not going to be a very consistent blogger over the holidays. Don’t worry about me! I’m most likely visiting friends and family, getting fat, you know, the same stuff you probably do, except louder, and with more complicated food. I’ll still post as often as I can.
Is not complicated.
We just try to live together
Without hurting each other.
If we can get food and love
Life is fulfilled.
If we get bounty
What happens next?
Things get a little more complicated
Because we get confused.
We’re not supposed to be prosperous.
I’ve been keeping this notebook by my bed
and I haven’t written a damn thing.
I can’t keep living
a wordless existence.
I can’t sustain this silence.
A blank page is a sin
an unexpressed thought, a loss.
I’ve been mute too long.
Even a marble statue
is the worst curse a human being can bear
it’s why we obsess about
none of us can stand to be alone
and a good person
will not suffer to see
Without the capacity to communicate
we are diminished.
My siblings text each other,
A net to catch and diffuse the grief.
Three years ago? Is that all?
Is that a long time, or a short time?
I can’t tell.
When I first started this blog, all of my poems were about you.
Now I have moved on to lesser things.
But once in a while
The wound reopens, raw to the air.
I swore to learn to cry.
I’ve gotten better.
But this winter and the holidays
They make me think of you
a dull inner ache
and I keep smiling.
The difference is
I write, too.
You wouldn’t want us to hurt.
You wouldn’t want any pain for us.
You did all you could to spare us.
We were happy.
We are happy.
But life isn’t just smiles, is it?
Sometimes life is scraped fingers
Bruised knees, twisted ankles
High fevers and learning to stand up for yourself.
You knew this too.
This time of year I wear your long jacket.
It keeps my legs warm.
It’s very dignified.
I still see you wearing it
Helping you over the curb with your walker
to the Chinese restaurant
for Orange Chicken. Always Orange Chicken.
Orange Chicken for life.
The waitress took it kindly
When you told her you loved her
And gave her a hug.
She could tell something was wrong.
I smiled at her discomfiture
And apologized with my eyes
But deep down
I wanted to be you right then.
This chocolate shake is for you.
Happy birthday mom.