I Think of You Sometimes

I think of you sometimes when
It snows. The flakes fall in lazy
Drifting spirals from the pale
Blue sky like scraps of lace, delicate
And exquisite and beautifully light.

But no, lace is not quite the right comparison
For snowflakes. Perhaps I should say they
Are like the soft feathers of swans, or
Perhaps like those of the angels.

I stand at my window and watch
Jack Frost’s breath spread patterns
And twisting veins of ice on the glass
While outside everything is a hush.

Everything is holding its breath,
Waiting.

Once everything in me was a hush
Too, and I was holding my breath,
Waiting, my heart suspended between
The beats.

But now I think of you with a steady
Heartbeat, one that does not throb with
Anger or too much sorrow, but still I
Can taste a faint trace of regret,
Sweet, a little bit bitter, lingering
Like a quiet memory.

I think of you sometimes when
It snows. The trees sleep in
Silence as the flakes fall, their branches
Stark and silver against the winter sky.

(Written 20 March 2017©CKim/ScribbleScrawler)

Ugly

The curve of the u is a leer, and
The l stands indifferent
While the g crinkles itself up in a creased
Sneer of disgust and contempt.
Fired like a dart, this four letter
Word can embed its sharp point
In your skin and drip an invisible poison
Into your bloodstream. It can chain you to
A mirror where you peer into your face and
Inspect the lone freckle on your nose and
Frown at the way your lips are shaped.

You become a slave to your own reflection.
You whip yourself with a four letter word.

(Written 15 March 2017©CKim/ScribbleScrawler)

Pandora’s Box

Your love was the
Biggest gift-wrapped present
I ever received. It had the
Prettiest ribbons of the
Loveliest colors looped into
The most perfect bows with
The trailing ends streaming
Everywhere in perfect curls.
And the wrapping paper –
It took my breath away
With its beautiful patterns
And all its colors shimmering
And blending into one another
Like a sunset on the sea.
And every time I looked at this,
Your love, this magnificent present,
It made my heart do a spin
And a flip in my chest and
I wondered how I’d gotten so lucky.

After a while,
I started unwrapping your gift,
Just a little bit at at time,
Undoing a ribbon here and there,
Gently pulling the patterned paper
Loose on one end of the box.
I was curious what more there was
To your love, and I was so
Sure there must be treasures
Deep inside, lovely just like the
Exterior. But under all the
Glamour and glitz, I found there
Was nothing but
Dust and mothballs
And a cold darkness
That broke my heart.

(17 January 2017 ©CKim/ScribbleScrawler)

The Art of the Deal(ing Out of Destruction)

You say you are well-versed in
The art of the deal,
The negotiation,
The compromise.

I say you are well-versed in
The art of the dealing out
Of destruction.

You build up walls and division, and
In your hands, 140 characters add up
To petty wars (sad) and cruel gibes,
Words laced with hate and poison.
A strange kind of math, I think, for such
A self-proclaimed smart businessman,
And stranger still for a leader.

You toss around this idea of
The right to life, of pro-life,
Like cheap confetti from Walmart,
And people, blinded, cheer
Because “life is winning” and
Life must be protected,
And of course, you’re to be
The knight in shining armor.
But you seem not to understand
That the Earth is a living thing too,
And while we can be her caretakers,
We can also be her murderers.
If unchecked, we will drive ourselves
To destruction and disaster,
A prolonged suicide.
Life is not winning,
Not here on Earth,
Not under your watch.

And there is more life
That you are willing to disregard
Because to you, perhaps, it is
Unworthy and meaningless.
Sitting up there in that house
Built by a people whose skin
Is the color of the Earth that,
Like them, has suffered and endured,
Suffered and endured,
You picked up your pen and
So easily, so nonchalantly,
You signed off and
You destroyed
The hopes
The dreams
The aspirations
Of so many who pinned everything
On the official papers that said,
“Yes, America accepts you!”

These are the people who thought,
Finally, finally, after the war uprooted them,
After the despair gnawed at them,
After the fear choked them,
After they had wept and prayed,
Wept and prayed,
Finally they could find a home again.

One stroke of a pen (yours)
One stony heart (yours)
Destroyed them
And disrupted the lives of
So many who have lived
Peaceful years on American soil.

Sad, sad, sad, you say.
But I’ll tell you what is truly,
Above all, sad.

It is the fact that you are apparently
Absolutely incapable of
Stepping out of your expensive, shiny shoes
And stepping into the worn out sandals
Of a child who has escaped war, who squats
In the dust and dirt of a refugee camp,
Wondering what safe looks like.
You are apparently unable to put on
The tattered tennis shoes of his father,
Who looks on with a heavy heart,
And wants to show him that safe is
Not just a word without meaning.

Sad is the fact that you are apparently
Absolutely incapable of considering
The tired, poor, huddled masses,
The homeless, the tempest tossed,
But more than willing
To destroy their chances at life again.

(5 February 2017©CKim/ScribbleScrawler)
I very, very, very rarely make political statements, and I have no intention whatsoever of offending anyone. It is just that there are some things on which I find I can no longer remain silent.

Skipping Stones

You were old, which I suppose is supposed to make dying more acceptable. There is always a time, you used to say when we stood out by the lake, for everything. A time to be born, a time to die. Yes, I want to say, but the time did not have to be now.

The only other acceptable part of this is that the cemetery is by the lake. That at least seems right, that you are laid to rest in this quiet, familiar place. We came here to the lake a lot, starting out when I was barely toddling along beside you, back when you didn’t need a cane yet. I remember when you first began to show me how to skip stones across the water. We stood on the shore where the pebbles were smooth and round and flat, and you told me how to stand and how to throw and which way to shift my weight. Then you would go through the whole motion, fluid and graceful, and all of a sudden the rock would be jumping lightly across the water’s surface, leaving rings of ripples in its wake. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight skips, and then with a plop the stone would sink into the lake.

I could never learn just how to do it the way you did. I could get three or four skips when I got lucky, but never as many as you. But we could spend an hour or two out by the lake, just skipping stones with one another. Not even talking much. In the winter, the stones were cold in our hands; in summer, they were warmed by the sun. I remember pressing them to my cheeks as a child and letting their warmth bleed into my skin.

I’m here alone now, the October wind cool against my skin. I walked out in the middle of your funeral service, so I suppose I ought to apologize, except I’m not really sorry, so I won’t. Everyone else is still back there, small now in the distance, all black dots like miniature storm clouds milling about, or maybe like splinters of the night sky. There are splashes of color against the gray tombstones where visitors have left flowers, and the grass is still lush and green.

I’m sure people are talking about how rude it was for me to leave so abruptly like that, right in the middle of someone talking about how kind and funny you were. I don’t actually know exactly what they were saying. I was thinking about you myself. Thinking about skipping stones with you. Everyone else was talking about you in the past tense, but in my head you were still part of the world of is and are and will be.

There were people crying next to me, a kind of quiet, repressed sobbing, but I wasn’t. I couldn’t. I don’t know why. I almost wish I could, because right now, standing here by the lake without you, I feel like something is stopped up inside of me. Like an artery or something has gotten blocked and my heart isn’t working the way it should.

The wind is blowing little ripples across the water, and I wish I hadn’t left my jacket hanging over the back of my chair. Autumn leaves float on the lake as flecks of gold and ruby, and I can see the reflections of bare trees rippling on the water’s surface. Hello, goodbye, hello, goodbye, they wave gently. In the shallows, the shadows shift and melt into one another, and minnows dart here and there.

I pick up a rock and hurl it. It makes an ugly but satisfying splash far out there, water spraying out in a thousand droplets, and I can imagine all the startled fish scattering away. I hurl another rock. Another. Another. This is the kind of throwing you shook your head at. Ugly throwing, loud throwing, nothing graceful or nice about it, you used to say. Don’t disturb the poor fish.

Well, alright. I choose a smooth, flat stone, feeling the weight of it in my hand. It’s cold in my fingers and gray like the heavy, overcast sky above me. There’s a hint of rain in the air. I turn a little and pull my arm back the way you used to, and then the stone is flying through the air. I count the jumps it makes. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. A quiet plop, and then it’s gone.

I blink in surprise. The tree branches rattle their applause.

It’s good enough that I am tempted to turn around and see if you are there, leaning on your cane and smiling, your usual hat pulled low over your face. Tempted to see if maybe, somehow, it was your throw and not mine.

It’s almost enough to make me look over my shoulder. Almost enough to make me wonder if the funeral was a dream and you didn’t die after all, that instead you were standing by the lake’s shore this whole time, just waiting for me to come over here. That you are still present tense. It’s almost enough, but not quite. I’m not young enough, naïve enough, for it to be enough.

The lake blurs before my eyes, the ripples and reflections smearing together, and as though something has been uncorked inside of me, the tears come at last.

 (Written 22 Jan 2017©CKim/ScribbleScrawler)

 

Lady Macbeth

Out, out damned spot!
Wandering, wandering these halls
All cloaked in this shifting darkness,
And can you hear the death knell ring?
Listen, listen—Duncan screams in
His sleep—do you hear it?

And the blood, the blood, the blood—
No, no, no, a little water will clear us
Of this deed. A little water, yes, yes.
(But it didn’t! It didn’t!)
Out, out, damned spot!

Come, thick night! That is what I said,
Long, long ago, was it not?
Or only yesterday?
And what a night it was indeed, so full
Of knock-knock-knocking and screeching.
Yes, the very air was torn with it
Like a curtain ripped from top to bottom,
Slashed with shining daggers.

Daggers…
Daggers, yes.
Stained they were with scarlet,
Which is the color of life and death
All at once
(At once, at once, at once)

My hands, my hands, they are of his color!
Out, out damned spot!
Make my blood thick, I prayed,
And unsex me; stop up the passage of remorse!
But who knew, who knew
That the old man’s blood
Would run like rivers?

A little water. A little water.
A little water clears us of this deed.
Out, out, damned spot!
I scrub and scrub and scrub still more
Till my hands are raw,
And yet the metallic stench of blood
Clings forever to my skin.

What have I done?

(Written Jan 22 2017©CKim/ScribbleScrawler)