Tag Archives: poetry

The Ghost

Time creeps

like ghosts at night,

blind, bleak, bloodless.

 

Twenty-five months gone,

dead months vanished

along with the living years

as if he’s never existed,

like those ghosts at night.

 

Not many parents

feel my pain

or my envy

for the pain is eternal,

ghastly,

one I’d not wish upon a foe.

 

If you have children,

pick one child from your flock

to be a ghost,

and if you have only one,

imagine that one a ghost.

 

Imagine a face alive only

in dreams and nightmares,

in a portrait upon a wall,

in a mirage in an elusive distance,

meagre memories,

flashbacks,

perhaps words from those who dare

to cite your loss.

 

I’ll never see my son again,

never to touch,

never to converse,

never to see him walk through the door.

I live with massive voids

and words unsaid.

 

I don’t believe in Heaven or Hell

where we’ll see loved ones,

where we’ll gather for an endless party.

I could be wrong—

how I’d love to be wrong,

I wish to be wrong!

I’d give my life to see my son again

but it’s too much make-believe,

a fantasy, not reality.

 

Days pass while

I breathe and eat and sleep

and dream and weep and laugh,

I’m resigned to images on the wall

and ghosts at night

and a hollowness in my heart.

Matt alone

In memory of my son Matthew, April 28, 1980-March 11, 2017.

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C.A. MacKenzie is the author of the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers, including Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/.

 

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The Spot Writers – “A Mid-Winter Night’s Dream,” by Chiara De Giorgi

Welcome to The Spot Writers.

This month’s prompt is to write a story including the words, “Will winter never end.”

This week’s story comes from Chiara De Giorgi. Chiara dreams, reads, edits texts, translates, and occasionally writes in two languages. She also has a lot of fun.

 ***

A Midwinter Night’s Dream by Chiara De Giorgi

 

Through the forest I did go

Tallest trees covered in snow

All was silent, all was white

Soft and crunchy, left and right.

Up above the sky was blue

And the sparkly stars in view

 

Promised love, and magic, too.

 

Love and magic? Don’t believe

All your heart wants to perceive!

Winter stars are left alone,

All the fairies are long gone

And the woods will just pretend

That white ice is good a friend.

 

Oh, will winter never end?

 

Don’t despair, this frosted season

Has a secret, cheerful reason:

Life beneath this blanket pearly

Hides and shies from all that’s earthly

Until spring returns anew.

This can I reveal to you:

 

Fairies dance on snowflakes, too.

 

My dear friend, you give me hope!

I’ll see flowers on this slope

Thousand colors, buzzing bees

The green magic of the trees

Sweetest nights, warm air, and moon

Dancing fairies, charming tune

 

Spring will be back very soon!

 

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/

+++
C.A. MacKenzie is the author of (among other books) the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers including Amazon [https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/].

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Twenty Months Gone

Dear Matt,

I dream of a babe in my arms,
A toddler asleep beside me,
Confusing yet familiar
As if a recurring vision
And with a start
I realize it’s you.

I suffer sharp jolts
Of sheer insanity,
Scenes of shrieks
And sobs
Of my new reality,
Twenty months gone and
Disbelief still grabs me,
Shocks me to my very core
And I cry fresh tears 
Identical to previous one.

I can’t stop these monthly poems—
These non-rhyming words spouting grief—
I write many others too,
All bringing me an odd comfort,
A smidgen of joy between pain
Even though my words read the same.

No new words exist for grief, 
No epiphanies or revelations,
For every day I pray the same:
To have you returned to me
As if a treasured object on loan.

But sanity slams me to the floor—
You’re gone forever,
Never really mind to hold,
For children become adults
And cleave to another,
But you’ll always be my boy.

Whether I’ll see you again
Is one of the world’s mysteries,
But if there’s a chance we meet again
The line to greet you will be endless,
Too many wanting to hold, hug, kiss,
But to see you again in flesh
I’d happily wait at line’s end.

You’ll always be my cherished child.


+++

C.A. MacKenzie is the author of the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers, including Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/.

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The Smell of Death

I must be feeling morbid today as I work on compiling poems into book form, poems I’ve written over the years. Here is one that grabbed me a moment ago. (Soon to be found in a book called “ONCE LAUGHTER.”)

THE SMELL OF DEATH

It’s the taste of death we smell
when someone is aged and nearly gone,
the scent that lingers about them,
wafting to and fro,
an odour so atrocious we plug our noses lest we suffocate,
and we don’t breathe again until we’ve left the room.

You can’t mistake it—
that smell—
it can’t be hidden,
it’s distinctive
and everyone recognizes it,
most everyone’s smelt it.

It’s the stench of old people—
everyone knows that—
it’s a horrid smell.

But is it truly the smell?
Or is it the import—
the nearness, the significance,
the idea it might be contagious, that the smell could emanate from you sooner than you expect, sooner than you want—that Death could come calling for you?

They say once you breathe death you never forget it.

It’s a smell that lingers forever.

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C.A. MacKenzie is the author of (among other books) the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers including Amazon [https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/].

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November 11

I write a poem in memory of my son Matthew every month on the 11th. I don’t always post them to my blog but I am today, being Remembrance Day.

Matt13

Twenty months ago today

I laid my son—not his memory—

to rest.

 

With my every breath

I remember him,

whether my eyes are open or closed.

 

I see dragonflies, ladybugs,

faces in the clouds,

I find a coin beneath papers,

I feel gentle breezes, smell

the outdoors, listen to

whispers in the wind.

 

All for naught!

 

He’s above my computer,

watching while I work.

Some days I want to toss the canvas

through the window,

other days I grasp him to my chest.

 

These many months later

I still hear his last cries:

“I have a heart, Mom,

I have a heart.”

 

I’ll never forget.

 

I don’t want to forget.

 

I try to write my story—his story,

our story,

I need it told

but I face ruthless white

and can’t control tears.

How can I write of my dead son?

How can I put his death on paper?

 

Stately granite guarding remains

rises from the ground,

I caress the stone

and feel its warmth,

running my fingers over the etching

as if reading Braille,

Later when the sun exchanges

places with the moon—

after darkness covers day—

light will peek from Heaven

to highlight specks of blue and grey.

 

I’m a private person

living on repeat,

sharing sorrow with those who listen

and with those who don’t.

Another’s grief is uncomfortable,

and my pain’s not lessened with time served.

 

I didn’t ask for this position—

the grieving mother role—

I had prayed for miracles,

would have assumed the sun’s persona

and given him the moon

had I been able.

 

Death happened too suddenly—

too unexpectedly—

and before our next breath

he was gone,

without time for more prayer

or waiting for a miracle.

 

I’m not looking for sympathy,

I share to honour him.

I don’t need you to mop my tears

or quash my cries.

I fight my own battles

and survive my own wars.

 

I must keep his memory alive

until the day I die,

I need to remember.

 

So on this Remembrance Day

as I did last year and as I’ll do the next

and the next and the next and the next

until I die…

I honour the veterans

and though my son never served,

I honour him too.

poppy

Lest we forget.

+++

C.A. MacKenzie is the author of the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers, including Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/.

 

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July 11 – Sixteen Months

Heart is brokenfix

A piece of my heart ripped from my soul
Sixteen months ago,
Since then so many cliches of life and death
And sometimes there are no words,
No white, no black,
Just mucky grey between masses of nothing.

We honour you in death as we never did in life,
But isn’t that the way of humans—
Not missing something until it’s gone,
Withholding words until it’s too late.

I’d give all my next heartbeats to
Hug you one last time,
To tell you “I love you” in case you didn’t know
Because no one can hear those words enough,
I’d ask for forgiveness for my wrongs,
For not being perfect,
But throughout your thirty-six years
I tried my best,
But still, I could have done more.
We can all do more.

Balloons don’t go to Heaven
And though lovely
With colourful meaning and love,
That rubbery sheath
Harms the environment.
We need to protect our future
As I couldn’t protect yours,
A mama can only do so much,
Which I did not know until your death.

I tried so hard to save you,
But could I have done more?
Though my heart says otherwise
My mind screeches NO!
The word “incurable” exists
And I don’t know why,
Prayers, doctors, money…
Nothing could save you.

I’ll grieve every day with that
Empty hole in my heart,
That missing fragment I live without,
For I still breathe and function,
I still eat and drink and play
But I’m not whole.
My heart can never be repaired.
No amount of thread or glue can help.
Not even tissues can dry all my tears.
Nothing can bring you back.
Nothing.

I’m not sure of my beliefs,
What my future holds after I’m gone.
Will we meet again?
I’m sorry to waver,
To not fully believe,
I’m like my father who opined that
Once we’re gone, we’re gone, and
Nothing remains but stone or ash.

But forever and always:
There are whispers in the wind,
Rustling through the trees,
Birds chirping,
Deer scampering across the field.
Perhaps it’s you, calling out.

I think of you too often,
Wondering where you are
In this game of life and death.
Within this vast landscape of living
Where does life end and death begin?
When does death end?

My son, my son,
These are words I could never imagine
saying, writing, or thinking.
Who could ever predict this loss?
Not I.
And now I ponder the future
And other wretched events that linger,
For if your death occurred, nothing is sacred
and more loss surely waits,
Waiting like the moon to rise or the sun to set,
For no one is immune to life and death.

We all have our beginnings and our endings,
And, oh, how horrid the endings.

 

Matt candle crop

 

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It Only Takes One

Check out the March issue of  Open Heart Forgery, a free local publication in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I’ve had several poems published in this pamphlet of a magazine. It’s actually not hard; if there’s room and one’s poem is reasonably okay, it’ll be published. (At least, that’s my understanding.) Poems must be a maximum of 28  lines long and a max of 43 letters wide. Only one submission per author per month and a max of four poems per year. One must be a resident of HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality).

Here is my poem, “It Only Takes One”:

The night is hollow and cold,
and I’m alone in blackness;
I’ve never liked the dark,
don’t like what I can’t see.

Stars are funny creatures,
resting and hiding by day;
They emerge at night to party,
when their florid faces glow.

They glare at us, those stars,
spying upon us in the quiet;
And we stare back at them,
seeking fruitless fantasies.

I’ve never liked the dark,
Don’t like what I can’t see;
I beg I beg upon one star,
Please let my wish come true.

New post on Open Heart Forgery

March 2018

by ohforgery

cropped-ohflogo2r.jpg

View Issue vol. 9, no. 2
ISSN 2369-6516 (Print)
ISSN 2369-6524 (Online)

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The Spot Writer – “Across the Fence” by Cathy MacKenzie

Welcome to The Spot Writers. September’s prompt, a hard one: Write about a character whose one ability is to amplify the best traits in others. Who would they hang around? Who would they choose to avoid?

This week’s post is from Cathy MacKenzie. She found it such a difficult prompt that she was forced to dig into her stash of poems (always a poem for every season!) for something suitable. This one, she says, was written many years ago—no, it doesn’t exactly follow the prompt, and it’s a simple, amateurish poem, but maybe it’ll resonate with someone.

Cathy’s one-woman publishing company, MacKenzie Publishing, has published its second anthology, TWO EYES OPEN, a collection of sixteen stories by sixteen authors, to read during the day . . . or at night, as long as two eyes are open. Note: Not “horrific horror” . . . more like intrigue, mystery, thriller. Simply a “good read.”

Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1927529301/

***

Across the Fence

From her kitchen window,

she views the Porsche

and two other vehicles—

one a fancy four-wheel drive—

and a house twice the size of hers

with granite countertops

and modern appliances

and big screen TVs.

 

She knows of the neighbours’ vacations—

their twice-yearly cruises—

having seen photos they shared

and bragged about.

 

Oh, what money can buy!

 

She thinks of the husband away—

weeks at a time—

the shouting and slamming doors

when he’s home,

and, not by choice, a childless household.

 

She examines her side of the fence—

grass needing to be greener,

an empty driveway,

cracked and dulled countertops,

out-dated but still-working appliances,

shabby furniture—

all needing an overhaul.

 

How has she come to be

in this neighbourhood?

 

She caresses her baby boy

content in her arms,

pictures her daughter at school

and her husband soon home from work.

 

Her life may not be perfect,

but it’s full of love and joy

and complete—

the four of them

in their wondrous world

with things money can’t buy,

while living across the fence.

 

***

 The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Dorothy Colinco: www.dorothycolinco.com

CaraMarie Christy: https://calamariwriting.wordpress.com/

 

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The Spot Writers – “Ombrophobous” by Dorothy Colinco

Welcome to the Spot Writers, bringing you your weekly dose of flash fiction. The prompt for this month: Check out these 10 fancy nature words. Choose one of the words, and make it either the title or theme of your post, and build your story around that.

This week’s story comes to us from Dorothy Colinco. She chose the word ombrophobous, meaning rain-shunning. Dorothy likes to say she has self-diagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder, which probably influenced this writing. A lot.

***

Ombrophobous

 

The rain brings with it

thunder that begins in the sky and resounds in one’s soul,

unkind clouds that jealously block the sun’s bright reach,

an apathetic hue of gray not seen elsewhere,

a stirred cocktail of pollen, which forces its way into lungs

and makes eyes weep without feeling or reason,

burning chemicals,

evidence of humanity’s callousness and cruelty.

 

The rain takes away

the graceful spine of the delicate foxglove,

forcing it into a painful arch,

denouncing its beauty and form,

the brightly-colored chalk ground into the rough sidewalk

declaring a child’s name,

their early attempts to announce their identity

and presence in the world,

the laughter shared on a baseball diamond,

the sound of a leather connecting with wood and metal.

 

It is no wonder, then, that I do not stand in awe with my face towards the heavens with the cursed drops fall.

And those who welcome rain do so only to hide their tears,

now indistinguishable from precipitation,

though both are born of sorrow.

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Dorothy Colinco. http://www.dorothycolinco.com

CaraMarie Christy: https://calamariwriting.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

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Thirty-Seven Years Ago

Thirty-seven years ago a babe was born,
But eight-pound Melissa
Became ten-point-six Matthew,
Would I cherish a cherub boy?

 

You charmed me with chubbiness,
Wide blue eyes, generous smile, 
Wiggling limbs in white flannel,
“A football player,” a nurse proclaimed!

 

You grew and grew, handsome and smart,
My middle child of compassion and heart,
Always there with helpful hands,
Drying tears, yours and ours.

 

Did that nurse know you’d be a Brady fan?
The Patriots stirred your heart
As did Kyla and Abby, your two loves,
Who lit your world on fire.

 

I dubbed you the Tin Man—
“All I want is a heart”—
Luck should have been on your side,
But your hearts were doomed—all three.

 

“I got a heart, Mom, I got a heart!”

Joy and weariness lined your words,
I wept for another mother,
A death to save a life.

 

Life went horribly wrong,
Exchanging “I love you” on Tuesday
To watching you go on Saturday
After I promised you wouldn’t die.

 

Though comforted you phoned loved ones,
I wish I’d said, “Wait a while,
There’ll be more hearts,”
Despite your famous words, “I gotta go.”

 

A three-month roller coaster ended,
Days alternating between life and death,
Could we have done more?
Should we have gripped you tighter?

 

I miss you, my dear impish son,
So much you’ll never know,
Endless days I crave to die
So I can join you in peace.

 

Instead I add tears
To white wine and Bud Light.
“Gotcha, Mom,” you say,
When I spy a discarded can.

 

I hold on though I want to go,
I gulp another breath
And pretend I never cry,
“I’m okay,” I say when asked.

 

Tears aren’t the way to begin a day,
Nor to end the night,
But weeping starts and doesn’t stop,
I shouldn’t be without my child.

 

Horrid clichés mark my soul:
Life takes the good before the bad,
Gone before your time,
Children shouldn’t predecease parents.

 

Why does my heart beat fast
When yours stopped too soon?
I’d trade places if I could,
But your voice echoes, “Oh, Mom, stop!”

 

Your father called it Matt’s Moon,
That glow the morning of death
When God swiped your unassuming soul

To improve His holdings in Heaven.

 

Rest in peace, my dear son,
At home upon the hill,
I’ll forever cherish my cherub boy.
Fuck cancer. Fuck, fuck fuck!

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