I Didn’t Even Like You

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You, with your false-advertising
big, soft eyes
like the cat on that ogre movie
who blinks slowly
attacks quickly
and a person never knows
what they’re dealing with.
You, who bullied the
other cats and even
the dogs
and guarded food bowls
like they were your own
personal
dragon’s gold.
Who thought the entire house was
your
territory
and marked it so,
till I threatened you with
pounds and other homes and
dark ends – and you
retaliated with fragrant
offerings under my bed.
And just when patience slid
howling to the depths,
purring, rubbing, fuzzy
grey innocence
pooled
itself in my lap,
or stood on my chest
trying to kiss me awake,
instinctively manipulating this
tangled ball of love-hate.
And I would have gladly
given you to a good home

until the vet said the words.

Even then, I couldn’t
abandon you,
even knowing all the
crap you pulled.
And in the end,
you still won, because
your last memories were

my hands
in your fluffy, falling-out, charcoal fur
salt water dripping on your face
and a mountain of tissues on the medical table.

I didn’t even like you.

-KJ Roe

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Alluring

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She plays her game
of hide and seek
Letting you glimpse
her warmth, her heat
Her smile draws you

closer with wanting
Her laughter wraps
around your heart
and tugs

Her eyes – her eyes!
Now sparkling, now shuttered
now looking up at you
through lowered lashes
You’d think it all
coquetry and teasing
But you’ve seen her

sincere, shy, whispering
Seen her exploding
in ecstasies of beauty
Heard her hopes and dreams
spoken bravely into the night
Felt the velvet of her skin
and the trembling in the breeze
You’ve drowned in

desire for her
Stifled frustration and
swallowed disappointment
As she pulls
back again
Uncertain if this is

yet her time
Wary of another
destructive storm
Murmured confidences

wishes for
sunshine and new life
For growth and change and

valiant renewal
As you wait in swirls of
impatience and wisdom
In cautious assurance
knowing that, always,

Spring follows in
the wake
of Winter’s snow

-KJ Roe

Tesserae

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Closeup of Mosaic Dragonfly by Susanne Sorogan; full photo from mosaicartsupply.com

Hold my heart
hold it gently and with great care
Hold the pieces
with open grasp
Careful lest the fragments

cut you
with their brokenness
Watch the light glint
off the edges
Glimpses of beauty

in the shards
Recognize
the strength in
the shattering
the hope found in

disrepair
the wisdom in
the cracks
the magnificence of

our remnants
the brilliant mosaic of
our coming together

-KJ Roe

[not] alone

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If you know me, you know I try to be considerate of everyone I meet. If you really know me, you know I try to find beauty and joy in each day.

And if you really, really know me, you know I get nervous around people I don’t know, anxious with confrontation, and that I struggle with my own sense of self-worth. As in, really struggle. That there are more days than I’d like to admit when I wonder what my purpose is for being here.

I’ve been working on opening up more about this, on putting a name to the shadow as a means of identifying it as just that – a shadow that can be banished by the light.

In admitting my own fears, what I’ve found is that there are so many of us out there. So many of us who are uncertain, and maybe a little scared, and maybe a little sad, and fighting demons of loneliness and self-doubt.

In fact, based on the responses I’ve had, I’d venture to say that it may even be a large percentage of us.

By opening up about my own uncertainties, other people have felt more comfortable talking about theirs.

And guess what?

There are lots of us.

Which means two things.

First, there is something wrong with the messages we, as a society, give to each other about vulnerability and sadness.

We’re not “supposed to” be scared or lonely or anxious; we’re “supposed to” be tough, and smart, and happy, and self-confident, and completely comfortable both in a crowd and being alone – and so we all cover up our “weaknesses.” Which only compounds the impression of being the only one struggling with these thoughts and emotions.

Second, that we are not alone. So many of our friends and loved ones often feel the same way, but we’re all hiding it, trying to be tough.

Often, people say that the hardest thing is feeling so alone, like there is no one out there who feels the way they do, who understands what they are going through. But so many of us feel that way.

Your “alone” might feel different than my “alone,” but for both of us, it can be soul-wrenchingly aching, bone-deep painful, and sometimes creates a curtain of bleakness that shrouds the view of the future. It can make it extremely difficult to look forward to the coming days.

But it’s lying.

There is hope in the future.

There is light in your life.

There is joy yet to be had.

I saw a challenge in which a person identifies one word to focus on, one word to try to live for this year. If there is a word that resonates with you, that helps you meet the challenge of another day, I encourage you to focus on that. Let it become your mantra. Let it be your reminder, when things get hard, that you are not alone, that you are stronger, and that you will make it through. Post it on your bathroom mirror and on your car visor and on whatever you look at at work. Flood your environment with it to continually lift you.

If there is not a word that helps you, I invite you to share the word I’ve chosen:

Believe.

Believe in your own worth.

Believe in the beauty of your unique soul.

Believe in the unfathomable greatness of your heart.

Believe in the very real magic and value of your presence.

Believe in the brilliant light that is your future.

Believe that you are never alone, no matter what the shadows might try to tell you.

And believe that you, one-and-only, amazing you – believe that you have a purpose and a reason for being here.

May you have a beautiful and blessed 2018.

-KJ Roe

 

 

Riding the Rails

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You look thinner
hair unkempt
clothes unwashed
I ask how you’re doing
where are you staying
do you have food
You smile vaguely
doesn’t reach your eyes
eyes that avoid mine
You say you’re good
got an okay place
got big plans
I ask if you’re eating
offer a lunch date
maybe some groceries
Ask about extracurriculars
simple code for
are you using
Tell you I’m worried
offer help as I
[secretly] scan for signs
You wear long sleeves
pants that once fit
taped-up shoes
Are you covering tracks?
red eyes lacking sleep?
are these gifts yours to give?
I watch, and I fear, and I
tell you.

Tell you I love you too.

We both know
I’m stupid.
Both know I question
your stories
Both know I want you
off
this train you’ve boarded
Helpless as I try
to show you
hope
To show you
love
To try to bring you back
from the broken track.

But I am not the engineer,

And I fear
you
are no longer

Driving this train.

-KJ Roe

 

After Hours

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Toes spread
like starfish in the sand
Music of millennia
in the sighs of the waves
Gentle curve of the leg
traced by trembling hand
Anticipation’s desire
drowns thirsty lover’s mind

Shifts as subtleties and explosions
of escaped breaths and
Murmured invitations
dressed in emperor’s clothes
Mouths meet in cocktail-flavored
little-lost-child decisions
Longing for touch of meaning
to depths of heart and soul

Knowing this is yet another
heartbreak-night-stand

-KJ Roe