Tag Archives: memory

Catch me as I fall

Whatever I promised you, I gave you.
You promised nothing and gave less.

My memories of disappointment flash now in specific images
that catch me as I fall.

The old coat that smelled like November rain
and cough drops.

The curl of smoke as I sat
on your back steps, waiting for you,
flicking ashes into a Pepsi can.

The back stairs to the laundry room,
aqua and gray in the fluorescent light,
hum of the dryer.

A series of winter nights
opening a mailbox,
expecting a letter.

Copyright Kay Winter

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Blitz Madness

Pile of junk
Pile of memories
Memories of backyards
Memories of backseats
Backseats of red plush
Backseats of streetlights
Streetlights snapping on
Streetlights snapping off
Off like night
Off like pants
Pants of corduroy
Pants of jean
Jean Jeanie
Jean jean the roses are red
Red like lipstick
Red like blood under your nails
Nails in backs
Nails in coffins
Coffins like freight cars
Coffins like doorways
Doorways leaned into
Doorways out of the endless rain
Rain like too many thoughts
Rain like deafening words
Words in the dark
Words in the muffled neck
Necks in high collars
Necks stretched across boards
Boards rotting like old floors
Boards abandoned by the tracks
Tracks in a lonely town
Tracks racketing
Racketing like drunks
Racketing like a madwoman
Madwoman banging against the hallway walls
Madwoman singing invisible songs
Songs without words
Songs with subtle meaning
Meaning like the last star before dawn
Meaning like the light left on
On like streetlights
On like the radio
Radio of the old singer
Radio of the jingle jangle

Copyright Kay Winter

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Notes to you

I found notes to you
in the old overcoat
I wore the winter
we burst into flame
as the snow blew
down into the slanted streets.

That winter of our
misparked cars
and radiator ghosts
and gin.

It said this:
“Your heart
never knew me
as well as your hands did.”

The other notes
I left folded
In the pocket.

Copyright Kay Winter

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I. Via Casino

Sitting beneath the palms
eyes closed on a Sunday
legs stretched into sun
from my cotton skirt
like I wore the summer we met.

The languages walk past
The stone seat is cool
against my back.

I remember the warmth
of your shoulders
in the evening
your gentle fingers
saying Catarina, Catarina.

II. Avalon

Yesterday morning
I passed through the Old Town
without meaning to
on my way to the fish market.

I stopped below the building
where we had been together.

The plaster is crumbling
in the salt air, like us.

I dared to look at the shaded balcony
that hung out over the harbor,
saw again our drowsing at noon
the sun shimmering on the sea
behind us.

Oh, Pedro, Pedro,
let us throw our bones back
into the sea.

@Copyright Kay Winter

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I am the person who writes the nonsense into life.

The flower petals crumbling into sand.
Laugh if you will.

I am the person who writes the nonsense into life.
The corners waiting to be turned
Emptying to floods.

As much as life builds itself up and lays a path,
It wants these trippings.

It is not death, this nonsense.

These places where I fall down, fall into the flood, the flower fades from blue to purple bruised and crumbles into sand.
Where it all falls out beneath my feet.

You are longing for a story, Terrence.

But I am the person writes the nonsense into life.

The hard work of not falling asleep when you want to, when the moon falls through the window and glides down the wall.

Do you know, Terrence, the way to fall asleep then,
During the long night?

Do you still want a story, Terrence?

There is no heart of the matter.
No long, fated path.
No distant mountain we move toward.
No white peak to conquer.
No story that is anything but nonsense.

I am the person who writes the nonsense into life.

Does death even finish it?

Tell me, Terrence,
Do you know anyone who is dead who has seen the puzzle put together?

Try this, Terrence.
Try writing the nonsense into your own life.

You may find that you already have.

Tell me about the clouds that you watched
From the roof as it rained.
Your wet shirt.
The squelching of your shoes coming back
Down the stairs.

How you knew the ending.
How you knew the empty apartment you came down to.
How you sat in your wet clothes
And wrote the nonsense
Into the empty room.

– Copyright Kay Winter

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A Poem for Writing a Poem

Whatever comes to mind when
you see the word

Whatever comes to mind when
you write the word

Whatever comes to mind when
the sign says

When the sign says
No Exit.

Whatever comes to mind when
you stand outside
as the evening falls early
in November.

When you wake just before first light.

When the summer sun on your neck
reminds you of
the last summer you saw her.

Whatever comes to mind when you think
about chocolate.

About coffee.
About whiskey.
About the small of his back.

Whatever comes to mind when
You write the word

When you say the word

Whatever comes to mind
when you look down the long alley.

When the moon rolls above you
and the forsythia blooms as you sleep.

– Copyright Kay Winter

Readers: I’d love for you to take the prompts in the poem and write your responses (any, all) in the comments. Do a simple list, write your own poem, whatever you like!

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What wind blew me back here
from where I was
I don’t know
except it was raining there, too.

I came from late June
and the rain had a green edge
that also meant thunder
and lightning that would crack
over the neighbor’s cottonwood trees.

But the place I have come to
is as I remembered.
Autumn, woods,
the wide cold lake
blending into the sky
through the wet black branches.

I am stopped,
dumbstruck on the trail,
by the leaves in a clearing
fallen and aflame
the fire of them burning
the brighter for being wet.

And the wind,
maybe it is the same June wind,
blows the rain through the air
to this clearing.
I stand on muddy earth
in a time-hollowed place
that I will come back to
as I have done.

And my hands are wet,
I think, they are wet.
And it is June again
and the patio chairs must be tipped
against the table before I go inside
to close the upstairs windows.

And can I ask you,
can I,
where are you now?
Do you have such places
that you go to?

And what is the call of now
but an echo through us
that says
and calls back

– Copyright Kay Winter

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Kid Pool

She remembers the pale
bubbles under the water
of the kids pool
the endless and lax summer
she spent in Phoenix
to stay with her aunt.

Now, standing in her sedate black suit,
on the deck of a business hotel pool
somewhere in Dallas,
she smells pool water splashed
across hot concrete.
And she is five,
and hiding in water,
and she misses
her mother
the same way now.

– Copyright Kay Winter

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August Meeting

The two heads of white hair
bow over knees
and still, wrinkled hands
resting on gray kimonos.

On the same day in early August
they meet at Kofukuji shrine
to share silence
in the open room
facing the garden
of small blue flowers.

The wind catches
the temple bell.

– Kay Winter

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Collage Poem: White Beach


I went into a white sky
over a white beach.

Out farther
out at sea
a blue current
on a postcard with a picture
someone else took
long before I arrived.
– Copyright Kay Winter

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