Weaker than Water

"In the world, there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong, nothing can surpass it." –Lao Tzu

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My head is spinning.
No, not from overthinking,
literally spinning from the inside.
It’s this damn tinnitus.
Gets me every time.

I’m going to barf.
I want to close my eyes
and sleep it off,
but it doesn’t work that way.
And since I’m so miserable,
I might as well write poetry
and tell you, no,
I’m not horny right now (maybe later)
and please, will you understand
what I’m looking for?

I’m not some aging whore
wanting to be thrown away.
I want us to last a few seasons,
find a reason to talk every day,
look you in the eye and say,
“My God, but I love you,”
and, “God help me, I love you.”

Go ahead now.
It’s your turn to barf.

copyright 2016, Katherine Gotthardt

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I don’t know.
The smell of your collarbone,
wild with life
and a pale coating
of musk cologne,
burrow their way
into my own
and stay there
for days, no matter
how much I shower.

I’m not trying
to wash it away.
No, my own odor
doesn’t say ardor
the way yours does,
and I am lonely with it,
there, in hot water,
with no help
because I cannot reach
the places you can.

I think I’m in trouble.

I think too much.
When you said, “Remember me,”
I took it too seriously.
Because when all you can do
is remember, it becomes
rumination, and the shrinks tell me
that’s not healthy.
So that’s me. Unhealthy.

So be it. So be it that memory
clasps hands with fantasy
and skips like a child
through some autumn field
where long weeds
looking like wheat
greet us up to our hips,
graze our fingertips,
smelling like love
and changing seasons.

I think I’m in trouble.

copyright 2016, Katherine Gotthardt

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I’ll call this a fondness poem
for those who indulge me
in deep-seated chat.
If I used the word love,
you’d flee, and I
would stand empty.
Then where would you leave me –
on the corner of Main
and Abandonment?
I’m not sure I could endure
that kind of loneliness.

Every poet needs a reader.
No one wants to be stranded
in their head. It’s midnight in there.
The alleys are pitch and sharp,
slimy-grounded, trash-smelly.
No, that’s no place for a poet,

or anyone really. If we
could just treat each other better,
hug the anger out of each other,
hold the heart of one another
in caring, careful hands,
I think we’d be okay. But

fear trumps philosophy,
and the center cannot hold.
I’m out of time.
Out of time.

Katherine Gotthardt
copyright October 8, 2016

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At Risk (revised)

I hate writing
about your eyes.

Your harem probably
already has, penning

cliches about your
intensity. I lust.

I look away.
I can’t handle

players. I can’t
handle the way

you use winking
as a crowbar

to pry wide
my stupid heart.

You, Bad-boy

command I swallow
obvious emotional unavailability.

You’re most likely
going conquistador, cutting

me open. Your
laugh boasts behind

closed doors, mocking
my damn weakness.

I own inability
to walk out.

You don’t love
me. But touch

me deep. Please?
I won’t struggle.

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One Foot Away

It’s because
you tickle me
when you wink.

I’m not sure
what to think
of your playfulness,
your player-ness –
painless or audacious?

I just know as I go
to sleep, you sneak in,
and I hide you.
Like contraband.

Katherine Gotthardt
Copyright 2016

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Dearest Friend,

I apologize for leaving you
alone for so long,
wondering if my wandering
had anything to do with you.
I’m so sorry. It did.

I admit, I couldn’t look
your illness in the face,
the way your lipstick
slinks away now, guiltily
avoiding your medicated breath,
leaving a smear on your upper lip,
as if it skidded in last minute haste.

You see, cancer smells a certain way.
It’s not quite like death, but more
like withering. IV be damned.
You’ll shrivel, dry, disappear
into unknown at any moment,
quite possibly in front of me
as I hold too tightly
onto your crumbling hand.

You see, I am afraid.

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More Poetry for the Muse

Muse: the goddess or the power regarded as inspiring a poet, artist, thinker, or the like.

It’s when I am half asleep
that the words fall out,
like potatoes from a broken bag.

The plastic can’t contain them.
The whites of their eyes stare
at my insignificance compared
to the fervor of your words,

the crazy acts you inspire,
the way you warm me,
making me perfectly edible.  

copyright 2015