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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What Fear Looks Like

One would think
I’d have learned by now
not to get too close,

because once I do,
the next day
you back away

towards the other.
In one moment,
we’re near enough

to breathe each other’s breath.
I want to touch your face,
finger the rough edges

around your mouth
where you never
bother to shave,

run my tongue across your lips,
kiss your neck
where the base meets

your collarbone,
revel in the smell
of the oneness

you made me believe in,
put my hand on your chest,
feeling the t-shirt beneath,

hiding the heartbeat
I know is there,
pumping for someone else.

copyright 2016, Katherine Gotthardt

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Art Class

Some muses are better than others.
You, you’re pretty good,
and I don’t even need you naked.
I’m no artist in that sense, and besides,
I’d be mortified studying you
in front of a class.

I won’t describe your body here,
except to say I don’t
know anything about it
(other than what you show on Facebook,
and that’s just enough
to percolate intrigue
like a pot of dark, brewing coffee.
It smells so damn good).
Am I a bad person,
using you this way?

At least I told you. Sometimes
I don’t tell, don’t bother to ask,
not once nod in the direction
of inspiration. I’m sorry.
It hasn’t always been about you.

It’s about me and my writing
and how I’m so needy,
ordering out someone else’s energy
to quench the thirst
of my poet’s dry throat.

On the outside,
she’s a ridiculous middle-aged woman.
On the inside,
she sits in the front row
and marvels at your complexity
flexing in front of an analytical
group of parched hippies.

You’re too good for that.
May I be excused?


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Wretched

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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IM

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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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