Woman Unseen

can you see me
over here
still alive
still breathing
still wanting
still needing
needing what
I just don’t know
no longer young
but don’t feel old
not enough wisdom
in my weary soul
lived all these years
and learned
so damn little
Rome burned
while I fiddled
where was my heart
where was my mind
picking up sticks
wasting time
erstwhile friends
slipped away
to a time and place
of yesterdays
children grew
and moved away
don’t need me
to find their way
when I was young
and not yet old
still traveling
an easy charmed road
did not think
this day would come
old as the hills
but still
too young

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: Though this doesn’t seem to apply to men, we women of a “certain age,” become invisible. This poem is for all the not-seen ladies out there.)

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Seasons

When did I step into winter—
That I’d like to know.
The last I remember,
I was walking in the woods,
Autumn leaves, brown, red, and gold
Cushioning my way.
Azure skies above,
A brisk chill to the air,
Alive and invigorated.
Strolling fall’s path,
I recalled days gone by,
Fondly, a smile on my face.
Though I had suffered some loss
Of loved ones and missed opportunities,
The days yet stretched ahead,
Full of promise,
Things to do, races to run.

Like the nature of all springs,
Mine had been turbulent,
Full of self-inflicted storms
Interspersed with calm tides and winds.
But as spring had waned
And I became an adult—mostly—of mind,
Not just a hormone-driven body,
The storms grew farther and farther apart,
Until, somehow, without realization,
I strode tall and strong into summer.
Ah, how those days did shine
With family, friends, rewarding work.
Playtime at the beach every year,
Just the ladies and I splashing, laughing,
Drinking margaritas, singing, more laughing,
While lounging on the deck
Watching moonlight dance on the waves.

Autumn sneaked in there somewhere,
Easing through the door so gently
I barely noticed its entrance.
Thought my body wasn’t quite as strong,
It yet served me well.
And life went on—
Work and play uninterrupted.

When the leaves began to fall,
At last, I slowed down,
Smelled the proverbial flowers,
Worked less and played more.
I basked in my new-found freedom,
Did what I wanted when I wanted
With few exceptions.
I brushed off aches and pains,
Explained away the ladies’ and my abandonment
Of sand and sea and margaritas—
For we weren’t getting old.

Then, just like autumn,
Winter arrived unannounced,
Slipped through the back door
With barely a chill—
The old goat parked his frigid ass
In the center of my life
And refused to budge.
I called him names, cursed him, denied him,
But he did not go away,
Just became more entrenched,
Chilled my blood, brittled my bones,
Dried my skin, thinned my hair,
Invited gravity to sit at his side.
Winter waged his war
Without a shot being fired
And captured my youth.
Did he drink it?
Did he eat it?
Where the hell did it go?

Though I had fought him tooth and nail,
At long last, I humbly dropped all store-bought defenses
That no longer camouflaged what I had become.
Yes, I collapsed into winter’s embrace,
Those cold, bitter, lonely arms
And now—
Now—
That old goat sits at my side,
Sucking me dry.
I shrink and I stoop, forget things.
No smile now, I remember times past,
Of rivers that have run dry,
And seasons that have gone by.
Gone by—
Gone by—
In the blink of time’s eye.

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: Free verse is an open form or poetry. It doesn’t use consistent meter patterns, rhyme, or any musical pattern. It tends to follow the rhythm of natural speech.)

Image by Simon Berger from Pixabay

Senryu 1

The days march along,
Flying faster as they pass,
Till I breathe my last.

When my life’s time ends,
Will my soul find contentment,
Or haunt night’s sloe gloom?

Eternal unrest—
Is that what my death will bring?
Or an aught of peace?

©2021 KT Workman

Note: Japanese Senryu—3 lines, 17 syllables. 1st line, 5 syllables; 2nd line,7 syllables; 3rd line 5 syllables. Subject matter usually the human condition.

Image by jplenio from Pixabay

Endings

all things end…
universes
galaxies
stars
worlds
countries
marriages
friendships
life…

nothing is static…
always changing
evolving
mutating
splitting
birthing
gendering
for better
or worse…

tear it down…
with wars
pollution
suppression
propaganda
cancel-culture
nihilism
bigotry
all colors…

nothing left but…
GMOs
poisoned land
defiled oceans
rotting cities
false outrage
trigger warnings
unschooled children
melting snowflakes

until…
no one can breath
eat healthily
drink clean water
walk unafraid
speak unafraid
pray unafraid…
our poor world
is on life support…

© 2020 KT Workman

Poker Face

his familiar face…earnest, free of artifice
or perhaps cunningly cloaked instead
constructs expressions conveying love and sincerity
and I’m so easily led

and his smile…warm and pious and bright
could effortlessly pull me under
choppy waves of helplessness, hopelessness
and tear my heart asunder

if I dare gaze deep into his inscrutable eyes
just what will I see…
true love and honesty and loyalty
or trust’s death looking back at me

I wonder…

if I strip the skin from his poker face
tear off his smiling lips
pluck out his beguiling eyes
until all that’s left is bone and blood’s drip

what would I find…

©️2020 KT Workman

Distressed Damsel

the damsel strolls in step with the night
snuggly swaddled in its ebony cloak
it has always been her one true friend
her moonstruck muse, whom she often misquotes

she scribbles her wishes on its blank black canvass
staples her dreams to the backs of dingy doves
nails her hopes to the wings of ravens
and sends them all to the stars above

she grimly dances with detestable devils
a wild, wicked waltz of spreading blight
hoots and howls at the muddy moon
scares away all the shiny white knights

©️2020 KT Workman

Should Of, Could Of

in a wan wistful voice
swaddled in tarnished regret
the roads not taken
calls out to her
across the years and miles
of seasons past
from a long-ago time
when she was free
young and innocent
not yet compromised
by original sin
man’s heavy hand
or her own conscience
beginning a life of promise
unencumbered
by the weight of wrong choices
and could have beens
and should have beens

she recalls the things
absently gathered
along life’s path
stashed in a Mason jar
shoved under the bed
she takes them out
and one by one
weighs and ponders
the old woman smiles
drops them back inside
the crystal-clear glass
and as she dies
shakes the jar
pours the should ofs
and could ofs
onto the brand new road
and with a saucy grin
takes her first step

©️2020 KT Workman

Image Via Pixabay

Wednesday’s Child

I was not born to be happy…

No bright star shone down on me
When I was dropped headfirst into the world
Red-faced, kicking, screaming
And placed in my mother’s arms—
The only true home I’ve ever known

Instead, a dark star witnessed my birth
Stepped out of hell’s black hole
Took me in its cold bony hands
And christened me “Wednesday’s Child”
Damning me to a life of woe

Not for me fair of face or full of grace
A clumsy witch with frizzy red hair
Who mounts her broom
And beneath an alabaster moon
Runs wild with the night

Night understands, night knows
What beats inside my heart
What tangles and twists my soul
It doesn’t question, doesn’t judge
Night is my beloved familiar

There’s a certain comfort in failure
A happiness inside misery
A pleasure in numb emotions
For a Wednesday’s Child
Who has serenely accepted her fate

For…
I was not born to be happy

©️2020 KT Workman

Image via Pixabay

Little Girl Lost

she was born into the salty soup of summer
with sunlight dancing in her fiery hair
green grass waving in her bright eyes
and berries staining her smiling lips

she ran free with the wild things
collecting golden memories in her mind
and silver linings around her clouds
life was as it should be

one day she strayed from sunny meadows
into deep shadowed woods
where she became lost
among the black twisted trees

she stumbled through the dark
crying out as thorny fingers
gouged her tender flesh
she called out for help that never came

the grimy moonlight washed away innocence
washed away kindness and charity
washed away hopes and dreams
and washed away trust

she fell in with hyenas dressed in wolves’ clothing
echoed their crazy laughter
while turning her back on all that was right and good
all that was clean

she rolled in the dirt
soiling what once had been pure
what once had been a shining soul
there was no place in her life for that now

©️2019 KT Workman

Photo via Pixabay

Around the Bend

running down
that dusty road
impervious to rocks
her shoe-leather soles

chasing sister
chasing brother
watch the baby
said their mother

her short legs
falling behind
a dollar short
and always behind

alway a bother
always a chore
sometimes left alone
and often ignored

she didn’t talk much
cried not at all
and stone by stone
she built a wall

to protect a heart
too tender to show
keeping it hidden
from friend and foe

every passing year
saw more bricks
added to the wall
rick by rick

until one day
she opened the door
stepped outside
joints stiff and sore

and hobbled down
that dusty road
cut and bruised
her old thin soles

chasing what
she didn’t know
only knew
it was time to go

she was ready
to reach this end
maybe it’d be better
just around the bend

© 2019 KT Workman

Photo via Pixabay