Who are you?
Lost you.
Damaged you.
A you who has locked yourself away.
Are you vengeful?
Wrecked by pride?
Do you recognise your own face in the mirror -
this new man at odds with the one I used to know- 
the old you would have rejected the man you appear to have become.

But it is not within my heart to reject you.
How can I cast you aside?
You, who meant so much to me.
You, who would have been there for me if the situation was reversed.
You, whose current countenance is forged by
pain and loss and heartbreak.
I don't have it in me to leave you behind.
Instead I wonder -
in those many long moments you spend alone -
do you cry, blame yourself?
Do you feel the betrayal of tears as they well in your eyes and highlight your rejection?
Does your face feel hot, and snotty and wet as they run down your cheeks?
Is your mind embittered, your spirit shut down and encircled in barbed wire?
Do you relish the pressure of the spikes?
I imagine it is not kindness or love you now seek
but solitude
self flaggellation

Even as you're busy raising welts on your own hide
I'd love to reach out with tenderness,
to catch your hands before you snap the whip against your skin,
to cup your lovely face in my hands and look into your eyes as if - iris to iris -
I could somehow unlock your spirit like a high tech passcode
I yearn for you to see yourself
as I still see you.
To discover you are worthy of love again.
Gentle you.
Intelligent you.
Kind you.
Funny you.
You who I love simply and without judgement.
A brother 
A kindred soul.
A dear friend.
Self-exiled by choice.
But lost only to yourself.

◄ Gentle activist

The Ghost and the Chequerboard ►


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Don Matthews

Sun 25th Aug 2019 23:14

Thankyou for returning from the wilderness Kate. You were missed...

Yes Jason. Very skillfully written.

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Jason Bayliss

Sun 25th Aug 2019 22:52

Beautifully put Kate, definitely a place I've been to, and have no desire to return.
Skillfully written.

J. x

Devon Brock

Sun 25th Aug 2019 22:19


This poem beautifully captures compassion and forgiveness. It conjures, to me, Russell Lee's photo "Man at the bar on Saturday Night".



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Adam Rabinowitz

Sun 25th Aug 2019 15:40

Heartbreaking. You have written a character we all want to comfort. I love the line iris to iris

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Mae Foreman

Sun 25th Aug 2019 14:08

La! C'est formidable! Those kind of words stick with you, make you want to revisit the poem again and again! Kudos!?

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Raj Ferds

Sun 25th Aug 2019 14:02

Ah I love this Kate.
Just the act of loving somebody without judgement liberates their troubled and restless spirit. It releases the pain and turmoil.

Paradise lost? No, Paradise reclaimed!


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