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Hellos, Goodbyes, & Lullabies By Marlena Rubenstein


“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” – Frank Outlaw


“Abandoned” abandoned is a blue blanket like the one I had as a baby. inseparable only to be found in a dusty drawer weeks later. the soft, warm silk slithers around me, suffocating. why did you leave it whispers why didn’t you love me but it wasn’t my fault. the blanket that once injected bliss into my blood stream winds around my chest trapping me into short, quick breaths. One-two-three One-two-three the blanket, Eden’s Serpent whispering poison in my ear why don’t you want me why wasn’t I good enough I shake my head but my One-two-three breaths don’t give my brain enough air it hurts. the Serpent’s grip tightens latching onto my soul why why why


it whispers as I shake my head my world goes black.


“A guy and a girl can be just friends, but at one point or another, they will fall for each other...Maybe temporarily, maybe at the wrong time, maybe too late, or maybe forever” ― Dave Matthews Band


“Playground Fantasies” I remember when I saw you for the first time, in the playground. I remember how you used to gel your hair so it stood straight up. But you stopped when your hair started looking gray. I remember listening to how much you missed your friends back home I remember standing up for you against the 4th grade bully, yelling at him to put you down. I remember that bully— as soon as you were gone he’d steal my hat and my courage would rush out of me with the misty winter air as I called for a teacher to defend me. I remember when you told me that after only a year in the city you were moving back home. I remember seeing you all those years later— your hair all grown, your teeth all straight. I remember being so excited to see my best friend again. I remember when your pimples sprouted and you grew quieter, but you were still beautiful to me I remember when I stopped looking at you as a friend and started as something more I remember that your look for me stayed the same. I remember when you started asking me for girl advice, I remember the pity-parties you’d throw because you said no girl would ever like you. But I always thought I do. I remember the excitement I feigned when you told me you had a date I remember the hopelessness I felt knowing that things would never be different. You still live a world away, And to you I’m still that girl that blocked the bully’s punches. But you—you’re more than an injured bird. You are more than the displaced boy I found on the playground wearing Bermuda shorts in the snow because that’s what the kids wore back home. You’re more to me than what you think you are,


and more to me than you will ever know. I remember the day I knew I loved you, but I won’t ever remember the day that you loved me back.


“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” ― C.G. Jung


“Are You My Mother?” I remember the years I spent with you Breathing in your toxin day after day And after years of abuse I cracked. I don’t remember you asking me to stay when I left Because you didn’t. You didn’t say that you needed me That you wanted me Or even that you loved me. I don’t remember the last time you looked at me With anything but sadness. Where is the mother that I biked with? That I laughed with? That I hiked with? I don’t remember the last time I saw you truly happy. Were you ever? Where is the mother that I walked with? That I baked with? That I talked with? Gone, Gone are the happy days we spent together. Gone is the windowsill-planting, Cary Grant-dancing Mother I used to know. This new Mother Is no mother of mine. I do not need her I do not want her And though I may still love her I never will forget her.


“Sticks and stones are hard on bones Aimed with angry art, Words can sting like anything But silence breaks the heart.” – Phyllis McGinley, “Ballade of Lost Objects”, 1954


“My Big Brother” I sit at my desk with my pencil in my hand and my paper blank tap-tap tap-tap my pencil slaps the paper but the well of my mind runs dry. My Big Brother sits down next to me and plops a tea bag a white, chipped mug and a black metal tea pot on my desk. “Drink it, Dana.” He says. “It works for me every time!” As my steaming water turns pink I take a sip and then another. The well of my mind has received its first rain shower and my tap-tap, tap-tap ing pencil beings to fly across the page. I make a mental note to thank My Big Brother for introducing this miracle rain into my life.


“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.” ― Jess C. Scott, 1: The Intern


“A mi madre Argentina” Querida Mamá Te extraño cada día La ‘Mericana


“How lucky I am to love something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – The Movie Annie


Hellos, Goodbyes, & Lullabies  

Poetry Chappbook

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