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New Poem: “lost another night”

a night sticks to my face
and breathes my eyes shut –
ears open, quiet un-calm carefully listening brain –
who, where, what, when – why? –
eyelid slithers back a bit in question,
darkness firmly presses it back down,
chides me “sleep” –
but how, when, where, with whom and why? –
both eyes spring open
face the darkness that accuse me –

brain brushes sticky night away –
“i am my own light!”

so lost another night –

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New Poem: “drawing out meaning”

landslide, mud that rush through mind
and falls out of mouth –
breathless rumbling noise
wallows in itself,
aroused by thought –
sticky mud that drips,
a putrid smell that lingers in the air
when silence regains hold
and everything
is said –

it can’t be washed away,
the fetid layer of my feelings
stick to everything –

i drag a stick through the mud,
i try to draw out meaning
and retrace its origin –
all i achieve is a pushed button,
thumbs up,
‘what a great drawing!
could you draw me as well!?’ –

it’s all the same,
it’s time to start over
all again
and always in vain –

draw it out so that
the mud can’t slide, kept down,
locked up and viable
as inspiration – never smellable
to anyone else than I,
and never as beautiful
as when presented for admiration
on a canvas –

and the irony when people say
they like it, they relate to it, and
“can you draw me too!?”

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New Poem: “i know that i know nothing -“

i know that i know nothing –
that is the curse of intelligence –

i think i should right people’s wrongs
but how
when no word comes out of my mouth
without being followed
by its opposition
woven together by strings of thought –

i open my eyes and is met with worry,
laughter, shaking heads –

no, the world must find its own way
with the people who live therein –

i will think in peace instead –

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New Poem: “tiny green eyes”

tiny green eyes see the sun for the first time – a cruel sun wanting to burn them back into the ground – wrestling with wispy clouds to get through and do its intended harm – while the tiny green eyes glimpse their new world for the first time, and hope – hopefully stretching out towards the light – not yet aware of the fight above, and what it might mean – wiggling their way up and out – into the perceived freedom sought – but nothing is as it may seem –

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New Poem: “word associations”

sofa: a place for a mother to lie and read,
dead to the world and me –
a place that speaks “pain” and “tired”
in words and in shifty eyes
you cannot catch – tested, tried –

kitchen: a place to sit still and eat
while pretending to be a family
with the distant woman who grinds her teeth
too proud to say she’s in pain
but not smart enough to hide it from me –

truth: a distant concept
never spoken between us, our only words
intended to keep the semblance of peace
so as not to make things worse – for her,
of course – an uneasy truce
designed and upheld by me –

consideration: always asked for
though i always thought it a given –
and that i gave and gave of it –
never enough – never enough –
and never returned or acknowledged
it went unnoticed – wasted – lost –

mother: a creature with power
to both give you life and to kill –
though the second is optional –
their love is not unconditional
whatever the poets say –
their actions speak for themselves.
mine said: “stay away”

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New Poem: “feelings defy description”

feelings defy description yet must be put in words in order to be heard – family defy words, their actions wound, their words hurt – thinking makes everything worse but the mind wanders all the same – that’s the game –

no way of not playing – i can’t right any wrongs, they and I sing the same songs – write and let live – i gave what i had to give, and it just did not suffice – i realize that’s how it is, and how it must me –

yet – how i wish i wasn’t me –

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New Poem: “death threat response letter”

thank you
for the death threat
proving your desperate need
to be feared –
why? i don’t know,
but you must be despairing
that i know
that if you had planned to kill me
you wouldn’t have warned me –
after all
that would have been either
bad strategy
or utter idiocy
on your part –
dear lunatic,
something tells me
that you are more afraid
(of what?)
than you could ever make me –

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New Poem: “expected unexpected poetry -“

third of august
shit hit a fan
in my head, in my heart
and poetry
started to spout
out of every thought i had
and every word i heard –
my anger
no longer dormant
demanded it
be given word –

one month collection –
unexpected expected –
built-up anger, confusion, hurt = pain –
pain = poetry –

it was always that way,
i was simply not expecting it
right now, in this particular way –

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New Poem: “were i alone tonight”

were i alone tonight
i’d drown my sorrows one by one
and cry out what was left
until there wasn’t
any left of me –
i’d let myself feel free
for a few short hours
until the sickness set in
again –

were i alone tonight
i’d dive into the past and
i’d dissolve in tears and alcohol –
i’d swim back in time
and revisit a childhood
i’d rather forget
though it never forgot –

i’ll act adult and do
what i must do
to maintain a semblance
of normalcy –
the tears are always there to cry
it needn’t be tonight –

at least i’ll try –

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New Poem: “drunk thoughts in the dead of the night -“

sleep eludes me –
night’s no pleasantry –
night holds dangers
to the mind
that can be avoided
during the day –
night brings things to light
that are better left in shadow –

three o’clock, morning light
creeps through blinds and wakes me
from the waking sleep –
tomorrow ruined in advance
and who’s to blame?
everyone’s to say it’s me
regardless of my reasons.

but sleep eludes me
and in its place
is an endless abyss of loss
and human misery –
memories i cannot shake
and feelings i wish i never felt
and never knew the cost of –

morning will come and
i will still be here –
with dark rings under my eyes
and a smile ready as disguise
as frail as always –
but always in place
regardless –

the whole world is only about
staying alive and keeping face –
whatever it takes –

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New Poem: “where is my father?”

where is my father? hiding behind mother –
never seen – never heard –

what is a man? i don’t know if i ever saw one –
i see ghosts in armour –

an invisible screen separates genders
no one understands but everyone
perpetuates –

with every word we draw up new boundaries
new separations of concerns –
with the opposite intentions –

where is my father? waiting for my mother
to decide whether he can speak to me –
or expecting her to do it?

what am i to him?
an extension of him and mother –
not a living thing with a history of her own
separate from his and hers –

what am i?
not an addendum to someone else’s history –
it is a preposterous thought –
i am a woman – perhaps that is why
my father is such a vague figure –
rarely there – and never really there –

what am i to him?
a creature he will never really understand –
perhaps he expects mother to impart wisdom,
and if that is so
that is why he never understood anything –

i stare across time and place –
i neither can nor will see his face –
he chose to leave my life,
now i choose to leave him be –

where is my father?
hiding in the corner of a memory,
behind my mother –

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New Poem: “trinity: a family”

one: light spilling through the golden curtains
into prison living room – of choice –
the playing cards placed carefully,
dirty, torn and used –
clock ticking off a time unknown within –
a person brooding over memories –
not living – withering –

two: a circle that once was vast has narrowed
to a single house –
a mind in tarnished boxes, carefully set apart –
words on electronic paper
the connection to the world she cannot face –
not living – festering –

three: a voice without a body that has only
now discovered that the body does exist –
a life begun at 25 – a late escape –
now what? who knows? not i. but i know
that i’m exploring new directions –
and that is all i want to know –

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New Poem: “40 years – a family – apart”

we speak about the same thing, and the thing is not the same –
we call it the same name, but proportions and perspective
lie 40 years apart – in a world apart –
she thinks she knows the answers to every question i ask myself,
and she thinks the questions are really aimed at her –
in both things she is wrong –
she launches herself into winded stories about her youth,
expecting everything to be the same now –
she speaks of how she found a life partner at 14,
and of how they bought a house together at 20
and of how they both got apprenticeships and jobs
straight away, more or less –
she will not, cannot understand that people
don’t live like that today –
she will not understand that it isn’t a viable option,
that it isn’t just a matter of choice –
she cannot, will not understand that society is so different
that nothing she says makes any sense –
her mind blanks at the thought, and then i am accused
of simply being “wrong” together with my entire generation –
and that although we didn’t create the system that led to this,
to the problems we have now – that was actually them
and we just pay the price for their mistakes –
the worst of all though – worse than all the rest –
is when she assumes that i am just a clone of her
because she insists on only seeing similarities
and ignores all the differences – that might interfere
and make her uncomfortable – and at the end of the day
her comfort is all that matters
and my personality just gets in the way –

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New Poem: “portrait 12”

I’m tired of my IT job –
I’m going to make it big! –
so I’m co-founding this start-up
with branded coffee cups
and an idea that’ll stick!

No boss to push me around –
no schedule to follow!
I’ll do whatever I please
starting from tomorrow!

I’m so proud of what I do!
I believe in it! Everything!
From the launch that we went through
to the posters I designed
and the visiting cards too!
And the website – which is great –
the future looks so bright!
This is what I was meant to do!

The bills didn’t pay themselves
so I had to take in a few
clients whose projects I didn’t
really want to do –
and some wouldn’t pay
and some complained
and I work much more
than I did before –

but I shouldn’t complain
since I asked for this, right?
I’m still my own boss
and that’s got to be right…

I am not my own boss.
I had one boss before –
now I can hardly keep score –

Why did I ever
try this again?
It’s just so hard
to comprehend.

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New Poem: “portrait 10”

we could go to this fastfood place
if you’re hungry (or anyway)!
look – cheap burgers! –

oh, I see the sign,
walk 1 mile that way
to get a tiny piece
of unidentifiable meat,
paper-like cheese
and soggy bread
in order not
to feel full
afterwards –
and you even have
to pay – if a little –
for the privilege
of going hungry –

what a bargain!

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New Poem: “portrait 9”

outraged teenagers
discuss personal matters
on a bus –
perhaps not caring
and perhaps deliberately
wanting us to hear
their smut –

“my friend broke up
with her boyfriend
through two years
a whole month ago
and hasn’t yet
had sex
with another!”

“a whole month!
isn’t that unnatural?” –

I feel like screaming
how about five years?
out loud
right now –
but they would think
I’m a fossil at 27
so I don’t –
I know I’m an outlier to want
intimacy in a relationship
of random physical
encounters with strangers –
so I maintain
silence –
quietly feeling sick and dirty
over here
in my own seat –

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New Poem: “portrait 8”

not even looking
since looks could deceive
the fact that she
used to know
someone like me –
not fashionably dressed,
not from the city –
any traces of roots
relating her to me
were to be cut
if she could –
how she must have fought
and lied and tried
to hide her dialect
in order to fit in
to a place
that never liked her
to begin with –
you know,
I always thought myself
her friend –
now I know
that my time was wasted –
she never wanted
acceptance –
she wanted annihilation
and she got it –
there’s nothing left of her
except this shell
that passes me
not even looking –

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New Poem: “portrait 7”

in the thick-rimmed
titanium glasses –
square jaw held high –
sure of himself –
sure of his field
and that he knew all of it
though fallen ten years behind –
why care to learn?
better pretend
and stay within the limits
once chosen –
wing the rest –
if you look assured enough
you’ll make it anyway –
this world revolves around talking –
content is secondary,
context no longer necessary –
and he had the glasses
and the computer
to prove his worth
if words failed –

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New Poem: “portrait 6 – self-portrait”

for the digital age –
I don’t want
to brand myself –
i am human,
i am no product –
it does not come naturally.
I am a poet
not a screamer –
I hate having photos taken –
I hate videos all the more –
I am a poet
not a poster figure
for anything –
a disgruntled
wannaby revolutionary
who has resigned –
for the 21st century,
and for the future
I can no longer hope
will improve –
what voice do I have
that I can brand
among the young crowd
who love showing
themselves? –
who love stating truths
without thinking
and who may even
be convinced
they are right? –
I am not convinced
of anything anymore –
I just ride the waves
of this life
and write –
but who will read me
if I don’t try
to be young with the young
and try to scream
as loud – at least –
as the crowd? –
and perhaps that’s best
since I so rarely meet
a person
who understands
my point of view.
perhaps I am an extinct
species? –
perhaps I am the last
one left?
well, in that case
I am obliged to write
in any case
whether read or not –
am I not?

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New Poem: “portrait 5”

so, you said you have
a company? –
I am a social media influencer, yes! –
what does that
consist of? –
updating profiles,
testing products
that I get
and explaining
their usage –
so, basically
getting free stuff
and advertising –
no, no – that cannot
be compared!
see, I run a business! –
no – you expect others
to give you free stuff
because you don’t want
to work
to earn money
to pay for it –

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New Poem: “portrait 4”

teenage drama,
perfectly orchestrated
to generate attention
on a crowded bus
while seeming
to want to avoid
same attention –
I’ll never get to make
any money, will I?
it’s never gonna
happen to me! –
well, what would you
like to do? –
I don’t know…
maybe coaching,
or I could write a blog?
I have an Instagram account
I’m working on too –

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New Poem: “portrait 3”

she has no money –
she said so –
frowning with
carefully plucked
and dyed eyebrows
and carefully
shaded eyelids –
re-arranging a fold
in the sleeve
of a designer jacket –
it’s so tough
to find the “right” job
that makes her feel
that she contributes –
so she doesn’t
really try anymore –
maybe go back to school?
maybe go travelling?
(if her parents…) –

how long did you stay
in the job you quit?
three months!
and I didn’t get
to make any decisions
on my own!
it was stifling
and I felt like
I wasn’t really
like they didn’t think
I knew what I did.
but there must be
something worthwhile
I can do instead.
a place where I feel
I can really
make a difference! –

if you work for it.

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New Poem: “portrait 2”

designed specifically
to look special –
because what else
could bring sense
to her life?
how could she function
any common ground
with others?
how allow herself
under such circumstances?
she needs be
the artistic one,
the snowflake –
the one who needs nothing
besides attention –
she designs herself
like her clothes
and her furniture
(second-hand, of course)
and brands herself
like a product –
then complains
(when it is fashionable)
about being objectified –

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New Poem: “portrait 1”

finely knitted
toughness –
expensive taste –
she regards
the rest of us
from the pedestal
of youth –
sure we are fossils
and she a teacher –
carefully chosen
clothes, makeup –
carefully over-wrought
about insignificant
details –
since real problems
would require
too careful attention
she can’t muster –
finely dealt
fill up
about nothing –
does she think
this is worthwhile?
I don’t.

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New Poem: “no balm for solitude”

creeps into every crevice
of the room
as soon as night sets in –
the sheen of light
from distant windows
with promises
of what others have –
the muffled
next-door noises
hurt –
the internet
scars –
the wine promises
than it delivers –
there is no balm
for solitude –
its infective nature
be cured
one way –

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New Poem: “modern life floundering”

motivation flounders gone
with brain that pounds
the hours down –
a blood that boils
in veins of ash
beneath a face –
silence lurks without a trace
in crevices that time create,
existence foiled –
no trace of happiness be found
with careless people all around,
all in the mess embroiled –

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New Poem: “i die in silence while she lives noisily -“

asked for recognition for artwork by someone who never bothered recognizing mine.
what a feeling.
not a big enough person
to not feel anger
and detach her from my heart for now.
not worth the effort –

i die in silence while she lives noisily –
why should i give any more of myself
when i have so little left of me
and she already has so much
of herself and others to live on?

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New Poem: “labelled”

healthy separation of form and function,
feelings, thoughts –
you were a friend
until i turned you inside out
and examined you –
which i should have done before –
now you stand bared
in your humanity
with no better label
than “human” –

i guess it counts for something too
but never quite enough
since the rest of us are just as human
as you –

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New Poem: “I reason – with myself -“

I reason – with myself –
where reason – may hide –
I seek out – an answer –
but answer – with pride –
and I see – no remedy –
for what’s now – a fight –
but I did not – want this –
I wanted – what’s right –

A human – I’m human –
and I make – mistakes –
but who cares – it’s gonna –
unfold – anyway –
I won’t be – forgiven –
remembered – with spite –
humans – forget all else –
after – one fight –

I can’t make – amends –
I will fail – if I try –
since now – you remember –
just this – just the fight –
so after – all else –
what remains? – just goodbye… –

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New Poem: “introspection”

chaos in and out of everything –
cringe my way out of my skin –
turn it inside out to hide
behind the way i feel inside –

squiggle into my cavern of truth
examine the scars others left me –
leaving the gore for the world to see
as i wait for rebirth and youth –

vomiting out of my shell again
when safety prevails – so never –
a womb of quiet and contemplation –
a world lost – for now – forever –

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New Poem: “delayed outburst results in -“

i understand
an outburst from me
must seem unfair to you –
it’s like training a cat
not to pee on the floor,
if it happens long after
it happened
the cat gets mad at you
and learns nothing at all –
perhaps i should’ve said
how i feel
when i actually felt it
and everything was real
instead of waiting
ten years and boil over
when you least expect it –
but that’s what happened
and that’s what happens –
i kept it in and kept quiet
for too long
out of mistaken family feeling
that now feel wasted –
perhaps because it was –
so i might as well waste it
or what’s left of it
by not apologizing
for not doing wrong
but simply voicing my feelings
after too long –
if you can’t or won’t understand
it proves that you never knew me –
which is exactly what
i protested against –
you’ve proven it to me –
blame me all you want,
the original fault was with you
although you’ll never see it
no matter what i do –

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New Poem: “divisive / dismissive / missive”

divisive / dismissive / missive
echo chamber of TRUTH –
enabling / enacting / actions
that never occur –
loudly clouded minds
unfolding / emboldening / dissolving
in wastes of words –
what really happens
is an open question
since everything
can and will be questioned
incessantly / unnecessarily / defiantly –
a filter for the noise
no longer a possibility –

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New Poem: “distraction sought -“

urgent matter – idle chatter – heart with aches – app updates – poignant thought – distraction sought – deadline close – close to doze – friends in need – gone with speed – feeling alone – stares at phone – wanting more – storm out the door – leave all behind – so too your mind – searching for something – you’ll never find – without hard work – and lots of thought… – distraction sought –

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  This collection willed itself into being at a time when I was planning an entirely different writing project, and stayed strong throughout the changes and/or demise of that and other projects I was doing on the side. I never planned it. It willed itself into being.

  I won’t deny that it is essentially one long ode to depression. That should be fairly obvious to you if you made it this far. It reflects my state of mind fairly well I’d say. And that should kind of also explain why the writing of the collection became such a pressing matter that it pushed all other things aside.

  So, well, here it is! An intermission of a poetry collection. Written over a six month period of recuperation and recharging. The first poems (not counting the older ones that snuck their way in) were written in the immediate aftermath of my grandfather’s death, but didn’t fit into my last poetry collection which I were publishing at the time. The newest poems are rounding up everything, just barely making it over the finishing line at the eleventh hour. And now I can write no more of it. The theme is exhausted. Not because there is nothing more to say. Just because my situation has changed, and the sadness and loneliness that fueled the poems no longer extant in my life. Thus, it is done.

  The timing – with regards to this collection – could not be better. It closes a chapter for me, so that I can now allow myself to face squarely forwards.


  This is the end. I hope you got something out of the reading – at least remotely resembling how much I got out of the writing.


  Thank you for staying on.

– K-M Skalkenæs