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Katie Byrd

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Omaha, NE, US

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shoffman@creighton.edu (Katie Byrd )


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Mary

by

Katie Byrd

Whan Mary was born her mother screemed,
but Dad did not hold her hand.
He had heard her siren before and learned
that Mom was not worth the fight.
He could not stand to live within
the empty hate and empty love.
And Mary, the product of empty actions,
had to learn first hand
the rules to her world.

Mary's first lesson was in chaotic silence.
The loudest quiet ever heard.
She learned to whisper while Mom wept
to hide in her room, to taste her bitter tears,
to feign excitement at every sweetly false promise,
always agree, and never mind
the vicious anger and malicious lies.
Motherly love was left tainted and soured by
the teachings in her world.

School meant escape, an excuse to read,
to become something unreal.
Distantly she heard "say hello to Dad no.2"
then nodded, absorbed in another time.
School was hard since she must be the best,
or Mom, God knows what she'll do.
So Mary, duck back into studies and novels
and hide away from your world.

Chosen were friends of a worldly nature
already at age ten.
It was easier to be the tame one than wild and unrestrained.
Life was okay once she was numb.
Its all a crash course in manipulation.
Wave goodbye to Dad no. 2, she thought he seemed solid enough.
Time to learn your worlds not stable; time to stand alone.

Mary can see it all at age thirteen; Mary knows it all.
Her friends taught her well on cartoon living and technique.
"Life's not what you need, its just all your given
so now just do what you please."
Mary left home. Mom kicked her out.
Don't worry it wasn't long.
It made Mary cocky to know how to live
and to do the bad things on her T.V.
She tasted the sharpness of danger
and now she has entered its world.

Hey Mary Jane don't stay out too long
the fog is too thick and too sticky,
Your friends can't pull you in anymore
you've got to stay out of those clouds.
Is the smell of smoke and the flicker of flame
enough to make you go?
Mary I swear you can't Make it back home alone.
Mary, don't say goodbye just yet.

Mary hates school, she says school hates her.
I can hear the tears begin to roll.
She misses something. She doesn't know what.
Maybe she'd remember if she quit smoking so much.
It's hard to remember what she once liked.
I'd like to remember what she once said.
Mary you've changed; I think that you've changed
don't loose it all or you've let them win.
Mary's quite sorry didn't mean to abuse your emotions.
I don't think she noticed, or maybe she did.
She says it doesn't matter much now.
Mary hates Dad no.3. It seems that Mom does too.
Oh well, Mary couldn't notice.
She's not around much since she choose
to say goodbye to the world.

Mary doesn't care now. Mom's put away.
"A bit late," is all Mary responds.
Everything smells stale and smokey. Every thought is in a cloud.
She'll blame it on them and then she'll inhale.
I miss her a lot already.
Mary, I know how you once could think,
and I know how you once were.
It's gone on too long. You aren't coming home.
The world says goodbye to Mary.


A Moment's Ballad

by

Katie Byrd

A young man,
unknown to all,
steps into a brutally honest world,
and asks,
"What do ya' think?"
then hands out his soul,
black scrawls on white paper,
for all to critique.

He shutters not
as his labor is crammed
carelessly into the heap,
the heap of others and their paper-thin dreams
of breif recognition
and whispered hopes of fame.

He bravely stands,
eyes unblinking,
hands unshaking,
as his work is harshly thumbed through.
He cringes not
looking on to
abusive page turners
ripping through his unmarred thoughts.

"Not what we're looking for."
The stack of papers is shoved back at him,
th corners slightly bent.
The young man's undaunted face
stares strait ahead uneffected
and he reaches out to tenderly take the manuscript
but before he takes hold
his fingers shake slightly
just for a moment.