Excerpt for Memory in Silhouette: Poems by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Memory in Silhouette


Memory in Silhouette


T. L. Cooper

Copyright © 2012 T. L. Cooper

All rights reserved. Published in the United States by The TLC Press.

ISBN: 0984686258

ISBN-13: 978-0-9846862-5-4


I dedicate this book to

Loay Abu-Husein

Thank you for the memories we’ve shared!


Eternal thanks to Loay Abu-Husein for providing the photo that became the cover as well as for his invaluable input and advice in creation of the cover. You will forever hold a special place in the memories held within my heart.

My undying gratitude and affection to friends, Kelly Gant Deaton, Lori Felmey, and Bryan Rader, who not only gave me their honest opinions about the cover and the poems within but offered encouragement and support whenever I stumbled. Each of you has helped me move forward in your own unique way, and your efforts are appreciated more than you know!

I owe a debt of appreciation to poet/songwriter, Tony Haynes, and authors, Pari Noskin Taichert, Joanne Pence, and Stacey Rourke for offering helpful suggestions regarding myriad aspects of Memory in Silhouette.

I could write an entire book filled with names of people who have offered me inspiration, support and encouragement throughout my writing career. Your contribution to my life has not gone unnoticed. Thank you for being part of my life.

Without those who read my work, writing would be pointless, so it is with heartfelt thanks I humbly present my work to you in hopes it enriches your life in some way!

Pointing Forward

Pointing forward

Even as memories

Deluge my present

Remind me of the past

Immerse me in your words

Drown me in regret

I hold my head up

Push those memories back

Remember they are over

Nothing can change them

They are what they are

For better or worse

Those memories remind me

Ignoring them belittles their lessons

Makes me forget my growth

Encourages me to repeat the mistakes

Embracing those memories

Frightens me

Reminds me what I abandoned

Teases me with what worked

Taunts me with “what ifs” I can’t change

So I square my shoulders

Give my memories recognition

They helped me become me

They remind me to keep

Pointing forward

Even when

Pointing forward

Feels like taking a step back

Into memories that matter

Into memories that hurt

Into memories that uplifted

Into memories that changed me

Whether I like it or not

My memories are instrumental

In me

Pointing forward


Nostalgia opens the vein of melancholy

Memories pour over my skin

Flooding me with moments lost to time

Drowning me in yesterday

Giving me pause as I reach for today

Reminding me what I abandoned

Aching with the regret of pain inflicted

I watch from somewhere outside myself

Wishing for the lifeline I severed

Opening the scars of memory’s wounds

The blistering of our passion’s burn

The sting of the laughter we shared turning to tears

The frostbite of our love freezing between us

The bruise left in the place where your arms embraced me

The cut of the emptiness of life without you

Grasping for hope within each scar’s opening

Wishing for a fresh skin, an un-marred heart, healing

Perhaps I should drown myself in the nostalgia

Allow the vein of melancholy to bleed me free from you

Nostalgia opens the vein of melancholy

Suitcase of Memories

Yesterday I opened

A suitcase of memories

We created

We hid away

To enjoy another day

Forgot them

Didn’t cherish them

Didn’t appreciate them

Decided they weren’t good enough

I stared into

A suitcase of our memories

I ran my fingers through them

Looking for one to close the gap

Tears filled my eyes

As I realized

All those memories we should have




Had turned to sand

Leaving us with no

Foundation to build upon

Touch of Memory

The touch of your memory

Skates across my skin

Sets my nerve endings on fire

Freezes my cells in place

Lingers in the air around me

The touch of your memory

Shows up unexpected, uninvited, unannounced

Caresses my emotions

Toys with my thoughts

Plays with my fantasies

Fills my emptiness with hope

Invades my life

Breaks my heart into pieces

Brings you from then to now

The touch of your memory

Glues me to you

Holds you in me

Makes me long for more

Teases me with possibility

Terrifies me

Empowers me

The touch of your memory

Lives in my cells

Tingles along my skin

Revives long hidden emotions

Makes me wonder what to do with

The touch of your memory

Memory of Intimacy

It’s one twenty-nine in the morning

I lay awake

Having just written you a letter I’ll never send

Crying tears you’ll never see

Regretting words I’ll never say

Wishing moments that’ll never be

Longing for courage I’ll never have

The quiet in the room

Feels heavy with memory

Wet with desire as I breathe it in

Breaking it feels like sacrilege so I whisper your name

A cry escaping from my lips against my will

The wind outside reaches across the distance to you

And I wonder if you feel me touch your soul

With my thoughts, my regrets, my heartache

The miles between us have grown into more than distance

They symbolize the words we don’t say

They represent the emotions we hide

They give excuse to the separate lives we lead

They render us powerless to explore what could be

They conceal the fantasy we share

Technology makes it seem we’re in the same room

We reach for an intimacy that is fleeting

We pretend the distance can melt away in a moment

We realize it’s not quite enough

And we long

For something more real

The memory of touch

Isn’t the same as sharing a caress

The memory of taste

Isn’t the same as the urgency of a kiss

The memory of intimacy

Isn’t the same as two bodies connecting

The fantasy of us

Becomes a longing that can’t be fulfilled

It’s now one forty-three in the morning

And I still can’t quit wondering

If we’ll ever again share the intimacy that should be ours

Instead of clinging to this

Memory of intimacy


I awaken at three in the morning

I’m sure I hear your voice

Calling out to me

Yet you’re not there

The emptiness in the room

Weighs on top of me

Crushing the air from my lungs

I welcome the pain

Your absence is heavier than your presence ever was

I reach into the void

Where you should be

The abyss in my life

That can only be filled by you

I wonder if you’re awake as well

And if you are

Is it because you hear my voice

Calling out to you

Even though I’m not there

Does the emptiness in your room

Weigh on top of you

Crushing the air from your lungs

Do you welcome the pain

Is my absence heavier than my presence ever was

Do you reach into the emptiness

Where I should be

Is there a void I left in your life

That can only be filled by me

Will we ever break down

And admit this is more than an attraction

Or are we too afraid of the connection

We can’t seem to escape

This pretense we live that keeps us apart

This past we can’t escape

This absence we share that crushes us both


Haunted by your kiss

Possessed by your caress

Encapsulated by your embrace

Taunted by memories

Longing for another chance

To rekindle the fire I extinguished

To remind you what you once saw in me

To remember what I never forgot

All those days

All those nights

All those moments

We shared with abandon

We laughed

We touched

We dreamed

We consoled

We planned

How is it that all that’s left

Are the memories that taunt me

Your inviting smile

Your loving eyes

You passion

Your touch

Your sense of humor

Your love

I ponder possibilities

I long for you to reach out

I remain



Me Either

Remember the day

We ran barefoot

Through the wet bluegrass of Kentucky

Holding hands

Me either

Remember the day

We rolled off our picnic blanket

Onto the crumbly, dry grass

Holding one another tight

Me either

Remember the day

We laughed for hours

Pulling blades of grass from the earth

Sitting side by side, bent legs touching

Me either

Remember the day

We searched for answers in one another’s eyes

Sitting cross-legged on the bright green grass

Our feet and knees touching

Me either

Remember the day

We talked for hours

The sun shining off the grass, tinting it blue

Our words, our energy intertwined

Me either

Remember the day

We shared our dreams

Crushing the grass beneath us

As I sat on your lap, my arms around your neck

Me either

Remember the day

We exposed our deepest, darkest secrets

As the grass waved in the wind, exposing the blue tint

Your fingers gently stroking my tearstained cheek

Me either

Remember the day

We first realized the depths of our emotions

The green grass on the hill reflected in the pond

Our lips finding passion as they touched

Me either

Remember the day

We walked our separate ways

Rain pelting on the grass

Our bodies pulling us back for one more embrace

Me either

Remember the day

We no longer were a we

Snow hiding the green grass

Our lives too far apart to feel the touch we cherished

Me either

Remember the day

We were entwined in perfection

The bluegrass of Kentucky under us

Wondering if we were dreaming

Me either

Remember the day

We existed as a we

Taking for granted the bluegrass between our toes

Ever wonder if it really happened

Me either

Magic, Black or White

You stared into my eyes

On that bright, sunny afternoon

Bewitched by my innocent smile

Charmed by my sweet words

Enchanted by my attentive nod

You stepped back as the clouds covered the sun

A shadow falling over our intimacy

Leaning forward your lips touched mine

Lightly almost imperceptibly

Your finger trailed gently over the goose bumps on my arm

As the hot wind suddenly chilled

Our gaze trapped one another in the moment

Entranced we couldn’t step away

Sudden, heavy rain pelted us

And still we stood

Slowly your arms encircled my waist

You pulled me tight to you

A kiss most urgent expressed your hunger

Drenched, we remained as the sun returned

Beating heat upon our chilled bodies

You pulled me closer

Held me tighter

Until our shadows became one

Hearts pounding in perfect rhythm

Our bodies knowing the answer

We dared not question

Life pounding through us

Love pouring out of us

Passion steaming from us

You tilted my chin up

Looked into my eyes and whispered

“My sweet woman, you are magic itself

Black or white

If you’re giving it, I’ll take it.”

I blinked back a tear and whispered

“Honey, magic is only magic

Black or white

When two people both freely partake.”

Your kiss captured my words

And magic

Black or white, perhaps both,

Filled us, flowed from us, flamed around us


I stare into

The moon’s face

Through the window

From the safety of my room

From the security of distance

Does the moon remember

Do you remember

Midnight walks we shared

Sly touches of skin

Shivers falsely attributed to cold

Secrets revealed

Only by the moon’s light

Moments of intimacy expressed

In gentle kisses

Flashes of burning passion

Frozen in memory by a cool wind

Questioning caresses answered

In the light of the moon shining on us

Walking in the moonlight

Never felt quite the same after you

How I long to share another

Midnight walk with you

Just one more will be enough, I lie to myself

Meet me there, you know where, under the moon

I’ll show you all I hid then

I’ll give you all I didn’t have then

I’ll open all I held locked inside then

Just tell me

Do you ever stare into

The moon’s face


Midnight walks we shared

The memories of almost moments

The moments our eyes told what our hearts couldn’t say

The truth of us

Shared in midnight walks

Under the moon

Say you’ll be there, under the moon

And, I promise, so will I


You handed me a pretty pink flower

I held it gently, tenderly

Watched as your love turned to shadow

Knowing it was real and yet not

A mere shadow of what it once was

I held the pretty pink flower

Wondering we could find intimacy again

Finally feeling the ache of truth

Once a shadow, love’s connection drifts away

And still I held that flower to connect me to you

Because letting go of the shadow of your love

Meant letting go of my last connection to you

Red Rose

You handed me a red rose

I felt only the thorn pricking my finger

A drop of blood fell on the perfect green stem

The beauty of the rose tainted

I watched the petals fade to rusty brown

Unwilling to release the rose from my grasp

The petals fell to the floor

One, then another, and another, then a bunch

Still I couldn’t let the rose go

I watered it

I fed it

I nourished it

I tried every trick to prolong its life

Finally one day I awoke and stared at the rose

A thorny stalk bereft of its brilliant, velvety flower

My tears fell to the floor

Staining the dry, rusty brown petals

Turning them red again with dampness

Reminding me of the rose’s former glory

I grasped the darkening green stalk in my hand

Taking pleasure in the thorns punching holes in my skin

Blood trailed down the green

Stripes mirroring the color of the once red petals

Drying to a rusty brown

My salty tears smearing the stripes

And then you were gone…

Autumn Regrets

Leaves of orange, yellow, brown

Cold wind blows

Through the recesses in my heart

You left behind

When you walked away

That Autumn day

When Autumn comes around

I always remember

How we started in Summer

And lasted until

That cold, rainy Autumn day

I saw you holding an umbrella over her head

My insecurities jumped to conclusions

Without giving you a chance to explain

I breathed in a cold, rainy breath of Autumn air

That settled into my heart

Forever to reside there

Leaving me with an emptiness I didn’t understand

Forcing me to recognize that I wanted something more

Making me regret saying the words that tore us apart

Even today when Autumn begins

Our end haunts me

Making me wish

I could change the past as easily as

The leaves turn orange, yellow, brown

The warm wind turns icy

The sunny skies turn cloudy

Summer’s brightness becomes Autumn’s dullness

I wish I saw beauty in Autumn’s multicolored leaves

But all I see is

Dying and decay

Loss and heartache




I won the bluff

Or rather

My bluff worked

You followed the rules

Of the game I created

The rules I changed at will

The rules designed to protect my heart

The rules that forced me to guard my hand

To hold the bluff

To force you to fold

Even though you held the better hand

Even though if you’d played your hand

We both could’ve won

Had we played as partners

I dreamed of you

Calling my bluff

Forcing me to show my cards

Making me reveal not only my hand but my heart

But you believed my bluff

You never knew my fantasy for us

Hidden beneath an exterior of independence and bravado

I hid it well

Beneath a poker face

That left me in tears

That broke my heart

That hurt you, too

That cost us the possibility of us

Before we could even truly start

So I stared at a hand that if revealed

May have actually brought us both a win

If I’d had the courage to play it

Instead I bluffed

Pretended I didn’t care

Pretended we didn’t have a chance

Pretended your cards held no potential for us

Pretended my cards offered no future for us

To play as partners

I bluffed my way right out of your life

When all I wanted was all you had to offer

Nothing more, nothing less

Sometimes I look into my heart

Review those cards

See they were better than I thought

And that’s when I wish

You’d called my bluff

Demanded we play as partners

Instead you folded

And we lost the riches of us that could’ve been

Tipped Your Hand

You tipped your hand once again

You showed me a glimpse of truth

Now you’re trying to put your poker face back on

Silence isn’t the answer

It only makes me remember

The hand filled with hearts you displayed

In that unguarded moment

When you forgot to keep your cards hidden

I saw the hand you have to offer

Regardless of your bluff

Yet how can I argue

You’re only doing what I did

So long ago

Running away every time

You tip your hand

I’m so familiar with the move

I think I may have taught it to you

Fear of losing if revealed

Always results in loss

Proving you were right even if you weren’t

You tipped your hand once again

Now I wait for you to think I’ve forgotten

The hearts you displayed

Oh, how well I know that game

Oh, how much I hate that I played that bluff

Over and over and over again

But I know the rules

I taught them to you

So go ahead

Play my game just as I taught it

Just remember I can always change the rules

And then where will you be

Without me, perhaps…

Is that what you want?

My game cost me you

All those years ago

Honestly, I don’t want to play anymore

Just show me your cards

I’ll show you mine

Together we likely have the perfect hand


In your palm

You hold a medal

Earned for your service

I’m proud of you

I tell you so

What I don’t say

What I can’t say

My eyes pause on the medal

But stare at your fingers

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