October Star: Poems for Chrissy

Front cover of October Star, created with Canva.

Many of you know I’d written a number of poems for my recently deceased cousin, Chrissy. Some of them, I shared here, others I did not. I was able to commit to this body of work for a little over two months, compile it, and share it with my family and a few friends. It is available via e-book and can only be submitted to a requestor by way of an email. Should you have interest in receiving this e-book from me, please email me at apoem4ufromme@gmail.com.

The book includes fourteen poems, some with color photos of mostly Chrissy and me over the years, prior to her death. This has been a way of me fleshing out my emotions, raw feelings, moments of complete & utter disbelief, coming to terms with grief, and healing. The cost is $6.00.

A sample of what you will be reading:

I Can’t Say Goodbye

the final breath
sweeps you like a heavy rain
my heart instantly breaks

a short time here
on Earth, finally, you’re
called home

they give details
of your transition– . . .


October Star

our October star
beauty uninhibited
loved by everyone

suffering no more
your gift to us is this life
connected . . .


Emotions

each day presents a different
emotion — I’m either happy,
sad, or indifferent, and it’s
no use in trying to fight them
as they pile on; I’m learning to
accept them, to embrace them.

I think of what you would do — how
would you react . . . if you were
still here.


Again, if you are interested in receiving a copy, please email me at apoem4ufromme@gmail.com. In the subject area, simply have, “October Star,” and I will know exactly what it is your email is about. When I have corresponded with you to let you know I have received your email, I will request a payment of $6.00 to be submitted by way of one of these entities:

PayPal: mindful@gmail.com
CashApp: $trEisthename
Zelle: tloadholt0417@gmail.com

Upon receipt of payment, you will receive your e-book of October Star submitted directly to you. If you request more than one copy, I will email you more than one copy, upon receipt of the payment connected to your number of requests. I don’t expect to receive a lot of requests for this book as it can be mostly somber and morbid in nature for many when thinking about death. But, Chrissy was an amazing person and I talk about/have written about that, too. They’re not all sad poems filled with doom & gloom–they’re uplifting, as well.

Peace and blessings.

Back cover of October Star, created with Canva.

Thank you in advance for stopping by and reading this post. I appreciate you.

After the Storm, There Is Still Hope

A Prose Poem

From a harsh windstorm, we had in my area over the weekend. Friday, March 18, 2022. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

I haven’t gone a full day without crying since your death. Some days, I think, “This could be the day. A full day with no tears”, and then I hear, smell, see, or remember something that has you all over it, and I begin to puddle. Triggers . . . I hate to dub them as harshly as I have, but that is what these things are . . . Triggers.

I haven’t been myself lately.

How can I be myself without you? I am writing more; fulfilling requests from interested people, doing what I said I always wanted to do. You have always been vocal about my writing and supported it undeniably.

The little things pump their way into my view, and I find myself trying to shun them without several blinks.

I don’t want to really see them.
I don’t really need to. Do I?

After I lost the part-time gig, I waited a few months and sold my car. We discussed this. It was best for me, and at the time, financially fruitful I was not. You listened intently, knowing I’d do what I needed to in order to get back on track.

Four months later, I am at a place where breathing is easier and above water is where my head seems to rest. The Powers That Be saw fit to give me a raise, and I paid down two bills significantly. I set my eyes on another vehicle, purchased it, and blended my life into the interior of a compact Chevy I call, “Solo.”

I wanted you to know, but I couldn’t tell you. Not like before. There’s no actual way of getting the news to you, but I speak to the air. I whisper to the clouds. I pray that you will hear my faint-barely-holding-on statements to you when no one else is around.


We have had several windstorms — weird for this time of year. A tree toppled my neighbor’s car. I’d just moved mine to venture out to the store, and when I came back, she and her sons were outside assessing the damage. My jaw dropped, as I’d not had Solo a full four hours, and had I not left for the store when I did, I would have been outside, alongside her, shaking my damn head.

I prayed for her to have patience — for her to gain what she needs monetarily to get another car. I prayed for any emotional distress she will endure — for the will and fight to duke it out with her insurance company and our property manager.

I look at her deformed vehicle — and send a word of thanks to God for making sure she was not in it.

I come inside my quiet apartment, pat the dog on her head, give her a treat, and put the groceries away. It had been nineteen hours without one teardrop. I read an article and watch a commercial about a fellow artist who is taking her art to new levels and the tears begin.

Triggers. That is what these things are . . . Triggers.


Originally published in soliloque via Medium.

The Nature of Horrible Things

And how they still sneak up on you sixteen years later

a man looks down into an almost empty glass of beer
Photo by Jimmy jimmy via Pexels

We meet the afternoon chill in the air with our bodies tucked further into warm clothing. Jernee steps out before I do and I hear my neighbor briskly skip down the stairs. The faint scent of liquor speaks to me before he does. I nod — say “Good afternoon,” and attempt to mind my business by watching Jernee search for a proper spot in which to relieve herself. He is the type of person who does not understand personal space. He comes closer to us and, unlike Jernee with him, she growls under her breath. I step back from him — putting at least three more feet between us.

I recall the time and it’s just barely 1:45 p.m. He is home on his lunch break. He smiles. He sends his “Heyhowyadoin’” to me within seconds of stepping on the final stair. It’s all mumbled together — glued, yet I am fluent in slurred speech. I know this speech just like I know the smell. I know the smell. I know the smell. He has tried to hide it with Old Spice and two gulps of water but to no avail. I cock my head to the side and whisper to myself, this cat is drunk and is going back to work. Hell . . . naw.

He tells me his grandchildren have been staying with them. I know this. I speak to his wife — to their little ones. I see them as they come and go. They are beautiful mini models of their mother and father — his son and his son’s girlfriend’s children. He says as erratic as a functioning alcoholic can, “They get up at 4:30 in the morning sometimes, see. And you know, I don’t get up until 6:30 and that throws my day all off, you see?” I do see. I understand. One’s sleep is important.

He steps closer again. I step back. He holds up one hand and quickly says, “I ain’t gon’ keep ya. I know you gotta walk ya dog.” I thank him. He wanders off toward his car and away from us. His wife knocks on my door five nights later. She has a flier in her hand — an invitation to her church for some sort of celebration. It is the same church she drags him to on Sundays. And I understand — I get it. She is looking to God to save her husband. Just like I was looking to God to save my mother — to save me.

I don’t have the heart to tell her I do not do large gatherings — even if they’re outside. I do not do well in crowds nowadays and neither would I want to. I take her flier. I smile at her. I tell her to have a nice night and to be safe. She smiles back and thanks me.

I ran to the church for so many reasons in my early twenties. I ran even harder in my mid-thirties. So much of me wanted to heal my mother and so much of me needing healing of my own.


I drank because I couldn’t get my mother to stop drinking and doing drugs. I drank because I was afraid of coming out. I drank because I was going through a series of harsh breakups and couldn’t find the answers why. I moved out of the townhouse my best friend and I shared. I left. I gave no reason — only a 30-day notice and paid my half of the utilities and mortgage for the next two months, or was it just the following month? That detail is foggy.

She faced me the day I told her with tears in her eyes, asking me to please talk to her. And I couldn’t. Here was a woman who would cause me to stop drinking. It would occur several months after I moved out. The night I knew I wouldn’t drink anymore, my best friend and I had attended a work-related party at a small pub near her place. Her colleagues — her comfort zone. I am told I had too much to drink. I am told, on the way home, she had to pull over to the side of the road so I could vomit. I am told she had to help me up the stairs, get me into some pajamas of hers, then help me to the toilet so I could vomit some more.

I awakened the next morning in her bed and could not remember what had happened and why I was there and not at home. She was sound asleep, but her expression had seeped in worry. I got up to use the bathroom, and this caused her to stir. I asked her what happened, and she told me. She calmly said, “I was not going to take you home where I could not keep an eye on you. You were pretty fucked up, Tre.” And that was my “A-ha!” moment.

When a person loves you enough to ensure your safety in your inebriated state — when they care enough to make sure you’re not sleeping in the clothes you upchucked in the night before — when they clean you up, change your clothes, and guide you to their bed so you can sleep; there is nothing else that can match that. Cold turkey is what they call it, yes? I stopped drinking.

I could not imagine what she must’ve been feeling to do all of that for me and not completely cuss me out, as I had done so many times with my mom. She cared about my life — she showed me. I don’t think no one ever had before then or I had forgotten it if they did.


A year and one half later, I brought Jernee home. I was determined to shield myself from the past evils that attempted to drag me down with them. I needed this four-legged creature to keep me safe — to give me joy. I had something to do when I awakened — something to train, to feed, to nourish . . . to love. I had a feeling of purpose again just barely two years before — I felt I hadn’t, and I did not want to go on.

So when I see my neighbor and he is running away from whatever demons chasing him — I understand. I may not know the cause. I may not know exactly what’s beating him day in and day out and pulling him toward drowning his sorrows in tempting liquor mid-day. I don’t even know why he feels the need to talk to me — to step into my space, but I can listen.

Had it not been for my best friend, I would’ve been following the paths of my maternal great-grandmother, grandmother, great-aunts, aunts, and uncles — my mother. I understand because I can still see the bottles of Hennessy and Tanqueray and Old English my mom kept stored in her home. I can smell each one of them while they’re still locked in their casings. I can see her struggling to piece back together a broken home — a dysfunctional family — unruly boys.

I see myself trying to find a way out. I hear my best friend’s voice . . .“You were pretty fucked up, Tre.” And I understand.


*No one’s shit smells like roses and honey, baby. Everyone has a stench.©My late maternal grandmother.


Originally published in Age of Empathy via Medium.