Janet Kuypers

Journalism graduate Janet Kuypers founded Scars Publications (http://scars.tv), which sponsors two literary magazines, multiple collection books and audio CDs. Kuypers has been published (not through Scars Publications) over 9,300 times for her writing and has been interviewed for magazines, AM, FM and Internet radio stations and television; was nominated as Poet of the Year for 2006 and was inducted as a Poetry Ambassador in April's 2006 Poetry Month. Kuypers has also run monthly PodCasts and two Internet radio stations (as well as hosting her own BZoO.org 1 hour weekly Internet radio station). As well as having her poetry mp3 files for sale at most major online music stores, she has performed spoken word across the country - including a Chicago performance at the Albuquerque Spoken Word Festival during the National Poetry Slam in 1998; in 2003 she hosted and performed at a weekly poetry and music open mike (called "Sing Your Life"), and from 2002 through 2005 was a featured performance artist, doing quarterly performance art shows with readings, music and her artwork.

Death Takes Many Forms

It is winter now.
The trees have lost their leaves;
the city is covered in a thin layer of soot and snow.
The grass is dead.
In the sunless sky black birds circle overhead
searching for prey.
An eerie cold settles over everything.
Nothing is growing anymore.

Death takes many forms.
For you, death first came when you were five years old
and your mother had to give you three shots of insulin a day
until you could take a needle to yourself.
Did it hurt to push that needle into your arm, the first time?
Or did it hurt you more to know you had no choice?

Death takes many forms.
Death can be someone telling you without trying
that they are losing their sight.
Behind coke-bottle glasses you would see me and say,
“That’s a nice black suit you’re wearing.”
And I would tell you, “It’s green.”
And you wouldn’t believe me.
You wouldn’t hear the howling wind of the changing seasons.

Death takes many forms.
I know what follows the autumn wind.
It is winter now.
Do you remember when it happened?
The changes are subtle, the temperature drops,
first only slightly. It’s almost imperceptible.
Only when the first snow falls do you realize
where the seasons have gone.

Death takes many forms.
Death can be a sweat-soaked shirt, the shakes, dizziness
when you needed food.
You would look as pale as a ghost
as I would hold your cold wet arm and steady you.
Quick, some sugar will make everything better.
Isn’t everything better yet?

Death takes many forms.
The signs of death can come
when you lose your circulation.
“My feet are numb, Janet,” you’d say.
“I can’t feel my feet anymore.”
And I would rub your feet for you,
and you would say it makes a difference,
you feel better.

If only I could do this forever.

Death takes many forms.
I said good bye to you to travel my own road
but I didn’t think it was the last good bye.
How was I to know?
Quick, some sugar will make everything better.
Isn’t everything better yet?

Death takes many forms.
The signs of death can come
when you lose your circulation.
“My feet are numb, Janet,” you’d say.
“I can’t feel my feet anymore.”
And I would rub your feet for you,
and you would say it makes a difference,
you feel better.

If only I could do this forever.

Death takes many forms.
I said good bye to you to travel my own road
but I didn’t think it was the last good bye.
How was I to know?
and I want to take you with me.

Death takes many forms.
Death can be that hole you left,
you know, right over here, just a little to the left.
I keep wondering when the pain will go away.
When will everything be better.

You once showed me that winter could be beautiful.
Instead of the dark and dirty snow lacing the city streets
you showed me a quieting snowfall,
over a lake at your parent’s back yard
glistening in an untouched whiteness.
I told you I hated winters
and you told me, “This you don’t hate.”

Well, I’m still learning.

It is winter now.
And death takes many forms.
The seasons change for you and I.
It is snowing. And something is ending.
It is snowing. Somewhere
it is snowing.

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