Jul 9, 2013

pacificoceanwavesThis is a love poem because
I was told last Thursday at a
bar on 4th Street that there
are only two things about
which one can write:

Sex and Death.

Night plays tricks like low-cut
Highland whiskey and great wings
waiting in the fate for her cue. She
steps on stage, recites his lines, and
pauses. Laughter recognizes this,
this will not rest in the Huntington
Library archives. No, this will forever
be on glass box display, low lit and
evening stained. Earth and sugar roll
over her tongue. He knows her taste
before he knows her name that only
means they belong to each other.
Beads of sweat curl neck nape hair
for the infinite first time. They leave the
lights on and draw the blinds. There will
be babies and near misses that make
them homesick because their paths
almost crossed so many times before.

There will not be affairs.

The presence of her breathing assures
him that he matters more than a basement
collection of old props and paintings from
a summer house they just sold to a couple
from Connecticut. They watch the same
movies and argue over cigarettes, succulents,
and soft Latin c’s. She prefers days when he
doesn’t shave and defiantly grows lovelier
with age. These make him smile. Orgasms
are fair game for guest conversation and
their stories—God their stories about how
he just knew when she stepped from obscurity
into the stars. All his mistakes made sense. Flash
bulbs slip out of focus. Pressing into his side
is home. Crooked toes mean days at the ocean.
Their ocean. Their hills. Their carefully orchestrated
schedule to avoid traffic curling into elbows with
paid bills and questions about who their children
will love. Who their children will marry. If their
children will be lucky enough to have them be
the same person. Like the two of them.

Quiet sets the stage as she walks in.
He becomes entirely too aware of
his hands, belt buckle, the plans he
will have to cancel because he will
ask her to dinner.

Sex happens because it matters.
Death matters because it happens.

She loves poetry. She loves tea and
nothing much – except him. She will
be there when they read his last
rites and she will oversee the writing
and publishing of his obituary. She
is glad they will have children.
Their parts will sum his whole
when she requires her own rites
and last words.


Copyright © Ashley Karr

Ashley KarrI am a native Californian – born in Hollywood of all places. Writing is one of my great loves, and I have written and published many pieces over the course of my life – mostly academic. Here is proof that I am addicted to education: I have my B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA; studied Spanish language, culture, and history a la Universidad de Granada; studied finance at Emory University, and have my M.S. in Human Factors and Systems Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. (You can read more about my engineering and design work at You can also read more about my children’s books

Here are a few other tidbits about me. I graduated high school early and moved to Manhattan to model. I was with Wilhelmina NY and LA. I have taught statistics at the university level and Yoga and Pilates since my late teens. My favorite drink is Paris Tea by Harney and Sons. I am claustrophobic and have a very hard time spending extended periods of time indoors, especially when I cannot even open a window. I hate advice.




Editor’s Note: Ashley attended and read one of her original poems at the Whisky & Poetry Salon organized in part by Hometown Pasadena contributor Kim Ohanneson. Ashley’s parents grew up in Pasadena and she works here periodically in her professional capacity.

Mountain photo by Digibro.

3 Responses for “Highlands”

  1. Breathtaking – I gasp intaking an incredible union. Amazing, I’m now a fan of Ashley Karr

  2. Ashley says:

    Thank you so much, Esther! I really appreciate your kind words. You know, I realize that I forgot to put a link to my writing website in my bio 🙂 Silly me. It is

    Thank you again!



  3. Ash, I teach creative writing and am pretty loose in my methods; it produces good writing. I have a poet in my Monday night sessions at Ten Thousand Villages who is superb; she’s taking Jack Grapes now, the best, but I want her to go on to become more honed and get wiser more technical advice.l

    can you share some of your training with me, my email is above. What a wonderful writer you are;.



Flintridge Books

Lyd and Mo Photography

Louis Jane Studios

Homage Pasadena