Poetry: You Are All Around Me

October 25, 2019 – Los Angeles: Today kicks off Artists For A Better World International’s first “Poetry of the Month.” This project runs until the end of 2020. Featuring monthly poems is part of our 2020 Worldwide Call for Poetry program, which will result in a printed physical anthology of poems, in addition to the series of monthly poems.

This “Poetry of the Month” project also invites poets and creative teams to develop video poetry.

This month’s featured poem is titled, “You Are All Around Me,” by Shawn Schoeller.

Additionally, this work was the basis of a collaborative video, showcasing singer/songwriter and actor, Hanna Lynn Roth, doing a dramatic reading of the poem.

Special thanks to poetry curator, Dean Blehert and producer, George Alger.

Shawn dedicates her poem to anyone who has ever lost someone they loved.


“You Are All Around Me”

By Shawn Schoeller

You are all around me, though you are gone.

It is the small details that stab through me
In an instant of swift sadness.
Your jacket
Still hanging on the door…
Your too-full closet…
The odd sock
Which still turns up in the wash.
It stops me
I Catch my breath
Hard tears clog my throat.
I listen for your footsteps.
For the sound of the ball game
You always loved to watch.
I listen for your voice,
Only a hoarse whisper, at the end.
All I hear is a memory,
Echoing in my mind
Crashing
Through my heart.

You are all around me, though you are gone.

Should I change our message machine?
Or will I want to hear it later
When I have begun to forget
the sound of your voice?
Should I put away your clothes
Or should I save them
so I will have the odd comfort
of the smell of you which still lingers
like an old friend?
Pack up your electric razor
which sits on the bathroom shelf?
Throw out your toothbrush,
your half-used pill bottles,
the old lottery tickets I found in your
pants pockets?
If I erase all traces of you,
Will I then erase
the pain of the loss of you?

You are all around me, though you are gone.

The bills you always handled
Now stuffed in a basket
with cards, recipes
And unopened mail.
The Joint bank accounts I need to close.
Change the titles of the house,
the car,
My life…
I am not ready.
I didn’t know.
It was not supposed
to be this way.
What more could I have done?
Why did you give up,
at the end?
How did I fail you so terribly?
I thought we would always be together.
Even when we argued,
I knew that we always had tomorrow
To repair any damage.
In the wholeness that was us.
I am forced to move on
Life forces me
To pay the bills.
Go to work.
Cook dinner and wash up
One plate,
one knife,
one spoon,
one fork.
Living without the habit of you
A hole in my life that nothing can fill.
I have not reconciled myself
to our lack of tomorrows
I have tried to push down my need
for the shared moments of perfect clarity
we often found within each other.
I am trying to put you behind me.
To put us behind me.

It is not working.
It is a thankless endeavor.
I am lost and will not be soon found.

You are all around me, though you are gone.