Back to you

What used to matter

Hangs damp in cold room

Thin at neck, gravity urging shape

To stretch uneven and gnarled by neglect.

What used to matter

Is a stain that isn’t removed by washing, even on high

A partial magnet on fridge, without part that gave meaning

Just an outline, take a guess; bird or city, resort or wise crack

We fill in what nolonger makes sense, with the dried impatience of ninety year olds

Unable to return volley.

What used to matter

Lies between us at night, tossing and turning

If we were milk, we’d spoil before first light

But you were always practical, rinsing bottles the night before

If you’d been a typewriter you’d have made a perfect sound at the end of each sentence

ding

You take out the old and bring in the new

I’m reminded of lamps, one shiny, one tarnished

And your face, free of regret, is smooth as avocado forest

But if I tell you, we’ll go round and round, quips about green skin

And eventually sing Kermit’s song; It’s not easy being green

I know this before you’ve even moved, to rid us of silence

That has grown like icicles, betwixt our garden

So it is I, who unlatches back door and places

What used to matter

Out for recycling.

Early morning hands will whisk away

All those spoilt emotions

And sun will dapple our lawn with fresh light

I figure, it’s the start

Of doing things differently

And I climb the stairs

Back to you

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Patricia, before fame

Played for keeps.

Competition was her muse

She wrote her first book

Won the acalades she sought

Changed her face in surgeons chair

And still

In the pages of her, I read quiet despair

A pervasive loneliness in loose leafed characters

They screamed on her behalf, when she could only

Type help.

And
You, today, walking, lost

With large red dog 

And small foot tattoo

You had the same shape

An edge to your corners, as sharp as spite

A quietude and a silence, sadness set firm in your eyes.

I wanted to ask

Why?

Or reveal what I already knew 

In just having met, the corners and the distance

No match for feeling, across tow path

And into that personal space, where you laid your sorrow out

I smiled a great smile

Thinking …

Can a smile impart a hundred thoughts?

You passed, and the wetness of your loss

Felt like brief rain on my arm

Two strangers and a dog

It was as if it hadn’t happened

Yet

You reminded me so much of Patricia

And her emptiness, written throughout each story

You see … we recognize each other

As much as for who we are not, as our similarities

Strange bedfellows of perverse and solitary, mearly trying to tred water.

If I’d spoken more, I would have asked;

Do you walk through the high grass to see the butterflies?

Do you feel the sun before it gets too hot?

Will we walk in the same direction and in time perhaps …

Talk of how we came to choose, empty steps, over laughter

You never know

They could be everything, or perpetual stranger

A moment, and no more

Or the rest of your life.

Instead of pulling away, if you reached into them

Like leaves blown, will fall, one on top, one below

A path of many 

Creating singular

Direction.

A summation of a little life


The soul of solace

Always surprised

As if some spectator diety laughed at the absurdity of prediction 

For mortal souls

Never expected … solace often follows despair

Down a well beaten path

Where all colorful leaves have fallen and turned grey underfoot

She is the red cardinal, flickering like an lacquered fan opening, starkly bright against bleak winter sky

She is the tucked warmth of your bed, greeting weary limbs, needful of respite

A silver section of moonlight, glimpsing like thin nyaad at frosted window

She is the irregular beat of your memory, draining thoughts to drip wet til dry

A summation of a little life

Like a letter from an old friend, coming just when, you’d given up believing in serendipity

Yet she is there, watchful in the eves, of your blunders and taut anxiety

It is in the harmony of reconciliation, laying palm over palm, folding away pain, putting our best clothes on, even as we feel frozen

Walking through ice, glittering from dark branches and exposed tufts of miseltow

A tree filled with scarlet berries, feasted upon by tired ravens, huddled as one

The slow plume of smoke, a tang of burning wood and wet wool

Somewhere, something tries to survive

And pulling together like floundered ship, we tilt wildly and lurch against current

Holding on tightly, the ache in ourselves

Reminder that it is far from over

It may be sometimes grief steals our faith

And then, doorbell rings, a little light climbs in India ink sky

Some discovered solace, salve to thirsting soul, clamboring over emptiness and filling chill with hope

Guilt


Guilt

Is a rare bird of shame

Its plumage

Breathtaking

For guilt

Captures the beholder, willing or not

Averting gaze from all else

Guilt will render paradise dowdy

Comparing freedom with the chains of its capture

Guilt is an old, fond bruise

Reminder of moments left torn to shreds

It will piece them carefully back

Twice as convincing, twice the weight

Strung round your neck like noose of sea pearls

Begging to be drowned

Guilt is a rose bush with bleeding thorns

A shudder as you catch yourself thinking of

Those pursed secrets you’ll never disclose, even to yourself

Snapshots you expunge, that still, listlessly, rise from the depths

Never speak of it, even to the merry faced doctors 

Plunging their needles as far as they’ll go

Guilt

Makes you sick

Wan faced, old before your time 

Aloof in the varnished secret

Guilt

Steals your liberty 

But like a lie

Guilt is not vanquished, even by truth

There are things better never admitted

Keep them so deep inside you start believing the deception

Until

Like a wide eyed bride

Guilt takes your hand 

And plunges you back where you’ve been all along

There’s no solution to shame when it’s too late to undo

The poison that you drink, the person you’ve turned into

Guarding yourself like a wreck against sharp rocks

With less and less by the day to salvage

If you spoke it out loud

Surely the very sky would catch fire

How many of us must carry a spark?

Burning in our secret hearts?

And maybe this is why

You never know another person by what they share

Instead

It is the unsaid

Electric in the air

We recognize in others

The tarnish of shame

As clear as promises once given

Cannot be refunded

The fragile cast 

Tell me again

To be fearless

Tell me again

To depend on myself

I am yet a child

Still holding her toy by the ear

I am feeling you give me

The hard water slap of advice

Cold on my cheek, formerly warm.

You say

It’ll toughen me up

But I already know

It has wrought the reverse

I am not

A leathered creature of your creation

I am already 

Quite changed and mangled.

Whilst you 

Suffered and carved expressions from granite

Still you were told, you were a marvel

I was weighted down only with disapprobation

And your searing brand of tough love

Tore me further without support

Gave me greater fears, made me feel alone

In a room full of sound.

You cannot rob a child of their ego before it is formed

Nor nurture one empty handed and pickpocketed

You cannot protect a child by harm

Broken is broken.

We all require, when we start in this world

The unconditional faith of others

In a look, a knowledge, some portion of belief

In the validity of us

Lifted just enough to see over the edge.

Life already begs to steal the best 

We cannot survive by being cast into fire before we learn to walk

It doesn’t forge stronger bones

We live as ash, insubstantial invalids

Longing for the strength of kindness.

Before you break a child

Think of them twenty years from now

Grown on thin gruel and scraps

We who stand in the tempest 

May appear whole

But in our essence we lack

The varnish of other’s meant to grow us tall

It is in the stained radiance 

We find the courage to face the world

Bestowed on us by those meant to protect

The fragile cast of a child.

Water


Do you believe?

In

Things greater than 

Yourself?

Do you believe?

In 

Miracles?

Do you believe?

It will end and you will 

Rise up

Out of your bed of pain and fear?

That it will be gone

Dissolved like thin snow or frost

A beautiful nightmare?

Vanquished are the ghosts

You will in time not

Recall the laminate corridors

Antiseptic sting and gag reflex

A night nurse plunging needle

The faces behind morphine dream

Your room mate gasping as if 

Being ravished by herself

A chink of light through heavy curtain

Of hope

A scarescrow angel, you kept the hounds at bay

And mark, in my heart, pressing jewels to forlorn crown

Each gummy bear, red, violet, purple

Like bruises and flowers lain slow

You visit me there, in the crook of my arm

Where anihalation takes her naked bow

You wipe my cheeks of salt, bestow your own token

Posies of disease, viruses for the clean

Small bird bones picked lean, glossy in bleach

They watch her take the boat too far from land and wink out

Like a smudge on the line between life and horizon

They would 

Ask her to turn herself around

Return to the ward, the pill bottle, the undergarment of her lurk

But she has already begun 

To dissolve

Like fine powder

Moving on the swell of clouds

All around birds make noise

And drown out 

The feeling that

She has nothing left to burn

But the thin blue line holding

Our faces out of water

The memory of fire

Most habits

Are learned lazily

Incorporated into being, before aware 

Of what it means to be.

A habit is a slothful fellow

Whispering in our ears;

You’ve done it before

Come sit by the fire 

And watch others rush at life

Put your aching bones close to the warmth

Feel the security of what you’ve gone and done

So many times

And if you were asked

To break out of your stupor

Throw water on the fireplace, dousing heat

And with no preparation

Launch into a violent rain storm

Obscuring your direction

Lashing your sides with chill

Would you follow?

Thrill seekers maybe

The very young, the chronically overlooked

That girl with braces who wanted to be the busty blonde

Maybe they’d fall like extinguished stars

Into the storm

And from their yearning to matter, to win 

They’d keep going long after the memory of fire was lost

Fighting without knowing why, on the off chance

Suffering brought you nearer

To really living and grabbing by the throat

Its beaten heart

Or you may forgive yourself

The hesitancy of those

Born fatigued by knowledge

This world’s loose knots and fallen heroes

As a splayed chess board can be used

For kindling

I used to imagine outside my window, the clamoring future

Now

I sit staring at flames 

As they consume and turn to coal

Painted stages

And it is the soft stir of moonlight

Lifts my gaze 

Watching the edge of time, rub herself dry

All things will come and go

Whether we chase or remain rooted

It is the repetitive homage of a circle

To revisit ourselves

Standing beyond shelter

Contemplating beneath infinity

Our place in the universe