Thrift Store Special

teddy1

If I hung in a storefront

I’d have no label

It was torn off in the wash

The store owner lied

Trying to cover a great crime

I’m not gentle cycle, nor wash below 30c

I don’t fluff up well in dryer

Or need ironing on low heat

I’m a thrift store special

Good for a gander, then better cast off

Stuffed in the back of your closet

Forgotten until you move house

When you hold me to the light

Exclaiming; where did I buy this?

A little wistful, a little disgust

Just like a spare thread can run

Through any knit and mar its form

I was shrunk on hot and stretched in cold

Long before you grabbed me out of the lucky dip bin

It was the elongation of my experience

Like wool is malformed turning huge in water

Expanding and reducing, I am the sheared sheep who took off

When the shepherd came to my turn

I never backed down, nor avoided spitting in their eye

My fur smells of energy and emptiness and freedom and neglect

You wear me when you want attention

Or to be someone you’re not

And I’m sequins gathered in a pearls bosom

The knotted mohair and impossibly soft angora

But most of all, I’m the time you left your possessions behind

And rode in the dark without lights

Imagining your bicycle a horse and you …

with your dress catching in the spokes covered in oil

You just wanted him to catch fire on your edges

Sounding the cavorting need you had to bloom beneath

Then you were a water-lily and even years later

You are reminded each time a candle is lit, the smell of wax

How he burned your fingers with his inelegant desire

And you opened like origami to his bewitchment

Then you were a dragonfly, passing through fountain

If I hung in a storefront

I’d have no label

But you’d purchase me all the same

Over again

Smiling

At the memory of

Something you couldn’t quite grasp

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Before goodbye

Abuse-sadness

They tell me it is wicked

to need more than you can have

and I have wanted the sugar cube

melting into hot coffee

watching you stir it to vanishing

the quick switch of your hand

mindful of those savage times

when I lay beneath you

cradled in your surge

until the sky grew pink and grey

and like with all happiness we put away

the dream

you turned as I passed

profile in regret

I waved back

it was caught in

blur of movement

ever going from you

ever saying goodbye without recompense, for nothing can

mend the emptiness of hours spent apart

still I wave

my arm aches from how hard

I slow the car and through the rain

time and again I see you receding into distance

everything is blurred

my eyes cry even as I do not know they are

the world is awash in water and salt and regret

and yet I do not regret for how, how then?

to say it wasn’t worth the pain when

that break in my chest feels like I am dying

and living

you don’t see the place within me that is yours

nor do you realize how I clamor for something

beyond this mortal torture

where you are always obscured by time

and I

I wait inside for no one else

there is only the sound of rain against glass

only the smell of car radiators trying vainly to

warm the cold

there is only the feel of your hand in mine

only the movement of us against the other

one last time

dissolving forward into car lights

reflecting against weeping tarmac

shining, they dance like lovers across the pitch

blinking away tears

only the reach of you inside of me

there is nothing if there is not

that

for you are

that essential part of me

yearning and hurting

with joy only found

before

goodbye

Mercy

Answer me

Please

Climb out of impossible and

Dipping quill, write backwards in time

Angling mirrors to lipread

Da Vinci’s reflected scrawl

tell us the unravel to the mystery

Where in this hour should we go?

When they let you down slow

Removing fantasy, layer by layer

Are you there?

On the emptied pier, bare of hope

Dour endings posted like nails in my palm

Is that you? Cresting wave in falling darkness

Light, just a slip of a girl spilling over her dress

It is cream and carries each stain like a mast

Are you there?

Crunching underfoot, doubt that goodness is lost

For you, with your thin shadow, still manage to

Fill me with light

A radiant being, rarefied

How often to find, one whose mission isn’t self

But the betterment of others

You, who don’t even know your worth

If you did, you would hiccup and grow embarrassed

It is not your need to be praised, you are a child of mercy

Your pleasure is in lending kindness, to mend the scold

For this world can be so lonely, and you

Are a house to come in from, settling cold.

 

Balm

Just when you constructed your best notion of life yet

little occurences surprise, like rain on your neck

she is a woman of verdant verbena vitality

she lives in the tropics with the song of Finland

angels arrive, winging oceans

her voice wrapped in this time and others

lends a balm, sincere and lasting

like a fairy touching glass

turns dream to day

(For Raili. đź’“ ILU.)

Evermore

Do you feel me touching you through time?

Gentle the light shines on worn wooden board

Where you dance unseen

Yet I have always been, closer for holding in my heart, your motion

Through the filament of hours, our bond unbreakable

You … as long as you breathe and afterward too

Shall ever feel me standing, holding you up

Not the string pulling you to act

I am instead, arms supporting your effort

To Slough off the grief and find surity in one heart

In this ransacked world we call ours, you are home

You are the northern star

You burn behind my eyelids when they are shut

You tattoo your pigment into mine

We are woven together throughout time

When I reach, you leap, light as startled spring deer

Joining beneath the shade of night, mixed into each other’s color

I know nothing of being without you

For all of myself began

The day I saw you turn

And smile with knowing

You

Who is dearest

Shall never long for nurture or companion

I am the locket around your neck

I sleep in your dreams guarding yet

Any that may hurt you, let them try

For you are

My celestial bride

No distance or passing shall thwart

Energy recognized, even in death

Behind you I shall evermore walk

Into water

There was grief in the last time I was myself

long-faced, retroussé nose, thick hair

broad shouldered from swimming away

cutting through water, weightless

not carrying your stare, your aprobation, your disregard

if ignored, let us ignore better, make an art of failure

suck the pipe, squeeze the last drop, inject, pop

those blue pills, as blue as you made me feel

psychiatry says nobody can make you feel anything

you choose

did you choose to feel nothing and by nothing

cause my center to crush softly inward

like the river flowers we press in our books

before you were born

carried over generation from generation

I laid in the grass wondering why

no lover had sought to please me

and the boughs of the trees revealed themselves

as my hand wandered back and forth

drenched in sweat

for who can satisfy a tin box with its lid hammered shut

who can know the heart of a girl who is told before she can walk

she isn’t enough, she’ll never be near sufficient

then you walked out of the river

green and shining like forested afterbirth

you did not care about forms and structure

spelling and photographic reproduction

you had a tongue and eyes and hands

like a thought with action

you claimed me beneath alders and pine

stretching so high, embracing unseen faith

I became a woman that day

crying out beneath your stones and mud and lillies

as white as an urge

with pink in the center

craving to crest in sun

and fall wilted back into water

Safe ascent

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This unspoiled place

holds a silence and a sound both

in the careen of wild bird, dove-tailing against light

swish tailed-fox, caught in glimpsing treeline, scar of russet

your wool pulled and caught like thoughts on wire

I felt you inside, like mercury, descending to places I’d locked

tight against battering fists and claim

how did you learn the maze and possess

parts of me I had yet to give permission?

though all of us are like the wool, caught and fluttering

against a world of happen-chance and calamity

it is only perhaps, in those untethered moments

love, unexplained by all things

captures in unguarded step

drowning tightly held belief

we are our own master

and in this yield

in your arms and the void calling overhead

a vast sky holds swell of rain

just long enough

for our safe ascent