Le repas

The way she cleans

puts away the day

into lopsided drawers that do not shut

well even on easy days

their contents lost in shuffle and exploit

planes over head, mornful drone, a whine

of grief as they attain height

her hands chapped from slapping herself

back to life

rivets run like zippers down her nails

a light somewhere is extinquished

another turned on, sudden furnace, shadows

vanquished, she has not drunk

all day, for the trembling in her hands

betrays the wait.

Dusk smears sky, oranges hang like

tired bosoms pressed in a woman’s dress

amidst plump leaves, blue-black birds

caw their hunger into the cavernous pitch, cats

with arched tails, disappear potently, eternally

her ankles swell with want, her thyroid

a box of treasure, alight with waiting in chocolate dusk

she dozes in her reverie, business put away

the calm of darkening, a hot bath scalding

dry air with its promise, oils filling her nostrils

pungent and wistful, infusion of sorrow

she remembers when

they lay together without fault

or breakage

the outline of their union

a mandala, with complicated lines leading back to circles

drawn in henna, indigo, cheap car paint, permanent in bare footed sprint

poured into a tattoo gun in the wild hinterlands of Canada

stabbed in little sticcatto for her eternal, sea sick

pleasure.

She lay then, thinking of

burning up

like fireworks

set alight to bloom and bloom till dry of pollen

in empty skies void of furtherment

she wanted to melt

the snow as she walked back

alone and hurting, wounded by her own loathing

a cigarette in her mouth

pressed against clenched, chipped teeth

and you? You were far off like winking lights in sea storm

and you were so far then… gone
without being gone

As is so much of life. Waiting. Closing curtains. Wrapping away disappointed hours

to bed, to claim, to screaming beneath wedged pillows

till the thankless clock in the downstairs anteroom chimes not

and without putting our heads in the oven even once

we are done
Done
Done.

Return my love, lay your grief down

I don’t care how sorry you are /

Because I have seen now /

The error called “us” /

Is bigger than we are. /

Our tiny insignificance /

Has already burned and turned to diamante ash /

There is nothing to say, to ash. /

It is my wish /

To rage in smoke /

Just as I learned today /

Babies born of smokers /

Usually end up with emphysema /

End up with holes in their lungs like lattice work in chantilly lace /

My least favorite thing is to think of the future and its slick, short, night-clubbing inevitability /

It looks like a darkening banana skin coming down the elevator, hitting basement on repeat /

Vanquishing hope to avoid the insouciance of age, invisibility and the dreg of illness. /

Sometimes I let myself briefly wonder /

What I will die of? Will I be alone? How much will it hurt? Why do you never get used to pain? Is it any wonder they strive to build artificial life? /

Other days it is hard to keep from dying, like the flower opening her lillied face to a desert and seeing the absence of nourishment. /

As I stand /

In ash /

Waist high /

You were /

Not as important as I led you to believe /

I say this, not to crush you /

For I have refused that need to inflict hurt /

On anyone but myself /

You simply never realized /

Because you’re not as brilliant as the outline of hot wax on fingertips /

A well shined bronze, shadows of madness, cages in novels /

That I was half a person /

Unable to understand how to inhabit a world of well oiled souls /

Where people work out to avoid cellulite, even if they are dissolving like white sugar cube inside. /

It’s what you do /

All of you /

Automatrons with data phallus, souls without windows /

I used to think it was real brave or real, real /

To wear my hemorrhaged bandages on the outside /

But it wasn’t. /

There isn’t room in this crowded world for the sick /

Let alone the well /

There wasn’t room for me /

In my parents marriage /

In my well brought up friends houses, with straight backs and braided hair before seven am and tepid eggs in their fragile shell /

No room in my own life, of empty vases because I don’t want, have never wanted, to pick the flowers, the wild scent /

I can’t even kill ants, swarming me, biting my frigid skin at night /

Like once you did, train track lover /

When we were demons and goddesses and liars. /

I wasn’t tutored in appreciation, or deception of how to survive the hanging /

Life bequeaths those of us born in violet hour /

And when I was born, my mom /

Lit up another cigarette and looked outside into the bleak world of wards and cut up hearts /

Not wondering how I would survive /

Her yellow child, her wallflower bride /

But how she would. /

When I was old enough I wondered how I would too /

Over and over, like practicing ballet will invariably deform your toes /

I grew misshapen in my ghosting despair /

While all around me, others who were well and adjusted and filled with jam and feathers /

Wondered what they’d have for tea, who they’d go down on at the office, where they got their hair dyed and how to fix the run in their cheap stockings /

How to bottle it … How? /

I am flying above the world on the key around my neck, the lock is in my bones, it rattles and disturbs me with its pricking /

People tell me to remain calm but I am already doused in gasoline and alight on the lyric pyre /

You watch with a bucket of water at your feet. You stand still and unmoving like every time, nothing is done to save /

Choose a side. Choose a side. Choose a fucking side! /

My nails grow long and bullets make polka dots in my dress like punctuation without sense /

Once more I am the young girl trying to dance away her hurt. Once more the Winter is hot and nothing freezes to kill the pestilence /

A man said on the TV the other day that he had no desire to better himself. A cult leader told us we could become gods if we just lowered our cameras. /

I wanted to learn to tie the knot in my core, right. /

There are golden tickets in the sky if you look long enough /

And it is not even bloody /

Fireworks night Charlie. /

I don’t care how sorry you are /

Because I have seen now /

The error called “us” /

Is bigger than we are.

Shining silent

She did not say much

Her’s was a rounding silver pause

A singing bowl of watched consideration

When she spoke, it held a soft balance of meaning

Like the weight of the sea pressing on dry earth

They told her she was boring at dinner parties

They said shyness was a bad trait to remove

When she turned toward me, her eyes wet with shame

I wiped her tears and whispered

Surely the best among us, say the most with the least

Surely it is a vital, beautiful thing to turn down the dial

on noise, attention seeking, the cacophony of humans

Fat on ego and the terrible drive to be ahead at any cost

Say less, speak in thought, touch, dream

I kissed her fingers and she knew

Quiet love may have been forgotten in the roar

But it ripples like a beloved glory on the shoulder of great waves

Stillness spreading like silk in a gentle wind

Her cheek against mine, the moon dipping gracefully behind sugary mist

Our hands entwined, saying more than any impatient mouth

Adding more static to a hornblower world, could

Her lips resting without words, so much shared

In thirsty, balm, healing quietude.

Inveterate flatterer

If you let me, if I’d let myself

I’d mention you in every mouthful

Once, at 15, my father said; Stop talking about that girl, I think you’re obsessed!

I was, without yet acknowledging how deeply these things can go

Forget an arrow, your harnessing of me is a tattoo as inked as the one I already have

If you were a sadist you’d say; Good. Now crawl to me

I suspect I would.

Absence is a devour and every hour a little harder

It’s a tortured song locked inside my chest

Awaiting your key.

You, you, you, the bird who flies without feather

You, you, you, the permanent loan against my sanity.

In restless chamber of night, I wake feverish, imagining

Your cruel hands on me, the cull of my longing to lie

Beside you, above you, beneath you, inside you.

The funny thing is, you don’t try, you never have, it comes naturally

Like walking on hands or juggling, neither of which I ever mastered

As you master me with the flint in your eyes and the quiescence of your tongue

Sharp teeth catching against your damson lip, ragged once in a great while

I have become a collector of moments featuring you

The turn of your full cheek set against certain light, eloping into smile

I want to dose you with a spell that you’ll feel

A tenth, a quarter, a handful.

Even as you are a wild thing and I knew it then, as I know it now

A creature who enjoys the pin cushion of being desired

Each gentle intrusion bringing a little fresh blood

Painless for you

A hammer in my heart.

Underwing, in indigo darkness I envelop

My unspoken entreaty and braid it into my hair

With every twist, pulling tighter, for my darling, wishing is

Often pain.

Things said in the rain

I remember when for once, for the only time in my life

I meant everything to one person

And that person was you.

Now it doesn’t rain very often

As if the world we live in, has acted out what we feel inside

Dry and forgotten

Though I

Can never forget

And when I want it to hurt

In a way that scouges and burns

Even beneath water

I let myself go back in time

And you wash over me

All the grief of

Things I can only say now

In the rain

Loud enough to drown out

My raw cries

Heavy and wet so no tears are seen

Rain makes my pain invisible

Erasing need to close doors and scream into towels

I can stand outside in front of the world

And things said in the rain

Will never be caught

They will slide from my tongue

Down my wet emptying surfaces

As they howl and beg for you

As they replay closure over and over

Ripping off nearly healed scab

Like a needle desperate to play

A song without words

Though there were so many

Things said and nothing stuck

It simply washed away

Taking with it

The part of me grown in your light

Never thinking she could be adored

Or matter, as once beneath you, she did.

Now I hardly recognize

That young woman

With her dream and her search

For rain

And for you

Winding up the car window

Our wet hands touching

On different sides of glass.

In amber

You, unmaker of peace, wear your hat jauntily to the side

a dandy at appearances

i am incapable of wiping the smudge of regret

away in time, before

everyone sees my imbalance and points with

blunt, corrective finger—

there she is, she’s deranged with grief

surely torn mad

not yet. Maybe sometimes. In the damaged fur, just a bit…

this lingering thing called hurt

a purple tie around my neck and I hide my succulent scabs

behind silk blush, with the covet of a lover

and you? You are the abuser who with

toothpick, flicks detris from your life as

effortlessly as anyone without conscience knows

how to polish their shoes with another man’s shine

sometimes I want to cut your throat

with a very fine Japanese knife, I keep unused

in my emotional closet and other days I want

to use it on myself, such is the pendulate swing

and thumbless gait of grief, a sifting vignette of those in our photo albums

who smile, so convinced of a radiance. The other

day I thought of your determine, growing like wan poppy from souless sidewalk

thin feet, high hips, impossible secrets braided deep into tangled weft of your hair

eyes closed from me, turning in simmering amusement, some unheard world beyond blunder

like a tuning fork set high, your mavidad, a seekers entreaty, the

sea pearls of your hope sewn tight in seemingly empty pockets

if we drowned, you’d die rich and I’d float to gulp the waste of dreams

frothing there among the manifold immensity

it takes just one word, the swallow of truism and fakery, a broken pendant, emptied bequeathment, the ransack of joy

to master stoism and a stomach able to survive the pitch and vinegar of disappointment

in my head I hear your voice, its fine timber cresting Finnish land

and

I am the sot

gathered for wedding and funeral

spun into skin

held close and released

breathe me out

let me loose

where undertow has no purchase

to be weightless and the insubstantial

a feeling, a letter, washed clear of intent

just the impression remaining

something I left behind

in amber

Will

Does the wood pigeon know?

when he calls his coo into the night

the cats who stalk will slink toward

the smell of blood and feathers

as I have gathered myself into quills

and spices sealed in alabaster jar

the sum of me is traveled

through moon and sun

like a cut orange leaves her

stain on wood, sticky and bitter

as your imprint has become

my mandala and the furtherance of us

defies life and death

shaking itself off like a dog released from bath

will hurtle, maddened, toward nearest escape

I grew my vines in your wood

my embers are your fire

this melange of you and I

twined like grapes gathering sunlight

before first frost

and the women take in the clothes, hanging on frozen line

even as they capture the day’s warmth

you stretch in this paper thin life time

sew the jagged edges of my need

with your ivory needle

as if we were part of the same

garment

held up

by

sheer

force of

will

First & last

s-l1600

“Everybody’s talkin bout it
Only the echoes of their mind                                                                                                           I’m going where the sun keeps shining. Through the pouring rain”                                               Nilsson (from the incredible film, Midnight Cowboy)

 

The ghosts

in blue mountain mist

when early morning

without mask of sleep

hiking the trail

moss, lichen, turning with seasons

from brown to red

snails leave their silver lines

bugs shed wings and legs

all becomes humus and is recycled

air remains still, days elongated

the stone in the field

is in the memories of many

who use it as their gravitation

where they first kissed, sitting atop the world

thinking themselves the only ones

when it is the stone, smooth with wear

coarse with textures varied

who gives them their fantasies

pearlescent when wet, like the moon

nestled in long grass

its reflection held against sky

I hear birds waking

crying to an unforgiving bird god

their beaked woes and delights

and the worm waits for false patter

to rise and be consumed

a ritual, as anything

the dust of ceremony, rising and falling

jewels encrusted in boulders

black earth laying deep and gaping

as open-mouthed children

stare at bewitching cloud formation

and wish to inherit the future

as their parents

dream of retracing

the lowing

of their former lots

The ghosts

in blue mountain mist

when early morning

without mask of sleep

I feel your absence like

blunt knife run along my spine

in the fallow chapbook of my heart

quivering her spent arrows

as I strain my neck in search

of ways to forget

the goats and sheep remain

black and white finger paint against

yellowed grass coarse as raw silk

a sharp outline of grief blurs

the edges of what I see

where you have all

gone

your lives full

and mine empty with echo

I think if I can ever reach the feeling

maybe I’ll join you

where it glitters and preens

like a girl catching herself

in shining mirror of

first times