Never look back

Amidst worry, distraction, hunger, noise,

there is the brand, the scorch of you

sealing me in wax

pressing me to Florentine paper

sending me by leathered mail

with a longing as woven

as pulp that becomes a letter

writing out felted words

my throat cannot swallow.

The world is burning, in once-removed chaos

I find an unsteady peace, imagining us.

Everything is flammable, people smite each other

with little tools and heavy words

we forget our humanity often

we are caught with our pants down

jacking off to lies & hate in little jars

sometimes it seems the world would fair

better without our penchant for harm

but we subsist, in fragments, shards, pieces

of goodness separated and flung apart.

I should be considering the state of the planet

why it’s searing in October, why people

shoot someone for the color of their skin, how

evil can stand in White Houses and other

necessary questions …

but for this cupped moment, I am idle in my desire to save

not a lack of caring, but rather

the need to step outside the fray and

stand in the rain with you .

The rain here is warm, before we met

I did not know rain could be warm

I lived in a concrete trap with sad faced

buildings that many would give their eye

teeth for and I wished passionately, to escape

from

there was no softness in the city of my birth

no reduction of clamor

we spun like dervish on a wheel

forgetful of what mattered in the perpetual lean

to survive

I am here with you now, although

we are often not together, in my etched soul

you hold me every night and the candle

I placed in my window does not go out

for it burns eternal.

A song will reduce me to tears, driving wet

cheeked and aching for your touch, the surround

of your movement against me, a kiss that consumes

my cold center, turns me to the moon

shining and nude.

We are shimmering fish beneath dark water, finding our way

with our mouths, our fingers, the brail of need

containing sea pearls ready to sacrifice their shell

only you can lift me away from

the sorrows of the world and our many

pitted attempts to remedy what seems to be

our nature

only you can run yourself down my stomach

and opening me like a fan, find within, my

raw chorus

only you, with your pitch eyes and raven heart

can cause me to tumble, weightless over white cliffs

into our own private film

playing the days of our lives, for an empty house

the tick of our time, slowing now.

I should clean my teeth, brush my hair, push my

cuticles back and cross my legs in public, but for

the need to wear no hose, and driving 70mph down

empty streets, push you into me, finding

piano keys beneath our lilting surface.

By day I am a plain-faced woman with

ill-fitting bra and the marks of time sponged

on my face like imprints from a wild cat

who walked over me once, twice, forever

as you pull me from the world with your

electricity and I urge you

implore

to not

to never

look back.

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.

The unlit room

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like a surveyor of tea leaves or coffee grains

you have only seen the bad in me

mama, there is more than that

so forgive me if I hope, you don’t read this

though as I write in the unlit room

with unfurling gloom of coming dark

shadows whisk past in fast motion

like hunting birds intent on victim

pictures of another life

when I close my eyes I hear your voice

imagine home, it includes you

exile is a word I find hard

thinking we’d find a way all these years

my child heart foolishness

we try to repair the mauled favorite toy

we try to reclaim the torn moment

but time moves on and people

betray each other as easily

as reading congealed tea leaves

so read them, tell me my fate

I am sure you think you know

and as the words come pouring out

each one designed for maximum hurt

I will grow away from you like a plant

facing determined shadow will

strain toward the purity of light

I didn’t want this

it wasn’t my wish, the choice was removed

but I am, contrary to your belief

not dying of my own poison

the illness within me

will be healed

and that part that blames me for everything

lying in you, a furious envelope

that tells me I am responsible for my suffering

will meet

the karma we all must face

when cruelty is reflected back at us

I had hoped so much all these long years

for your mercy and your presence

but as they told me

you cannot long for something you never had

cannot make someone feel what they do not feel

you asked me why I called today

I knew you would lash out, I knew it would hurt

and maybe like a penitent I felt

saying goodbye and letting you know

I love you, was worth the scald

because I had a dream

it was a dream I lived a long and healthy life

it wasn’t with you and you were not there

somehow I still smiled and carried on

and when I woke I wanted to ask you

how could I ever live without you?

when you brought me into this world

I know your voice, as I know myself

and I have loved you more than anyone

but I already hear the answer

burning the silence of my stare like a

forgotten match wicking itself to fabric

devouring oxygen and matter like

a scream will penetrate quiet night

I know, in the slick loathe of your tone

the way you know just how to plunge the knife

you don’t need me you say, you never did

I am an unwanted thing, better disguarded

let loose to tumble into the past, better never born

and though I may not know it now

you set me free as I forgive the ache

letting go of all those years of chasing

those folded sorrowful times of indifference

to claim what we should all have

the knowledge of real love

instead of being reminded of

someone who never thought you worthy or special

who happened to give birth

with the anger of a condemned prisoner

Oh and I wish

I could go back in time and undo

that bloody hour

where you never had

to endure the pain of bringing me into the world

for surely

I would

that is the point of unconditional love

you give even when it hurts

and I would dissolve me to save you

but it is too late for that

and for wishing I had a daughter

I could pour my heart into

but I will find something else

maybe out there in the wild where

people do not carve out pain with

the sharp edges of their own

and when I told you I would always love you

I meant it

even as you push me away one last and final time

which I accept

with the gait of one who knows

she has more life ahead

in the bowers of empty space

among the fir trees growing like prayer

toward the glassy reflecting heavens

it will not always be so sad

it will not always be so sad

 

Follow her

candy age 30Sorrow

A switch we pick by hand

Green is lighter

Darker leaving deeper brand

Sometimes it’d be more honest

To have all the pain beaten out

Spare the rod and you find other ways to store grief

There is ecstasy in many forms of relief

As I think of being touched, tears fall unencumbered

Surely to live without

A love well rehearsed

With no marked destiny

Empties the soul of hope

Keep busy and years will go by

Spindling days in the weft of your knit

Lift your head, remark in surprise

No longer wanting

No more remembered the fusing intensity

How it felt when we were the center

Watchful of nothing

Save the pleasure of music & movement

My hips creating circles of you

Our fusion, endeavouring tantric joining

Flesh to smoke

Curling into mosaic

Hair flung in silken entreaty

Measure and flow the symbol of motion

Quickening, relinquished, they do not know

How we set fire to the deluge

Marking pleasure in thrown pieces

A museum of moments, giving me

Your pomegranate lips

Open for me, this place of silvering eclipse

Only when I feel that drumming surge

Does life throb with meaning

Turning on all illumination

In the faces of you, as you catch

Your breath

Surprised to have surpassed

Even the dream

Digging your fingers into my flesh

Whisper illegible words of prayer and violence

Sadness flung to shadows

A redolent unapologetic stomp

On the glowing beast of memory

That had us repeating patterns

Like carpet weaver’s bound to their task

Eyes dry from staring at the repetition of

Under, over, thread, knot, tie, begin again

Til finger and thumb grow calloused and hard

No room for miracles, no sight for change afar

Break your yoke, release iron about your throat

As it falls, jagged pieces, heavy loathsome

Collar of habit, look up at mantle of stars

See the brightest? Follow her

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

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

From basket deep

Clamboring, chiming, turning inside out for lack of space

Urging in one cold grey wave of fur and teeth

Lolling tongues, hot breath, slobber and frenzy

From a distance, life resembles a dark river

Cutting through early frost, hungry for warmth

And I think of the man who paints this bleeding scape

Of land into water and flesh undulating, back to earth

I wonder if he knows better than us, how close we are to one or the other

By just a pinch of his ink stained fingers, held up

To guage perspective, before he dips his brush and renders

This mist of mouths, graves and birth and sour roots, twisting through

Surviving even as skies douse and sun bakes flat, yet beneath myriad

A soup of souls closing and opening by ritual of tide

And still, life, clops down the cobbled street, hawking seasons from basket deep.

(Inspired by FEDERICO GARCÍA LORCA, especially the line, han venido los perros de plomo.)

The story of us

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I confess

it was the love of you

gave me breath

wound around middle finger

flax and straw

plucked from those nearest to sky

a pinch of light

holding lantern against sheltered corners

of myself not recognized

you were dressed in color and feeling

bequeathing underfoot a trail

of sound and touch

caught in memory

your pulse pressed against

my own frigid skin

repelling life so long … forgetful of how

to shed her jade for opacity

when it is too much I reach for

the song of you playing within my hollows

like a scoop of earth will

leave room for planting

you scatter your faith

rows of hope

to take root and turn my emptiness

lavender and mustard

fields stretching out

One glory two uses

anoint this paradox

defying gray

I see a figure in the distance

running to catch up with you

clasping hands they

take off their shoes

soft is the ground beneath their

trust

it is my darling

the story of

us

IF

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If depression were a shadow

when it is my shadow

waking me up with glass behind my eyes

replacing authentic feeling with

stifled, muffled, agonies

depression tells me; don’t get your hair cut

the hair dresser will stare too hard and you cannot

bear to be scrutinized as your father who called you

many things like plain-faced and ungainly but most of all

stocky leading to a starvation worthy

yes that father who because of his own mental defect

could not really stand long in the sun of parenthood

you’d have been better off loose and lopsided

with latch key children

to climb dog piss stained trees that barely held your weight

as they pushed through concrete with white pealing hands

as city green must

an effort make

we would chew on wild rhubarb, give ourselves stomach aches

eat dandelions and wild plums and share a precious few

hard-boiled sweets sticky in our pockets

some turned our mouths the color of tar

behind the corrugated iron where bombed out houses

stand like disfigured moments

collapsing in tombed neglect

we chased skinny wild cats and built fluttering camps

fortresses around destruction and sadness

something I learned to carry inside

when I sought to travel far from the city

its anonymous bricked faces

lending little grace

when I said goodbye to prefab family who

had their own lives

I was an appendage

needing to find my tribe

instead inheriting faulty DNA

tingeing my wake with sorrow

much as I tried

even on the warm days I wore leg warmers

pretended to be auditioning for FAME

when I ordered a hot chocolate and watched curling waves

change sequined shoreline in slow swell

though the world amassed around me

glorious and glittering like water touched by fire

as bleating sun dipped low against horizon

I could not find a way to feel unburdened

or climb aboard the impulse to slough skin

care nothing of what others would say

try hard as I could to become

laughter

that ephemeris

out of reach … thing

This is all I want

4f593252ef32b7830e6dd93df6f585acThis is all I want

I want to separate you from the lie

divide the rotten from edible

keep the true half

this is all I want

I want to deny and I want to rewind

to the place you first made

me feel

there underneath the lemon tree

with tin ornaments chiming

like informal instruments of hurt

waiting for master

there as sun dappled river water

turning brown to copper

you crushed my fingers together

knotted my heart within yours

there in that sharp aspect of honesty

dissolving fear

you could not have lied then

looking at me with your onyx eyes

hiding nothing

there when I opened my chest

everything waiting within the wings

poured into you

we mixed ourselves in each other

blood, tar, tears, bruises and wishes

changing color, swapping features

indistinguishable in rebirth

I could no more tell you where I ended

and you began to exist

twins of sorrow, born to feel everything

finding each other the only salve

when it got too much you would

grip me tightly and we’d see

the reflection of us in the water

shaking with light and misunderstanding

as if time could not contain

all that we felt

 

this is all I want

for you to say you were not

a figment of my imagination

a missing part of stepping stone

to the other side where you stood

waving and urging me on

cross over

here I am

I promise

I will never leave

I hear your voice low and

reedy, carried by wind down stream

my socks are wet

my hands tremble

I reach for you

grabbing chalky air, dry with claim

where you were once whole and certain

now dark water is still as glass

I see myself reflected alone

emptied of promise