Maternal instinct

Symphony

I am a mother

Though you are dead

I pretend otherwise

You feel me in that place that you are

And I sense you

In the small hands of my neighbor’s boy

In my urge to protect and let

Not one moment of harm befall

As if it were you, the ache inside

Sat next to me eating brunch

The waitress charmed by your precociousness

You don’t remind me a bit of myself

Just as my mother thought me a changeling

Who was the fair child she birthed? She wondered

Closing the door and walking into another universe

Away from the scold of maternity

It suited her to wear boob tubes and dance at 3am

Not wipe snot and vomit from the car seat.

OOO

And I see nothing of me in you

You eclipse a generation

Returning to be her and a little of your father

He had eyes that swallowed me whole

When I moved in his arms and invariably

He took and took and took

He also gave a little something of himself

Unwillingly in that hour before savagery

Even sadists have their moments of foreplay

It’s how they build to a crescendo

It’s how we fall for their slick words and

Hard falls

He filled me with you and underneath the green dress

I could see you swell and rise on the tide of my brine

Before the stairs before the marble

Cool on my burst cheek and the pattern of scarlet

He led me in oxblood to that single moment

We could have all ended there

With the moon ripe and redolent behind us

The smell of candle wax heavy on our hems.

OOO

There is no way to undo the circles

Looping through memory like planets fractured against starlight

There is only the clenched fist and a jump

Free wheeling in air, suspended

He watches with apocalypse eyes as I give birth

To the emptiness afterwards

Because his vision is winking out

Through time as we catapult and swing low

He tells me; you haven’t changed, your skin is still firm

And I splinter there in this path of thorns

The beating is joining bruises like daisy chains

You gave me life and then, bending close

Took it away with a snap of your callused fingers

We lie beneath the elm tree with our name carved

And you drink from my breast a milk of sorrow

I wanted you all to myself is your buttoned apology

It does not last .. it comes with the sharp pull on all fours

More hurt than can be described by sign and movement

Bearing a child and starting over bloodless

In one shattered moment

Leaning towards stairwell

Seeing you waiting

Below

Beckoning me

To fall

Afterbirth

Trying out her wings

Pain killers did not play a part in my death

You

Featured, light fizuring definition, as star

You captured my appetite in a jar

Left it to pickle sour

We dissected my heart and ate slivers

Outside, like a fevered tongue

Merrymakers ran and dragged

Confetti and plastic cups of eels

Young girls with birthing stretch marks, shaking double chins

If they had three lifetimes it would still not be enough

To celebrate their unfolding life of cards

Queen of Hearts, she sat watching oragami crowds

Easier to be cloud cover, sensing rain in the air

The quiet of needing to say nothing, emptied of small talk

She didn’t need to ever attend a party again

That was another version of her out there in time

Straining to be a light bulb

Her long dangling line

Fishing for fragments of who she had been

How did a wizz, bang, bang, pop, crack, fizzle girl

Turn into a wig combing mannequin?

From dancing drizzled with pink champagne, the uppers in her blood churning red

To planting rows of onions and dragonflies, obscured by garden net

Oh she would

Knit herself a ship

Sailing on and on

Paint herself a sea

Rounding over water with butter knife

A transfer from disco ball, to stay and burrow in

Flying overhead, a stray kite, looping the void

Things of nonsense and flight, once she was weightless, then heavy with seed

When it spilt like a tearing river, a part of her she no longer needed

Tore away, a feeble arc of motion, the arrythmia of nameless distress

Catching the air, lifting, cavorting above caucophany

Trying out her wings

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.)

Skate


Sickness is my latest Paramore

She is more attentive

Less fickle

She sticks like late season honey to the insides of my fever dream

A purple moth with nectarine probiscis

She hears my chest rise and fall

Like carefully tilted chess pieces

Will release balance and find

Greater purchase in uneven defeat

Yet

I remain undefeated

As if by whim

A last horrah

Like a Rosy cheeked girl with retrouse buttocks

Tips her mirth at the crowd

Who in unisen rise 

Fat, thin, butter fingered and pianist

To cheer her abandon

As I turn my hot cheeks your way

Facing one another in the skeleton of dawn

I see your need of me

So insate and thundering

And though selfish mayhaps

I entreat

Pick another

I spent much time unraveling

Yet I remain

Stubborn and glassy eyed

A drunk patient of witchery

Somebody without many pockets

Containing Combs and honey

Yet my lips are sweetened by the shape

So simple and elongated

Of one more turn

On this thin ice

I bring

Few coins and less 

Courage than a child

But if you release me

I will have 

Remembered yet …

How to skate

Coupe

thAu moment de démêler mes cheveux

the day you cut yourself

you have to hurt

lose

some trace of past

much beloved

forming solace

the retreat within

only then, not even then

take one shuffled step forward

you are not yourself anymore

you are the one you became

when they ate your heart

licked the plate clean

no need to wash

 

it’s not true

you stay the same afterward

you do not

you are extinguished

half reborn

each time or only once

harder

a shell of former self

patting scars down

like fur

refusing to smooth

 

when I laid my head

on your lap

my hair spilled across your knees

down to the floor

just as my tears now

will fill me with the strength

to cut out the part of me

holding you

it is nearly all of my sum

 

so necessarily

I will start as nothing

build slowly into an approximation

something will be sacrificed

something will be lost

never to return

it is the part of me that could trust

it is the rope of my devourment

 

I will be shorn

of the muscles of my heart

for you took everything

leaving only

a pair of scissors

glinting on tabletop

if I stretch out

I can reach

their

steel