Your misuse

hijacked amygdala

They can tell you

Because you’re not going to back down

You won’t sell your sisters for a side ways glance

You won’t burn your bra, you may need it to strangle someone

You have the same look

All of you

The ones with green hair and multiple piercings who say fuck off before you smile

The ones who rule the world behind the scenes and nod as their husbands slip inside

The ones who are glory and begotten and forgotten and eclipsed and insist

They still live

You can tell

Even as they spell it out in myriad ways

I am not your slave

You do not own me

But once I was hurt very badly

By my father, mother, brother, sister, best friend, neighbor, uncle, stranger

And I carry the brand around my throat

Once in a while when I lean over

You can see it quickening

I…

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Monsoon

f12381d15b50e5fd2021938bbaf00842--nikon-d-the-dress

Give up your penchant for making sense

when into braided water you step, heavy pocketed

indeed, reason exists within envelope of glued attempts

pick the short straw, watch it bend into a ship

gliding like spilt milk on your wayward glance

you, the one who had pulled trees from earth

thinking if you carried my soul in your locket

the water would never rise and take us both

breathless beneath deluge

still it is the vagaries of repair

stitching borders with ill-taught savagery

the only nimble thing I possessed was the memory

of your words leaning into the whirl of my ear

like a symbol I could see

even as my eyes were closed tight

against the leaning curvature of the world

The look in their eyes

Walking around, you don’t even need to convince yourself you’re all right

such is the layer upon layer, you don’t even see, until it creeps up and then

blocking out the sun, darkness invades sight and everything is at once, changed.

I am standing beneath awning, the sun is nearly out, it’s a windy day and the chimes in the back garden keep a steady sound

as I have always been, I am attached but not part of, another dynamic, a family with their own ways of doing things

I bend to learn and listen, I smile when expected, at times I think I feel comfortable with my toes dipped in

he has sorrow etched on his face though he is still young, his eyes betray him and a slight quiver in his mouth when

she clearly doesn’t care

I want to ask her, what happened to cause the rift, but everything is fragile and tenuous as if we are tiptoeing around

a sleeping giant

since childhood I learned to pick up on what to avoid and what to leave untouched, the manners of an outsider

accutely atuned to other people’s needs and emotions

not quite an empath, I can tell when they need time alone, if I should make myself scarce

and all at once I recall, aged eight or so, doing just the same, sitting on a cold flight of stairs for many hours

picking at my shoe laces, tying and untying them, making stories with crumbs and the wrinkles in my joints

hearing their argument echo through the thin door

I am good at placating, massaging egos, staying invisible when necessary and picking up the pieces afterward

her eyes are flashing, she puts on a pair of high heals and I can tell what she is thinking though she would never say

she wants to run and pack a bag and leave and find someone else, anyone else

and his need is as palpable as paint vapor, she is strangled by it and her own indifference

I want to ask; You loved each other once, where did it start to fall apart?

do you think they’d even remember now? Unlikely. Too many years building walls

to keep each other out, they forget in their effort, the beginning of them and how

happy they looked in that photo.

I want to tell her, you have everything you need here, I can see it in his movement, it is as if he acts out the ache he feels

I want to tell him, if it’s going to be this way forever, pack a bag, leave before your heart turns to dust

I want to save them and mend them, and make it right

for the sake of the child whose toys we pick up and put neatly away, as if that

will save anything, or stop him from one day remembering

the look in their eyes

Anger

The therapist

she doesn’t look her age, though it wouldn’t matter

she is wise in years and that’s what counts

her skin reminds me of a Swiss lady I knew, she has the color of travel

and I trust her which is all that is needed

she asks me, why I don’t get angry

I think about where my anger has gone

after all I was an angry child

only the other day a friend’s parent reminded me

‘you were a naughty little girl, but I know it was because you were mad’

it feels like she’s talking about someone else

because I have lost my ire

that’s not a good feeling

if I had it back, I imagine

I’d rage through the streets, decrying the bad deeds of an indifferent world

but I sit quietly reading a book and the clock is ticking down the hours I am not

angry

for anger …

can be a severance, a sword, a spike

and we know that

so we tuck it, tightly to sleep

there it lays, sometimes for decades

burning a hole in our placid smile

I know someone who is angry, and they

are a short rocket full of sparks, able to go off at slightest provocation

whilst I, am measured and sensible, like a bad calculation

it gets me nowhere

because I am hurt

deeply by the injustice of little and great things

whoever told me not to be angry, that I didn’t have a right, that it was selfish or

low-brow or just plain bad manners and SHAMEFUL

isn’t here now

and I am, stuck on the wheel of sickness where they like to say

‘isn’t she calm and well adjusted to her own personal brand of hell?’

I thought strength was not letting anger get the upper hand

but i’ve been in a war without any weapons

sometimes anger is better than turning inward or, staying still

it fuels the urge to live

it leaves bruises you remember

I am angry

behind this painted mask and ironed clothes

I am a raging angry woman, with still unbrushed parts

who wants to throw the phone when it rings, out of the window, deliberately breaking glass

I am fury and it is a desire of mine

to scream until my throat is sore and beseech the skies

I am quivering with rage and if I could, I would, throttle the fates

for there is anger inside and though it is buried deep

it has a voice and that voice says

why me? why me?

(Not meant self pityingly, rather, a hard truth.)

Telephonic

tim-burton-bakerRing, Ring, Ring,

Except it’s 2017 your phone is set on silent you do not own an answering machine

from the nineties, accidentally recording overheard conversations

little tape cassettes, the mechanics listening, catch you shouting

the message goes ‘don’t leave a message’ followed by alliteration

doe ray me fa la tee

people dial-in, listen, to cacophony

whose house is this? what party line? her voice can you hear

it’s someone singing in the background

taping over

you quote the silence with your abstract

lying like a fallen star on the kilim rug

the cat nudges your head he knows you are not dead

would that you could warm yourself up like leftovers

swallow whole emptiness, banish that gut of bile

back then I recorded myself, how stupid it seems now, a voice in the comforter

what did I impart? love makes us opaque, lust even more so

you used to play my voice backward and say

that sounds like Bob in Twin Peaks

Fire walk with me would look good in ink

before tattoos were mainstream, we had no money for luxury

our pockets calcified and taut turned inside out like jagged tongues

of want and want not

in the smothering green light of your bedroom

I hid the places I didn’t want you to go

pre-wax, pre-tan, prematurely ejaculate

don’t call me I won’t answer my phone

Ring, Ring, Ring,

what chime, what sound, what soundtrack

do you carry?

mine is set on mute

if you asked to speak to me I could not

form sound

would you really want to hear my truth?

every step forward chalk on my shoes

hop skip jump throw the stone

leave a message after the bleep

after the fall

I’m leaving myself a message

get up now

get out of this house

climb from the windows if you must

do it fast before you grow into a place

you cannot claw your way through

nobody knows that neighbor, the mother of four

lies prone from 9am to 3pm whilst her kids

drink milk out of small glass bottles

in her bare feet and unwashed hair

garish scarlet lipstick sliced on limp wrists

how deftly you can cover your crimes with dry shampoo and

a dusting of perfume

wiping your mouth on the back of your horror

nobody knows how long you lived

not breathing

counting pills on the convex of your emptiness

and if they came

hauled you away, locked you in a padded room

filled your arm with urinal liquid, your mouth stuffed with ‘medicine’

you’d soon find an open door, fling yourself

glorious from fifth floor like a Rorschach crow

not all are made for asylum-life

feral animals cannot endure cages

the fax machine of the past, showed us our shadow

interpreting our malady as Jung

prophesied in his hunting vest

Ring, Ring, Ring,

Schroeder and Skinner take bets

packing tape wound round their vivisection

no-one is home please leave a brief message and we’ll

lose your distinctiveness in the rollerdex

you gave me yours in a wet crumpled ball

call ME! Blondie sung

in a snug t-shirt with her head larger than her body

this year I noticed my finger tips desiccating

despite warm temperature and heirloom seeds

the doctor said

this is the first sign of albinism

drink the days to your unnatural end

of your shrinking bones witherment

breasts diminishing like deflated ardor

bellies sag,  lost balloons caught in oaks

and what stood proud wilts

like tulips left too long in burned afternoon sun

Ring, Ring, Ring,

I am not a girl in ballet shoes

my feet are wrinkled and cracked like a beggar

who has walked too long for his supper

I do not want to eat the fat of the land

or the dish served cold

warmed with your insincere scold

for my weakness is abundant and I

lose moisture like a white fish licking brail

dries on Greek dock where you can if you squint

almost make out the shoreline of Italy

watching boats take others far and yonder

leaving crusts of their sandwiches for birds

the fish only seeks to return

to the deep still of ocean

(what would I say if)

my doppelgänger pushed me aside and ran to answer your insistence

hello it’s awfully good to hear from you, how am I? well …

I’m fair to middling for someone with a dagger in her back

depends on your definition of

walking underwater with undertow heavy beneath feet

cue the camera, take a shot, bang, bang!

the roaming dogs pee against your leg

on the shallow side of consciousness drift in and out

my pipe is smoky and hot with chastised resin

fingers dirty, the refuge of digging for my soul

you don’t want to hear that though … do you?

no question mark intended

I know your breed your pedigree your label

just as I gnawed mine apart

wove the strands into a length of yarn

tied it around my neck and vaulted

because I am the black dog we all avoid

who shakes her wet coat over dry make-believe

the echo behind the broken cup

one piece beneath furniture, the other

still containing a leached circumstance of water

we do not sup, you and I who have sober fists

I tried, I really tried, then the day went on without me

clocks winding themselves

girls pulling up their underwear in some basement flat

overlooking a river

men taking a piss in bushes, usually reserved for perverts

watching women jog in tight shorts, bounce, bounce, bounce

Ring, Ring, Ring,

is anybody there? What do you say?

are you home? Are you sleeping?

no and no

anything but the shape of arms

making circles against bare wall

here is my crucifixion

behold

words we never tell

are pigment

and egg yolk

and torn hose

 

Command

9edcc63634776b74ee5539c5d4f18ce7She sat

the leather of the chair

damp beneath her

no underwear

revealed in candle light

a straight spine

a crouching mind

she obeyed

not for fear or need to ruin

but the sheer freedom of feeling

her knees rub against carpet

her mouth close upon bit

her eyes lost beneath satin

she knew

when it came

the lash would last

as long as forever

the welt may diminish

the pain may recede

still she could feel

the weight of regard

afixed to her as light of fire place

illuminated what she could not

her darkness exposed

take what you will

take what she cannot give

willingly

and in setting her free

she is within and without cage

able at last

to feel the breadth of herself

by your regard she finds reflection

not the echo she reinterprets

there in the scour of past

but the lover

piece by piece she learns

to offer her secrets

for trust is earned

in every move toward

the command

Freedom from your scorn

babushka_1-tcall me anything you like or don’t call me at all

you’re cold when I’m hot and hot when I’m cold

many years past you asked that I leave

go away you said this isn’t your continent you do not belong here this is not your country

your jaw was too narrow to carry your eyes

I could see in between your bones and feel your lies

you sent me metaphorically packing

because of that I stayed

though you were right in a way, I did not belong

call me anything you like or don’t call me at all

you’re cold when I’m hot and hot when I’m cold

sometimes when someone threatens you

you say, okay then, bring it on

and you watch yourself fall down the rabbit hole

next time I’m challenged to a duel, I may hang up my sword

catch the next bus out-of-town

proving ourselves in battle, rarely avoids scars

call me anything you like or don’t call me at all

you’re cold when I’m hot and hot when I’m cold

what makes one person give another everything?

even when they know they will never receive an ounce in return?

do we loathe ourselves that much?

call me anything you like or don’t call me at all

you’re cold when I’m hot and hot when I’m cold

I’m done, breaking my heart over people

least of all you

you who broke me and didn’t even know you did

how absurd we are who give everything

to an empty hanger in an empty wardrobe in an empty chest within our empty arms

call me anything you like or don’t call me at all

you’re cold when I’m hot and hot when I’m cold

and I’m out of here with freedom from your scorn

 

The unhealed

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If you opened me up

maybe with a zip or a crow bar

it is my belief inside I would be

eighty percent water from the sea

and twenty percent ghosts

who upon being freed

would walk away and let me be

so when I look longingly

at your scalpel or your blade

it is not because I wish to meet my maker

not yet anyway

but the irresistible urge to be freed

of these ghosts who pinch and knead

even if you fitted a zip dear sir

or inserted a pipe to let the smoke pour

anything would be preferable to this canker

an ulcer of lament forming malcontent

they weigh a lot for emotions past tense

no matter how hard I try they gain the upper hand

that’s what happens when your body is a grave yard

for souls who ripped you apart

you carry your history like a series of scars

nobody can see, they think you’re doing well

underneath your sequins it’s a bloody hell

sometimes I wish you could see how I feel

the cavernous maw of the unhealed

they don’t let go of my throat with their squeeze

when people jump I’m not surprised

who can live with such unease?

the ghosts inside us, reminding we’re never free

until we vanquish their poison

so give me some mercy

let them out

I would like to fly

but I have lost the ability to float

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

On the other side of rebuke

freja-beha-erichsen-arizona-muse-by-terry-richardson-designscenenet-02I used to say

O talk to me

open your maraschino mouth

pull the glazed words out

until they come undone

now I say

keep quiet

stay absent

I have found what I didn’t yet know

standing on the other side of rebuke

we forsake our blazing joy

under the suffocation of those

who demand all of us

and none of us

I spent a life time waiting

to stop hating myself

when the girl with the sparrow in her limbs

took me by the hand and bid me dance with her

entreat I may rinse my history in her cupped smile

held under chin like buttercup tells fortune to

gilded child, with her smoothness and her beguile

latching emptiness and filling it with stars

bursting over us like white flames caution the acrobat

to walk steadier in the marsh of emotion

I didn’t think I could start over, my chapter was

dulled by the passage of hands holding me back

she knew I could

when I lost my footsteps on the other side of rebuke

she picked me up, held me still until my heartbeat

slowed and the music filled me anew