Children of absence 


The world is strange

how for some death is a petite mort

for others, not pleasure nor hell

just a slice to be taken out and left without warmth

they can with their approximating whole

continue without sore heart

while others

they are vigil in grief

nothing mends what is broken

I was told once this is weak

it is the substance of survival that we let go, move on

those who are able to open their fists

those who feel less or brew sense of senseless things

I am therefore not strong

for death stings like it has

pressed its poisonous quill deep

my heart lays heavy in its fur cloak

nothing really aids grief

but the passing of time and memory

ushering us further from the moment

like a worried parent seeking retreat

though we know

as with all circles we will return inevitably to completion

and I wonder since I do not believe

in Gods and Devils

but occasionally I am convinced monsters may, be an exception

where then, shall we find ourselves?

after all our pieces have fallen and the board is emptied

will I feel you next to me still?

as dust, we strive to rejoin star light

or will a wink be simply a wink out?

and so gentle light is drowned

for a time it worried me until

I saw this as a curtain fall, something peaceful almost alluring

what hurts us is not our own demise

but the loss of others to the other side

where shade invagels night and the smudge of life

for none of us

not even the preacher

who believes he sees the face of Jesus in the sky

can truly know what happens

when those we love die

it is the ache of their absence

even if that love was filled with holes

incomplete moments where like a colindar 

we saw more water fall than keep

I know loving me was at best a fractured and intermittent thing

but real love is not how you felt, it is the emotion I had

Stirred into my rise, even as you walked away 

even as need became a habit, not a desire

I may have always been

following you, looking for breadcrumbs

and you may have rarely noticed

your child who wanted so badly to matter

but I find time changes those emotions

it is ultimately the love I bare

irrespective of your own

that will hurt the most

when you are not around to call

hoping you pick up the phone or

send me a postcard ‘I am having a wonderful time’

and my only regret will be

just one more day I’d like

to know you were on this earth

a feeling of being as secure as you can

with nothing underfoot

we get used to little, us, children of absence

we learn to eat what we are given

and from nothing comes so much

it springs up 

around emptied houses and abandoned lots

like red weeds will show

vivid and wild

in a landscape of naught

we are the tender feelings who labor

in spite of all

and that I believe is the depth and mercy

of a full heart 

 

Quenching

SHRIMP CROSS BACKHer shape

puts me at peace

lying propped up, one elbow jutting

one foot lolling out of damp sheets

curled in a knot of former movement

the wind outside is hitting moss covered shingles

like it wants to join in

clouds swirl like drunken sailors over-head

she has a strange gait

as if unsure of being girl or boy

yet her legs are as straight as a dancers

envious I suspect of my curves

the tattoo that begs to be planed

for every vein and every vessel

we are ever waiting to reach deeper

the fusion of two lovers

one defying gravity with breasts like pinches

mocking those half her age who struggle to stay

retroussé

the other a drunk without bottle

swimming in fear and loathing

tempered sometimes by her steady hand

pulling me to discomfort

where pier lights wink til past the witching hour

relieved nobody burning needs

quenching

 

Afraid of heights

boy-brunette-cigarette-cool-Favim.com-1321050I always wanted to visit New Hampshire

because of John Irving’s book & the film with Rob Lowe & Natasha Kinski

who

could not act

yet their chiseled attractiveness

stood in for them, a superficial filler

as often is the case

for some that is how

life’s entirety unfolds

they don’t really choose

going with the muslin crowd

falling into things like sharpened

pencils sit neatly on a desk

ready to be taken up & blunted

I never felt easy or molded to

others surges

when the crowd hastened to rise

I would take the other pew, sit a while

watching the admonishment of wood

bending over itself in prayer

where discarded moments

buoyed a sense of artificiality strung on a line

flung into frozen lake

as melancholy as any conjured mist

for it was my curse to be a romantic

& New Hampshire is just another place

where my dreams lay a while

purring against naped fancy

it is sometimes better not to seek them out

for they will never be quite as you imagined

life is no film or book

it is a long & windy road sometimes rendered ugly by

man’s fecund print

the only dream is found

in youth or its diminishing wings

when everything is a stage

& beauty elucidates our need

to believe

the hand of ancient love

helping each other dress stiffly by creaking radiator

four knees popping with affection

I want to retrace the mortar of what beseached

me to hold castles in the air & believe

one day I would witness magic

for if my hopes were less grand

more flat and ordinary

I may not have spent so long

gazing upward at empty rafters

thinking myself an acrobat

afraid of heights

 

Fermented

dbb8e6a2f03166ae5c27a2b3bce546d4She told me

it is written

memory controls pain

once forgotten it takes a mountain

to revisit it again

or a certain pair of eyes

that retracing back

remind you of the eyes you loved

when you were youthful, fat on luck

and she did not have what it took to

return the emotion

she told me

it is written

memory controls pain

you can rinse out your glass

dry it in the hot Texan air

smelling of ancho chile and fertilizer

and it will not sprout again

until you are ready to expunge the day

start over with blank slate

she said this

because it was her way

to forget what she needed

rewind the silky tape

press erase

and I did not share this propensity

nor was I able

to shine her out of my hide

she had grown long claws

they stitched inside the cry

we both denied

in our modest pin tuck blouses

and matching bobby socks

turned down once

a slight lemon frill

sensible and cloaked

the passion stucco and quiet

tasted like strawberries

fermented in hot palms

drunk over crushed ice

For I feel

080-francoise-dorleac-theredlistTremulous ghosts must stand in patent shoes around me

for I feel their hands on my shoulders tugging at my seams

I who do not cry

weep openly with sorrow

imagining is often harder than

bearing reality

I think of when he will not stand discontented

staring out at flocking birds

I think of the time I found a starling chick

lying cold on the ground

wondering at the bitter sky

why didn’t you give them a chance?

why did you let me stay instead?

discontent

the child who knew the flavor of strawberry milkshakes

was an artifice

lies from adults, how many more?

behind closed doors and screens

I met a poet an old lady who

wrote like she was on fire

when she didn’t write for a time

I knew she had died

again I railed

why take her? why not me?

I stand disillusioned and empty

she who played castanets and sang

she who had wind-chimes and wrinkles in

her vowels

she had so far to go

I do not

I am here at the fulcrum

waiting my turn at the scythe

it strikes me living doesn’t suit

those who feel everything

like a pretty shoe

isn’t practical for walking

you can admire its form

but it will not hold you up

I ache in ways I cannot give a color

or adverb

it is a disturbance of the soul

the card reader told

you have a dark shadow on your back

she has her hands around your throat

until she dies you will wish for your own death

or you could start drinking again

that might work

sitting at the kitchen table at night

rinsing grief from my palms

strange dark sounds comforting crushing hurt

I examine the bones of my face

they feel as if they should have come unglued

reformed into a mask of ache

outside neighbors children are awake

eager for day to start

a lone dog barks at the moon

because it disturbs the pattern of his knowing

it has been long since I dreamed

when I dream I have hope

hope which is always the most painful place to go

when returning to zero you see the futility

of setting sail just as storms are predicted

you were a hurricane I let whip me up

lent me hope

now I am a milkshake that does not

resemble real strawberries

I am sweet enough for take-out

but nobody knows the sadness behind

a glass that looks full and is not

just residue remains

sticking to the sides

I am holding on

trying not to cry

at the nature of things

some known

some found afterward in epitaph

my grandmother’s hand was

blotchy and purple

still I looked away believing her well

you see

I want to believe in fairy-tales

and ever after

but I confess

it is hard when we are surrounded

by lies in

illuminated

jars

Clasp

freja-beha-erichsen-tomek-szczukiecki-for-interview-magazine-designscenenet-03I miss intimacy

not the kind that comes with notches

but holding back her hair

spooning her smiles

into my lap

she claims my whole in little hands

where I see the flush of cheekbone

eclipsing against wool

if leaves fall outside we do not

clear them from dry grass

fervently my kisses

linger beyond chiming hour

expectation demanding we

still our rapture for mundane

wash dishes

scour chores

instead lying in each others arms

our low fire keeping at bay

worldly cares

nothing but this exists

surrounded by shadows we

persist in our linkage

pulling faces at the chill

edging our clasp for one another

as two children lost in forest may

share timbered warmth

I miss her plum mouth

the way she reserves the longest

embrace for passover darkness

how her body surges like

a water wheel against my slow pull

as if I am garnering from our union

the best of us both

encased in fire, disputing chill

without her I am just a person

tredding tightrope

touching concrete and fabrication

like a carpenter, void of wood

should raise his empty hands

beseeching listening deity

for the weight of

his craft

she became the life preserve

and I the blinking shell of light

guiding her to familiar shore

without each other

we are simply icebergs

seeking dissolution

in barren stretch of ocean