Fond of ghosts

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I am thankful

that I am not

you

you are what I could not be and partly remain

If I hadn’t fled and turned my back to

the inevitable crush of destiny, spinning on roulette table

the soft nape of cloth worn by dice

 

For years I regretted leaving myself behind

and those few memories not slicing

at my veins

but your life

engenders mindfulness

and I am

so relieved

 

This feels good

the city of our frying was so hungry

It wanted to devour youth

to sake itself on the fervor of the anointed needy

how anyone has the endurance?

how you do?

I have no idea

 

As I scaled my escape with trapeze skin shoes

the Harlequin came back from her exile in the countryside

the sequined one didn’t see how the city ate us up in little spoonful

she whose cheeks were red with fresh air, wanted so badly to return, throw her hunger at the crowd in fistfuls

and that’s why we crossed wires, finally hanging-up our respective ends

 

But you

puzzle me like the last page of a much creased book

I relate to your merciless sober tilt

a shared connection that runs the length of our separation

how the rest of your life will bid

how

you are when we’re not talking

how the world sounds through your ears or looks through your eyes

 

I feel you must have

chains

on

your

wrists

you must be a new

in a large loud give

and that frightens me more than it should

considering once

I almost walked in the same buckled shoes

 

What made you stay?

and I leave?

what helps you imprint this life and nourishes the void I feel

imagining I had never left and still to turn the page

such terrors seem to separate us

beyond what could reconnect

proof perhaps

of the strength of the heart

to defy

logic

and

grow fond of

ghosts

She said to me this is why

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She said to me, this is why

you start the ignition and drive

never far enough

the feeling of mud stuck in your wheels

when you find you’ve been stopped

a god-awfully long time at crossroads

watching emptiness

hypnotized by blink in and out of hooded light

amber in raptured darkness

a welcome, a warning, a half-moon or pecked ball of cheese

the days you used to eat diary and wear

push-up bras and frilly skirts with Wellington’s

climb the clouds

invest in heavy coats and lace up boots, the end of the world is nigh

where did your combat go?

as you sat watching life blink and slow

what year, what day? what hour ceased your climb?

did you know? Or was it something stealthy and unobserved?

crawling up your corseted will and into your slack mouth

waiting to be re-charged

finding power in the notion

nobody’s listening

 

other cars go past

some race, some idle, there are sunday drivers and seekers

church goers, drive-in’s, back-seaters

there are race-cars and old vintage trucks with their bellies full of stories

home paint jobs and clean-cut straight from the shop

the latter go to the Wash Tub nearly every week to ensure

their interiors are spotless

and you? Are your insides up to par? inspection? White glove test?

how much dust and debris have you collected and stored beneath your wings?

now coiled in retreat like parts of an engine without spark

do your chairs sag from too much sitting?

has your key grown rust and your feet lost their motion?

as you lull yourself with colors against soaping dark

go, consider, stop, go, consider, stop, go, consider, stop

you idled

engine running a purr into long painted lines

thin women without succor holding their empty bellies up against moonlight

did you consider?

this is your only time

no more is left after the bowl is licked and scraped and washed

set to dry and be re-used by someone with more gumption

in their sunday shoes

 

when did you remove the will, the effort, the urge

replacing it as you would a hub cap with something less polished

so you would not be noticed, fall in with leaves collected in plastic bags

collected at curb side

 

would you recognize

your own self ten years ago?

arms filled with bangles of silver

hair braided to kink and denote

fire in your belly, longing in your chest

here is the shimmer of the undimmed

climbing trees in their favorite

church dress getting branches in their hair

 

you and I ate cherries and plums

the sweet from the marrow of Jamaican sugar cane

baked by a fitful city left to burgeon

music from a dozen sources, the resin and hum

you hennaed my fingers and I shared my belief

this moment could be stretched to eternity

lying with my head in your patchouli lap

feeling the move and sway of need in us both

to uncover the secret

to living

 

then you were gone

I mended myself imperfectly

with mincemeat and old Christmas crackers

that had not struck their gun powder

nor cracked in explosive alchemy of two people pulling from either end

a wish bone sucked clean

what do you wish for?

I wished for a map

draw my direction in red

like the tongue of your hair caught under spotlight

I learned to drive

you learned to walk

with each determining we split, like dried corn will

after being soaked and then left to burn

 

lights blink

lost and found

a mitten on tarmac

a bag of garbage

one lens from a pair of glasses

adverb and pronoun

we each saw correction differently

you still dance

when the brass band strikes a tune

you merge into the crowd

lifting your arms above your head

my silver still slipping on your wrists

your disapproval branding

the center of my forehead

you sold out” you mouth

losing your way deliberately

you thought by cutting the string, tying it to a tree in a wood, you’d forget where you came from

all you did was create another way to suffer all your own

you were once part of a tribe

daubed in blue and saffron women of islands and sea skirmish

fearing nothing but rocks, jagged and monstrous

and even as we hesitated

we urged ourselves forward

now you sit

idling in a warm car on a tepid night with windows down

listening to a station play unfamiliar discordant tunes

and the headlights of other cars

passing you by on the outside lane

are the faces of those you gave away

when you emigrated in reduction

like the sauce of ourselves

left too long on the high flame

will burn and stick

unable to be

poured

Just like them

Apparently

there are rules

I’ve been told I can’t write about emotions

that refer to others pain or lives

in any way

because

how dare you take a person’s life and convey it

as a cheap writer of someone’s suffering

what a monster! What do you know?

I had better not post stupid photos or true thought

it’s trite & cruel like the worst of humanity

(or so they said … foaming at the mouth with vengeance in their throat )

saying certain things are off the table

without realizing

they weren’t about you / but this one is

 

sometimes I write about something that never happened

or occurred only in my mind

or felt like it did almost, not quite

or did but to someone else where-upon

I shine a light to diminish neglect

rarely is this clear, when it is

spelt out

that’s my right to speak without muzzle

it isn’t fabricated with thorns but

allegory & beseeching for a better world of kindness

instead of the easy hand of hate & scorn

but I’m tired

 

I’m really tired

of backlash against thought

of being told I’m shallow, unoriginal, borrowed or naive

that rules are preferable & if you quote

make sure it’s the Greeks or high fellow in poetic device

otherwise you’re just a stupid girl thinking you have a right

to inhabit quill

 

yeah

I’m not made of your thick hide or

snow-proof snarl

I don’t like fights, madness, melodrama

or people who thrive on cutting

into ribbons of beef jerky

I am not a bitch who gives as good as she gets

let others inherit that mantel

if indeed such a crown exists

I’d rather just close my mouth

say less

until words seem largely

irrelevant

bullies have a way of

closing down the best of us

 

silence

reigns

you almost

succeed in

quenching

the

fire

 

then from nothing comes something

fizzing in dark

starting over

a thought is bid

if you are a writer … even a terrible one

(borrow a word use one of yours thrown at me in scorn, which one? Inferior, awful, shallow, pretender, what else would you like to call?)

you can’t ever stop because someone hates you

you think you’re original in your loathing? All the world hates someone

therein LIES THE RUB

 

you have to write through fear

we would do nothing if every disapprobation stayed our desire to realize

when you run from every sleight of hand or slap you may as well stand back watching life diminish in your palm

a real strong soul will never be rewarded by universal confirmation

ugliness of former friends turning to enemy is more our modern trend

(they do it so well, those closeted thieves of light)

condemnation cusped about envy

gargoyles of indifference & spite

the sport some merrily make of others

they hunt with willing malice

(learning; you hurt, so I shall hurt you, to see which part flinched and quivers beneath my knife)

for no reason other than they are inquirers of vivisection

(when you know a person you know their weaknesses, it’s an easy back door to reach for sharpened blade)

 

so

please stay away

lose my number

do not read

pick another mark

shoot your arrows at

a mirror or reflection

that’s the guilty party

who turns full circle from victim to abuser

as paedophiles will claim

I didn’t mean to harm it was taught me

 

maybe

but choice we have

hurting those you can when smarting from pain

isolates you

in the ugliness of

becoming

just like them

 

(this is for https://boldbeatandnipless.com/ because this brave and courageous woman has been tormented by haters and it sickens me so much so I write this for her and out of my own experience of having had two haters in the last few years (fortunately they are a bad memory now) and the cry for this to stop being acceptable in our society alongside bullying and any shallow form of undermining truth and honesty)

 

The year was 2005

oooo-burnThe year was 2005

an explosion rocked

the quiet neighborhood

of my emotions

afterward, wiping debris off

seeing my reflection, a soot covered mask

I could not hear anything anymore

except the ringing of my heart

which beat far too fast

anxiety

got me

by the throat

and choked

the peace

out

like a burlap bag and lump of coal can still burn in snow

it took years to mend

like piecing a broken bowl with slim chain of gold

smoothing cracks that have become so used

to remaining fissures

and even then, a hair-line fracture exists

permitting a little light

disturbance

felt in darkness as you turn

trying to dream

when trauma

explodes bombs

in your quiet space

it’s not the sound you lose

but the belief that anything

will ever

be okay again

yet there is a lesson learned

in suffering we survive

in survival we know

next time

if there is a next time and there always is

we may lament and hurt

fall to our knees as debris rains down

but surely afterward, we will stand again

that is the enduring legacy

of survival

and even betrayal

and even death

does not contain enough

to outwit our yearning

to outfox the determining

steel hand of fate

slapping us down

we rise like Atlantic waves in August

will conjure wet inferno, juxtaposing

energies like herculean warriors

in great walls of dark water

hitting each other until there is nothing

but smooth glass remaining

and a fever tells us

it is over

for now

with wobbling legs we

survey the wreckage

of ourselves

realizing with pain comes

a long after-tow and if

you hang on long enough

the sun

breaks

through

low-lying

cloud

warming those

who believed themselves

expired

Third time lucky

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The proverb

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Was in my mind when

I chose to forgive a third time

it was easy to say “if you hurt me again”

fill in the blank

but promises only matter if the person intends

to keep them

with your borderline posed to strike

it was impossible to calculate

if I would be cast again into fire

the only chance

how I chose to see the play

sacrifice the Pawn

save the Queen

it’s not that I’m especially important

but cruelty

cruelty is perhaps the last sin

unforgiving as karma

shows you the way out

you didn’t know it was only you I forgave

the other one who scratched I cast

far into the ocean

didn’t need their infernal clamor

they, just wreckage from a bad storm

I unfortunate to pass by at the wrong time

you were different

there was always something in the depth

of your eyes and quiet strength

yes I confess

I wanted not to lose you

but I could have said the same

when my mom closed the door quietly

packed her bags and went

see, you think you have me figured

maybe you do

aside one element I keep pretty tight

I’m stronger than even I know

it’s what happens when you get used to

let-downs

when you came and went third time and said

I don’t believe in you anymore

I don’t trust you

I think you’re shit basically

in the clear light of day I could see

this wasn’t about me

this wasn’t factual

sometimes others will believe

oh you must have something to do with it

just as the shallow person who told me

you’ve got a track record of being left

tried to leave her barb

what did she with her haikus know

of patterns? she needed rules to write

I had fucking wings

now she’s just

a taste in my throat I want to spit out

I grew up then when I learned

accusations may sting

but they’re not truth and those

who are weak enough to seize upon them

are just fools

with hypocrisy in their veins instead of blood

but you were different

you were my sister of the plains

we shared French blood

I admired you

it wasn’t enough

you cannot force someone to feel

or undo the damage wrought

in their mind before you met

it’s only necessary that you know

when it’s not because of you

which can be hard if you’re prone to guilt

that’s how we grow and develop armor

perhaps we won’t even trust

the next person who comes up

palms flat

asking for succor

or perhaps we will

because to shut the door

hurts only

the one who is left standing

when you tried to blow her down

erase her

when you hated yourself so much

you had to try to destroy

the mirror image

who refused

to shatter

stubbornly she still reflects

what you hate

about yourself and

what she loves

about you

Cynthia

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Let me tell you a story …

once there was an ugly girl, by ugly I mean her soul was desolate of compassion

nobody could see her true make, because she kept her cheeks brightly daubed with grease paint

every so often she’d be provoked and the alabaster devil would crawl out

betraying her neutered joins beneath camouflage

she asked me

BITCH why are you so fucking NICE?

venom dripping from her opaque maw

she could hardly contain her tiny fanged roll of hatred

as if by being merciful I disobeyed natural laws

her hellish countenance, displeasured turn of rule

she was without color, an albino sheltering behind false eye-balls

gathering fruits of her murder, dragging the axe behind

wishing so much to rise it over head and crack my tinted neck

why for some … it is a sport to undo others?

Rorschach of destruction splattered on pavements

I shall never know

she wanted my extinction

eradicate a girl who is not like her

crying; who does she think she is?

challenging the natural order of our dirt filled minds

bent on collapsing compassion

 

why are we suspicious of those who are tender?

as if they must all contain a poisoned dart or

some ulterior motive

it is not so very strange to be considerate

 

she was the butcher’s knife in plain sight

questioning my integrity implying I had some

hidden destination

everyone would rather believe kindness an invention

cruelty the status quo

they joined in their discrimination

sending me out in the wilderness

where I watched them eat each other

the way glinting crows starved of fresh meat

will turn sharp on their neighbor

and I

have been wild ever since

Find me in cinder

777bbca7e13ef8f0b821cfb0c2ee3e63Press tighter

the ribbon too loose

the welt too shallow

press tighter

block out light

kneeling in our find

discovering strange arms

do not right the wrong

of absence

you lace your shoes all the way to the top hook

standing by the gutter watching imagination speed past

grab a cab, take a train, hail a bus

erase the deep scratch

take yourself as far as you are

find me

find me in cinder

I’m sweeping up my make-believe

ashes mark the brand with loving hand

I left myself on a train somewhere

heading past the blur

trees convening into walls and thorns

thorns

shaping my need

pricked back to defeat

raise your hands in prayer

watch them fall leaden

like pennies who deny wish to the carp who

listless grows fat on his doom

once you reach the bridge’s middle you will know

the circumference of your blank page

I am here split into footsteps

wet with their hasten

I am here giving birth to your disregard

bloodied in veined marble

it was always the fault of mine own flaw

I don’t have a skin like you do

this girl rends in spinning glass

pretending she is well enough

for this loud world

we who bruise on emotion

catch the lasting arrow

so fine they go, the ones who can

shine themselves well

boarding future with jagged step

watch them marvel at themselves

for six weeks and six years and six centuries

I buried feeling in soft velvet boxes

whispering to the fox

we who are timid

cannot stand the jolt

we who are fractured

do not wear pain for long

before relinquishing fight

deep in the rosebud

where the fold has yet to

come undone

they told her she was wasting her time

trying to be normal

give it up

you speak in imperfect step

from passive to shout and back again

you do not understand your tense or your verb

you were rejected by the snotty folk

who pinch their noses as they bustle past

in formula

and alacrity

bet you know all your grammatical rules like

a foreign language whilst

I paint in saline and muzzled howl

save this last lesson

when you shout

ensure the fields are on fire

and the birds indigo sky in their fright

you will never know what it is like to be

savaged in kind

is that the sound of my neck breaking?

over the ache?

reaching one last time

growing old in perpetuity like

light staying too long in the same place

turns listless and if you listen carefully

with young ears you can

hear the rustle of her gown

bitter with the after glow of grind

I know I’m wasting everything

except this last buried purse

of everything

if I let go now

the seeds will spill

out of me

and grow taller

than I ever

even on tiptoe

could be