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

Strike me out

cd1818a8dcd999d8c2ed6e6c7cabd01bStrike a match in the dark

hear sulphur guiding your eye to flame

illumination takes many forms

one is that of retrospect

do not repeat do not repeat

the error of your heart

I saw your blisters I saw your callouses

I saw myself underneath the train

as it bit into who I was before I began

following empty tracks

it was always going to happen

I wrote the play before the players were born

they inherit their roles as if I were

the man in the sky and they my pawn

but it was not so

I was only a woman lost in herself

and you were just people who couldn’t see

far ahead

I watched you before you knew

the steps you would take

leading to my end

how you were born to strike me out

leaving nothing but the smell of

something cold

you can become strangers with the

closest person in the world

watching them as they step into their part

you always knew they’d take that route

perhaps you paved the way

perhaps you died before you could taste

the ash of their betrayal

Within the woods

thYou lost your grip on reality around the same time

my own dalliance with death disturbed the rafters

my shoulders of a man, yours of a sparrow

we danced around amber whiskey bottles

setting fire to tarmac

lifting our skirts before silver ash enveloped us

but maybe I didn’t clean my feet well enough

you began to tremble in the morning

and I found I could not move

it was as if a deer had been startled

standing quite still in dried grass

he was frozen in situ

for a time I wanted to break out

resume merriment and three penny carnival

until the feeling of falling inside

behind the bones of your face

where all emotion blanches and traces

secrets and lies

became my norm

I did not know anymore

how to stir cocktails of polite acquaintance

or make small talk trace like sleepy snails

I did not know anymore

what became of my social graces

pinned and folded beneath me like taffeta

it gave me comfort to

lose my art of conversation

the yawning maw of fraternization

I listened to words and they did not

beckon me come closer

I felt as strange as the outdoor moth

who half wishes he did not

slap against warm glass trying to

eat the light

for it is not you he seeks

but the burn and blitz of some fantastic

singeing his wings in tattoo

and I too

had always yearned for that feeling

never discovered among the feeding troughs

of social intercourse

and once or twice I left

a full and heaving party

to lift my legs for a stranger in

cramped confine

because the hard bang and knock of his

emptying wood was

more honest than all the winks and nods

whispering behind my back

words

I no longer needed to use

only three ever necessary

I love you

though now you are smudged out

by burn of cinders staining toes

gone as cold as foggy morning

selecting mute I retraced my arc

pushed myself back beneath my bones

within the temple

within the woods

where the deer finally moved

from her camouflage and

sprinted light as powder

into converging dark

There you are

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about one hundred years ago

or three years

or just yesterday

I lay in your bed

smelling the indent and the roll

of your dream life when I am not

trying to look through your eyes

into your soul

About one hundred years ago

or three years

or just yesterday

I stood over your bed

stripping the sheets

smelling where you lived and breathed

all those nights and days

we should have been making memories

now folded away

About one hundred years ago

or three years

or just yesterday

I smoothed the mattress clear

of the weight you inhabited and

little traces curled here and there

persisting to remind me

of the way the moon lit

your sleeping face

now you will always have your eyes closed

maybe now you can see

the shapes of angels

watching over you until

it is my turn and I come to find

if you have been waiting all this time

a year, a month, a day

one hour is too long

without looking into your eyes

to see what I love reflecting back

like dark diamonds capturing stars

will wink out

and there you are