Nightshade

Oh mama

There are days

I am bent double

The stuffing of me kicked quite free

One side is fear that feels like unyielding felt, thick in my dry, slack mouth

Making me the puppet I never was, when good and whole

So is sickness for the soul

A sour well with brackish water and no yield

I long to be your child and retrace in time to your arms

Fantasies that never were, become, our lullaby

A palpable longing for comfort

Nourishment

To be saved against invisible foe

No

I did not invite you, fever dream

No

I did not beckon you visit me and stay, pinning my anxiety as colinder

Cast as we are, sluggish on fortunes wheel

Like chance, we ebb and flow

Moths without hardy wings

I desired wellness 

and while the summer river ran 

I believed it would never turn

Against me in undertow

Disease is a glutted wretch

A terrible betrayal

A war

You stand in rags fighting until your last

We all do 

But when the bees come and honey is glitter in the trees 

We forget our fear of unseen things

Believe ourselves immortal or at least

The sleek otter who can hold his breath

Longer than sense and her confine

For such a time I rested

Against this calm

Taking for granted what I did not own

And as winter will

Reveal herself bare and merciless

Soon those hours of peace lay behind me

Damp with regret and burned yet

To leave plumes of green smoke

Evoking Gods 

Who may be senseless to our call

For the comfort of our childhood

Curled inside a place

As yet unborn

Do not

Let me stay in this cold fear

Or stand alone 

With its frozen clasp about my heart

Squeezing hope til nothing pumps

But the ice of terror 

I am 

Just born

To this strange chill

The waking before dawn of prescient worry

Will I be well? Will I ever be without pain?

Oh mercy and her ink, clouding fortelling

The whine of our need to know, what Fates only jest

My gut is silent and 

Nothing but the fast snare of my pulse

Can be heard over lamment

I am

A statue of fear

Thinking back

To the Happy Prince

He felt pain

Of others

Taking the jewels that were his eyes

Sacrifice I do not have

A lesson

To think and care as we suffer

Of others and their

Equal walk 

In nightshade

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You got out

(Part of a new series of poems about people whom I have met, who profoundly moved me).

They said

no it’s not a person, it’s a trash bag, or wad of clothing

as I turned the car around

knowing it was a girl, curled into herself

it was for her, the end of a long night

for me, an early morning drive

into rising sun

indigo girl

her limbs thin enough, to resemble twigs

hair colored black, face still-water of a child

she waved us off

no, no, no, I’m fine here

in the fetal position, on the cement

lying by the side of road exhaust

as predator number 10, idles his car and asks

do you want me to take you home

baby?

I press myself to the window glass

no, don’t get in the car!

he looks angry when she says

I’m just taking a nap, goodnight

his lust drives off, leaving fuel staining like road kill

I wonder

what he would have done if

all 90 pounds of her, in tiny shorts and torn top

had accepted his bearly, concealed hunger

how many predators comb

early morning side walks, hoping

to pick up lost girls?

she’s got sense and she also, doesn’t know

but I do

I was her once

crawling out of an abandoned warehouse

knife wounds, waltzing on my throat

cold semen in my belly

clawmarks designating, my survival

bearly

the car that stopped then

a light in darkness

they took me away, from near death

when so easily

I could have been picked up, a second time

a third,

by hands with bad intention

when you are fallen

people often crowd in, to help you

fall again

like wolves who smell

the coming of blood and

vulnerabilities, we think we hide

I told her

don’t get into a car with a lone man, or group of men

they may not show their fangs but

you are a little piece of goodness

sometimes people who prowl, want to hurt

that shining within you

we drove

she was looking out the window

with her unslept eyes and the residue of last night

still high on her pain

and for the first time in my life

I no longer felt a victim

but one of the imaginary horses, I used to ride

speeding away from slick, sales-man, cough

of curb-side prowler

I wanted to make her better

but sometimes you can only

patch and release

to maybe nothing safer than hope

with a few words

wishing, that when she’s sober

waking without assault

she remembers

you were her once

and you got out

 

Of needing

When the capture

is weakened

when neglect owns

no name

but like paint

faded by days 

needful of coat

then you listen closer

not to temptation 

and her guest

but the soft rummage 

of needing

notice my new dress

or the turn of my hands

as I clean and wash and pour

these invisible chores

chalked over by repetition

the line between your eyes

a quickened thunder

didn’t you buy more nutella?

this is not ironed through 

holding an outline of wrinkle 

oh so true

when love is new 

we inhabit scarcely

that fantastic vaunt 

slowly to fall

in little unmendable ways

like gathering wool

rubbed by barb

a trick of light

words shared like jewels in dark

oh the power you manifest

in one observation

worth all a stranger distorted

for it is not in the arms of replacement succor is found

but the sure tred through years holding our hems above us

strung in purposed knots, hand over hand, over hand

rubbed against stone til transparent

*I wrote this after hearing a few sad stories of people in unhappy relationships, and my wondering why they were unhappy together and why they couldn’t last and be happy together and how sad a world filled with people who no longer want to be together anymore is. I may be a dreamer but I’m not the only one who believes we hold the answer.*

Fond of ghosts

screen-shot-2017-04-28-at-11-05-30-amToday

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