Back to life

What is this place that one returns to?

for some, possible, easy even

to put aside a person, shelve them with other memories

like a box of postcards growing yellow

whilst I was always the girl who climbing on top of boxes

found the postcards and brought them down

splayed like restless tarot on my lap

try to fathom, walk back into time

absent people, love letters sent to

girlfriends now married, unrecognizable

childish handwriting, burst of emotion scored in yesterday’s colors

I have always liked stories and wanted

to read the secret histories of those

who would not share them with me

so your letters I had to put

in a green river one by one

for fear if they were not wet and destroyed

I’d read over and over til you came back to life

finding myself

running lonely highway to your home

knocking on your still familiar door expecting to see

your living breathing face, cheeks infused with color

smiling in that way only you did

when I stood before you.

When someone has died

they steal air from the room

leaving behind closed windows

rattling against wind and chill

you have to go in with heavy shoes

make noise, shake cold from your bones

open them wide until pure sunlight

blinds primal darkness

I recall

how your hair looked when

sun stroked it in streams of light

how unbroken perfection of your skin

resembled fruit, summer time and children

lolling about in gardens upsidedown, tongue out

though you were older, I always felt

protective in that way I imagine a parent may

reaching for their child, smelling joy and motion

of their life laid out ahead in patient sillouette

I have always been remote and stood away

from frilled crowd with hidden daggers

content to observe and only participate

in flung arms of dancing and those raw easy things

not requiring sustained inspection

it takes a lot for me to wish

to share myself with another

to open up those parts of me, I struggle to reconcile.

unceasing criticism can close off even the thirsty traveler desperate

to sit by warming fire and stoke shadows to divination.

With you, we were two unsupervised kids

sitting on the dusty floor of my attic

opening boxes of memories with fearless hands

we talked without fear, then as

day began to show her pink slip in sky

I’d take your slim arm and lead you

into my bed where

light enveloped our heads like halos and we tasted the rapture of undisturbed acceptance

see in the eyes of one born of me

part of you

our mingled DNA taking lilac wing

in the electricity of love making

I could smell you on me afterward

and loathe to bathe

stayed writing by the window

watching you cycle away

the strong muscles in your skinny legs peddling like

knock-kneed urchin

turning the corner

always leaving

the circumfrance of you behind

radiating on the road

like a mirage

and in my hair and on my body

a ghost or whisper of

someone absent and close

if I could have kept you safe

or stopped time

but the heart is a closing flower

once damaged she ushers her dancers

fold into velvet, trap the dream

we were strangers, then siblings

of sorrow and laughter

like night and day play

on the fringe of their fading

your dusky skin against my pale

never enough time

to say what I wanted to say

in language untranslatable

to mortal minds

we existed as pollen

carried on high wind will

strike new life into that which sleeps

drousy and given over to liquid day

and I have never returned to that place

without a throat full of pain

wanting to call your name

hear your return

the indent of your existence

anything but

silence

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No words

For all our words

We say nothing

In the blue of dusk

My hair catching light

In combed moments

A rise and fall

The thimble of surround heartbeat

Toes pointing

Dancing in stillness

Somewhere there is music

Like cream

Slowly spreading

On cold tile

While those of the house

Lift their skirts

Climb on mattresses
Held aloft

Sinking into softness

Arms over arms

Swaying

Closed eyes

Brief dizziness

The nip of proximity

Your mouth on mine

Furthering

No words

The terror & beauty

145675384-640x640When you’re a writer people tend to think

you’re writing about them

that’s if they are arrogant or believe you must feel that way 

so often I am not writing about the person who believes I am

so often I want to write that as a preface before the poem

this is not about you / that ship sailed / that ship never was

securely moored or even existed

sometimes

or should I say, just once

it was about you

I did want you to know

just as I couldn’t bring myself to say it face to face

or sound the words out loud for fear

what is spoken is then real

I didn’t think of myself as a coward, where emotions were concerned

yet found myself floundering and blushing in your presence

like a school child again

perhaps it is because from the outset, you were impossible

as if I had stuffed all my wishes into a jar and set it to sea

and you had returned in the jar, stepping out and holding out your hand

I didn’t know if you liked women, if you liked me and my kind

there’s a die-hard rule among girls who like girls

don’t date bi-curious, don’t let yourself get broken

don’t show your cards until it’s patently obvious

but you’re not an obvious kind of person and you weren’t going

to show me anything until I took the plunge

you said i’d get bored but it’s the other way around

you stay like migrating butterflies, only a short time

before going on with your pilgrimage

and those who want more of you

watch the skies with only memories

I admit I am a simple woman emotionally, who has

a heart easily penetrated by the feeling of loss

but it is time for us both to change

you to trust, me to let go and not need

forever as a promise

it was your mystery from the outset

the little shape of you and your deep voice

wound me up into knots,  got me crazy

a tiny dancer on the fringe of my consciousness

I held back because it terrified me

those kinds of feelings don’t come around often

I keep myself in check and don’t pursue

I wait for them to come to me, it’s safer

but you wouldn’t do that, it’s not your style, I found myself

walking in your direction, wobbly on my feet

from the taste of nerves

for girls like you don’t exist

they are carved out of yearning

I made you with my thoughts

for if I could have said everything I searched for

and put it into a woman

she would have been you

except surely I was imagining it

when I saw you look at me in a way

usually meant for other times

surely what I felt, was not reciprocated

for emotions aren’t psychic are they?

could you hear what I felt, as clearly as if I had

spoken it aloud? Could you tell by the burning

in my eyes, the wetness of my mouth?

As I lay in bed at night I would try to unpick

the moves we made around each other

trying to guage what was real and imaginary

how could I reveal my heart if there was a chance

you’d repulse me and i’d be wrong?

i’ve never been the kind of woman to put myself out there

take those kinds of chances

it’s not a lack of courage

I’m simply not going to walk into rejection

if you know its taste you don’t go searching

but as with all emotions, they either die from neglect

or swell in intensity

I could not sleep, I lost my appetite

searching for you in the folds of day

until it was impossible not to say

even if you turned and laughed

patted me on the cheek and said

I feel sorry for you

but we who have lived in this world a while

can hear beneath the arch and curl

if we really listen

those hidden things people do not tell

and I thought I saw

in the corners of your motion

something stir

so if you read this; yes it is about you

and if you wonder; yes I do

and if you call for me; I will come

to the summit where people who are strangers and known

stand and expose themselves to

the terror and beauty of

their desire

Forget

dancing-in-the-rain

Water

Tears

Blurred screens

Disconnected numbers

I lost my memory in a dish I left outside

the rain filled it up and soon thoughts

sodden and wrinkled

were illegible

It was you

you were the one dancing in the rain

you were the one who sheltered me from the storm

with your skinny arms and your little heart

It was I

who burrowed inside your cave and found

the fiery part and claimed it, kept it burning

long after the rain stopped

we lay in velvet darkness

your hand resting against my cheek

in the way only unraveled people sleep

I heard your dreams

you felt my body move

curl about you like

an extension of your desire

we contained the sum

of us

in a little boat

kept aloft by hope

when you said hope died

the flame behind your eyes

the one looking at me with such tenderness

blew out

behind in its place

soot and smoke gathered

like regretful children with dirty hands

smudging their best pictures

late summer rain drowned out

the sound of me calling

you would have heard but you had

long stopped listening

it poured, soon streets were awash

a symbol, a crucifixion, something terribly broken

something crushed underfoot, losing form

you bent to pick up the pieces of my heart

but could not read the words

for you had also lost your past and our history

I no more featured than the last time it rained

long long ago

when the trees were still thin and straight

not bent and crooked offering up their rotten roots

then you were a woman who loved someone else

I was a piece of paper

too wet to decipher

had you wanted to

and you did not

you did not

Splinter

8.Boubat.-Portugal_-1956There is a thin slice of glass in my foot

I cannot see it

but I know it’s there

at night when

the fan whirls like a dervish overhead

and I play the xylophone between my legs

a storm blows in

like a warning and a representation

of everything felt and bottled up

old trees hold on, their roots tested

by the metal of young wind hurling

all order into chaos

we stand in our night-clothes

looking over fences

at destruction

she has a white line the length of her stomach

he has a scar hidden in his throat

mine is without and within like

a snake who cannot decide

which part to digest first

we three are the wounded lovers

with our perpetual thirst for

promises to ring true

devotion to stay where it was first placed

by the window in a jar of water

to bloom and scent the pulse of night

but such things rarely obey

wont of humans without power

the storm and her threading fingers

lays waste to our belief we control

even the tiniest morsel of this crochet world

…(l)…

when he married her

he thought she would obey

the tick tock of her laboring heart

stay steadfast by his side in the howling wind

but she was a maelstrom of her own

making

soon the wedge in their marital bed

was a dry river without resurrection

…(ll)…

she wanted

her husband to save her

when the doctor said C.A.N.C.E.R. and she turned

to the eyes of her children and they

looked away in painted terror

but he only knew how to put out fires

not the slow melt of all safe things she had

taken for granted 33 years

so they diverged

like a split oak touched by

lightning will remain

upright yet stranger to its mate

…(lll)…

and she was the string

between the wounded male and female

her own heart hollowed out

murmuring at night like a singleton

by the small hands of trust and promises

unkept

it was as her grandmother said

a poor thing to imagine humans

to remain steadfast

after all, the storm blew everything

even our very best intentions

whipping them into the air

until they were fragments of themselves

transformed what we knew

what we were familiar with

lending no safe harbor

for the weakened need to have surety

the only thing keeping them

upright

was their conjoined pain

a frayed ribbon between three houses

in the wildfire dead of night

where even

creatures who prefer darkness

stayed in their nests

for it was only then, in the tempest

they felt themselves capable

of surviving another moment

only then

shouting their grief into four pursing winds

writing pain along the narrow margins

of life and death

they lived another day

and on that day

wrecked and emptied

found succor in the equal fall of others

bending to pick up the debris of

their former selves

rent into splintered pieces

unrecognizable and sharp to the touch

The possibility & the defeat

When we were nothing more than a line on a page

the author daydreaming of what it would feel like to meet

the other part of herself

the pencil half tracing an arc and then dropping off in thought

for she did not believe it possible, for she had stayed inside her box

such a long time it had become second-nature to assume

there was nothing more, and if perchance, it was only illusion

when we hadn’t grown flesh and hands and eyes and mouths

licking and touching and fitful for all of its circumference

and mad for it, with the supple sway of lovers

bending to each other’s lightest trace

when we were two people walking in opposite

unawares of the fall of love, or how it can plunge so deeply

the violence of a hearts commitment

then, you had a cocksure approach

keeping yourself remote, never getting close

and I was like a cake without frosting

not knowing how it would be to grab and eat a mouthful

for someone to climb inside and inhabit me

I was undamaged or at least less scored

by your whetted knife of emotion and longing

and you were safe in that way all who refuse to play

remain aloof and jaded against

what they have never allowed entry

it was perhaps the greatest pain to open ourselves

to the possibility and the defeat

for in feeling everything there is sometimes only

that high rising gloat toward the eclipse

then the rest of time spent recalling

as a drug fix, the chambered splendor of fantasy

you leave me void and furied with untamed

need to bring you to my mouth, my flowering chest

I’d sooner bury this confession than discover in another’s arms

the blank expression of indifference

when we lurch on sea-sick ship, sailing apart

the cruelty of love

or something approximate

is a shrill bird call over the top of trees

warning all those who dare discover

the taste of things unrecoverable

as these marks on my skin will

stay as symbols

of what we were and

endeavoured by that stark hour

to preserve for another season

when the flowers fall from the trees

and the birds, tired of cold nights

fly south in blue lines

Intoxicate

I fell hard with relief

for being desired after so long, felt like finding water in a desert

I lost my sense

Captured in your confident swagger

The Butch pretension, drove me to my knees

The strength of your arms and thighs

How you led and pulled my chair, touching me briefly with possession

Beneath you, listening to little cries as you feel your way

Tell me is it wrong to want, the security or promise?

From years of being a shadow I was intoxicate by your

Certain stroke

As if you knew me as an instrument of your creating

Pressed beneath you, struck by lightning

A woman is never more beautiful than when she is strong and knows what she wants

You wanted me and I longed for your deep kiss awakening me from obscurity

It is a form of madness and when removed the wound is long to heal

Nothing that comes to pass changes the stamp on my soul

Some emotions are as real

As the hand you feel

Clutching your heart