1995 was

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long sweaters, color of grey clouds

wet wool beneath leggings and Docs

the way rain stayed in your hair and rinsed it of color

how you kept every love letter ever written

by all the little freckled girls who chased your dragon

we lay in your narrow bed

too small but small was what we were

breaking every splinter

in our roar and our mocking

you implanted a life

the telephone gave the news

my grandmother had given up pretending

perhaps the devil helped her

take that final breath

I couldn’t get a train

the rain the rain

you felt the despair of a boy who liked

the fur of drama

not the feel of fatherhood

her funeral was for two

the woman who had held me and said

what a pretty baby

when the rest backed away

like spectators unwilling to touch

and then there was the fetus

dry like a winter flower

red like a sore lover’s thighs

white like virgin snow covering

a crime

and the smell of damp

invading every corner of your room

ransacking hope

leaving in its wake

Smashing Pumpkins on low

sheets frayed and stained with youth

I did not return

you did not ask

it was accepted like an envelope is sealed

and black birds begin their fight

long after night has cast

her dark

Your misuse

hijacked amygdala

They can tell you

Because you’re not going to back down

You won’t sell your sisters for a side ways glance

You won’t burn your bra, you may need it to strangle someone

You have the same look

All of you

The ones with green hair and multiple piercings who say fuck off before you smile

The ones who rule the world behind the scenes and nod as their husbands slip inside

The ones who are glory and begotten and forgotten and eclipsed and insist

They still live

You can tell

Even as they spell it out in myriad ways

I am not your slave

You do not own me

But once I was hurt very badly

By my father, mother, brother, sister, best friend, neighbor, uncle, stranger

And I carry the brand around my throat

Once in a while when I lean over

You can see it quickening

I…

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Through the looking glass

mirror-twins-with-mirror-56a689b15f9b58b7d0e36f0dThrough the rain, the sound of ending

Despite this, I am closer now, to remembering

Every sharpened affection, how it took every bit

Left nothing in its place

I am closer through the looking glass

Sounds of a hundred regrets

Of each time and then

Of you taking me by the neck

Laying down in our abyss

This

I am still closer now to this

Though it has been figurative years

Lifetimes and burials

Lost in the neglect that comes

When you have always seen in the other’s eyes

Such a deep thing of enduring

As if it were swept out by a big brush now it is gone

It was a error to believe that look was love

Wanting to fit a jigsaw piece but you did not

Once they knew that, the need for you

Snuffed out

And the ship carrying your heart

Saw no lighthouse and floundered on rocks

And you with less than you ever had

Sunk like a exhaled regret

Like an exile without tether

Down into the drowning of your grief

As thick and peerless as anybody could be

Without air and succor

No hand reaching through water

No one there, perhaps they never were

Now it is definite, it is legal, it is provable

Gone, as if not once was any of it true

And the lies you told yourself

And the hope you carried

Sinks with you

Where you have no more words

Where nothing is nothing

Without that sustaining strength

And the rain is inside you, not exterior

You are the girl crying in public places

You are the woman watching emptiness drive away

You are years down the road alone

You are forgotten and yes .. you wanted something whole

It broke into pieces too smashed to remold

So long ago you don’t know where you put the parts

Perhaps they stab you now like thorns in weeping dark

But you’ll never trust again, not one word, not one action

You’ve walled yourself off, in an ocean of your own

Set on repeat to drown, every time you wake up

Every morning it comes around

The pain

Excruciating and long

Eternity and punishment

For ever believing

For ever letting yourself believe

What they felt was the same

Because it wasn’t, it couldn’t have been

They still inhabit the land of the living

And really you should have known that

A very very long time ago

When you were both younger and smooth of melancholy

A sense the promise was too sweetly said

Fast in utterance, not enough breadth

Like puffing up your cheeks and letting go your breath

Is no more than rushing air, warm from your mouth

And your eyes, I should have examined closer

They did not blink and I thought this meant truth

When a lie can wear

The very same outfit

Warning

What if my mother

Who was gone

Did not warn me about you

And so

In the glib night

As I stood wanting to be plucked

From a latch key evening

The cluck and cacophony of

People filled with water

You circled my arm with a snare

With decision and madness there

Made a drink of me

Threw it down your chain-smoking throat

Carrying me on your back like a crab

We waded shorelines

Rinsing the regret for not being as others appear

Bone straight and glistening in their eagerness

We’d been born jaded and recognized

In the other that temporality

A godless place of zero and

Dirty much used sheets

Absorbing the stink of best intention

It was your howl in my womb and my opening ever trusting

Nothing can be as it says or is

There’s only this

The you of a rough hand holding me down

A choking, painful exorcism

In my nil

The bones just beneath skin

And you letting yourself in

After hours

A weight of assumption

More honest for its lack of anything

You do not attempt to please

Or deceive

For ours is not a caring place

Only savagery and hurt exist to sate

The otherwise empty arms of loving

Transplant

Your hands seemed always too small

To crush between them

Like indigo dust

The entirety of my heart

Turned to chalk

Yet so you did

A hundred times in preparation

Causing a dysrythmia of fits and starts

As a bullet will pierce and find its worst punctuation

I felt your hands

Reaching inside me and clasping my beating muscle with eagerness

Turn to calcified rock, that which adored you

Just as once you swam within my cove

A lone mermaid, protected by gentle shore and salinity of my devotion

It took too long to become aware

Of that ache and trespass

The stranger in your eyes hurling goodness out the door

An unmade resonance of your own heart

Beating further and further

Away from me like castaway beacon

For something precious, we hardly wish to give up upon

We make excuses for the continued lack

The savage dearticulate rending of gentle emotion

As this grave beseachment, that you stay with me here in this place we created

When you felt the same and held me tighter than hands borne in storm

Will cling to wreckage

I

Never let you go

I

Held on by stitching myself to you

Skin pulling against skin

Submerged and blind I feel for your shape

So dear to me and known over all the world

You who has shucked your hide and flown

As molting cicada will leave behind

Crusty exterior without whole

I was fooled by the echoes of love

And your words you gave, without conviction

I saw in your eyes the truth burning

Indifferent to me and my existence

I was no more to you than

A knot to be undone and placated

I do not know why

You could have brought the knife out and sunk it to the hilt and twisted until

That cry escaped me

as you longing to … will fight the urge to disclose

Your transplant

Why stay and pretend?

Your hands not touching me, hold by your side like wooden plough

Eying furtile crescent of low sheering moon

I am not an earth capable of disgorging life

My land is barren without your kindness

The sun turns me to whitened parchment

I write with scarlet fingers

Of your abandoned nourishment

The ebb and flow before all fluid is lost

No more the cascading ocean

Cresting high with furious need

To hold me once more, horses of foam arching overhead

I ran to the shoreline and saw your sail

Catching first gust and with all mighty exhale

Smile toward the sun, the relief of the free

Unchained from us, I hadn’t known or perhaps refused to own

How you sought your release

Shining like a newly forged key on the operating room of my transplant

No more beating heart

No more the sound of you, rushing in my blood

We amputate pain if we are strong

But I am no warrior

It is the mark of how deeply I felt

I wear my scar

A red ribbon down the middle of my chest

Where you reached, where you existed

Where you left

Maternal instinct

Symphony

I am a mother

Though you are dead

I pretend otherwise

You feel me in that place that you are

And I sense you

In the small hands of my neighbor’s boy

In my urge to protect and let

Not one moment of harm befall

As if it were you, the ache inside

Sat next to me eating brunch

The waitress charmed by your precociousness

You don’t remind me a bit of myself

Just as my mother thought me a changeling

Who was the fair child she birthed? She wondered

Closing the door and walking into another universe

Away from the scold of maternity

It suited her to wear boob tubes and dance at 3am

Not wipe snot and vomit from the car seat.

OOO

And I see nothing of me in you

You eclipse a generation

Returning to be her and a little of your father

He had eyes that swallowed me whole

When I moved in his arms and invariably

He took and took and took

He also gave a little something of himself

Unwillingly in that hour before savagery

Even sadists have their moments of foreplay

It’s how they build to a crescendo

It’s how we fall for their slick words and

Hard falls

He filled me with you and underneath the green dress

I could see you swell and rise on the tide of my brine

Before the stairs before the marble

Cool on my burst cheek and the pattern of scarlet

He led me in oxblood to that single moment

We could have all ended there

With the moon ripe and redolent behind us

The smell of candle wax heavy on our hems.

OOO

There is no way to undo the circles

Looping through memory like planets fractured against starlight

There is only the clenched fist and a jump

Free wheeling in air, suspended

He watches with apocalypse eyes as I give birth

To the emptiness afterwards

Because his vision is winking out

Through time as we catapult and swing low

He tells me; you haven’t changed, your skin is still firm

And I splinter there in this path of thorns

The beating is joining bruises like daisy chains

You gave me life and then, bending close

Took it away with a snap of your callused fingers

We lie beneath the elm tree with our name carved

And you drink from my breast a milk of sorrow

I wanted you all to myself is your buttoned apology

It does not last .. it comes with the sharp pull on all fours

More hurt than can be described by sign and movement

Bearing a child and starting over bloodless

In one shattered moment

Leaning towards stairwell

Seeing you waiting

Below

Beckoning me

To fall

Afterbirth

Ecstasy denied

tumblr_llxw06ogqm1qzn4kzo1_1280Here’s a moment of a girls’ life

it flickers, it flickers like a skirt, caught on a black railing, rented, torn, pried apart, and released, to flap, uselessly and without form

she’s lost her purse, her lipsticks rolled behind the bus and she didn’t put on her hose just right

the seams you see, they’re supposed to line up at the back where her heel hits the smooth patent of her shoe like how the girls in WW2 did it except they used eye-brown pencils because silk was needed for parachutes, oh and who can afford the cost of the worm?

that’s the way it should have turned out, fixing her seams, walking in with a kick and a smile, wooing her audience, beguile them, beguile them and they shall fall helplessly

exercise in futility, that’s not her, she doesn’t do performance art, that’s the image of her projected by those who believe, with her lips, and her green eyes, she’s kryptonite, such a bad bet, she’s a lame horse who prefers the stable, all those shrines to her potential, before she drank too much anxious about oh, more or less, everything in the world

and drinking they say, even in France now, is not du rigor but ruled out, if you wish to avoid your one out of eight women gets breast cancer statistic, what the hell? How to survive without sipping it down? Letting fermentation do its ritual on her guts, lifting her back into the gilded frame

she wished she were a boy, boys can still drink, boys don’t wear hose, they don’t have to worry as much if their armpits stink and they won’t have another boy tell them that their breasts sag when they rise up and clasp the void

if she were a boy she’d want to be a pretty boy the kind that other boys would probably hit on, with a large top lip and gleaming hair, because pretty gets you candy and she has a sweet tooth

if she were a pretty boy she’d try out fucking a girl just to know what it felt like

to be a version of herself with other body parts

would the girl look at her with frightened eyes, hooded and suspicious like a Russian doll, daub her sides with ancient gild, would she open her legs only because she wanted what you held back, in your frayed pocket, tightly wrapped, here it is, take a mouthful, bitter taste, will we live longer in our knowledge? The apple glows in the darkness from its position alone hanging from the lower branch of knowledge.

when she wakes up in the night and holds her singed hair back, hugging porcelain throne vomiting what she’s learned time and time again just doesn’t stay down

couldn’t she purchase another way of coping?

apparently pills have their own set of demons

she learns the art of the mask and strips for the doctor who takes his swab. It’s a painless test he lies, grimacing as he breaks her bones and pries denial apart, you won’t feel a thing

and then everything turned blue and the water didn’t stop running down the sink in the wrong direction and the clocks lost their hands and rolled into glue sticking to the inside of her emptiness, where no life was, sharing its wasteland

on E she danced until the fat at the top of her clavicle, that little jiggle you get when you drink lots of milk as a child and push your little breasts together, grew and people said well … don’t you have a fine pair on you?

not really she’d think if you could see how long it takes to get this look, all the tape in the world, and they’re still not really sticking

a bit like her, unhinged at one corner, asking; peal me back see what’s underneath

her own preference was for girls with skinny chests and protruding nipples she felt they were saying fuck you to every kind of lame expectation, their knife-like hip-bones, shaving her under the sheets like the incisors on wolves, the anger glowing in their eye, a Cheshire cat with blade

but she was too soft for that hard look and wore instead the conicular implements of torture Madonna had cast off

looking back it was fucking embarrassing

when did she learn authenticity? On the way home from the hospital when it rained and the dried blood on her legs, wound down her legs like a cat’s tail and smeared the grass beneath? she saw only mouths open, trying to speak, what do they want to say?

authenticity died between her legs and grew cold in formaldehyde and the rubbing of fingers itching for a cigarette

walking the streets homeless, holing up in an office during night hours, smelling the feet of those who worked there during the day kicking their shoes off

stains on the office sofa that never came off

when he would deliver her bag of drugs and she paid him with herself because she had nothing else

how much would that equate per kilo?

quite a good bargain all things considered, it was like he said, she made him act that way by the tilt of her head

I’m only tilting my neck to get a better view of the strippers on Wardour street she’d say standing at the window, neon blinking in and out, in and out, little panties not yet showing their wear and tear, don’t worry they soon will undo their pretty dark pink bows

he told her you have the smallest waist you look like a french dancer in a Toulouse Lautrec painting

I am a french dancer she would reply and smoke a Sobranie to the gold rim to make the point

gimme a break, you don’t even like Ricard Pastis and those cigarettes are Russian

you’ve got a point there, Pernod is vile, mix me something chopped up, cut it fine, I want to hear music, open your eyes, open your fucking eyes so I can hear

I like the taste of aniseed

I hate it, it reminds me of my grandfather’s fingers and that imported saddle soap he used, when I looked into his throat he had coals burning there, they could extinguish your heart just by breathing on you

change the record / or you’ll kill the mood

he was always in the mood, even when he hated her he wanted to ransack her empty space

lucky she licked the bag clean or her price would be too high, nothing is too much for a fistful of dynamite

I wish I could live inside you, he would whisper, eyes already rolling like a horse about to be led to slaughter, to the exit sign

christ I can’t think of anything worse, she’d reply into the pillow, limbs trembling, her neck aching with his pummel

how long can it go on? can you make yourself wet when you’re faking? Or do you have to run to the bathroom and stick your fingers down your throat? Fake sudden illness to avoid an overdose of you

back in the days when her bladder was strong she could take a pounding and not need to pee afterward, they used to say, you can eat motherfucking hot curry, be given one like a sailor and still walk straight

how many sailors were bent over themselves and filled with whiskey and crab claws she wondered

but you stand up too long, with eyes on your back unpicking your defenses it gets harder

how many times can you shout, oh yeah baby just like that, just like that, you’re the best

he is hard he is inside her he feels like metal she feels like clover and the bees the bees swarm around her obscuring her open mouth the color of raspberries

that’s why she never cuts her hair you can hide so far inside if you carve out a tree and wait patiently for the thorns to do their climb

the wood cuttings of her twins mocking her sins, cooing; what a dirty little girl, you turned out well darlin

I want my moneys worth, he would say half in jest, nostrils crusted with crystal, beckoning her with dirty fingers

take the blue pill, take any pill, watch yourself swallow, there you go, to bed now child, tomorrow will be another show starting at six pm promptly and ending, never

she’d pretend she was sea anemone, anyone else, the girl outside in Soho gyrating to some euro pop song her long fake nails glittering against piercings speaking rapid Lithuanian into a pink phone

her nipples hurt where he burned them with his need to leave a mark, a tattoo artist without his equipment he improvised his layers of penetration

give me something to remember bitch or I’ll make it hurt more

she thud lifelessly above him like an unmoared boat seeking harbor, half-conscious with sorrow, afterward she lay closed off and drugged, as peaceful as an envelope that has been licked shut

and never, ever, ever did she learn to undo, the need to exclude herself from the world

so where’s her next fix? how does she stop wanting it to fill her veins with code

listening to the grind of the world outside, a room with a view boarded over and willingly comatose, two words inscribed on her tomb, ecstasy denied