The light beneath the door

Remember when they used to bug your phone

The sound of rolling open polymer handpiece

Secrets folded in purring circle

Click, click, can aches be fixed?

What if you died

And left me a note

What would it say?

Who stands as muse

Now life has fled, her stockings shred

And bottles are emptied without drinking

I think the blood of us is watching

The shard of darkness cutting swaths of fracture across your face

Full days don’t exist

Come back here

To the light beneath the door

What does it do to beckon from shadow

If you paint from a photo, you capture no movement

Just faces in gouache

Stainless steel and fascimile reflection

A few minutes fooling ourselves

Nothing was sacred
Not even one thing?

If the lie was eaten

Did it vanquish all the time I spent, believing it

Was I the lie?

Inhabiting falsehood and words that curled like suppliant flesh

Weren’t you there with the needle?

Obsession

The other players were faking

Plunge the sharp, feel holy numbness

I’d follow you into the hollowed mountain of your madness and my error

For of emptied places only, you reign

Heartless and ready to start over new

As if nobody had existed and nothing was sacrificed

Memory in hose and mask plays her tricks

Writes a new damask script

And obedient

You condemn

Throw me tender under bus

With falsehoods and generalization

It feels like it did the first time

That’s when I knew

And still

I let you in, to scouge and vanquish, remove me by rubbing

Those promises

I didn’t beg for them

You gave freely in pretend

Though each one wasn’t meant

Then you went to church with a clear conscience

Because only Catholics have to repent

I was an addict and I didn’t know

My drug was you. My drug was you

My drug was you. My drug was you

Pesadilla

retrato-sobre-la-pesadilla-de-tener-quintillizos-gana-premio1Dreams

when they turn ugly

are the more familiar landscape

and taste real in their message

though I drive them out

like wolves from the lambs gate must

be refused

prophecy or fear demands

we turn the taste of metal in our mouths

wondering which alchemy

holds the pick

to let us out of this clink

wrists accustomed to confine

sometimes I climb inside the nightmare

looking for signs and meaning

did one mind really create this world?

why am I so talented at weaving

the wrong perspective and

so weak in my try out for cheer?

was it the day I was left alone

to forage and forget how to be

one of you

or in wandering too far from the path

did I eat poison and lapse into a sleep

from which I am still part?

is this real or

do the hands of my foes

restraining wakefulness

feel the heavier and familiar both?

for we learn to grind our own grain

the sounds the pain

separate the chaff from the seed

who is and who is not

trust the mask

trust the god

trust the cat who sphinx like will

scratch and spit

they say women have no sisterhood

and circumcision can rent our heat

they veil us and shave us bald

we stand in our sagging against the merit

and scald

I recall once hearing a woman berated

for not sucking deep enough

without needing to see

I felt her knees ache, her back bend

her neck like a wilted flower

given out of obligation not affection

it taught me

to suck long and hard

in hope I could

remove the stopper holding us down

bursting we’d climb

out of our bottle

genii’s in rags

what would the world do if

men became pregnant and jin

held the whip?

what would the world do

if women no longer tore at each other

with blackened nails?

what would the world do

if I learned the way home

and nightmares were left to fringe

the lonely woods beyond

where crows pecked the gloat

exulting in their horror

what would I do

if I woke up whole

and climbing out of a sun filled bed

went downstairs to breakfast

and there you were

your arms out, your knives dull

sitting at the table set for all of us

From the outside who would know?

Manon_1Born unhealthy

never bruised

from the outside who would know?

the script runs, ticker tape without parade

bleeds over page

paper makers who grind words flat

pinch their rabbinical noses and laugh

huffing ink turning to night’s best epitaph

words words words

what if no language were taught?

gesticulating without benefit of lamp

deaf to injury, blind to plight

what if I shut you in a box and told you

start over, be something else

when your cocoon matured and sticky with life you reemerged

what would you choose?

if not language then

how to describe the pounding of our skinned hearts

pummeled by trespassing probiscus

or fear or loss or something beyond vowel and verse

such as it is

greatest emotion has only, a mark within person

no color no lines no regular interpretation

I put your citrus fingers on my shoulder

stay the curve, feel the hurt and rhubarb joy

rising and falling collapsing bestowing

levitated notions buried and choking

no accent no ethnicity we come from no place

we are no one

in a world sucking through graceless cherry straw

the fervor of acquisition and absurdity

our stage unheated flat and spartan

we learn no lines no mantra, no soliloquy

the actor stands and reveals himself

without pretense, wig and powder

shining underneath a hot summer pulse

blue raven turns his glassy eye

in shuttered shift of crimson cloud

toward cloth moon and catches hare’s quiet

spring

into infinitum and beyond boundary

speak to me

speak to me

speak to me

use what you have within

 

 

Phantoms of the brain

d9d211db6d31da697392b5cd34a9bdb4

Diana

didn’t intend to develop schizophrenia

which masticated within her brain regardless

of her want

inking pathways and dissecting certainty

a railway of colors lost in submersion

until Capgras Delusion bloomed

the moth of dissociation a star

sewn grossly on her shoulder

branding in disorder

 

Diana

didn’t mean to

self mutilate

causing a bald spot on her scalp to form

like paper becoming chinese lotus

a whirl of follicles perfectly circular

she wholeheartedly believed men made exact copies of people

“screens” that mimicked reality but were not

there were two screens of herself

one evil, one good

 

the good Diana

presented her doctor with a plea for help

I don’t want to be consumed by the whirl she said

biting her nails with reddened lips

the evil Diana considered if

she could reach the pencil and sink it in

to his rotten false arm

you’re obviously a fake she wanted to scream

I can see you! I can see your falseness!

like tar on the beach you wash up dead and stinking!

 

the good Diana kept quiet

this takes time to prove, she thought

sheltered behind her bamboo mask

tight and affixed with unknown glue

where once in a while she’d peer out

tongue lolling against wood

limbic system walking with disabled emotion

feeling like she was looking out of someone else

phosphorous haunting versions or a lighthouse

void of lamp

never finding her way back from cliffs edge

into phantom self

 

(Thank you to Vilayanur S. Ramachandran for his inspiring paper of the same name)

Presque vu

MSDMAOF EC057A noise disturbed deep night

rinsing slumbering cloak of peace

in my wake I almost see

the outline of you beckoning

come out to the moon

you sign

dancing in peals

incomplete and ethereal

with crooked smile

turning your feet across

the epiphany of carpet

checkered in fistfuls of

left over dream

where

what you think you see

is uncertain and irregular

touching magic between

there and here

as time can lisp

and places exist

that are not with day

fully real

I never grew out of needing a dragon tail

63f23c6809bddf9597b4c6236a8c747aThere is a girl I ‘know’ online, she’s a twenty-something artist and a writer and suffers from crippling social anxiety and it struck me, when I heard she suffered from social anxiety, that it was a great irony.

Why? Because I had concluded that with my own social anxiety, I would be ‘able’ to do a live poetry reading if I could somehow inhabit someone like her, change skins, climb into her person-suit and read the poetry through her eyes.

So obviously the next thought was … that’s really weird. Why would you be able to read your poetry aloud in front of people if you were her but not if you were you? The conclusion must have something to do with self-hatred on some level, but it’s also about what you want to project.

Sad to admit, I don’t want to project me. I want to project someone like a photographer may appreciate and project through that appreciation the beauty of someone else. I’m a behind-the-scenes type. I didn’t used to be, I was the belly dancer at the front of the school play, but the difference was, I still wore a mask. That time the mask was dark paint, a wig and a veil.

Some of us need veils or metaphoric veils or some type of guise to be ourselves. For me it used to be a few drinks – dutch courage. I didn’t even know it, but before going out I would swig a bit and then I could go through with it. Not a good method. When the ulcer nixed that option, I retreated further than I thought possible, unable to face going out without my mask.

I see others, people who are not attractive, people who are silly, people who are absurd, do it all the time, and I admire them and wonder, how is it that they can do this and I cannot? I’m not certain of anything other than, when you feel this way, it’s like you are under a microscope, on a petri-dish and everyone who looks your way is shining a light on you and you can’t stand the inspection.

It is an illusion or delusion of course, because people see individuals less and less these days than ever before! We truly can walk around and be invisible and ignored! But when you feel that scrutiny it’s like sunburn, you just have to get out of the sun even when it’s not really happening it feels like it is!

A few of my friends, normal, not overly attractive people, can stand up there and do anything and everything. They are admired because they appear to have no fear or they feel the fear and do it anyway. I despise my inability to do this, but I do not despise it in others, I understand it in others, I have empathy for it in others, so despising myself is another point of hypocrisy.

Any delusion is hypocritical. A feminist may starve herself because she sees a ‘fat girl’ in the mirror, who does not exist, and despite believing it doesn’t matter what you weigh, she’s caught up in it nevertheless. It’s like being hypnotized. If you take anxiety meds you are released from them, but it’s artificial. I have yet to find a ‘natural’ method, though much is made of natural cures, none have worked thus far.

All I’m really saying by this, is, how interesting to imagine, just by being someone else we could be ourselves. I think of those robot or clone films where people are asleep and send out their robot version. How much I dislike that idea of living and life, how I don’t like the idea of women behind veils, and yet, when I think of standing up and reading my work I want to put on the dragon suit I had as a little kid so badly. I want to wear it underneath myself (my true dragon self) as I did when I was a kid, and the teacher would pull out the tail and say ‘she’s done it again’ and call my dad.

I am you see, a dragon, and I want to be a dragon, and if I cannot be a dragon I would like to be my friend who looks a little like Jennifer Beal whom I liked very much in Flashdance and it’s not a creepy reason at all because I don’t fancy my friend, but I would be able to read my poetry out loud if I had her curly hair and brown skin. Ironically she is more scared than I am, and if I ever met her off WP I would say ‘what an irony, you are too scared to be you and I am too scared to be me, shall we be dragons?’

Afraid of heights

boy-brunette-cigarette-cool-Favim.com-1321050I always wanted to visit New Hampshire

because of John Irving’s book & the film with Rob Lowe & Natasha Kinski

who

could not act

yet their chiseled attractiveness

stood in for them, a superficial filler

as often is the case

for some that is how

life’s entirety unfolds

they don’t really choose

going with the muslin crowd

falling into things like sharpened

pencils sit neatly on a desk

ready to be taken up & blunted

I never felt easy or molded to

others surges

when the crowd hastened to rise

I would take the other pew, sit a while

watching the admonishment of wood

bending over itself in prayer

where discarded moments

buoyed a sense of artificiality strung on a line

flung into frozen lake

as melancholy as any conjured mist

for it was my curse to be a romantic

& New Hampshire is just another place

where my dreams lay a while

purring against naped fancy

it is sometimes better not to seek them out

for they will never be quite as you imagined

life is no film or book

it is a long & windy road sometimes rendered ugly by

man’s fecund print

the only dream is found

in youth or its diminishing wings

when everything is a stage

& beauty elucidates our need

to believe

the hand of ancient love

helping each other dress stiffly by creaking radiator

four knees popping with affection

I want to retrace the mortar of what beseached

me to hold castles in the air & believe

one day I would witness magic

for if my hopes were less grand

more flat and ordinary

I may not have spent so long

gazing upward at empty rafters

thinking myself an acrobat

afraid of heights

 

Regain

love-takes-off-masks-that-we-fear-we-cannot-live-without-and-know-we-cannot-live-within-18I would wear a mask

made of fur or hide

that would mold its outline to mine

until they were fused indistinguishable

you would say

why do you wear a mask?

don’t you want people to see your face?

and I would reply

no not yet

not even afterward

I wish to exist outside of definition

do not mark me with your label

I wish to be and not be

I wish to hide and be seen

in the eclipse we call

reality

no more honest

than compartments

are capable of containing whole facsimile

or props can be used for their pretence

a make-believe globe cannot a world lend

they are hollow beasts, the mounted heads

glaring from faded walls

it seems at night they can

growl but it is merely

a trick of light

like a magician from emptiness

pulls

delusion

we all of us are conjurers of reality

deciding our avatars with fickle choice

and where lies among our pretending

one brave enough to bare

themselves to elements of judgement

without veil

without succor

they are naked before storm

approbation beating their rendered limbs

like headmaster lifts the cane and repeats

swish, swish, say after me

I am not worthy

who shall stand despite the welt

defy the master

revive our guilt

till truth be told and masks set to flame

we need not hide, we need to regain

 

Such things are only in your head

All those who have gone before

stand behind with arms crossed

asking not to return

withholding themselves

long I felt their push

leave us

go on

on to the future

we are but transient wonders

signing the way ahead

maybe you thought us unconditional

such things are only in your head

fiction as the lullaby soothes

surfacing over truth in reluctant plaster

truth is

we were no more than a moment in time

chaffing against northern wind

not friends, despite collected words

just language, ticked sayings, signs and symbols

laugh at your faith in us

we had none in you

still the journey is undertaken

still the road steps ahead heavy skirted and leaden hearted

watching stars for their map

only disregard stared back

pain in the dying glitter

of false promises and forgotten allegiance

until my own walk journeyed

beyond those memories

of closed doors and turned heads

names I knew once as well as my own

palms with futures I thought part of hennaed auburn

they packed their bags and returned

to the spaces in their universe

not inhabiting me

with time the absence

once raw and gaping

healed

I realized then

some people exist

to set you free

in bidding goodbye

cease to feature

like crossroads

stand solid and permanent

until they are passed

by westbound train