Blooding

I made myself a promise I can’t keep

to stay steady, even in times of grief

not obey my gut and flee, bare-foot

into thick forest where birds

never rebuke

not to climb from shaking boat

wet wood and mold, scarred paint and

many gentle hands

cupping despair in her once tree lined womb

ever tempted to fling off effort

abandon the temple of people and their

admonishments

those truthful kindnesses flung back in reproach

by those who have no use of you

standing like husks by the road

waiting to snag your heart to shreds.

The woman across the road lifts her shirt

stuck slightly with glue from hospital monitors

a strange gel they affix electrodes to

when they’re getting ready to cut

she fills her chest with the congestion of the late hour

burning in filament

like fire birds finding song in dark

her dream is to be whole again

not lopsided, scarred in rivet and rent flesh

by hands that delved into her bones.

All my life I have observed

cruelty and condemnation in

its varied shadow forms

and marveled at how, little we pay attention to

the necessity and sincerity of kindness

instead we humiliate it

as if we were telling a child;

stop crying, stop being a blubber mouth, grow up

get some backbone, stand up for yourself, fight back!

Mistrusting those who stoop

to pick up your fallen groceries,

ask how you are, give what they can

though it be imperfect, irritating to

the red welt of anger surging in

collective consciousness, waiting to strike

who needs gaslighting? When we have

a veritable volcano, ready to turn

hearts into stone.

I knew a child once, who

fought well, she wore split lips like this seasons color

and her eyes saw in the dark

wishing to change the indifference she observed

when adults stepped on toys and did not

mend their breakage

that same child grew up into a flawed but kind adult

who wished many times

she wore a thicker armor

for the chill of strangers

has never borne fruit nor become easier,

as if you wore

sewn neatly to your chest

a scarlet letter

made of nothing more than

the dye of words

that look so very much

like blooding

(blood•ing (blud′ing), n. [Chiefly Brit.] British Terms (in fox hunting) an informal initiation ceremony in which the face of a novice is smeared with the blood of the first fox that person has seen killed).

Guts & Garters

The violin

Then piano

Galvans to

Those unsaid surfaces

And they said to her

You’re a woman of sulphured words surely

Everything you think and feel is written

She smiled inwardly

Wanting to reply with busted teeth and a ripped out shirt, screaming

Hell, you assholes know everything, don’t you hot shot?

Some of us who write

Have more inside than any forest

Could become burning paper

Like an iceburg you think you see our entirity

We are mere dancers on the tip

Of a very deep sink of ice and water

Where undertow and mania pull the marionette

In gizes of wellness, denial, sorrow and unquenchable thirst

Which do you want first? The knife or the open legs?

Don’t dare presume you know how heavy I bleed

Share a slapped drag of my pain

I’ll writhe for you across landscapes of shame

Hit me with something harder dear

You ain’t even close to exposing me

The core of this unchained symphony

Here, let me show you baby

Look in-between, past the guts and garters

What I had to do, to get even equal

When scars are words and stars

But wounds?

No they don’t get put in a book and closed

You can’t see me in that private torment

4am pulling on the leathers of my sleeplessness

Do you know why I never learned to rest?

Remember the feeling of violence caressing your bruises?

Kiss them for me darling then pour the gasoline

When your own hand fondles the blaze it’s too much insanity

Fucking by the scold like the last feeling on earth

No you don’t know what words reveal

Until you see them scratched deep into skin

There you go again, thinking what I write lifts the veil

It was shredded long ago and hung on a Deadwood

The pinpricks of my ache fertilized nothing

Dust to dust, sometimes there’s no fucking translation