The shape of us

Lift her up

there the hang and fall

bestowed in little curtsies

hemming the space we form

in exultant strong brewed motion

plump on passion your swell against think of light

can I possess, what is unbound?

or will ghosts gather your wicked savageries

plant in ground this divining rod

lightning conducts flame like cautious feline

one brush, my teeth, your skin

panther lolling in banyan tree

emerald leaves the size of clenched fists

slick fruit ripe for the picking

a slice of muscled thigh, a twitch, spice, sigh

rising and falling in cotton swell

pass through the fabric holding us back

nectarine and jasmin

pearl slope of your thin back arched against my hand

dieties take turns to spell focus

wisteria and moon glow

crush of posies, carrying arching silouette

how much I have longed for you

this exact shape and time

in emptiness we find familiar fullness

in loss there is a stranger turn a friend

to bid us back to believing ourselves unpicked

we are part of this weave

tight against fabric, space, destined

as I watch the ribbon in your hair

twisting against itself, trying to work its way loose

there is purpose in the dark damson of your eyes

taking me down from my shabby habit

glass creatures beneath sugared earth

melting against the other

a fusion

the shape of us.

(I had this beautiful idea, two people met
neither one was afterward capable
of loving anyone else with the same intensity
because they were made for each other
every part of them knew, nothing could change that
not all the different people in the world and its various temptations
not anything)
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debris of the unsaid

row-boat-painting-surrealism-woman-dreaming-row-boat-in-hair-beautiful-painting-art-row-boat-in-storm-paintingOnce

the storm

predicted and prepared for

still

blew away the thatch of your house

sent water pouring like words with lament

and whilst

i was sickening

i thought I heard you row

across the expanse of us

holding your roof as umbrella

your feet bare and needy

opened my cabinet of questions

gave you a draft of why?

to which you descended beneath brackish waters

places submerged in lost question

claiming to surface

a moment where you spun in orange pekoe light

sitting stroking Gato before he

tested his claws on a tree the buyers tore down years hence

i climbed that tree in my high heels

you took a photo aping for the camera

and one fixing your sink in mini skirt

that’s my girl you said

we bathed because then you had a bath and I had heated arms to wrap you whole

the ocean of the past drawing in and receding

with it, debris of unsaid and unchained

time behind and unrecoverable

Once

i told you I was sick and couldn’t swim

you held me above waves with your will

till you decided I weighed too heavy

on the stitch of your skin to keep

we both

and neither of us

strangers and familiar

deciding and without decision

lost that year to the storm

as it set its pulse on our sundial and drank all hope in its spiraling eye

(there are many forms of love, you chose certainty over depth)

and once

i took a raft made of need and dragged the silty water

searching for what was lost

of us

who we were and were not

for you told fate you never knew me after all

an error of thinking … no more

then the storm left and all we knew was flat and broken

even trees we climbed were crushed like sad-faced dolls

as if an avalanche had glossed over the details

leaving behind a shiny surface and no more beneath

but dull reflection

Lantern girl

pexels-photo-980859I desire things I’m not allowed to have

like a ball of twine will wish to be perfectly recalled

nothing looks as new after it is worn

I carry the burrs, twigs and meal of my journey

the caterpillar hollows my tunnel

the firefly lights the way ahead

she told me, the way people smell is how she knows

whom to trust, whom to join, whom to discard

her feet are hennaed, her eyelashes thick like horse hair

when she looks at me, the moon is insignificant in contrast

these sighs ride on a warm wind to far-flung places

we follow as addicts of destination

there is nothing about here keeping us

aside ourselves and the anchor of habit

in novels the heroines grow older and more hesitant

to join eclipsing tide and sail away

you have never had such palsy

you are brimming with courage like

a stout drink of rum and your lips taste

of cane sugar and nectar and hot-house flowers

it is the wakening of ice over water

turning from a mirror back into ocean

we dive from volcanic rocks and the sun

casts her web around us in perfect seclusion

just then, the sound of the world cannot be heard

it is only the whisker of your hair against my arms

as I pull you closer

your smile is a lantern lighting doubt

your fingers are paint brushes altering my color

from blue to silver and indivisible

as damosels who love

their joy bound to convention

we live twice as hard

to make up for those never permitted

left to hear the roar of their heart

in the emptied hollow of a seashell

on a beach somewhere

where you walk

footprints leading me

into transparent water

Undefeated

I knew my limits were met when my father tutted and said

You’re an ordinary girl

I wish you looked like your mother

When heron jawed teacher said

You’re an average student

Students with learning disorders should drop out early

When razor hipped boyfriend said

You’re the last choice

I settled for you because everyone else said no

When porn-on-his-desktop boss said

You’re not qualified enough

I keep you down because you won’t ask for a raise, you don’t have the guts

When mint-chewing doctor said

You’re too old to have a baby anyway

What’s one more womb between friends? Unmarried girls are dispensable

I did not crack under the weight

For what doesn’t smother best intentions may

Lend you a fist of iron

Sometimes our weaknesses serve us better than our strengths

My families indifference taught the rule of self sufficiency

I didn’t die of neglect despite best attempts

You shouldn’t have had children but I’m here and I’ll endure without your permission

My limit knew no limit

When I graduated top of my year and slammed the medal on teachers desk

You ruin kids right to have dreams with your judgement

My limit knew no limit

When I told him his actions would come full circle

He’s divorced and not allowed to see his kids, his pattern ran him ragged

My limit knew no limit

When my boss grabbed my butt and I blew the whistle to his superior

I stayed and he resigned, don’t think he’ll be pinching anymore asses

My limit knew no limit

When the grief of being childless led me to embrace others

Try, try, try, turn the negative into a way of transformation

What does kill you can save you

My limit knew no limit

Had no end

Because I am a woman who has survived many scars and

I still stand

I knew my limits were

Undefeated

With life

She is nude

Dearticulate

Her nipples graze the passage of her downfall

Blood is dry and hennaed between her thighs

Who stand witness

To aborted possibility cut short

Held glistening above her in crucifixed parody

She will never bear life

It is not her weft and the thick choker around her neck

Tightens as reminder

If she grows swollen it will be from loss not gain

No feeling of a child pushing its way out

Only the deadening cold taste of metal on her skin

A doctor’s “tut, tut” and rough handling, his voice a graze

Staining her inevitable socially affixed shame

She stares out of a small window

Paint pealing like tears on the empty sill

Where a bird sits sheltering from rain

She thinks of him cutting his way into her with flint eyes

Hands around her throat, pulling her apart

A flashlight douses darkness, shining on blood and her hand

Reaching out

She is empty now

Passion snuffed, an ember no longer close to surface

She is an arroyo dried and crusted over

She is a gourd grown without seed

Disappointment is her meal, she is a featherless bird on wire

Dried empty by sun and rinsed of music

Before this, her watermelon body swayed in water-sprinklers

Feasting on her abundance and possibility

All that would be, all that would be

Is laid waste

Tumbleweed and Joshua tree

Punishment and consequence

The rapist will return at night to his wife and

Three blonde children

She will recover from her tears and cuts

Even the shame of feeling his soil enveloping her

But she will never

Never

Forget what he took in miscarried act

What would happen if we swapped vision?

The fridgidity of growth or a certain constraint

Because if you split my casing I would possess less chance

My surround would envelop your shadows and night cross twice

For women have a shorter life and a longer one

Small boned with narrow shoulders and deep set eyes

Stretching barren like a long road through desert

If she could turn the knife around

Press it gently against his steady pulse

Cut out the evil as he removed her chance

To fill her arms

With life

Fortune cookie

A girl who used to look forward to dinner and a movie

The simple pleasure of walking hand in hand with stillness and a harvest moon

was handed a poisoned fortune cookie

caught a virus, and that virus crawled into her stomach, like a ray gun

it changed the waves until, her stomach like arrythmia of the heart

was fitful and lurched

she was instantly sickened, from a person of health she turned

green

her body shut down and said

no, I don’t want to eat

dimly she remembered the days

she would lust and long for food

her appetite completely gone, the acidic growl of her stomach

held all dominion

she was slave to nausea 24/7

like a merciless dictator it left her no peace

even in the lingering hours of night

she woke bathed in sweat

her stomach somersaulting in wicked mirth

such a terrible feeling of imbalance and sickness

her hands gripped the sides of the toilet

she prayed until her head ached

for nothing could have prepared her

nothing assuaged the constant torture

every day of every day

she began to imagine

her death

fondly like a fantasy

and then when she realized what she was doing

she would cry until the crying

made her sicker and she had to stop

bottle all the anquish up

but there was nowhere to throw it, or store it or let it free

it built higher like a fortress

locking her out of life

days, weeks, months went by

she was captured between glass

unable to eat or drink without throwing up

or wishing she never had to try to chew, force food in green bilious mouth

perhaps it was punishment for a former life

where she was greedy and ate too much

or tormented the Fates with the heal of her shoe

it seemed definitely karmic punishment

just as her will to live, ran thin and irregular

sometimes imperceptable

like arrythmia pulses below the surface

that would not quiet or return to normal

disturbing former calm we take for granted

a girl who used to look forward to dinner

sits at a quayside cafe, drinking empty glasses

eating plates without food

staring at turbulent water rise and fall

waves crashing without sequence, into wet wood

holding back or pushing forward, who knows?

one day either the sea will admit defeat, or erode everything

and that is how I will be free, she says

to carefree birds overhead, yet to be struck down

they know not their good fortune

Let her out


The wax in your wane

Needle on smooth track

A song from twenty years back

When you didn’t have

The holes you have now

Crocheting skin with doubt

When you just threw yourself open

Dancing in a crowd with long wick

Breasts high, chin tight, feet on tiptoe

The candle lasted all through night 

And we spilled, like red polinated seeds

Out into dark city streets

Bra straps, cyclist legs, powdered glee

It’s not the bravado of youth 

But the absence of ghosts

Keeps us free

***

I am you 

I am the flicker of past who asks

What did you do with your true self?

Packaged up in trepidation so soft

Lulled yourself to sleepwalking 

Years passed like finger on fast forward

Before you know 

Almost

On the cusp of memory

A girl with an open smile

Running towards you

Gone, not lost

Unpick the confine

Let her out

That she may find again

Herself