Two cars going in separate directions

What is contained in motion? In separation? In the fluid trajectory of two cars

driving in different directions

when once they drove together in one, singular and twice

with music playing like a warm stove in Winter

watchful eyes glinting at the movement of her soapy shoulders

inhaling a song they both liked

was it really so long ago? time can be a fickle fellow

you believe things have not changed before

the car wreck distorting metal into specters, and then mangled see

all the signs and wonders leading to your loss

glaring and obvious as they were not before

I would say four years, six, maybe more

since like powdered sugar you shook her

out of your system and changed the channel

you think she couldn’t pick up on the dull flat key of your promises

or the way you did not meet her pleading eye

and had someone else nearby

parked with engine still running

waiting her eventual hot buttered turn

you were bound to return to the past

as your memory dissolved through gauze

that is all that remained sharp

like a knife on my chest will cut

only so deep and then retreive

sticky piecemeal

baking it into cakes and giving alms

when we are neither penitent nor dead

but live on

in seperation

as time comes and goes like a trance

one moment I am holding a glass

of your words

believing myself loved

the next the house is being emptied

sold for next family to inhabit, my footsteps

there was a time I held onto

boxes of memories like a kite

I saw if you let go of the string

they rose higher and higher out of sight

more beautiful for freedom

now I can pack the entirity of me

in one small bag and still have room for heartache

this is the season of change

the radio host warns us of impending rain

another storm like last year and the one before

we threw sharp glances at each other until there was no more

blood left inside to keep warm

I feel no regret, only the beckon of movement

on to the future and maybe

I will not need a car where I am heading

watching the horizon bleed

its first bidding autumn evening

and I remember laying with you watching tv

in the dark, the feel of your fingers on my neck

remember reading Bridges of Madison County, thinking

surely people do not live like that

and the car

waiting at the stoplights

long after they could have driven on

blinking in humid downpour

blinking for her to get out and run toward

something already buried and underground

I hear the gear shift

watch in rear mirror

the outline of you

grow gradually thinner

against orange light

and the sound of someone

crying out

https://youtu.be/voZI8NXEO6M

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In her cull

Before

Who knew how to die?

That it wouldn’t be instantaneous

As children imagine

A sudden pain, then unconsciousness

Who knew?

Death could go on years

Building and slowing like cold sea water

Burning firework left to fizzle alone in inky sky

That it would wind and unwind, a mad clock void of correct motion

Who knew?

It could take the very young, wrap them in wool, to cast down wet hill

The jarring and bumping eventual colission held at bay

Till forgotten

That it could take you

Suspend you from me and all familiar things

Where the recognition in your once clear and beautiful eyes

Became muddied and clouded with quiet violence

Your touch so soft, stolen and replaced with flinty brush off

Who knew

The courage of fighters

Seathing against their sentence and eventual

Chop chop of parts, scars and marred

Skin once free of blade

A scratch board of operation knives

She reached me

As I sat in my safe world

Pulled me through

I smelt anticeptic

Read her clever whirring mind

Far too smart for this dull world

How can such people die?

She laughs and says

At least I’ll go young and whilst I have my looks

So long as you don’t show the undertaker my scars

They remind me of barbed wire and grey hair and the lines you cut in snow

When skiing downhill

Her lips are red, she says

I used to ride horses and can speak five languages

I say

I wish you would stay

I could read you eternally

It’s the macabre and giggling nervousness you feel

Around dying

It brings out the worst or the best of us

I wanted to bolt

Race down the road

But I remain and listen

To the gurgle of her catheter

And saw the bruised clouds grow

As rain came like tears behind pitched fingers

Her humor never left

She knew more than all of us

What a terrible, terrible waste

She said; I can make an authentic French 75

I wanted to swap places, I am not so rarefied

But I am a coward

Before the machinations of surgeons

What devour they do, to our poor skin

Does it really prevent anything?

She asked, laughing at the cat

Who is also old and infirm before his time

Still batting the window when birds come to peck

At crumbs of comfort because it’s those little things

She says, keep you going

Like my favorite soup, a funny film, the sun coming over horizon

Reminding me I can still

Breathe

I learn to appreciate life

From her dying

The morsel of me

Though of language I only know two and

Cannot spell in either

It seems

Life is savage in her cull

The bright and wonderful snatched

Who among us had an idea of

How to die?

Then she laughs

Her teeth still white, her skin waxy and hot

And says, oh dear you!

Who among us

Knew truly

How

To live?

Before goodbye

Abuse-sadness

They tell me it is wicked

to need more than you can have

and I have wanted the sugar cube

melting into hot coffee

watching you stir it to vanishing

the quick switch of your hand

mindful of those savage times

when I lay beneath you

cradled in your surge

until the sky grew pink and grey

and like with all happiness we put away

the dream

you turned as I passed

profile in regret

I waved back

it was caught in

blur of movement

ever going from you

ever saying goodbye without recompense, for nothing can

mend the emptiness of hours spent apart

still I wave

my arm aches from how hard

I slow the car and through the rain

time and again I see you receding into distance

everything is blurred

my eyes cry even as I do not know they are

the world is awash in water and salt and regret

and yet I do not regret for how, how then?

to say it wasn’t worth the pain when

that break in my chest feels like I am dying

and living

you don’t see the place within me that is yours

nor do you realize how I clamor for something

beyond this mortal torture

where you are always obscured by time

and I

I wait inside for no one else

there is only the sound of rain against glass

only the smell of car radiators trying vainly to

warm the cold

there is only the feel of your hand in mine

only the movement of us against the other

one last time

dissolving forward into car lights

reflecting against weeping tarmac

shining, they dance like lovers across the pitch

blinking away tears

only the reach of you inside of me

there is nothing if there is not

that

for you are

that essential part of me

yearning and hurting

with joy only found

before

goodbye

Seven years


Seven years I let myself formulate excuses

not to return

and on the eighth

guilt had made her way into my closed heart

laying a light ribbon on the frayed part

 

going back was like being reborn

as yourself and not yourself at all

I walked familiar streets, spoke similar words

accent hardly altered

as if no time had passed

and so they said

you look exactly the same

though they were changed and I were changed

all altered irrevocably with time worn stain

as if glass no longer could be relied upon

to give accurately our real prescription

even friends were foreign handed

or I no longer of that land

left behind when things were too sad

I sealed the bottle and set adrift

seven years of absence builds

many barnacles to anyone’s vision

when the damned see the truth

the liars remove their seaweed masks

curtsy finely and pronounce

we did our part

exit stage left

standing on warm boards of the theater of pretend

where dance and energy has dissipated

into cloven wings

hear me now

shadows of my past

the girl with the big smile

her perfect fine figured mouth

and matching dragon tooth skirt

as if we dressed together in the darkness

of one another

except she is a mother and

I have a cut-out womb ebbing in formaldyade

don’t worry I feel no pain now

some of us are bearly hanging on

what good would a child of weakness

bring the sorrow further inland?

I miss her

like I write letters in wax to myself

those over easy days we knew who we were

or felt … some approximation of reality

good enough for then

when she looked at me

unequal teeth smiling and needing

how did the splinter drive that deeply?

wedge like sword between this time and before?

we know nothing of the other

as a blue bottle

cast on green and yellow water

will wait

seven years

to reach shore

when I climbed out and dusted myself off

she was gone

her footprints erased from the sand

nobody recognized me

only the echoes of an angry sea

calling me back to exile

whispering

you do not belong here 

and the white cliffs looked relieved

when I flew overhead

my heart aching with loss

the cheer of relief

like a season

changing from golden red to

brown

Last

soldier-embracing-his-girlfriend-while-saying-goodbye-in-pennsylvania-station-before-returning-to-duty-after-a-brief-furlough-1944Saying goodbye

crowd swallowing

the lump in my throat

struggling out of water

deafened by sound

a hundred petty minds

not you

you are gone

where you stood

a mother profers bottle

appeasing screaming child

how honest the outraged cry

if I could

i’d join in

open my mouth as wide

let the void emerge

a hole cut out of hope

where did you go?

one moment you are straining in crowds

searching for last goodbye