Driftwood

Open your mouth wide

Do you see anything?

Do you hear anything?

I am running

In a grey forest

The feeling of your arms around me

Is a burn that does not heal when released

And your absence carves my stomach empty

Like Halloween pumpkin without face

An ache is possessing my every minute

Dripping into my veins like an unwelcome drug

I see you there

Standing in the bright

I could never have known how much hurt it would cause

To give you my heart

If we were to happen upon one another again

I would do all the same things

Even as I know its result

While you would not

You would save yourself from me, from us

Which is why

You were in the light then

And again now

As you climb out of loving me, shaking yourself off

I would like to have your strength

But I was never able to emulate you

I was weak in what I could do

I could only give you my heart

But I could not seem

To take it back when the time came

I think I must be an ocean

Because so many tears come out of me

And no matter how long it’s been, the pain never diminishes

They told me pain does get easier with time

I’ve waited years for it to do so

It’s still like the first day

It’s still like the first time

You put my heart in your sun tea jar

I am still there touching glass

The sun has gone behind a cloud

We are both old and grey and tired

You raise your voice because patience is misplaced

I see in your eyes

Once soft and warm with eternal need to bring me closer

Not the endearment of the past

But the futility of the future

That is not either of ours to shape

We are driftwood

Even as I say that I hope

You will come around and seek me again

To be whatever we are now

Together

As we always were

And when you are gone

Or cold or pushing me further

Into the blistering current of your absence

I feel I will surely die

If I lose you

And people say

Don’t worry that’s a myth

You can’t die from heartbreak

You will knot back together

But I know if by now I haven’t

Then that is the myth

We can repair all broken things

Which isn’t true

Sometimes the crack is so wide

The shards so sharp

They pierce any attempt to rebuild

I cannot

I do not know how any longer

To exist without you by my side

We may not have had fifty years and be sitting taking in a sunset

But we are linked beneath our skin

In the very infused core of our existing

Connected as if metal were around my arms and legs and in my chest

And when you touch me

Carelessly and with flat disregard

When I know you feel nothing

It is a perfect knife in my heart

And surely I would cease

Staring into darkness

If you were to let go

And tumbling I fell

The hole of emptiness devouring me from within

Until nothing but the husk of a person were left

Unable to motion their pain or

Give words to the unbearable crushing of their soul

Stuck looking at

Your retreat

Of us

Like a long formed stalagmite

Cutting off oxygen

It is you who all this time

Did not know you possessed wings

It is me all this time, knew

Without you

I wanted nothing

For you are the battery to my life blood

When I look in the mirror

At your absence

I see no one

Not you, not myself

If you go, all is gone

I wink out like a snuffed candle

As you turn out the light

And softly

Close the door

On us

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Unable to speak the words

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Love can be the greatest feeling in the world

love can be a lie

and when love is a lie

it can rip you to shreds or enable you to rip yourself

because love isn’t quantifiable

therefore you may never know

who it is who guts you and slays you; Is it you? Is it love?

how can a feeling have the power to empty you of hope?

or leave you ransacked

how can an emotion

something that can’t be touched, or jarred or bottled

hold such sway?

cut with deep scythe, parts you thought impossible to reach

was it the other? Did they own the power

or was it giving them permission? To dictate an emotion

or is love, proof of being human

and the sorrow of that and the beauty of that

a very human trait, along with hate and indifference

which at times seem, to take the place of love

and when your eyes, look at me and there is no movement

only the wearing down of time, a series of frustrations

when you fidget and seem to want, to be anywhere but here

I imagine you in years to come, remembering nothing of us

then I wish I had no capacity for love, I wish I had pretended all along

replaced my heart with coal

but it was never an object, never something you could hold

love was almost a virus

you walked into the room

and I caught it

the fever and the aches

they may never leave me

now I have a relationship with them

in absence of you, I’ll find myself inheriting memories

wondering how, some people walk away, almost light-footed

and others stand in place and burn, the oxygen all gone

unable to speak the words

of loss

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

The poison & the nectar

I woke with a pomegranate seed in my mouth

I woke with you arched over me, trying on

your inching lust

I woke and returned to sleep

infinite

for the outside was not

a place I wanted with its

ER gurney and its white starched doctors

calling my name back from afar

hands fumbling at my throat, the taste of

coal

I woke and the hung lake was still

little boys and girls shut behind their glass

sucking their thumbs or each other

to pass the time and prove something

most of them had forgotten

I woke and the lake called me and I wore

nothing and everything of your devour

all the scars, the cigarettes put out on my arms

the ways you chose to let me know I was trash

FILTH

my feet hennaed for the bride I never was

whispering your prophecy as you pull on me

a hungry wolf without satiate

even the birds sleep when moon wans indigo

your ankles covered with early dew

your hands held the blood of ancients

we left the afterbirth raw in the forest

like a tangle of limbs and rushed thoughts

steaming in cold air, savage in disdain

you were cruel then, and upright and always hungry

I was broken then, cowed and curved like an O

gibbous moon cutting through trees in shards and fingers

landing on our heads like heavenly crowns

no blessing then, or now

the water was ice cold

your hands pushing me under moss

a green film playing backward

in a room closed with a lost key

these are the things you bequeath me

now and then, a hundred times forward

with my arms making shapes again

like I did over you, bringing you to my breast

suckle the poison and the nectar

did we know

did I

feel the cracks begin to form

underneath our skin

within, within

the violet hour of

quiet, quilting

rage

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

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

Still born

Thirty years

And still I miss

The feeling of you beneath me

I don’t have the dignity

Of turning the other cheek

For, looking in a shining piece of tin

See the scar upon my face, you hammered with

Your foolish words I chose to give an audience to

As we sat, me pregnant with your folly, you bursting to clear the table of guests

And press me right there, eating my Sunday best

It is easy to say .. you sated your evil tendencies

But I was laced tight, a willing dance partner

Throwing myself down your stairwell

Catching the foil stars you hurled

Wanting to pin you to sky

And you, watching clocks for the next dumb girl to pass by

I measured myself in inches and circumference

Not the length of love but its endurance

Which you stretched like new prophelactic, over my molting form

As I bore you no live children

And you filled me with last year’s seed

Still born