SHE

17183914810_d81091c658_bShe has not answered the door in many years

even when she had a door

even when there was a bell to ring

or wood to pound

she recalls once

feeling as if it were only herself

and the world

miming in pirouette masks back and forth

echoing on either side of a shard of glass

and she cut out that feeling with thin lines

blossoming under the bath

bubbling their way into unconsciousness

until lifted from reddening closure

she could not recognize afterward

thin on blood and holy water

her face in the hallway mirror

though she saw how badly the brass frame

needed polishing

perhaps if I smooth the glass

it will show me as I feel

not the scars and the fear

dancing across with pointed shoes

every year she remained patent

underneath the mossy dander

listening for the interupted caller

watching herself grow in reduction

a vile experiment in self exile

once a color, become ash in circles

for her tongue to lap

words left beneath earth

chanting dieties

and her child

was in a bottle set out to sea

playing mahogany violin

that could be captured by

circling satelites looking

much like stars

 

 

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Ageing

Older woman holding young maskThe grime that won’t lift from underneath fingernails

is the yellow glimmer of youth

uncaring it is messy and rigorous

when you can live unbrushed

climbing from bed to public without spending

an hour examining your face, patching scars of endurance

when did age, creep so effortlessly into expression lines?

when did light, become so certainly, a foe on certain days?

as if inhabiting mood explained itself in the creases of your skin

you may deflect, somersault and berate

after all so many years wearing your emotions within

bound to spill once the cork is sodden

those hours you thought nobody saw

burning candles between pinched fingers

rubbing sulphur on volcanos urge

how many tears and ache does it take?

to leave emotions wreckage like single moment captured in paint?

who is the photographer who knows how to unearth

our secret selves hiding in wainscoting and plaster

of the past?

I understand why women plump their gaunt hollows

filling their lips with plastic hope, to go a few more years without

showing the world their chapped inside

they seek their former selves, to feel warmth of sun

on unfreckled necks

perhaps it would not sting if love could wear age well

when you are hot faced and tear streaked

wiping in one stroke and smiling

everyone believing the dress you wear is new and unwrinkled

such is the forgiving fabric of youth

succor for the gentle hearted, sugar for the brave

now in unforgiving light you see the evidence of age

lying on your face like a lover will unwittingly expose themselves

in a flicker, in a mere blink, beauty reduced to ungainly

for what we cannot see is more intriguing than

all the dilapidated truth behind our eyes

as much as we may wish to express ourselves

not that candidly, not as if pinned by wings to cork board

spread for all to see every instant of our writhe

biographies of the years, footprints of etched grief

can’t hide the truth as you age, can’t help but reveal

if I leave now without putting on my face

combing my hair over the deepening lines

hiding behind color, clothes, artful turn of head

if I don’t literally prepare myself

like a carefully followed recipe

or posed selfie empty of truth

I will feel as if I am walking naked in public

no skin on my feelings to disguise the years

I have been trying to get well

 

tell me?

is that why contentment is much like a cake

rising beneath warm air

and disappointment a river

shallow and fast

is that why they say joy can be seen in a person’s smile?

and sadness will devour, even the best actor

looking at my fracture, I resemble every melancholy spent

like old wine will eventually revert back to sugar and sediment

settling cloudy at the bottom of a carafe

buoyed no more by light

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