There is just love

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Among the strange hinterlands of neither young nor old

lies many adrift woman

mistaken for 28 by gum-chewing taxi driver

feeling ancient climbing steps, taking two at once

age is a permutation moving through blood and time

without oxygen it holds no discernible value

she could be your lover with her handfuls of thick hair held up by gravity of want

she could be your mother, stooping to ensure your coat is buttoned

her soft hands can be conductor, nurturer, passionate or flat for querying

why she must be contained at all in any type of jar or bottle

sent out to sea in glass of blue and green she sees all there is

and upon her return announces

she will thus forth be no age, no ones claim

but her own, velvet centered self

delirious of less nouns to describe her

she is neither straight, octagonal nor completely curved

she is a finely tuned instrument, played softly she can produce music

why should she apologize to women who cut their hair off in sharp buzz cuts

for keeping hers long enough to climb or why she wears dresses and heals

it is her weft, no more no less

and she doesn’t judge you for your penchant for masculine women or you for

your need of feminine men

why then tell her she is breaking the code by being who she’s always been

a woman who loves women

in all their unraveling glory

surely it is that loose dance around the maypole

when they were girls, rushing to catch the others crown

daisies so fragile in hot sweating palms

she saw the design then, of them all, like a quilt of differing

shapes ready to take to air

hers sought a reflection of herself in the depths

of what it is to be woman

that small crease as she laughs and your heart

vibrates with something like a bell

the nape of her neck nude against sunlight

how her shoulders form their musculature while remaining

soft

if she could put such things into words rather than

cries and whispers she might say

a woman was both male and female

holding the world up and bringing forth

life while fighting those who would call her

inferior and simply a loaned rib

oh quickly, quick let us mingle with your

preferred bone and become one

in the forming of calcium and other

periodic tables you see she and I

are of the earth and our very carbon

is born from within and without

beyond labels and understanding

there is just love

there is just love

 

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The memory of clothes

The memory of clothes

Somewhere in a filing room with corrugated cardboard and dried blood

Her skirt of 06 is folded by a uniformed man

Who isn’t used to folding women’s clothes.

She’ll not be wearing it again

It’s evidence of a crime committed

Of a bad start and a hundred reasons why

Gut instinct should be heeded

Something she didn’t know back then

Packing and unpacking

The acutrements of a life

Worn a little faded and down at the sole.

Some days she’d sleep

In your oversized rock concert T-shirt

Smelling the distant indifference of your brand of love

Others, it’d be the outline of a coat hung in hallway

Reminding her of nightmares she thought left behind.

Wherever you go there you are

The psychology majors chimed in falcetto chorus

And they didn’t know she was running because she was so versed at standing in place

“Cheese” Smile for the camera, the paedophile, the friend who isn’t

That day she wore a pink beret and she’s always worn hats

To disguise herself from her own scrutiny.

You liked those scarlet hose and how her underwear didn’t match

You even liked the outline she left in your well worn yellow bedsheets.

Despite that she’s a ghost

Wearing hand me down clothes without label

Posing in storefronts

For feelings dipped in formaldehyde.

If she could step into a time machine

She’d escape her own bad tempo

Retreating to a distant past

Where the clothes she wore

Carried no memory

Or voices scolding over radio wave

Like a diver unable to exclaim aloud

When the white whale comes into view.

That’s all she sees sometimes

Outlines, shadows and snuff stinging her eyes

Snapshots of who she was before

The picture was over-exposed.

There she is

Running breathless down a stony beach

Toward nothing and no-one and still

There’s a peace in her eyes that’s absent, she makes up for

With midnight blue and eighties pink

Just like kids who paint their dolls and dress them

Ready to begin a new game

Never considering

What happens

On the other side

Of starting over.

They sell her size by the dozen

And other women wear it well

She’s ready to dissolve to the bottom

Like malt and sugar stirs with mint

And creates momentary confusion

Is it sweet?

Or is it bitter?

Try her on

She’s a glove that may fit

Or maybe

Your fingers will be too short, too long

Your palm a might too thick

With her Pantone of regret.

The wounded eyed girl

15Before I knew myself, uttered out loud the words

labeling me a this or a that or a who knows?

I developed feelings for a wounded eye girl

we were kids really, dressing up as Japanese geisha in my room

all festooned in asian print and a little tea set I got for cheap

from china town

we wore chopsticks in our hair and bowed ceremoniously

singing the only song we knew in Japanese

with The Mikado playing in the background

I liked her thin arms and her prominent nose

her knock knee urchin look and bandaged soul

I liked how strong she was even as she looked like she’d fly away

most of all I was attracted to her wounded eyes

for there is something heady and bewitching in

pain

and its infinite manifestations

we’d dress up, I would paint her lips scarlet, we’d put on

funny accents and roll on the floor looking up at glow stars

I still had stuck there with movie posters of vampires

she would fling her arm out across my chest,  tell me of herself

pouring out the suffering of her short life

and it was an awful life before she was

brought to this city we lived in, both from somewhere else

transplants, orphans, ghosts of ourselves with missing DNA

she would tell me of her homeland, how

her father beat her black and blue for

being a girl

why as she got older he took

each of her sisters one by one

and they didn’t come back

whole or even

well repaired

I wanted to lick the pain from her cheeks and hold her to me

until the wound healed

but nothing I could ever do would assuage

the wounds behind her dark brown eyes

so we played as little girls do

building camps and tepees and western saloons

once I played a prostitute and she a cowboy

I cocked my head, snapped a red garter and asked her;

want to have some fun soldier?

she laughed, such a lovely laugh

her black hair and coffee skin, shining with fantasy

she didn’t like being herself anymore than me

we got into our pretend saloon bed

I served her a pretend shot of whiskey

acted ‘saucy’ the way I had learned from TV

she rolled her eyes laboriously like a comedian winking

pulled up my petticoats which were real

and at one point had been my mother’s wedding dress

when she married my father, bare foot and broke

with a velvet ribbon tied around her neck

and our fingers explored each other

as we giggled and changed our voices to all the favorite

TV characters we knew

I think I even tried to be Sue Ellen

I wanted to tell her then, not to stop

to press my mouth to her pomegranate lips

touch her swelling breasts with my own lack of

run myself like a cat across her saffron skin

but even then I knew

damage makes bad bed fellows

we soon changed the game, to cops and robbers

climbing out of the window, swinging from trees

though in every story

there was an element of romance

I thought of the old shows I loved

where the actors were always

dancing around the circumference

of each others heart

how in real life sometimes they married

I told my father; Oh see! Oh see! pretend things can come real!

but some cannot

and she and I grew up

once she told me she had always known I felt like that

I blushed dark red because of course

thinking I’d been subtle when watching her changing clothes

she married a blonde haired man and moved to Australia

had a little boy and hopefully

a ceasing of her alotment of pain

because more than anything I wanted that for her

even more than the beautiful moment

of two girls

laying in sunlight

laughing at imagined things

for the rest and peace and escape

of anything real

 

As you may imagine

She was known as the girl with the waist length hair

The girl without siblings

The girl with turquoise eyes

She had a 23 inch waist

Those were the paper cut emblems of her life

She was vain

Though not empty headed

Her vanity was a poor replacement

Covering up loneliness and uncertainty

Perhaps if she’d had children, the size of her waist

Would have seemed so trivial

But she stayed in that sticky fingered past, sucking on old boiled candy

Where teenagers plume and forage

Because she found no other purchase

And that was sad and pathetic and lost and theatrical

And it was understandable

To those who like her

Watching themselves through glass

Like half packed suitcases

No hope chest

Using the acutrements to fill empiness

With

Costumes and colors and measurements

Because what her true circumference was

She had no idea

And how people could love her for more

Than the length of her hair

Or her green eyes

Or the width of her waist

She couldn’t fathom

Having only been

Nothing

Then no one

Then an object

People commented on

And touched her hair

And fit their envy around her waist

And smiled into her big eyes

And then

That attention gave her meaning

Shallow and superficial

Like eating too many chocolates

And spurring the taste

Swearing never

To gorge again

But she would

When the obscurity of being alone grew too much

She’d wear a fine dress

Put on eyeliner and lipstick and heels

And suddenly everyone saw her

And she was not a girl in the shadows

Waiting for her mom to come home

Or anyone

This

Is

The

Reason

For

Vanity

It’s not always as simple and egocentric as

You may imagine

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

The truth of you

20160916_103101~2Thinking you know your composite

banoffee pie or key lime

little kids crowd the glass of new American themed

diners in foreign land selling to idolizer

thinking themselves fancy if they sit

on high swivel seats in dark cherry

just like Rumblefish though you

could never afford the real thing

I liked an American boy in my class

he made baseball jackets with patches of indian profiles look good

had green eyes that held the secret of the desert

a mouth as pretty as a girl’s curling up in O

he couldn’t spell his new language

which I found, reassuring

 

to be far-flung

exotic comes in all guises

mine the continent of dreams

we drank our first root beer float with

long-necked spoons reflecting our mirth

talking about juke boxes and 50s matinée idols

the green-eyed boy said

you will be disappointed at the reality

and they will be underwhelmed with you

too pale for the California beach

too shy for new York

too weak for the vigor of ice hockey

and alpha females pick on each other in our high schools with growing

alacrity

you have no native American blood alas

you don’t feel white-guilt for slavery when your ancestors took no part

you’ll never be an American you don’t wave a flag at our glory

we have to compete and win whilst you prefer to scale a tree and read

hearing the roar of the crowd on friday night’s lights

you’d have made a lack luster cheerleader with

your neon arms and matchstick legs

but oddly and despite this

it was my destination to earn a golden ticket

ever since I read in translation

Eloise

The lonely little girl in a big new York hotel

with Skipper the pet turtle on a leash

 

Eloise

may have had native American DNA and grown up to be a good WASP

I only wanted to touch

the soft leather sleeves of a spectator coat

or see

Peanuts, in action as

box-cars raced down hill, stopping at soda fountains

those glittering children of fortune and freckles

 

back then I thought I was genetically

someone different

then DNA testing became mainstream

and by the story of my results I am no longer that person

but someone quite changed, a different race

as if the me who was me

slipped out of herself and through a door

that was both opened and closed

 

walk like an Egyptian I used to

speak diluent tones with French notes once

now the I of me is false and those

parodies of what I was, are not who I am

telling kids in the playground that’s why my eyes prefer kohl

they come from faraway where the sun demands

devotion

old stories without substance

revealed stark in test tube result to be

fanciful

 

not a pale African lost in tamed jungle of cruel world enveloping cultures

instead, the trespasser told generational falsehoods

paving yellow brick roads with fool’s gold

as saffron and tamarind friends with their rightful legacies

twirl in blazing color

silken sari and Rastafari, Persian eyes, Nairobi fingers

everything told was not so

ordinary and dull was your fear

so it becomes real

and what life bequeathed you

the DNA of inconsequence

 

a tendency toward left-handedness

an albino arm and dark heart

the emptiness of knowing

yourself

staged and girdled

for light fantastic

oh how it feels on your lying skin

like submerging into ancient lily ponds

reflecting bronze moons glow

into a hundred cupolas

 

you want to believe someone will love you irrespective

of your mitral valve weakness, your keratitis and first varicose

just like that boy who

seeing you hobbling in your veruca sock and bad haircut

when your father ran out of patience and cut along pancake bowl

just like that boy who

swam straight for you

sitting over the murmuring jets in the shallow end holding hands

until he left with his parents

staring out the back of a messy car with two dogs slobbering

and a peace sign pealing off the bumper

watching you diminish in rear view

as if you were the most precious saphir he ever knew

and just for a moment you felt

like all the lies in the world could not subsume

the radiance of being adored

for the truth of you

Three prongs

pluto_and_persephoneSHE

hasn’t shared a bed with a man

two decades

nor smelt the tenor of his hands weighing

on her sleep

place telescope by the moon

stare at what you do not find familiar

all those girls who wake

next to, wrapped in, rubbed up against

the arms of another species it seems

no reflection of themselves

she has only seen

her own reflection

in the curl of her neck to her shoulder

honeyed wisp of them as they cover

rounded buttocks on the way to dimpled shower

girls instinctively know

what to hide and what to reveal

as cats will roll on their belly in trust

giving just enough

holding a claw in the air just incase

she unclenched herself to the water spirit

when the river found its surge she fell

tumbling below surface

where hands that are both small and strong

loins of silver, mouths of tangerine

kiss her delirious

do you think as you draw your pastiche

of a woman with a phallus mounting a girl wearing cherries on her cheeks

do you contemplate wife-beaters and bound breasts

considering the ugliness of plastic stand-ins

and Kerry who came from Nova Scotia said

I’d be gay if I didn’t have to perform oral sex

that disgusts me

but imagine, I could have some rest

my boyfriend he is hard as driftwood

every morning at six

her legs closed to dynamite

squeezing residue of clichés between her thighs

they who are not us, live in an underwater world

you only know when you hold your breath and let go

At ten it was not apparent

though if you consider how much you enjoyed

lying on ladies fur coats and

smelling their perfume

what isn’t known glitters in the gloom

they said poor child, poor motherless urchin

and in their arms you felt

that longing to place a moonstone in a set of gold

translated later the shape and curve

men were all angles and hard

softness is the drift of sand

lapsing back into water

you tried being like everyone else

nobody really wants to wear a red mark

telling them apart

but the hot skin of men as they lay

clumsy and ill-fitting in your hollows

always reminded you of a plug

with two prongs when

three were needed