The fantasy held by someone else

il_570xN.690115987_nnkdNever been good at receiving, prefer to give, in all things …

I gave you everything I had left, it wasn’t much, a persistent hole, had formed long ago and I was seeping out.

I look whole, but that’s just mythology. I may outwardly appear, to stand upright, but in truth I sag, even in wind.

If I had more I would have given it. You believed I did, as many before you did. I call that the capture of delusion, you see in me, what you want to see, not who is actually standing there.

And if I were a pirate, I’d have a wooden leg and a parrot. If I were a dragon, well hell, I’d be a dragon (and yes, I really want to be a dragon).

The doctor said I had a flabby heart, and still you believe me an angel. But angels play the lyre with taut string, not my kind of slack gut.

It didn’t really surprise me, at ten years, on the gym mats I recall my calves like moon cows, soft and milky, against tight sun-honed legs of my friends.

I remember when he took my blouse off and exclaimed; have you had children? A euphemism for losing the fight with gravity (even then, so long ago). Or standing on a chair, in the student dorm, to see orange peel running its fingers down my legs.

You never knew these things, you built an image of me from Ralph Lauren advertisements and The Blue Lagoon. You added my French ancestry and your own penchant for leather, making me an exotic bird I never was. Though if I had feathers, they would be tropical-coral.

It was addictive, to be seen through your lens, though I knew it faulty. Whom among us, does not want to be special and rarefied, if just once? And like an addict, I couldn’t wean myself far, from your camera, I didn’t want to go back to being, the flabby-hearted, plain- faced fish in the sea.

Try as I might, reality never lives up to the dream, or possession of desire. These are self-fed lures and we,  the hungry carp, falling for our own tricks, being pulled from our refuge of water, lain out, gasping on shore.

As we lose the ability to breathe, in this strange land, oh how we rue our former vanities, and wish for simple love., laced, hand over hand, without deception.

The trickery we employ, to appear just fleetingly different, running from our truth. as the stowaway is always found in the storm, hiding behind bottles of rum, drunk on themselves.

I confess, I’ve never known how to be loved for this husk, the multitude of ordinariness. True then, it is hard to be loved if we loathe ourselves, we who are giving, sometimes do so, because we are trying to give ourselves away. Scrub the history of us, remake the self, becoming for a day, the fantasy held, by someone else.

Wrung

I didn’t trust myself to hold on

when water breached and ice tore, sun burned, voices howled

when corridor echoed with the corrosion of a moment

elegantly stretched like garter made of guts, long and silent in worship

yet, there was no stone God to touch, lay our cheeks upon, in salvage, sweeten terror underfoot

nothing left to run together, keep us from the tear in our fabric, rescuing us afloat, over glacier, over sky, over each other and that blemish of life we call, survival

a call of the wild, a girl returning her party dress unworn, with dormant masks of fierce, loose in their bouquet

she’s tired now, of standing in doorways, blending in

she’s been leaning against herself so long, doves catch wind and pursing straight as falling sky mark the way

as a child may confidently point, before he is taught of error, a certitude of birth we lose, in continued correction

but what of the spirit? Wishing never to bend, as hazel makes a good switch and all sting redeems

what of the spring mad hare? Made jubilant despite his age, as pollen of the glory dusts his dance, does he unlearn?

those reprimanded, unwinding in backward spool, the yarn of time, loosens our punching collar and sore confine

pugilistic, we devolve to fetus and climb inside our charm. Wrung with the arms of tomorrow, the depth of spirit knows no ceasement

Once, twice, again, you cannot keep movement still, it begs for the last dance

choose then, remove your wild jig and join the machinists at their task to embroider the world, not with honesty but the pasty aftermath of souls behind glass, mouthing their marching song

or inherit the wind and best the exiled dream, misplacing sense in unchecked delight

There is no limit to what we are. Such is distance and teeming for years shaken, behind a well set trifle, awaiting the party-goer, cold on her white shelf

But touch once, and she’ll melt, with the longing of her frosting

Semblance

213274660_0a9586af47_oI can’t keep up with the rapidity of

Smart Phones and Bit-Fit Watches

so

I’m empty wristed and void of clutch

abandoning the world of technology and rush

hurtling without break down San Fransisco streets

 

remember the days when

we took summer vacation?

not fearful of boss or observing every text?

remember when

the phone did not ring late at night

unless it was about death

or

wake us at first light with impatient query

colleagues who

may get to work before you

stealing your slot before you knew what you lost

 

remember when

you ate a warm breakfast, read the paper

talked to your kids

stroked the dog

noticed the door needed a new paint job

revelled in the glory of Sunday mornings

not getting out

of a deep filled bed

arms and feet and legs

splayed

 

remember when

guilt

panic

and shame

anxiety with a twist of lime

in the gut

did not become

the drink du jour nor

were cocktails and dinner parties so rare

for now we walk among penitents who cannot abhor

excess

 

remember when

you had time for yourself?

it was not a surprise looking in the mirror

seeing how years had passed

how long it had been since you touched or were touched

lain in the bath with the lights off

 

now

you feel the rapid beat

of your heart beneath your sweat proof deodorized clothes

you feel the burn in your gut

of coffee on partially eaten stomach

you feel the rush

you feel the senselessness

and friends you have no time for

and family are strangers

and the dog that barks in the night

is you

crying out

 

muzzled and penned by day

you sit at your desk reading online about

why sitting too long will

kill

and how important it is

to make time

time? You say

what is time?

I know not how to capture it

but I can – if you ask

always tell you how to find

another minute to check

my digitized semblance

of life

Here be dragons

13244756_10201533221849886_2387985189239620483_nWhat did you want to be when you were grown up?

it is said you never forget

I know I wanted to be a dragon

but after that things grow foggy

there was never a goal

something structure is supposed to impose

let loose to grow weed-like in the wild

perhaps we were the last generation

to escape without our P’s and Q’s

permitted to cop out and climb slanted roof tops

where smoking stunted your growth and

lying watching clouds with coffee breath

was all the dream necessary

it would be nice to know

what I thought of the future

where I would be and how

if I did not learn a craft or create direction

from the figments of wide skies

what did I think would happen?

perhaps when you deny reality

it can go too far

you never pause the game

imagining it is just a matter of time

before other dragons come from the sky

and take you with them

We believe

Use your long words

describe the smell of memory

antiseptic

there in your transparent igloo

born to incubate

smoke before it’s legal on your mother’s habit

bequeath me the tendency

to live without need

from pockets we pull

the nurture the seed

sprouting in defiance

when everything else died of frost bite

against the ire of a late Winter storm

gusting itself into white rage

through the glass you see

yourself being re-made

in the eyes of old women whose wrinkles

make a universal puzzle

and the swell of hills

cast over with violet

a heaven of sorts in setting light

glazing countertops

for foot prints of unseen beast

leading off into nearby copse

could we will ourselves

another go around?

stepping backward into

infancy, chewing the umbilical

surrounded by potential like

a wet firework strains to explode

would it be any different?

your hands, molding my shape

DNA

the type of pasta eaten

over Lake Como the day

of conception

holy was the love that bore the wish

lost in steepled weather vein

glistening against straining light

a mockery of control

just out of reach

there she is

eighty years from now and

just re-born

in unfurled leaves and first sprouting

green a forbidden thing

among the white ushers and

dark flitting ponderable

marveling we can be conscious

of ourselves and of nothing more

than a stream aching to unfreeze

creep closer to living

inch by inch

two warm bodies without a thing between them

aside the shame of knowing

we live both futile and richly

worming our way into the meat

and tender bruise of absolving

those things we believe we need

Except smell

I did not speak your language

until I learned in the dust of play

communicating with shapes and funny faces

then I understood more until

giving away who I was 

I embraced your world

step by step accents relent

we pawn our histories

to fit in better like the crayon

is never quite the right hue

coughing scarlet consumptive 

we want to be unseen unnoticed

to fly at night when all are sleeping

do not point us out in a crowd

or remind us of who we once were

the immigration of battleworn hearts

denies who we were before we marooned ourselves

in other tongues, other culture

they say you never forget your childhood

what do they know? sitting in the same

room as when they were knee high

the truth is you forget almost anything

except smell

and when you come to hold me close

you ask me why do you cry?

and the cumin of your hair is

something I can never explain

except with hands making

feelings out of air

The undead heart

b7e9260585815d324f4850ebd699eaf3In my head

there’s a record on a turn table glossy and black

when it gets to certain grooves I recognize the play of needle over vinyl and each crackle is a familiar passage through well-worn emotion

I turn everything on to create loudness

to expunge what I hear by drowning out

the washing machine, the dish washer, the blender, the coffee grinder, the lawn mower, the radio, the alarm clock, the hair dryer

I run the bath, I run the shower, I run the sprinkler, I run the garbage disposal, I run away from the song

It has one word going round and round

one face, one memory, two memories, a thousand

a wrist with a silver bracelet on, flung in sleep against burgundy sheet

every time you brushed the hair away from my eye, every squeeze of our fingers captured, every kiss, every smile, every year I see the wave of loss it is not so far beyond turbulence

today the clouds will not clear, I get in the car, I tune to the loudest song, I scream as I drive, years burning my eyes, straining to see through my own download

If I had a name for it that name would be wreckage, ruin, destruction, destroyed, unplug  me, burn it out, scold,  defeat, disintegrate, desolate, muted, drowning and burning at once

I would be a legion of black horses sweating sorrow

I would be a night never turning into tomorrow

I would be a shroud worse than death for the one glimmer

that hurts the worst and makes you hold your breath ever deeper

a chain, a spike, a hammer, a knife

and all I felt was love

and all I wanted was you

and all I am is nothing

It plays round and round

like two hands cupping sound

no amount of running or noise can disturb

the undead heart