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

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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

Strike me out

cd1818a8dcd999d8c2ed6e6c7cabd01bStrike a match in the dark

hear sulphur guiding your eye to flame

illumination takes many forms

one is that of retrospect

do not repeat do not repeat

the error of your heart

I saw your blisters I saw your callouses

I saw myself underneath the train

as it bit into who I was before I began

following empty tracks

it was always going to happen

I wrote the play before the players were born

they inherit their roles as if I were

the man in the sky and they my pawn

but it was not so

I was only a woman lost in herself

and you were just people who couldn’t see

far ahead

I watched you before you knew

the steps you would take

leading to my end

how you were born to strike me out

leaving nothing but the smell of

something cold

you can become strangers with the

closest person in the world

watching them as they step into their part

you always knew they’d take that route

perhaps you paved the way

perhaps you died before you could taste

the ash of their betrayal

Within the woods

thYou lost your grip on reality around the same time

my own dalliance with death disturbed the rafters

my shoulders of a man, yours of a sparrow

we danced around amber whiskey bottles

setting fire to tarmac

lifting our skirts before silver ash enveloped us

but maybe I didn’t clean my feet well enough

you began to tremble in the morning

and I found I could not move

it was as if a deer had been startled

standing quite still in dried grass

he was frozen in situ

for a time I wanted to break out

resume merriment and three penny carnival

until the feeling of falling inside

behind the bones of your face

where all emotion blanches and traces

secrets and lies

became my norm

I did not know anymore

how to stir cocktails of polite acquaintance

or make small talk trace like sleepy snails

I did not know anymore

what became of my social graces

pinned and folded beneath me like taffeta

it gave me comfort to

lose my art of conversation

the yawning maw of fraternization

I listened to words and they did not

beckon me come closer

I felt as strange as the outdoor moth

who half wishes he did not

slap against warm glass trying to

eat the light

for it is not you he seeks

but the burn and blitz of some fantastic

singeing his wings in tattoo

and I too

had always yearned for that feeling

never discovered among the feeding troughs

of social intercourse

and once or twice I left

a full and heaving party

to lift my legs for a stranger in

cramped confine

because the hard bang and knock of his

emptying wood was

more honest than all the winks and nods

whispering behind my back

words

I no longer needed to use

only three ever necessary

I love you

though now you are smudged out

by burn of cinders staining toes

gone as cold as foggy morning

selecting mute I retraced my arc

pushed myself back beneath my bones

within the temple

within the woods

where the deer finally moved

from her camouflage and

sprinted light as powder

into converging dark

Sound

img_3797-2Solitude does not take so very long

before undoing our need for sound

or the beating on tin roof

of rain and words and meaning too

as she lay beneath persistent thrum

seeing no language necessary or brave enough

to furnish her with sufficient description

how does the rain tell tin or some other fabric

the lingua of a heart?

or perhaps a thin line of wire

connecting and disconnecting thought

in fragile measure

how does it relate? That old scarred ache

persisting beyond the tongue?

into a realm where words cannot

fathom the depths of hurt enough

no

there are times when silence and that

open mouth pressed against knuckle

diving into foam, in brief deafening wail

of nature lashing herself with hues of red

as if it rained color instead of remorse

she tried to take your hand though wet

lost grip and slipped before gained

swallowed up against sliding words

we no more

have left

they are ushered to quiet places within

the fragility of our hang

Ariel do you mark this weathered vane?

before it slips willingly beyond us

severing source

in shadowed formation

sea birds break their sleep

with first glimpse of

dawn

 

Dowry

surrealist_art_by_ray_caesar_5There were no shotguns

no contraception necessary

the sterile

marriage was secret

rushed through with hands in front of mouths

to spare the blush of court-house staff

unaccustomed to women without men

they looked down as if crestfallen

it was fortunate I had not enough time to purchase

a dress

for it had always been my desire

to marry barefoot with knives in my hair

carrying your child to the altar

squirming in my belly

this didn’t come to pass

squinting down lashed road

I see where I dropped myself

in the desert without my shoes

like old coinage without power of purchase

I watched the purple sky

reduce in cold boil

until amber filled horizon

night creatures stirred without sight

I didn’t have a way back

I didn’t have a way forward

this was my dowry

the sand blowing without mercy

scratching at the door

The bottle

the-birds-cage-avihai-cohenFar away

or near

a roar

is heard

and not

answered

for after a while

what can you say?

it is the way of pain

to rage in quiet ire

with tongue numb of speech

most do not hear

most walk on

thinking of themselves

and the roar

tries to find

the sea

within

the bottle