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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For what they did yet not know

140829195756-22-women-in-comedy-restricted-horizontal-large-galleryYou thought it was bad when

you got your first zit

and the unblemished skin of your youth

erupted like Everest

you thought it was bad when

you got your first stretch-mark

and the smooth thighs and breasts of your growth

betrayed the camouflage

you thought it was bad when

you got your first scar

a thin line of emptiness which they said

the bikini would hide

you thought it was bad when

you sagged and you spun with weight loss and gain

in the span of twelve fevered months

and then it seemed

unimportant

because those scars

the immature loss of vanity and adulation

crying over not fitting into yourself

the lament of sudden change

was less than the stubborn plant of your feet

in survival

and you went to your neighbor

who was missing a breast

both of you shared

the disjointed humor of pain

and you went to your preacher

who had lost his testicle

he joked about being single

and you went to your park

saw women with brain tumors cut out

walking their high energy dogs

and you saw

this silly game of magazines and perfection

of I will stay 20 and flawless forever

of men who would leave when you get cut up and bleed

how it is but part of a bigger picture

that of sweat and guts and fear

and surviving through gritted teeth

even if he left because you were no longer perky and up for it

because you threw up at midnight instead of

giving him head

even if the girl at work could wear heels and short skirts

and you hid your swollen stomach behind swaths of cotton

or couldn’t get out of your bed

because then … just as everything seemed

to be wrinkling and disintegrating and rebuilding

into something unfamiliar and changed and partially incomplete

another man with light in his eyes

who didn’t care about such things

smiled at you as you walked beneath the yawning trees

because your medication said

avoid direct sunlight

and he said

I have the same problem which makes it hard living here doesn’t it?

and you talked and he smiled

and said

I like the way your eyes twinkle

and you said

I get that from my grandmother

even when she was eighty-five she was

proposed to by farmers who thought

she looked like a kind of Katherine Hepburn

and he said

I can see that

red

would you like to meet here tomorrow again?

and you saw the way the world really worked

underneath the adverts for boob jobs and butt lifts

and reality tv that’s nothing of the sort

his hand brushed yours and you saw

sunspots on both

it made you laugh

a little like a hiccuping hyena

and he laughed too

the survivors

beneath the canopy of life

snorting like five-year olds

as skinny joggers with air-brush tans ran past

with sad empty looks

for what they did not

yet know

A gilded age

The giant cicada makes a sound

my neighbor thought was a whistle

or a strange faceless bird

we imagined a long white beak

and thick black feathers

but it was the hidden molten cicada

and he is quite verbal

pursing a haunting music

as my cat refuses to eat his food again

unsure, is it his teeth? Or his desire

to slow down and curl up

once and for all?

I don’t guess their motivation

why the cicada sings

why I find the sound mournful

echoing my own inner feelings

as if I were writing out on clouds

exactly what was inside me

why the cat persists in refusing

my best efforts to keep him alive

whether it is right to let something you love

die even as

you think you can keep it

if the right time ever

exists to say goodbye

and why I don’t tend the greenhouse more often

as I put so much effort into

growing the little seedlings

do I prefer the solidity of well lived things

over youth?

thinking back to my own empty glass

and sallow bedsheets and

neglectful lovers

the wan asp of being twenty

like heirogliphs on walls

staring for eternity

not ageing, nor real

a gilded age

passing to creped hands in sunlight

and furrows from thinking too much

whether this skirt is a little tight

these shoes too high

the longing to be running barefoot

through high grass again, mindless

of any consideration

nothing around my neck

but wilted perfumed summer flowers

not the strain of trying to make

a life out of dry earth

with tears of disappointment

when all around seem so

tucked into their gentle cycles

and you are rogue

wanting to be among the branches

with the murmured cicada

listen to the call

much like the imploring whistle of a train

as it would steam slowly into town

every night at midnight

you would reach for me

and nothing else would hurt

Than any human hands

Many will say

Love cures all

Those without it

Suppose

Once possessed

No grief and loneliness

I would tell them

Even with love

The hole in the world can be felt

And standing in your life

You may still feel as alone

As when you were single

There is no magic pill

Only the kind of sadness

That is not situational

But sits on the perch of the happiest days

Like a drab trailing cloud

Raining when you should be smiling

And the cult of happiness

Declares you a failure

And the cult of love says

Why wasn’t I enough?

And the insistence of mindfulness and karma and gratefulness and other totems

Banish your bad self

To the hinterlands

Where supposed beasts lurk

In the rolling gloom

And you are there talking to your therapist

Minding your manners and saying nothing

Of the deep scratch underneath your skin

Or how you came to be

A changeling

Who unwaged by the ambelical

Left the desolate nest

And found more succor in the sad glass eyes of a stuffed toy

Than any human hands

Many will say

Love cures all

And you saw the old lady in her wheelchair

Recognize you as herself

Fifty years hence

Though you would not wish

To inherit her absences

Growing like an orange

Without sun

Will therefore capture

No taste

Planting

Once

the lean arms of a willow

wrapped around my belief

nothing was going to change

there would always be

this moment

where your eyes took me in

hungry and unapologetic

and I

like most who are young and eternal

watched myself on film

blinking against bright sun

unaware of shadows