For you are

the-guest-bedroom-art-of-sappho-canvas-print

In simmering evening glow

beheld in jewel

moon, its pearlescent oval

hushes barking day

quiet.

For you are

held in my long hand

a heart engraved

rapture slavishly wound

about my making

as roses grow

thick in fragrance

nearer their petals

touch.

For you are

a sound etched in dark

slung over time, carried far

played years later

still we hear

the raw crocus

of your emergence

from stillness.

In unfolded stymen

this pollen we bequeath

each other

wordlessly with

oiled grace

are songs

unsung by

felted lovers.

For you are

my undoing

this life rented out

if you, indigo bird

solace in sweet brine

did not exist

nothing bearable

should survive.

In the marbled cave of our

entreaty, we

pour together till

stiff with purpose

a stalagmite to

behold the

ambering of

our union.

For you are

without comparison

touching that center

blazing and forgotten

sweeping landscape where

birds fill low trees with

their heavy cries

I catch my own voice

beneath your

urging form, we

merge together

softness a dream

to float upon.

In all the days spent

making sense of emptiness

the curve of your jaw

meeting high cheeks

eyes darker than ink

nothing replaced this

urgency to never

leave your side.

For you are

tasted between

consuming sweetness

against

the mellow fruiting

of

my

only

love.

Then, now eternal and beyond

When is the sentence? When the rule?

Is love only for the young? Passion denied after certain decade?

Does lying in the afternoon, tangled in our creased movement, somehow cease at certain juncture?

Removed and lost, replaced by sensible conversation and larger lunches?

No sag permitted? Desire given a codeword only known to the young?

Do ladies of a certain age still splinter into starlight and bursting, hold the rapture like a songbird?

I have seen wrinkled, grey women with pendulous breasts and spongy thighs

Take the best of a young man’s drawn in breath

With just one measured glance and turn of disobedient foot

Their steel hair aflame, the catapult of their sex burning on their jaunty lips curled in conquest

Surely there is no air left in the room

Surely he cares nothing of their scars and marks of life when standing over him

She is all woman

Full and robust like the wine he dares not serve for saving

She has no need of games or manifest

Hers is not a youthful, flighty, thinning regard

He will not love her for the firmness of her bosom nor quietly praise her convulsing hips

Instead, together they will turn ripe fruit to drink

And laughing, pour the marrow of meaning one from the other, sharing mouthfuls

A united confidence (we will both die one day)

A mutual understanding (but oh what fun we shall have till then!)

I see them

No longer shackled to status quo nor bound to social convention

Free as their clothes billow in the fulment of a second era

The one Jung promised held insight and yes

Abundance of desire, for we have laid down our vanity and gathered our applause

Lost in his ardent kiss and the meeting of them, drawn as one

Holding up the world and each other with humor and plucked string

Her smile reminds him of being twenty and then, not at all

Glad for his years and the sensation of her over him like a night time rose

Her perfume is from every corner, her touch a slow syrup poured in time to symphony

He is captivated by the folds her mouth makes

Eating pasta by firelight, cross-legged in mirth

She is at once the girl and the crone but most of all she is woman

Enfolding him inside herself like a conch with many windings

Her life can be told from the lines on her neck

There is the stillborn, there the hungry child pulling at her sore nipple, there the stretch of life roaming her stomach in silver marks

She smells like damsons picked late in the season

A little wild

He can lay himself down next to her and tell her his fears and she will listen

As she has walked this long on the same well worn road

Sometimes dancing, sometimes searching, always witness

He can dream whilst he rides inside of her without rebuke

She will submerge them both in her intuition till moon goes beneath cloud, silvery and wrapped in insight

When she cries out, he will bend to her need with the lesson of years and instrument

Not a young man with muscled body and formless brain

But a partner able to pleasure her with the depth he has finally sewn

Her eyes may wake red and tired but her laugh is deep and echoes throughout his day like ticker tape

Reminding him he has surely found at long last, a mate

And she, a friend, in this abyss of living, a hand

To clasp and be tugged back to life time and again

For theirs is more alive now than fifty years since

Running, slow and surely, after the dying brand of fire

Eclipsing the sunset with its incandescent glow

Her face enfused with light and he

Crying without knowing why, whispers in jagged pieces

His symphony of love

Then, now, eternal and beyond.

If I could give my younger self any advice it would be to say fuck off more often.” Helen Mirren.

Splinter

8.Boubat.-Portugal_-1956There is a thin slice of glass in my foot

I cannot see it

but I know it’s there

at night when

the fan whirls like a dervish overhead

and I play the xylophone between my legs

a storm blows in

like a warning and a representation

of everything felt and bottled up

old trees hold on, their roots tested

by the metal of young wind hurling

all order into chaos

we stand in our night-clothes

looking over fences

at destruction

she has a white line the length of her stomach

he has a scar hidden in his throat

mine is without and within like

a snake who cannot decide

which part to digest first

we three are the wounded lovers

with our perpetual thirst for

promises to ring true

devotion to stay where it was first placed

by the window in a jar of water

to bloom and scent the pulse of night

but such things rarely obey

wont of humans without power

the storm and her threading fingers

lays waste to our belief we control

even the tiniest morsel of this crochet world

…(l)…

when he married her

he thought she would obey

the tick tock of her laboring heart

stay steadfast by his side in the howling wind

but she was a maelstrom of her own

making

soon the wedge in their marital bed

was a dry river without resurrection

…(ll)…

she wanted

her husband to save her

when the doctor said C.A.N.C.E.R. and she turned

to the eyes of her children and they

looked away in painted terror

but he only knew how to put out fires

not the slow melt of all safe things she had

taken for granted 33 years

so they diverged

like a split oak touched by

lightning will remain

upright yet stranger to its mate

…(lll)…

and she was the string

between the wounded male and female

her own heart hollowed out

murmuring at night like a singleton

by the small hands of trust and promises

unkept

it was as her grandmother said

a poor thing to imagine humans

to remain steadfast

after all, the storm blew everything

even our very best intentions

whipping them into the air

until they were fragments of themselves

transformed what we knew

what we were familiar with

lending no safe harbor

for the weakened need to have surety

the only thing keeping them

upright

was their conjoined pain

a frayed ribbon between three houses

in the wildfire dead of night

where even

creatures who prefer darkness

stayed in their nests

for it was only then, in the tempest

they felt themselves capable

of surviving another moment

only then

shouting their grief into four pursing winds

writing pain along the narrow margins

of life and death

they lived another day

and on that day

wrecked and emptied

found succor in the equal fall of others

bending to pick up the debris of

their former selves

rent into splintered pieces

unrecognizable and sharp to the touch

The look in their eyes

Walking around, you don’t even need to convince yourself you’re all right

such is the layer upon layer, you don’t even see, until it creeps up and then

blocking out the sun, darkness invades sight and everything is at once, changed.

I am standing beneath awning, the sun is nearly out, it’s a windy day and the chimes in the back garden keep a steady sound

as I have always been, I am attached but not part of, another dynamic, a family with their own ways of doing things

I bend to learn and listen, I smile when expected, at times I think I feel comfortable with my toes dipped in

he has sorrow etched on his face though he is still young, his eyes betray him and a slight quiver in his mouth when

she clearly doesn’t care

I want to ask her, what happened to cause the rift, but everything is fragile and tenuous as if we are tiptoeing around

a sleeping giant

since childhood I learned to pick up on what to avoid and what to leave untouched, the manners of an outsider

accutely atuned to other people’s needs and emotions

not quite an empath, I can tell when they need time alone, if I should make myself scarce

and all at once I recall, aged eight or so, doing just the same, sitting on a cold flight of stairs for many hours

picking at my shoe laces, tying and untying them, making stories with crumbs and the wrinkles in my joints

hearing their argument echo through the thin door

I am good at placating, massaging egos, staying invisible when necessary and picking up the pieces afterward

her eyes are flashing, she puts on a pair of high heals and I can tell what she is thinking though she would never say

she wants to run and pack a bag and leave and find someone else, anyone else

and his need is as palpable as paint vapor, she is strangled by it and her own indifference

I want to ask; You loved each other once, where did it start to fall apart?

do you think they’d even remember now? Unlikely. Too many years building walls

to keep each other out, they forget in their effort, the beginning of them and how

happy they looked in that photo.

I want to tell her, you have everything you need here, I can see it in his movement, it is as if he acts out the ache he feels

I want to tell him, if it’s going to be this way forever, pack a bag, leave before your heart turns to dust

I want to save them and mend them, and make it right

for the sake of the child whose toys we pick up and put neatly away, as if that

will save anything, or stop him from one day remembering

the look in their eyes

When

You used to cover your mouth and blush

At my ability to be frank and scathingly honest

It was not a quality and you were not an admirer

Yours was the shamefacedness I didn’t feel

Whilst you, were a well of loneliness

A secret not to be discovered.

When did I become

A crass innuendo girl?

The kind I’d be ashamed of

Was it the first time you turned away?

Or removed my seeking hand?

Or the fiftieth?

Against the unknown world

They move together like quicksilver

indisipherable in pursuit

there is such a love in his eyes

her smooth hands cup his mouth

drinking the words he would gush

if they were not pressed tightly, one to the other

locked in an embrace

that gives life

quickening as signature is fluid

when she finds out, she imagines telling her daughter twenty years hence

the story of her conception;

your father and I loved you very much

we lay down by the fireplace, he took me in his arms

from this passion you were forged into life

clay breathed upon, bearing breath and soul

you were wanted, even before you chose

to fill us with yourself

my stomach grew and grew until

it was a tight drum on which to paint

the symbols of your dream

**

He moved in her, his eyes tightly shut

he thought of other women, he thought of touching himself

in the office toilet at lunch with folded magazine

and why such things happened when he had all he could ever want

here in his arms, still he betrayed with desires, ill-tuned to eternal love

when she grew fat and round he did not

wish to hold her quite so tightly, or touch her hot flushed pressing flesh

he thought of others, he got up early, and jogged his frustration into sweat

**

Don’t worry the doctor smiled, with a savage wink

as she labored and her face grew red and her hands sought his

and he wanted to run from the room and shove well fed nurse

against the wall and pour his horror of birth and future into her lipsticked sighs

don’t worry the doctor smiled, with a savage wink

i’m going to sew her up even tighter, it will be like

Christmas day when you unwrap her again

the quintisential “husband’s stitch”

and over his starched cloak and gown, the doctors grey eyebrows

went up and down and he, who was lost

lurched and threw up at the violence and the shame

of men and of women and of life and death, inequality and lust

**

then his daughter was born

fat and round and squalling loudly

if he could have interpreted those words, he felt they spoke to him a repromand

for his cowardice and his fears, imagining being a father

of growing up and settling down, of love and impossible challenges and joys

he saw his wife’s face, wet with sweat and hair plastered down

he felt more than he had ever felt, the emptiness of the past replaced

no longing to empty himself in the coldness of pornography as she slept

a lifetime from the day he first took her to bed and

stripped her of choice with impregnated seed

and now he knew

the fear of men is the strength of women

his daughter fixed him with swollen red eyes

watching him with a stearness that seemed to say

you can do this, you got this, you are not your worst thought

you can be who you want to be, you can be my father, you can love these women

you can direct our future, reshaping mountains

or fall into the arms of least resistance, worship the emptiness of hollow gestures

she seemed to be saying with her tiny fists and pursed lips

turn away from your shallow sport, take this road with us

he who once was weak, grew with love

those things that once were, no more

his resilience, their armor

against the unknown world

Worshipping without words

A lovely girl

when she smiles it is like the world is rent and light bursts through

she takes my breath away with her thin, flickered wrists and how the tip of her tongue is used as signal

for her mood

no ink permanent enough to score

her mark upon my soul

like first cherry blossom, fragile in the cold, endures

a hundred lifetimes could pass and wouldn’t be sufficient

to show the depth of my attachment to her

two skaters on frozen lake, cutting eights over each other’s traversed shapes

I finish where she starts and begin at her end, to each the other, ascending like fireworks in indigo wash

when I hold her preciously against myself and hear the softness of time pushing past

a pain seizes my courage, to imagine myself without her is impossible

lift my chin, you’ll see her in my eyes, her reflection, her electric movement

it is said, do not rely upon another, for you will bear their loss

I do not know how to separate myself, we are woven, we are of the same material

cut with the same scissors and fashioned into human cloth

they left a part connected, a tug I feel when she is far

like a fistful of light, she once burned so bright I saw only her outline

if she was free, she’d still slip away, into the night just before herald of day

leaving her perfume and perfect sigh, she’d gleam, in midsummer eve

lingering through opened windows and flung hands taunting, the day to never end

she is a girl with eyes from the ocean, there are invisible lines leading me back

to her slim clavical and the motion of her sleeping dance

she wakens me in a dream, I am not able to feel deeply

without her muse, she has the gentle spirit and I am fired to chase her

through bluebells, and thin white trees, cupping their hands of green

worshipping without words