Stigmata

 

093c3ac60161fdab3e0a048f7e5ccf6cThe day they pricked paint into her back

permanent and violet

she grew a lotus mandala

lending a little stigmata wisdom

to the thin bones of her grow

for she didn’t know that year

whether to follow sharp train tracks and disappear

into the woods not to be discovered

or walk into winter blizzard

feeling her way through to

imposing red bricked hospital

sagging against its frame like

an auburn flame caught in globe

shaken from foothold

placing her wet gloves on chaffing radiator

tell the patient man behind his mahogany desk

littered with prescriptives for disease of the mind

I am not well I am not well I am not well

you must take me from my freedom and tie me up

in a satin bow atop a new gift of hope

somewhere I cannot think or pass

in my mouth the marble and coinage

of my jailer

 

if she had let herself fall then

with his regard whiskering her lament

and plummet like a fire consumed comet

for the first time without control just

the ember of her flaming skirt searing

a series of interrupted tap dances

spanning shortened  life

in the direction of diminishing

sticky mouthfuls of sweet jam taken in dark

tap tap tap tap

braille, wittled cane, white and wooden

hers was the fear of generations

her grandmother, her grandfather

laid to rest in sweet meadow of

Mont-Ventoux, beyond lavender fields

where their metallurgic table of elements

could rest from unquenched desire to end

take your medicine

euthanize the unrest

let the sleep of the dead

usher silence in prayer robe

when he died

holding his dry paintbrush

when she died

clutching her wet scripture

when their loss mixed in formula

writing her DNA prophecy

she learned to lace up her unease

absenting breath needing not to breathe

not today doctor

not ever

these houses for the poor of heart

medicated, inviscerated, shuffle in

do not come out

 

she left her gloves on the radiator

followed her tracks back through virgin snow

easier when you cannot really see where you go

somehow standing amidst the roar

sea on dry land, oceans in desert flowers

it might take defying your legacy to survive

it might take not wishing to be the next pin to escape

bowled over by shared cross-stitched disease

even the empty

even the weak

 

she got a tattoo of a lotus

on the small of her back

where men had whispered hot and slow

you are slender like a branch

I want to bend you in two as green willow

will not snap

supple in bow, play me never

this girl has forged her symphony war

out of rising in morning, ready to give up

she survived percolating tendency

and the ones who thought her lean

pressing her against shiny coffee tables

unbuckling their murmuring distaste

for respect

thinking her a orfice, a receptacle, alabaster secret

and not a girl capable of swallowing fire

 

they did not believe in signs and wonders

nor warriors who wear no armor

she stands in her diluted ink

she is the beginning, the circular, the ending

of ways we are forced to be

a stain lies on her skin

it feels like an angels imprint

lending courage for the quiet

of soul, who gathers the leftovers

surviving beyond her welt

she is merciful to the meek

as a storm gathering in force, swells against

shore, building momentum

turning the raw belly of sky

monochrome

This is all I want

4f593252ef32b7830e6dd93df6f585acThis is all I want

I want to separate you from the lie

divide the rotten from edible

keep the true half

this is all I want

I want to deny and I want to rewind

to the place you first made

me feel

there underneath the lemon tree

with tin ornaments chiming

like informal instruments of hurt

waiting for master

there as sun dappled river water

turning brown to copper

you crushed my fingers together

knotted my heart within yours

there in that sharp aspect of honesty

dissolving fear

you could not have lied then

looking at me with your onyx eyes

hiding nothing

there when I opened my chest

everything waiting within the wings

poured into you

we mixed ourselves in each other

blood, tar, tears, bruises and wishes

changing color, swapping features

indistinguishable in rebirth

I could no more tell you where I ended

and you began to exist

twins of sorrow, born to feel everything

finding each other the only salve

when it got too much you would

grip me tightly and we’d see

the reflection of us in the water

shaking with light and misunderstanding

as if time could not contain

all that we felt

 

this is all I want

for you to say you were not

a figment of my imagination

a missing part of stepping stone

to the other side where you stood

waving and urging me on

cross over

here I am

I promise

I will never leave

I hear your voice low and

reedy, carried by wind down stream

my socks are wet

my hands tremble

I reach for you

grabbing chalky air, dry with claim

where you were once whole and certain

now dark water is still as glass

I see myself reflected alone

emptied of promise

There you are

15094981_1170125696413806_5262358430950260450_n

about one hundred years ago

or three years

or just yesterday

I lay in your bed

smelling the indent and the roll

of your dream life when I am not

trying to look through your eyes

into your soul

About one hundred years ago

or three years

or just yesterday

I stood over your bed

stripping the sheets

smelling where you lived and breathed

all those nights and days

we should have been making memories

now folded away

About one hundred years ago

or three years

or just yesterday

I smoothed the mattress clear

of the weight you inhabited and

little traces curled here and there

persisting to remind me

of the way the moon lit

your sleeping face

now you will always have your eyes closed

maybe now you can see

the shapes of angels

watching over you until

it is my turn and I come to find

if you have been waiting all this time

a year, a month, a day

one hour is too long

without looking into your eyes

to see what I love reflecting back

like dark diamonds capturing stars

will wink out

and there you are

For I feel

080-francoise-dorleac-theredlistTremulous ghosts must stand in patent shoes around me

for I feel their hands on my shoulders tugging at my seams

I who do not cry

weep openly with sorrow

imagining is often harder than

bearing reality

I think of when he will not stand discontented

staring out at flocking birds

I think of the time I found a starling chick

lying cold on the ground

wondering at the bitter sky

why didn’t you give them a chance?

why did you let me stay instead?

discontent

the child who knew the flavor of strawberry milkshakes

was an artifice

lies from adults, how many more?

behind closed doors and screens

I met a poet an old lady who

wrote like she was on fire

when she didn’t write for a time

I knew she had died

again I railed

why take her? why not me?

I stand disillusioned and empty

she who played castanets and sang

she who had wind-chimes and wrinkles in

her vowels

she had so far to go

I do not

I am here at the fulcrum

waiting my turn at the scythe

it strikes me living doesn’t suit

those who feel everything

like a pretty shoe

isn’t practical for walking

you can admire its form

but it will not hold you up

I ache in ways I cannot give a color

or adverb

it is a disturbance of the soul

the card reader told

you have a dark shadow on your back

she has her hands around your throat

until she dies you will wish for your own death

or you could start drinking again

that might work

sitting at the kitchen table at night

rinsing grief from my palms

strange dark sounds comforting crushing hurt

I examine the bones of my face

they feel as if they should have come unglued

reformed into a mask of ache

outside neighbors children are awake

eager for day to start

a lone dog barks at the moon

because it disturbs the pattern of his knowing

it has been long since I dreamed

when I dream I have hope

hope which is always the most painful place to go

when returning to zero you see the futility

of setting sail just as storms are predicted

you were a hurricane I let whip me up

lent me hope

now I am a milkshake that does not

resemble real strawberries

I am sweet enough for take-out

but nobody knows the sadness behind

a glass that looks full and is not

just residue remains

sticking to the sides

I am holding on

trying not to cry

at the nature of things

some known

some found afterward in epitaph

my grandmother’s hand was

blotchy and purple

still I looked away believing her well

you see

I want to believe in fairy-tales

and ever after

but I confess

it is hard when we are surrounded

by lies in

illuminated

jars

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

 

Borderline shore

new9I am not yet indifferent to you

but when that day comes

and it will

the memory will not touch me

or cause disquiet

it will be as if you had never existed

a fracture in a line

disorder in our palm

all the things we thought precious

went up in the fire

you lit

what did you expect?

dead people don’t attend funerals

I left behind your ash and your cane

I stayed the part of me that had been driven mad

by your waxing and your wane

she can retrieve the broken parts and throw them on the pyre

I want no more of it

your number is lost

your address a fog

I cannot even imagine what I ever saw

in the dogged creases of you

perhaps I had long-lost

my reasons for why it was you

I held on as an addict does with nothing better to do

slurping lines with pinched nostril and crossed fingers

but now it seems anything is better

than another misfit lock and key

too long I spent underground in your echo

tortured by your guilt and misery

I wondered

can I advance?

without the shackles and weight of years

can I undo the harm you piecemeal? or will I remain

a prisoner?

rotting behind your indifference

then I recalled

how you made me feel I was wrong

not to be beside myself with glee

as you and your weak blend of madness seemed

surfing your mercury with divination rod

I had thought this was true but it was another of your lies

you are the saddest person I know

I do not need to be happy all the time

to enjoy the sun rise

I was never caustic liquor

I ran a little lighter

didn’t need to own the world

to feel a tinge of pleasure

it is my way and now you cannot condemn me

as every day you stuck another splinter between my ribs

sealing me in boxes, sending me on my way

I hadn’t known you were fond of sticking pins in dolls

until they woke me from sleep and I took them out

each hole you made needed repair and some of me

will always find it hard to float without leaking

but anything is better than sharing time with a captain

piloting doomed vessel, short-sight rubbed raw

seeking ruin against borderline shore

Coupe

thAu moment de démêler mes cheveux

the day you cut yourself

you have to hurt

lose

some trace of past

much beloved

forming solace

the retreat within

only then, not even then

take one shuffled step forward

you are not yourself anymore

you are the one you became

when they ate your heart

licked the plate clean

no need to wash

 

it’s not true

you stay the same afterward

you do not

you are extinguished

half reborn

each time or only once

harder

a shell of former self

patting scars down

like fur

refusing to smooth

 

when I laid my head

on your lap

my hair spilled across your knees

down to the floor

just as my tears now

will fill me with the strength

to cut out the part of me

holding you

it is nearly all of my sum

 

so necessarily

I will start as nothing

build slowly into an approximation

something will be sacrificed

something will be lost

never to return

it is the part of me that could trust

it is the rope of my devourment

 

I will be shorn

of the muscles of my heart

for you took everything

leaving only

a pair of scissors

glinting on tabletop

if I stretch out

I can reach

their

steel