Pretending to stand still

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The doctor said

straighten your shoulders

your back is becoming curved

I told him

that may not be possible

time permitting

I have a train to catch

I need to walk on all fours

and pretend to be a lion

he wrote me a script

for fierceness

I handed it in to the pharmacist

who clicked her tongue and

rolled her eyes

a little like a deer who is trying

to look side ways at

approaching foe

whilst pretending to

stand still

 

Seven years


Seven years I let myself formulate excuses

not to return

and on the eighth

guilt had made her way into my closed heart

laying a light ribbon on the frayed part

 

going back was like being reborn

as yourself and not yourself at all

I walked familiar streets, spoke similar words

accent hardly altered

as if no time had passed

and so they said

you look exactly the same

though they were changed and I were changed

all altered irrevocably with time worn stain

as if glass no longer could be relied upon

to give accurately our real prescription

even friends were foreign handed

or I no longer of that land

left behind when things were too sad

I sealed the bottle and set adrift

seven years of absence builds

many barnacles to anyone’s vision

when the damned see the truth

the liars remove their seaweed masks

curtsy finely and pronounce

we did our part

exit stage left

standing on warm boards of the theater of pretend

where dance and energy has dissipated

into cloven wings

hear me now

shadows of my past

the girl with the big smile

her perfect fine figured mouth

and matching dragon tooth skirt

as if we dressed together in the darkness

of one another

except she is a mother and

I have a cut-out womb ebbing in formaldyade

don’t worry I feel no pain now

some of us are bearly hanging on

what good would a child of weakness

bring the sorrow further inland?

I miss her

like I write letters in wax to myself

those over easy days we knew who we were

or felt … some approximation of reality

good enough for then

when she looked at me

unequal teeth smiling and needing

how did the splinter drive that deeply?

wedge like sword between this time and before?

we know nothing of the other

as a blue bottle

cast on green and yellow water

will wait

seven years

to reach shore

when I climbed out and dusted myself off

she was gone

her footprints erased from the sand

nobody recognized me

only the echoes of an angry sea

calling me back to exile

whispering

you do not belong here 

and the white cliffs looked relieved

when I flew overhead

my heart aching with loss

the cheer of relief

like a season

changing from golden red to

brown

Generation

many-generations-1-e1460333953696Does the song bird know?

outlined in whiskered light

casting shadow against

bare branches

does the deer with her liquid eyes?

a swath of red touching white fields

sometimes think on this marvel

reducing and turning

as ancestral dough left, will rise

for children who grow on their vine

like the bean and heirloom aubergine

turning from light to dark

all is circular

even the silver wisp of dawn

calling angels from their sleep

listen carefully as first the world

unfurls her sticky catkin

and limber flees into legacy sky

ask not why this movement

so measured like firing glass

so it reflects both future and past

in echo and mirrored song

first you are born

then you become

stars looking down

upon those left

carrying the flame

Figure eight

Acrobat dancer attached to a hot air balloon dancing through the sky at Festival Number 6 in Portmeirion WalesIt is true

the feel of grit

kissing skin

skinning shins

learning mistakes

through trial

those forbidden sins

made real behind school wall

where youthful fumble with

strange hooks and buttons to release

their wail against the world

they know not yet

the best comes when

all foible and tinsel is left

to keep night awake

whilst we slip into our coats

leaving tracks across the lake

and skating like dreamers too soluble to wake

turn and cut messages out of powdered ice

in our heady retreat from compromise

growing toward our years in eager release

no more push-up bras needed nor

pinching heels except of course when

drowsy with midnight madness we

reenact those anxious days

now unruffled by the sweaty fears of

first vintage

you are able to carry your own

I shall undress in turn

finding your desire wicked ever more

potent in the slowness of our motion

two figures cutting out figure eights

lit by yellow glaze of moon

wringing its hands in humor

for too soon we will be thawed

returning with pinked cheeks

holding hands close the door

on another year of love

made burgundy under covers

where firelight moves us near

to each others gentle warmth