Anywhere but this

How many times

Have I said

I’m tired

Close the chapter on me

Let me sleep

High up with mistletoe and squirrel moss

I sent away for a facsimile

Perhaps it will come already programmed

Take my place at the side of table

Mannikin hands jointed clicking clacking

Perhaps she’d love that mail order version

Better

Though love is no longer in our lexicon

The broken shoes of children

Destined to run barefooted

Toes stained with rhubarb juice

Tasting sour, tasting tart

Something bitter lingering among sweetness

For so long I waited

Watching

For you to turn at curve of road

And you did not (you did not, you did not, you did not)

The simmering lump in my candle throat

Never swallowed

When pain builds

First callused, then scars

Has anyone inquired what comes next?

I lost my voice

Then my sight

Then my hearing

It was terrifying

And it was peaceful

For I couldn’t hear them fall

Like tiger moths born in ice

Freeze with first breath, pirouette to ground

Nor see them rot and turn to wine

Nor speak of the pain

Through their juicy little mouths sewn quiet

I see now

Why people run

Why people turn to stone

But what if you can’t

And all you knew was love?

Then

What?

Sometimes I want to cut you into tiny pieces

But you’d still exist

Larger than life

In my filing cabinet of expectations

I was told once if you expect nothing

You can’t be disappointed

I found that so sad

Like eggs without salt

I wanted to taste it all

Be genuine, be real

But first the fur was rubbed off

Then the gentle felt

And finally my glass eyes

Scratched

Just like when you cry

The world was blurred

I couldn’t make out who it was

Who ached and who tore

Till I looked inside and saw it was me

Standing there in the sunlit road

Watching for traffic

And maybe your return

Or maybe a fast car

Whether it hits me

Or passes by

Maybe it stops

Maybe I get in and when asked

Reply

I’m going anywhere

Anywhere but this

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The internal dream

Your soft hair

grace

beneath the moon

I imagine us

light limbed

piano hearted

slipping from key to key

hands on my face

tracing soft accompaniment

I lead you onto oak floor

dancing beneath wax

and French 75 on your breath

moving to a hum

the internal dream

your arms curled around my waist

close your eyes

see ancestors walk

silver hammered

your mouth crushing mine

the oval and the heart

echoing across sound

no barrier

the unraveling trip of clothes

pressing against skin

somewhere ivory music slows

candles burn out

we can smell in the dark

hear the sound

of our mutual breath

as you gather me

as I lean and become

desired

Unmentionables

What can’t be said aloud

or even blown into an envelope

placed in a bottle and set to sea

or kept beneath your pillow in diary

those words and feelings without words cannot

find a place of expression

for a multitude of reasons or just one

you carry them around like a weight

dripping from your neck

sometimes in a weak moment

you feel yourself urging to spill

the bunting and string it high

confidences for everyone to see

what’s the worst that could happen?

and yet, you know, the worst

is bad enough to keep

you quiet

how many others, you wonder

carry their own list of unmentionables

and what would they be?

any in common or always unique?

if you let someone know

the sum of you

would they

grow bored?

become disgusted?

smile and say ‘i understand’

when they did not?

who can understand the deep of us?

where we dare not venture, let alone another

what permissions given and retracted

exist?

like the long necked lillies that spring

miraculously from dry texan ground

after it has rained and

the electric mist has caused wonder

to touch the barren

perhaps it is a sign when

you can talk of such things

late into the night

with a stranger you will never

meet again

or that you whisper to yourself

the varied outcomes of confession

strung on a tree, lighting dark road

no, sometimes it is best

we model our forefathers and mothers

who knew what to keep to themselves

for years they held them in jars

turning to the light once in a while

and when they died, sometimes you would find

one survived the cull

and everyone would hush and hold their breaths

in inky silence

not sure of how to respond

somehow a secret after you are gone

doesn’t hold the same concern

and maybe they were free of them

in that hour

when all who knew, discovered

they had not

known them at all

Collecting Mother’s

As a child, as an adult

I collected mother’s

Bewitched by what had been absent

The soft strength and maturing gravitas

Of gentle women who suspend the sky

It has long been a desire of mine

To inhabit the energy of mother’s soul, long enough to learn, the mystery

It is as if I am a man-child, cut from peripheral cloth

For she who is a mother, has a remote wholeness I cannot absorb

The density of putting others before herself, to bring life squalling into this world

Surely her soul is closer to the reduction and encroaching waves, shaping time

For her voice speaks of places I have yet to go

Mysteries in the birth and death of life, she intuits

The breaking foamy sound, one of collapse, folding in on itself and remaking

Like marbles in opaque jar, clustered too close to roll, will eventually spill

These tears, when dried, leave furrowed salt smudges

They do not know their existence well enough

To forget that another breeze, wild and hennaed

Would lift even leaden spirit, from washed reproach

Like children on the cusp of summer, appear ethereal, in fine grain light

Laughing with a freedom not found, in classroom

Imparting her knowledge, handed down by palm print

Sometimes I feel I am a fragment of her rich tapestry

A thin thread that could easily unravel and with strong wind

Be carried into puzzling wilderness, away from her sure footed climb

I feel safer when she is near, holding up the world

Her feet deep in red mud, her head just reaching heavens gate