What they saw

What they saw

was a fracture of four

or eight

kalidoscopic prisms divided

who knew how many parts constituted sum?

One

an accent, a way of holding herself, spine sharp against humid skin

the torn down dancer inside

they levied their best pipe bombs

you don’t know suffering, you don’t know duress

all your life you had it easy

they lobbed over the wall and

a part of her that wasn’t her at all

was gone.

She had so many pieces left

scattered like dried petals and torn out chunks of hair

each one held a secret

was violate for its succumbing

they had their edges of cruelty

a quota for destruction, she existed in the

erased margins, picking her way through fatigued debris

others baggage and make shift games

falling on top of her

close the suitcase

suffocate the girl

here is Wendy here is Jane.

She’s a kid again, the boys are playing

marbles on her back

later she will have a tattoo where

their game turned nasty and left its

ugly smudge of sweat

filling in the spaces of rage

with ink and screams, uneaten pain getting cold

put frills on it and you’re ready for prom.

She’s walking in your shoes, they don’t nearly fit

they’re going to hobble her run at the kitchen table at night

father carves a turkey into birthday cake

slices of trust, quarters of must, beg for mercy

dot your i’s

her mother has something in her eye

guilt, shame, blot out the voices, lock them

between your legs, don’t cut your hair

let it grow like a river until you can climb

out of your underground sink hole

here is a change of clothes, a new

language, some pennies for a fast train

felate the man who carries your bags

compensate his wife with stark widow’s stare

you’ve lost your first three turns at the table.

Fingered beneath crinoline, elastic biting inner thighs

stockings wet hanging over the rue de cremieux

as he rolls his tongue in your ear like a edible snail

you recoil and spring

down the side of buildings, a black cat is not sought

her search for cream forming on first milk of morning

kiss me with your entire mouth, till I bite my lips blue

let no words spill out, lay me down, taste my colors

fingering brail with sticky pianist hands

speak in sound

hear me now

movement is a push

then you are in

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?

Reach in


Patricia, before fame

Played for keeps.

Competition was her muse

She wrote her first book

Won the acalades she sought

Changed her face in surgeons chair

And still

In the pages of her, I read quiet despair

A pervasive loneliness in loose leafed characters

They screamed on her behalf, when she could only

Type help.

And
You, today, walking, lost

With large red dog 

And small foot tattoo

You had the same shape

An edge to your corners, as sharp as spite

A quietude and a silence, sadness set firm in your eyes.

I wanted to ask

Why?

Or reveal what I already knew 

In just having met, the corners and the distance

No match for feeling, across tow path

And into that personal space, where you laid your sorrow out

I smiled a great smile

Thinking …

Can a smile impart a hundred thoughts?

You passed, and the wetness of your loss

Felt like brief rain on my arm

Two strangers and a dog

It was as if it hadn’t happened

Yet

You reminded me so much of Patricia

And her emptiness, written throughout each story

You see … we recognize each other

As much as for who we are not, as our similarities

Strange bedfellows of perverse and solitary, mearly trying to tred water.

If I’d spoken more, I would have asked;

Do you walk through the high grass to see the butterflies?

Do you feel the sun before it gets too hot?

Will we walk in the same direction and in time perhaps …

Talk of how we came to choose, empty steps, over laughter

You never know

They could be everything, or perpetual stranger

A moment, and no more

Or the rest of your life.

Instead of pulling away, if you reached into them

Like leaves blown, will fall, one on top, one below

A path of many 

Creating singular

Direction.

Wait for obvious things


Was it me?

Crouching rubber hipped

The plane delayed by fifteen hours

Mother’s placating screaming kids

Dry eyed travelers, bent over wilted luggage

Back then I didn’t know 

Rubber can stiffen

I thought

I’d be in supline pose with windows open, aubergine clouds, seeing hope

In hot tarmac with planes, belly full, lifting off

Taking longing to new places 

Is it wrong to tell you?

Twenty years hence, as we fumble to claim waivering identity

That I was more sure then

Crouched, rubber hipped

Than ever since, watching planes taxi in

Spent and decorate with exotic scents

It doesn’t feel lonely if you watch how the world talks

Without humans

Hear the russle of late afternoon

A breeze from far flung continent, chiming in minds eye

Awareness of being, nourishment of movement

Peace wrapping around my shoulder

Just then, conscious

Of the infinite fragility and gratitude

To rise and take, moment to appreciate

Our small place, in this wide place

As alone we are, part of something

Far greater than our impatient wait

For obvious things

Let her out


The wax in your wane

Needle on smooth track

A song from twenty years back

When you didn’t have

The holes you have now

Crocheting skin with doubt

When you just threw yourself open

Dancing in a crowd with long wick

Breasts high, chin tight, feet on tiptoe

The candle lasted all through night 

And we spilled, like red polinated seeds

Out into dark city streets

Bra straps, cyclist legs, powdered glee

It’s not the bravado of youth 

But the absence of ghosts

Keeps us free

***

I am you 

I am the flicker of past who asks

What did you do with your true self?

Packaged up in trepidation so soft

Lulled yourself to sleepwalking 

Years passed like finger on fast forward

Before you know 

Almost

On the cusp of memory

A girl with an open smile

Running towards you

Gone, not lost

Unpick the confine

Let her out

That she may find again

Herself

Child of you


Passion

You may feel it in obvious ways

How he leans in with his enveloping strength

Or, in the thunder of your chest, riding imaginary horses with your best friend

Forgetful of arithmetic and teachers who felt you’d end your days in borstel, because you did like running rings around them didn’t you?

Regretting those petty rebellions later

Then in the crisp light and imagined stampede

You thrashed to the furthest point in your mind, bathed in fantasy

A place hard to reach, even splayed on cold Mexican tile, pretending your hand was his

Even, swimming underwater, until your lungs burned to surface

It was as if, once you grow up, the way back becomes harder

Like a secret language, only known to children, daunting you with tattered reminder

The tree house of your neighbor, as you take the prescribed walk, your cardiologist insisted upon

The first rain lillies urging through Texan soil against all odds, their impossible fragility, an exquisite reprieve from cracked earth

Have you gone so far child? As to forget the combination? Here where verbena and lemon grass pummel air with magic, here where you didn’t need anything 

But the cupping of your hands with wonderment, running through water like you were born again and again, emptied of harm, full of the vigor of not knowing, the beaten path to adulthood

No iron

If you said

I am cold

stitch me something to wear

out of moments

choose the pieces with inside pockets

we can lean closest to

before we let go

bidding adieu

those memories

treasured pieces

lain flat and held

by tremulous hand

one swathe for our life

cut down like barley lying golden

he made his absolution

arching windows cast the tiles mirage of eastern colors against stucco

fabric whispers a song

furnishing breath

as two red throttled birds

will roost

their ease

filling silence

with comfort

everyone sees him through your eyes now

astonishing

a kind of mosaic peace

two minutes

stretching like feeble light

can reach further than possibility

they say you marry your father

my father thinks of himself and fits what he can next to him

in a boat for one purpose

alone

and I see

how many times that was echoed

where I wondered at the empty feeling in my hands

after you made no effect

and expectation became a sore word

lost in tumble-dryer

set to spin on

no iron