Sentiment

two women kissingPause

take note

before wishing adieu

consider those rushing years

how they go

girls in wide skirts with brown elbows

flaring in pluming circles, colors of earth and sky

feet tripping over movement, making hexagons of their desire

look back … oh look back

those long years that lay like the junk drawer in your house

untouched by thought or query

ransack shelves you have long forgotten

a hair band from her, 2006 I think, the texture of caught wisps changed so much.

Every room carries the souls of every person who inhabited them

a ring made of silver paper, from the inside of a cigarette box as we sat

in a dark bar on the edge of town, knocking back whiskey and birch

playing footsie beneath sticky tables, with shoes off, bare toes searching

photos of people lost, people found, people who no longer exist lost in circles

the force of life remains inexplicable.

Times past, fast and hot like racing cars revving their engines as soon as dusk

settles like a woman’s gloves on the sorrowful face of the world

for years you rushed around, paying no heed to silent pieces of life you accumulated

halogen lamps stand like cupie dolls with radiant faces

stuffing them in boxes, tying with ribbons, preserving for what day?

There’s lavender from my grandmothers farm, her old best silver spoon, a dog

tag from my father’s first, the smell of grass and good doggie sweat still adheres

an old stone mill and my cousins would drink from tadpole ridden water

and I am the one who grew up to outlast, everyone.

All the people in this photo are gone, still they remain on unsettled periphery

what would they tell me? Get rid of her, she chokes you like

late wine that has corked, she takes and gives nothing back but ingratitude

it’s never enough, it will never be enough, you are not seeing clearly

and the memories of velvet as soft as snow haunt like miniature heart

attacks caught in disused webs.

in jars there are stars and in skies there are words, for everything existing here

is upside down

I write about you until my fingers bruise, I remember the little things

you long cast aside as of no use, like me, like us, like this, once and lost

your memory is a cruel sieve with no regard for history or effort

only the smelt of immediacy and present day full exposure

I have long been your past, just as we have

become junk in drawers, lost to further inspection

when words run dry and even letters stay unopened

your cough sweets, when you ran a high fever and I made soup

the times I took, the hours, the moments,

caught in nets in your mind, to be drowned even deeper

crabbing pots without capture, no dinner tonight you sustain

yourself on bitterness and temerity.

When i am gone, tied in forgetfulnesses bow, you will not recollect

the cards I hand made, how I stitched your favorite sweater

three times till the moths had their eventual dinner

when you were lonely, the words we spoke in the dark

those comforts that are lost in the past,  never to be unearthed

I built a life time and you forgot the shopping list

and driving into the sun, lost your desire for remembering.

Here in this place, I keep the momentos of lost walks

the day you whispered to me, I was the one, how we

climbed and fell together, like gradual waterfall

here is the photo of us laughing

here is a snapshot of us ending

still there are always rubber bands and pins at the bottom of a drawer

to snap and prick you back, to caring about something other than yourself

where we lay beneath cherry blossom, because you said you always wanted

to eat sandwiches and drink wine beneath Spring trees

my hair growing below my waist, the pizza they gave us

when one was not enough, drinking coffee on tindered street

wishing we could still smoke, being well behaved, havoc resting

the copper light of that room, how it smelt of patchouli and wine

even as we left.

I still fit into those days

they fit me like old clothes made new with sentiment’s stitch

climbing from the silence of today into

a divining bell and sinking beneath perpetual hurt

till music swells and covers my consciousness with

buttered fingers

they slip into me as you dove

deep and never released

your breath, my swimmer, my underwater love.

I still see you there

telling me to trust, when I am walking on our ash

here the trees are taller than those we grew to

know and there are no cactus or flowers of the desert

to go with that favorite tune.

I climb California hills with Barney and he hands me

a piece of advice,  a white flag

don’t look back, do what it takes

life is an arrow, cast it wide, cast it careful.

Pink is a damn sunrise slung over beautiful shoulders

running rest of the way home, past the old mental hospital

where secrets are wrapped in files never read, like mosquito nets in Alaska

I go back to my Canadian house and the closed feel of doors

watch snow fall and think of tattoos

over 30 and how time is like unconsciousness

you feel it in another part of you

searching for a way to unite the two.

Slow jazz playing on a malnutritioned needle

here the fair comes promptly in June

they all rush outdoors, so grateful for sun

I tell them, where I came from it never relented.

And I wonder, are you still there? Waiting for me

on the one day of rain? As we kissed goodbye

beneath lampposts, driving separately off, blind in downpour

each aware of time ticking further apart

long arms flung like an acrobat in green ocean

flips ever more easily, than we on land

shall inherit perhaps these fitful musings

of things left behind

unsaid

undone

withdrawn.

The fence between us

you hammered in

you uncoiled and made

tall and hard to

climb.

The Opal

I think of you

My heart clenches

In the carousel of seconds it takes to form a moment, yet I managed to witness a lifetime

How did you come to be

A vowel, a constellation, a rhyme in my mind

Days are bare, unpainted walls

Thinking of you I find color

Music

Can’t imagine a world with only one of you in it

I want to breathe you in

Molecules and seconds

Making up days spent together, pieces of paper forming a page

Marbles inside the other

Flowers retaining pigment as they dry

Death and life, striding side by side

Dancing beneath raw bulb, open sky

The pulse in your throat the clench of your thigh

Sweetness in a certain, slow agony

Instrument run over temperate string

The cry of unseen things in the dark

Listen, listen, closer, I bend my head

You tell me everything in one pearlized glance

If there were a creature able to step from shell, made flesh

I think she’d be you, you with your untouchable countenance

The regal surity of your long sloping neckline

How cheek bones become canvas, become art, become song

Your thin chest against mine, just once, like a film played forward and backwards

I see the embrace, an ackwardness, then I’m wearing my best dress, nearly spent, bare feet on dirty street roads, because I wore heals to look like your fantasy and one broke clean in half

You can take things like that as omens

I’ll continue to believe where there are feelings, there are destinations

Electricity above us in the heavens, sprung to earth

Lines in sand, in skin, in the consoling sky at night

Across your sleeping skin, when I want you to dream like I

Building on fantasy, stories come fully real

Only in others lives it seems, you swim ever further away

Until a shadow, a mirage, just the sound of your escape

Sometimes you strangle the moment, with accident or heavy hand

Intensity not meant for now, should take its time to build

I gave you no time, in my world you had long been its center

A flower within flowers, mandala tattooed on the small of my back in purple, calling

I think of you

My heart clenches

In the carousel of seconds it takes to form a moment, yet I managed to witness a lifetime

Before the end there was a beginning, unsung, untested, disused, sythed baren

Leaving nothing in its scatter but wistfulness

Like a memory without basis, not existing, just as real

The feel of your reddened lips, goodbye, never touched, still here

In the unfolding of time, you flicker closer, then far, then in, then

Out

Like an Opal on my finger

Luminous, unforgettable, the night air charged with its curse.

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.

Bed springs digging, grappling metal fingers

Gouging in iron shreak

His weight a slender man of unfastening belt buckles

More metal

My skin, when velvet is brushed the wrong direction

No longer feels smooth

Disturbed

Yellow dishes, the smell of cheap heaters chuffing their exhaust

He is covering the air in kerosene

A tang of Chinese takeout, disguarded in the corner

Where potted plants and molding curtain tips go to die

Light doesn’t get in

His eyes eat hope as day is vanquished

A shadow crawling in my DNA

If I had grown fat with his child

I’d have cut it out with my own teeth

Her shape in the darkness is a star

Piercing my gloom

Streetlights flirt with fog outside

Stray dogs without homes howl

She says; I am the future, hold on

To this place ahead

Waiting for you to catch up

It may take twenty years or one

Slothing his stink off you with each Advent

Till he’s a puppet left in the cupboard of fear

Limp and collecting dust

Give it no power

Over you

And the twilight of your journey

Lain before you like molten lava

The pulse of something surging from within the earth

He turns, metal in his false smile, as you run out the room

Cold bathrooms with mildewed flannel towels damp in sympathy

His limp face and erect impotence, shared with shadows

He cannot catch you, this kerosene man, he is all char and ash

Whilst you, you have been reminded why you want to live

Barefoot, you run, you run until you cannot feel the hard ground beneath you.

Girl of honey

You have been in my mind

A very long time

I wonder how long it takes

For a persistent, returning thought

To gain permanence

Some part of me, an echo of some part of you

Even if one way, even if you have no idea, even if I am one of many

There’s something lovely about how I feel about you

As if I alone can see the greater things that make you

As if I had power to reflect you out into the world

Give substance to the emotion of being enthralled

A smile you cannot describe, a neck as delicate as a flower stem

From those secret recesses, an unfurling of more

I’ll never share all I see, when you aren’t aware of being observed, thinking yourself invisible

Or how many times you make me wince

Just imagining

How it would be if you returned

Even a tenth

Even a fifth of what I feel

If you could see me and long to

Wipe that errant strand from my brow

Take my hands in yours until they warmed

Cold hands, warm heart

Your mittens clammy with frost and body heat, you stand apart needing nothing, least of all me

In my imagination, our roles reverse

It is your chest that swells

In my proximity

Your blood rushes to your cheeks

When I look up into your caramel eyes

Eyes that remind me of sunlight

Poured through honey

Disapproving lips I want to touch with my own

It physically hurts

To think of you like cross hatches made with sharp knife on skin once able to be without

I could draw out my longing to lay beside you

Trace lines I am unfamiliar with until I know them as destinations

I thrive when you enter my heart and set it alight

Is it ever too late? Is it ever no longer necessary?

To raise you above them all

To need to follow you where you go

In the silence of time, you blaze

With my ever sustaining regard

Never as simple as; just something about her (although there is JUST SOME THING ABOUT YOU)

Not as easy as; do not take a chance

Hesitation has thrown herself away in fits

Made this the hour, I do something

To show what I always felt

Watching you then and now

Years in-between, no time, no space

Desire will be the last to survive

The heart is certain

Even as dreams may doubt their endings

We swim, eyes fastened on shoreline

The outline of you emerging, full and complete

Against ever changing background, your cruelty

Just a defense, used forever

Until there is no need.

The huntress

yes

She

knows her power

heaving out of her like

red clay forming stars

the power it has on

those who watch

unable to quit her

imperfection as much an aphrodisiac

as those fine lines converging into

her thin bones

drawn tight and ageless

she smiles a drowsy grin

down turned eyes glinting

the thin shake of her hair

sharp curve in high cheeks

noble and unrepentant

she has more confidence than you

with your excuses and your fumblings

could ever possess

if she’d taught you, she’d have said

no, no, no you’re doing it all wrong

if you want that woman to like you

be cold, be indifferent

and occasionally, throw her a scrap

don’t ever show her your full regard or

the depth of your eyes

heft her over your shoulder when the time comes

take her to a dark place and without apology

do what you must, thinking nothing of her

she’ll be crazy for you and that’s how it’s done

you know that’s so, because you’ve seen it

every weak knee’d soul who begs for her

underestimates her lash

only small, seemingly weak

her fierce nature, a molten thing

she has them on their damn knees

it’s not even a look, a word, a sign

it’s the power exuding from her focus

she believes in herself totally and knows

if she slips even a little, they’ll eat her for dinner

feast on her failure like the hungry things they are

I want to be like her one day

I can wear short skirts nearly as well

but as she tutors me in the act I know

it’s a parody, a puppet act compared to her art

I may look the part, even when drunk

act a little like her

but she’s used to the taste of blood

and I don’t know how to eat it raw

sometimes I think of her and why

she’s the kind who defies all the rules

charging that opposites

and only opposites must attract

when she could be my cousin and yet

I want her, despite myself

I want her to want me and that’s the rub

she wants nothing of anyone and never will

hers is an icy indifference

cool queen of thorns and calm

she controls the game, for it is a game

by moving through this life without letting yourself slip

requires poise and balance only artists of the tightrope possess

I am filled with trembling emotions

impossible to blot out or walk in a straight line for

I see my error in my every move

she wasn’t interested, because she saw me coming a mile off

an unsteady shadow cast on her savvy wall

canny enough to smell, the scent of desperation on my breath

I learned from the huntress

and failed my exam

she makes mouths turn dry and water

by just being everything we cannot

remorseless, pitiless, without guile or guilt

somewhere inside of her there is a girl

we want so badly to take as our own

if only for an hour

and without seeming to try

she holds herself apart, unreachable

closes each desire with her little hands

gazing into our disappointment

with a small smile

there is a sadness in her winning

it shows in the day time

when the light hits her eyes and they

despite their great beauty

look ancient

Auction

Our love

is a silent auction

I raise my hand

and bid

on the deep of your brown eyes

falling each time

we piroet about the other

orbiting stars catching up

for the lifetime we spent apart

I cannot get closer

though each time, I try anew

to become the parts that are not me

when you are absent

my world dims as if cateracts

attach instantly

robbing me of clarity

out of focus

I can stand the temperature

of this betrayed land

the sorrow she buries

beneath each leaden day

If you continue to exist

grace me once or often

with the warmth of your regard

you see, I am born to live

only by your word

and when you put me out and say

make your own way now girl

I turn to filament, to pencil lead

crushed beneath the dismissal

fade away

only seen

by your gaze

waking me from loss

bringing life in your gaze

like a black cat

stalking gently

convinced the game

of hunter and prey

is beautiful