Thrift Store Special

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If I hung in a storefront

I’d have no label

It was torn off in the wash

The store owner lied

Trying to cover a great crime

I’m not gentle cycle, nor wash below 30c

I don’t fluff up well in dryer

Or need ironing on low heat

I’m a thrift store special

Good for a gander, then better cast off

Stuffed in the back of your closet

Forgotten until you move house

When you hold me to the light

Exclaiming; where did I buy this?

A little wistful, a little disgust

Just like a spare thread can run

Through any knit and mar its form

I was shrunk on hot and stretched in cold

Long before you grabbed me out of the lucky dip bin

It was the elongation of my experience

Like wool is malformed turning huge in water

Expanding and reducing, I am the sheared sheep who took off

When the shepherd came to my turn

I never backed down, nor avoided spitting in their eye

My fur smells of energy and emptiness and freedom and neglect

You wear me when you want attention

Or to be someone you’re not

And I’m sequins gathered in a pearls bosom

The knotted mohair and impossibly soft angora

But most of all, I’m the time you left your possessions behind

And rode in the dark without lights

Imagining your bicycle a horse and you …

with your dress catching in the spokes covered in oil

You just wanted him to catch fire on your edges

Sounding the cavorting need you had to bloom beneath

Then you were a water-lily and even years later

You are reminded each time a candle is lit, the smell of wax

How he burned your fingers with his inelegant desire

And you opened like origami to his bewitchment

Then you were a dragonfly, passing through fountain

If I hung in a storefront

I’d have no label

But you’d purchase me all the same

Over again

Smiling

At the memory of

Something you couldn’t quite grasp

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Without you

Your betrayal came before the post on Monday

If I listened it may have sounded

Like paper in air, losing gravity

The unexpected slap of shiny magazine

And echoing hinged snap of closed door flap

The postman left his shoe imprints in the snow

One way in, one way out and the bare branches of the trees

Were cold dancers cupping themselves to imaginary fernace

You had already gone before the skies admitted

Their talcum-powdered descent of white

Your letter, handwriting in your bold certain shape

The same hand that had led me up the stairs

A silver bracelet bought when we visited the seaside, on your wrist

Strong hand, reaching for me, for my rustle and my yawning silouette

We were shapes against the mirror of moonlight

Streaming our own version of whispers and little cries

You never let go of my hand even

As you turned your neck and slept, dreamlessly by my side

And I lay in partial light feeling your resonance

Play like an instrument on my damp skin

Your upright, careful letter and the last word, your name

A name I had put into the core of me and melted down

Covering any fear that you’d crack my heart

Open like a woodland walnut and expose the soft innards

No, not this woman, with her fingers reading my brail

And her tongue searching for stars in the folds of hesitate

She has breathed me in, carved her name in my wood

I cannot stir without a part of her moving alongside me

Life no longer singular I am now and always, illuminated

By her rounding glow and the peach dream of her thighs

Wrapped in mutual surround, the open window

Carrying our symphony into gloaming night wind

How then are you gone?

As rapid as my chest threatens to explode

A single firework

Removed from me and behind, spending in your wake

Emptiness

Letters furthering no explanation, blurring in porcelain horror

If I had listened

Maybe the stir of settling snow or else

Some torn part would reveal

The sense in loss

I stand by the picture window

Wearing an old shirt of yours

Yellow at the collar and faded with wash

Across the road, a neighbor walks her dogs

She glances my way and sees

Only the shadow of

A life without

You

Stitch

nude-woman-in-river-monica-and-michael-sweetShe left

like a thread

pulled through muslin

her pillow smelt

of the push of hair in night

turned in bad dream and

from me for so long

I had

held on

the capsize of our ship

drowning us both

outstaying oxygen to

feel her return

how she used to

take my hand in dark

placing it where she felt

the most

there is a varnished gulf

a painted arroyo

starched land thirsting for renewal

lapsing between us

and it will not be with me

her eyes have lost their glitter

when she turned

it was with the flat gaze of someone

who had already

closed that chapter

bought her ticket

and was reaching for the next

like an arrow

driving its way into my chest

and out again

the feeling of quills and feathers

pulled free by strung force

a sound of cascading hurt

almost like the world sighed

in the room that was once ours

by the violet light of afternoon

where I lay watching her move

in green light, the weight of dew

like words without meaning

I tore myself to pieces

unable to let go

of the ache she left

in her shattering wake

as pulling stitches when healed

will always feel

like something whole

is breaking

Unable to speak the words

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Love can be the greatest feeling in the world

love can be a lie

and when love is a lie

it can rip you to shreds or enable you to rip yourself

because love isn’t quantifiable

therefore you may never know

who it is who guts you and slays you; Is it you? Is it love?

how can a feeling have the power to empty you of hope?

or leave you ransacked

how can an emotion

something that can’t be touched, or jarred or bottled

hold such sway?

cut with deep scythe, parts you thought impossible to reach

was it the other? Did they own the power

or was it giving them permission? To dictate an emotion

or is love, proof of being human

and the sorrow of that and the beauty of that

a very human trait, along with hate and indifference

which at times seem, to take the place of love

and when your eyes, look at me and there is no movement

only the wearing down of time, a series of frustrations

when you fidget and seem to want, to be anywhere but here

I imagine you in years to come, remembering nothing of us

then I wish I had no capacity for love, I wish I had pretended all along

replaced my heart with coal

but it was never an object, never something you could hold

love was almost a virus

you walked into the room

and I caught it

the fever and the aches

they may never leave me

now I have a relationship with them

in absence of you, I’ll find myself inheriting memories

wondering how, some people walk away, almost light-footed

and others stand in place and burn, the oxygen all gone

unable to speak the words

of loss

Through the looking glass

mirror-twins-with-mirror-56a689b15f9b58b7d0e36f0dThrough the rain, the sound of ending

Despite this, I am closer now, to remembering

Every sharpened affection, how it took every bit

Left nothing in its place

I am closer through the looking glass

Sounds of a hundred regrets

Of each time and then

Of you taking me by the neck

Laying down in our abyss

This

I am still closer now to this

Though it has been figurative years

Lifetimes and burials

Lost in the neglect that comes

When you have always seen in the other’s eyes

Such a deep thing of enduring

As if it were swept out by a big brush now it is gone

It was a error to believe that look was love

Wanting to fit a jigsaw piece but you did not

Once they knew that, the need for you

Snuffed out

And the ship carrying your heart

Saw no lighthouse and floundered on rocks

And you with less than you ever had

Sunk like a exhaled regret

Like an exile without tether

Down into the drowning of your grief

As thick and peerless as anybody could be

Without air and succor

No hand reaching through water

No one there, perhaps they never were

Now it is definite, it is legal, it is provable

Gone, as if not once was any of it true

And the lies you told yourself

And the hope you carried

Sinks with you

Where you have no more words

Where nothing is nothing

Without that sustaining strength

And the rain is inside you, not exterior

You are the girl crying in public places

You are the woman watching emptiness drive away

You are years down the road alone

You are forgotten and yes .. you wanted something whole

It broke into pieces too smashed to remold

So long ago you don’t know where you put the parts

Perhaps they stab you now like thorns in weeping dark

But you’ll never trust again, not one word, not one action

You’ve walled yourself off, in an ocean of your own

Set on repeat to drown, every time you wake up

Every morning it comes around

The pain

Excruciating and long

Eternity and punishment

For ever believing

For ever letting yourself believe

What they felt was the same

Because it wasn’t, it couldn’t have been

They still inhabit the land of the living

And really you should have known that

A very very long time ago

When you were both younger and smooth of melancholy

A sense the promise was too sweetly said

Fast in utterance, not enough breadth

Like puffing up your cheeks and letting go your breath

Is no more than rushing air, warm from your mouth

And your eyes, I should have examined closer

They did not blink and I thought this meant truth

When a lie can wear

The very same outfit

Drought

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Out loud you hear yourself say

I don’t need to be cared about

And the cave dweller behind your eyes says

Liar

The rain is mentioned on the news nightly

But it never arrives

And we are driven to distraction by

Our dry state

If you

Knew what I was thinking

You may blanch, squirm and feel embarrassed for me

For the feelings I have, not reciprocated

Or you may

Take me on the lawn before the rain came and green was turning brown

Turn me into water and let me loose

 

Or you may

Be holding three versions of repulsion

If we’re meant to read minds, my sense is blunted

I only see the gathering clouds swell ominously overhead

Stubbornly hold onto their rain despite our need

Standing below imploring

Though it is us, with our concrete lives

That usher the rain gone

Until when you least expect it

When you have given up

Taped and sealed yourself back up

Return to maker

Perhaps then

Rain

Will fall

And you will open

Your arms and let me

In

Warning

What if my mother

Who was gone

Did not warn me about you

And so

In the glib night

As I stood wanting to be plucked

From a latch key evening

The cluck and cacophony of

People filled with water

You circled my arm with a snare

With decision and madness there

Made a drink of me

Threw it down your chain-smoking throat

Carrying me on your back like a crab

We waded shorelines

Rinsing the regret for not being as others appear

Bone straight and glistening in their eagerness

We’d been born jaded and recognized

In the other that temporality

A godless place of zero and

Dirty much used sheets

Absorbing the stink of best intention

It was your howl in my womb and my opening ever trusting

Nothing can be as it says or is

There’s only this

The you of a rough hand holding me down

A choking, painful exorcism

In my nil

The bones just beneath skin

And you letting yourself in

After hours

A weight of assumption

More honest for its lack of anything

You do not attempt to please

Or deceive

For ours is not a caring place

Only savagery and hurt exist to sate

The otherwise empty arms of loving