Encroachment

You saw your disintegration

In the shrouded reflection of a store window

Already losing custom

And for years prior

Women adjusted hose and children’s grubby faces wiped

In that smeared glass

It held

Decades

Like high cheekbones

Will shore up time in a beautiful face

I saw my eyes fail me

In the encroachment

Of some uninvited color

As if the sun

Greedy for attention

Had left a permanent marker
The doctor

With his accentless voice

And starched finger tips

Probing my retina

For answers like a tarot card reader

Will shuffle and cut her deck

Declared me blemished

Stained by time

Imperfect

Possibly going blind, wrapped in news print

And I laughed

The same laugh my grandma had

When terrible news was delivered

Along with cold dishes and

Empty seats where once our ancestors sat

Filling the roost of our quaking bones

Marking time and Advent

She would raise a thin lipped glass

Of “this n’ that”

To Gods and Monsters

To Plato, Communism and Woody Allen (before we knew we was a paedophile)

There should be a preface to every memory

She said; toasting velvetine shadows

Swilling away the horror

Like a rinsed mouth will always be

More kissable

And come New Year’s Eve

We’ll forget our enemies and join shoulders

Kicking our long legs into space to the chime of twelve

Not yet knowing

What will become if those flung into the future

To forge ahead alone

Unsupported in ancestry

Just the sound of voices

A snatch of tune

The smell of half finished dinner, paused forks suspended in song

Stewing pears over cheap white wine

Her hands red like mine

From scrubbing too hard

That blemish

It won’t come out

So it sinks

Orange streaks of sunlight beneath green orbit

And a stranger in a bar once remarked;

You have gorgeous eyes like they came from the depth of sea

All green and lost

And I think of loss

A stray button, a missed appointment

Maybe I won’t return

To the doctor who found my stigmata

Bleeding like a fish cut on rocks

Into the very bones of earth

See? I don’t anymore, my eyes look inward

In the old days we toasted with pink cut glass

It was all anyone could afford

And I remind my American friends of this

Poverty after the war

A tendency to never feel

Safe

Like city foxes

Scour

Empty streets

For scraps

And squint

At the harsh glare of street lamps

Attracting insects

Bleached yellow

By the piercing quality

Of their intent

The terror & beauty

145675384-640x640When you’re a writer people tend to think

you’re writing about them

that’s if they are arrogant or believe you must feel that way 

so often I am not writing about the person who believes I am

so often I want to write that as a preface before the poem

this is not about you / that ship sailed / that ship never was

securely moored or even existed

sometimes

or should I say, just once

it was about you

I did want you to know

just as I couldn’t bring myself to say it face to face

or sound the words out loud for fear

what is spoken is then real

I didn’t think of myself as a coward, where emotions were concerned

yet found myself floundering and blushing in your presence

like a school child again

perhaps it is because from the outset, you were impossible

as if I had stuffed all my wishes into a jar and set it to sea

and you had returned in the jar, stepping out and holding out your hand

I didn’t know if you liked women, if you liked me and my kind

there’s a die-hard rule among girls who like girls

don’t date bi-curious, don’t let yourself get broken

don’t show your cards until it’s patently obvious

but you’re not an obvious kind of person and you weren’t going

to show me anything until I took the plunge

you said i’d get bored but it’s the other way around

you stay like migrating butterflies, only a short time

before going on with your pilgrimage

and those who want more of you

watch the skies with only memories

I admit I am a simple woman emotionally, who has

a heart easily penetrated by the feeling of loss

but it is time for us both to change

you to trust, me to let go and not need

forever as a promise

it was your mystery from the outset

the little shape of you and your deep voice

wound me up into knots,  got me crazy

a tiny dancer on the fringe of my consciousness

I held back because it terrified me

those kinds of feelings don’t come around often

I keep myself in check and don’t pursue

I wait for them to come to me, it’s safer

but you wouldn’t do that, it’s not your style, I found myself

walking in your direction, wobbly on my feet

from the taste of nerves

for girls like you don’t exist

they are carved out of yearning

I made you with my thoughts

for if I could have said everything I searched for

and put it into a woman

she would have been you

except surely I was imagining it

when I saw you look at me in a way

usually meant for other times

surely what I felt, was not reciprocated

for emotions aren’t psychic are they?

could you hear what I felt, as clearly as if I had

spoken it aloud? Could you tell by the burning

in my eyes, the wetness of my mouth?

As I lay in bed at night I would try to unpick

the moves we made around each other

trying to guage what was real and imaginary

how could I reveal my heart if there was a chance

you’d repulse me and i’d be wrong?

i’ve never been the kind of woman to put myself out there

take those kinds of chances

it’s not a lack of courage

I’m simply not going to walk into rejection

if you know its taste you don’t go searching

but as with all emotions, they either die from neglect

or swell in intensity

I could not sleep, I lost my appetite

searching for you in the folds of day

until it was impossible not to say

even if you turned and laughed

patted me on the cheek and said

I feel sorry for you

but we who have lived in this world a while

can hear beneath the arch and curl

if we really listen

those hidden things people do not tell

and I thought I saw

in the corners of your motion

something stir

so if you read this; yes it is about you

and if you wonder; yes I do

and if you call for me; I will come

to the summit where people who are strangers and known

stand and expose themselves to

the terror and beauty of

their desire