Of being

c62At twenty

when most young people

have such inner light they need

no tanning

I stood in the Pre-Raphaelite section

of the foreign museum

where prisms of light gathered

in tepees over head

born with an exaggerated self-consciousness

it felt as if all the disinterested

milling around staring at art

with their mouths open and crumbs from croissants

smearing their lapels

were disapproving

it wasn’t self aggrandized

I knew then as I know now

I am just one of a million million

but the glare of the crowd

was like a purse being pulled inward

gathering her fret

I’d been inspected too closely, too frequently

as a child prone to blunder and freedom

reined by yoke of adults disapprobation and neglect

now it felt like every stare

was a leach on my skin

sucking for marrow

I wondered

at the girls who posed for masters

in cold bathtubs of water

approximating Ophelia’s death throes

or imagined when they

lay quiet in their grave

mouths still stained with laudanum

life plucked by the need for art

art approximating life and not

artifice struck me then

unable like the fawn colored girl beside me

to walk with certitude

she was only a few inches taller

though her neck was more a swan than cat

she held little more potential

yet held the world by its umbilical

whilst I sought out back doors

to any exhibit of youth

it didn’t sit well on my angular shoulders to

flaunt or even preen unaware

I had never known how to un-know

the unbearable lightness of being

(last line and title from Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí by Milan Kundera)

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Era

03om12jumpPerhaps we are all born in the right era

growing up regretful we did not come of age

when life was better

the tinge of past tense

greener fields and sentiment

but should we care to revisit them

time shows we are all here when we should inherit our turn

for children of today

do not wish to sit sloppy and long gaited sharing close space

our communication and intimacy has barriers

we have not learned to be comfortable with intrusion

going about our lives unmolested

I could not have endured the proximity

continual chatter and energy required of those

born without headphones and opt outs

they knew how to socialize

crammed on sweating buses before air conditioning

whilst I believe

had I been born in an early century

I’d have taken myself away and reverted

back to the iron age

becoming a mineral underneath earth

where excited hands could pound

their fists of enthusiasm

for I have no wish to be

celebratory or illuminated

more than the passing of one year to next

it is in the quiet avoidance I find most pleasure

those born in times of chatter and noise

rationed by over-head bombs

heralding progress, talking to strangers

you think the world unfriendly now and it is

when it came our time

everyone went quiet

the buses were empty

just a book here and there lay

bent at the spine and unread

for we who keep our windows shuttered

do not wish to join the throng

but sing in lilac trees over looking

the quiet fish pond

Social

I do not have one photograph of me in a crowd

since I was 15

dispersal it seems

happens when clams

decide they do not want to be eaten

lying upside down in shell

rocking slightly to the swell

of another’s hunger

nor does the sour effervessence of champagne

dull the gritty pearl’s fate

when she is presented raw and quivering

longing for the sea and the weight of water

upon her shell

perhaps that is why shell fish was outlawed

in the Tulmud

we sit in our red tents

beyond the barnacled city walls

wondering at such things

and though we stand alone in photographs

it feels much like we are in a crowd

for the boyance of honesty is best of all

perhaps like pearls comprised of rubbed elements

swirling into circles

the truth has a way of

brining us back to shore

 

SHE

17183914810_d81091c658_bShe has not answered the door in many years

even when she had a door

even when there was a bell to ring

or wood to pound

she recalls once

feeling as if it were only herself

and the world

miming in pirouette masks back and forth

echoing on either side of a shard of glass

and she cut out that feeling with thin lines

blossoming under the bath

bubbling their way into unconsciousness

until lifted from reddening closure

she could not recognize afterward

thin on blood and holy water

her face in the hallway mirror

though she saw how badly the brass frame

needed polishing

perhaps if I smooth the glass

it will show me as I feel

not the scars and the fear

dancing across with pointed shoes

every year she remained patent

underneath the mossy dander

listening for the interupted caller

watching herself grow in reduction

a vile experiment in self exile

once a color, become ash in circles

for her tongue to lap

words left beneath earth

chanting dieties

and her child

was in a bottle set out to sea

playing mahogany violin

that could be captured by

circling satelites looking

much like stars