Not written down in history

The lonely heart

of a girl

who liked her own

kind

is not written down in history

there are few

stories of this

quiet, often eclipsed, furtive, secret

kind of longing

less even spoke aloud or transcribed

for what could be said? Admitted?

Instead, there are, no doubt

trees growing exceptionally redolent

nourished with the grieving, private hearts

of girls throughout history

who buried their flesh

beneath tender roots of a sapling

when it became abundantly clear

their tongues served them no purpose

in speaking of a love

no-one wanted.

These girls … I wonder

about them, sometimes as I tramp

red cheeked and furious

up hill side, when sitting still and

desiring felt like cold bars of a jail cell

seeing above me the wielding kite and her

long expanse, mocking almost with her freedom

for fierce she is, unable to

be anything but predator

time lapses into a series of vignettes

childhood (unknowing/confused) adolescence (odd/ill-fitting)

youth (empty bed/scolded faces of young men who do not understand

why no matter what they do, they endear

not)

older (disappointment/scrolled dating sites, dark bars with groping

strangers, you wouldn’t share a car ride with)

a wish always

for the girl over the moors

her long black hair tumbling like a question mark

the iridescence of her eyes, startling, bold

quit of falseness, a truth enveloping us both

without need of pretense, shyness left in fog

to hold the hand of someone who understands

and wishes to pull you through

where magic still resides in ellipsis and mist.

They do not invite single women of a certain age

to celebrate. When everyone would feel

uneasy, no children to talk about

flourishing career to brag of, she is not anything more than

everything to one person, outside that

sphere, she feels lost, disjointed, unable to fit closely

the pieces of irregularity, between her own wishes

and that of everyone else. They stare at her

over coffee cups, watching as if she were

a different species, something odd and inexplicable

cut at irregular angles, spilling out of bondage

saffron infused thoughts, plastered to her wet head

like a seal exploring depths, her stockings uneven

ragged with snares, mimicking internal

conflict, why she couldn’t pose for the camera

lips pursed in obliging, skirt wrinkle free,

hands hidden beneath cardigan, their

eternal fidget repressed with the incalculable

strength of effort it takes women to remind silent

say nothing, speak not with their roaming eyes

the magnificence of their private entreaty.

Oh to reveal, peal off layers, ransack propriety

and launch, full mast, happy crew, into the ocean

where loving was loving anyone, invited equally

to christenings, thanksgiving, birthday’s

not whispered about; behind fans, fingers, computer

screens, the lascivious imagination of mild mannered

disgust, spread liberally on morning toast.

“What do they DO?” (behind closed doors)

“was she like THAT with you?” (you should be so lucky)

“are they man-haters?” (only if you join in the cacophony)

“her mother must be so disappointed” (eternally).

I’m not disappointed

with you, us, swimming upstream, lily pads, green light

breaking up mosaic thought

bring it on

bring it on

we urge in our confident hour, no longer strange in shadow

by fire, by tokens in dark, wagging their tongues

and then, weary, tired of the fight, we stop

holding hands in public, the glare, a sunburn on

our fragile necks we stay modest, interior

house plants straining for sufficient light

when they don’t invite us, when I remain

alone waiting for you, weeks upon weeks

when stigma is a brand without physical body

it stings as deep, stays as long, heals too slow

it is hard to imagine the words ‘equality’

leaving our lips, and joining the world

in red shoes and jaunty hat, tipped merrily

to the left-hand side, running for a bus

knowing you’ll just make it

if the ground isn’t slippery

if you don’t fall before you’ve got

a firm hold.

The magic fairground

I scratch my head, the mixture of henna and indigo dyeing my

finger nails black

thinking of the red pill and the blue

Alice and her little vial

Drink Me

Pandora’s Box

Athena’s head exploding, a rebuttal to Zeus

yellowing wallpaper closing women’s mouths

Radcliffe shouts in her lesbian manifest

those following her down the well of loneliness

high waisted and limber of spine.

I want to nibble upon you morning, noon and night

but I do what is right and keep my fantasies in check

behind the lines of notepads and in the ink of pens

I suck till my tongue turns blue-black

your lips remind me of a pomegranate even without rouge

they look edible, lush, full like an excuse never to apologize

we are girls of violet, our pin in the concentration camps was

a pink V

last night I watched When Hitler Stole White Rabbit

at the Jewish Film Festival, chewed the inside of my mouth

in frustration at the abhorrence of others

when I was a child I did not have a pink rabbit

you left your hair brush and your rose water and your

tattered lace-edged simple night gown

I don’t think you ever wore one again, in the 1970s

nude was in vogue

women coming and going

from my father’s room

with dimpled bottoms and breasts like Claire Bretécher 

I learned my likings on photography books, under the section

‘erotica’ and other arts, believing archly

pornography an expression, when now, thinking back

they had such sorrowful eyes

like deer who stare into

the lights of an oncoming truck

is it bravery or hypnosis? Perhaps

it is fatalism, the French, myself

moving to countries who do not condone

indolence, expecting different results

when escape has no good set of keys

just jangles from your pocket like a taunt.

It’s not cute when you’re over thirty, to

long for the purple balloon in the supermarket

or lie, cat-like on the carpet and me-ow when your lover

is mad

it is not seemly, to be childish when you have

your first crows-feet, or need a push-up bra

unless you leave your glasses to the side

dive in, deep and thick

the molasses of not giving a fuck

where 80 year olds, excel and laugh

like they did at eight without front teeth

much the same, much the same.

The magic fairground, everyone remembers names,

I recall songs and colors of girls eyes

how they look sleeping, with their hands flung

like emotions above their heads, bent at the wrist

bangles on the floor, hidden beneath cascading sheets

elegance in angles, the way eyebrows furrow

in thought, how that line shapes over time into

a question mark, the parchment of skin, in

darkness, tracing braille, for the day none of us

will see, more than the outline of certainty.

You said: “Maybe you won’t love me when my

breasts sag, when I stop working out and the

lines of years begin to encroach. Don’t you like my

firm arms, they do not hang like bats, my mother’s did

I am mortally afraid of skin that hisses when you look

at it.”

Perhaps men had done this to you, torn down

your childhood gauze, made you feel the need to

apologize for things to come. I have read

Dreams Of Young Girls, I know how the photographer

can project a fantasy upon a real girl, even

when she is young, begin to pick her apart

as she unfurls like a Christmas amaryllis, not

caring the pickpockets of their distain

leave her in rags. Or maybe it was another

woman and her cruelty or her hatred? Tight

in an ill-fitting jar, straining to propagate.

“After all, you are so perfect,” you said,

smiling at my narrow hips (like a boy)

my unmarked skin (sun-screen)

the thickness of my hair (good shampoo)

how taut my calves look in leggings (optical illusion)

girls with girls tend to compare

it is not always favorable

though we find in our mixing bowl of humility

a little easement

the tasty wick of joy

burning low into auburn night

going over

those fears

with soft fingertips

and gentle reproaching …

Oh softening

Motioning

Nightfall

In whisper find blessed felicity

A body untouched, lain emptied of worth

brought to life, my Lazarus, spinning moon beneath our chins

rounding music fluting her velvet want to stay beautiful physically

for you to hold your breath as you touch, yes I understand

and still, beauty retains a deeper chord

dancing on raw feet to Erik Sate, trying to impress.

No, love, no, age is wine

spreading in the roof of your oval mouth

each place it has visited will transport you back, among the

grapes, tanned beneath reliable sun till just ripe, rolling in barrels

aged over centuries, buried with

secrets, the taste of fruit and toil, lustily on its wood

roots reaching deeply into history, for every year lived

another branch uncoils, the leaves, a brilliant green, bearing fruit

then flowers, finally sheltering, those beneath

such is a woman, such as you are

lying in my arms, the sweat of sleep, hot on your neck

cheeks pushed against my shoulder blades

causing you to look like you are pursing your lips

in effort to dream

finding ways always

to hold you closer,

closer

closer

closer.

In search of wonder

nobody reads in between the lines

or maybe everyone does

the day she removes her wig and stands

bare skulled for all to see the shroud of mud

her halo, her halo, he is four feet under, he is

not still, neither she, neither we

the ancestors who

fallow the earth, when heaven is closed

from their potential remains, beauty emerges

like a song setting the vibration in your pores

a string instrument without music

pushing back to the day before you

realized you were weeping uncontrolably

as you cycled along overgrown tow path

in search of blackberries, to stain the urge

a badger or a fox would do

something with color and freedom in its movement

take me, take me, I am not content or part

of this stifled world of pretend

I cannot even stitch straight

I see in the glassy eyes of the stuffed, pressed

hotly behind restraining glass, their silent

screaming visage

please let me become part of your make believe

I would live as Mr Fox did, beneath the earth

and brew my cups of magic there

as the irregularity of goodness atests

there is nothing worth waiting up all night for

not now you are broken, not now they are all

left, their footprints ash inside my mouth, a

late form of christening in Winter’s lament.

I miss you, the people whose faces I knew, part of me

part of nothing anymore, they are the last of my kind

what kind is that? When all was pinching and no more intact?

I am broken in ways, mosaic cannot even repair

there are chinks in my armor so raw, unpolished, without spit

sufficient to wipe the dread

they weep blood before I know they are there

no oil, nor prayer can save , no benediction

nor virgin kneeling in fecund earth with all the days

of her life ahead like fresh laundered sheets ready

for their slaying

those with eyes to the sky

they see not gods, I fear

but the winged parallel of our loss of mercy.

I am tired before I am awake

my eyes open to the sound of water

drowning is like the advent, it proceeds over a series of

days, as we attempt survival, urging ourselves to dress, button by

button, the tender details, crashing like hungry waves

against recalcient rock, what will bleed when it

is devoured? What will remain whole in spite?

Remembering your touch, electricity galvanizing

withered skin to longing, growing restless beneath

layers, your reach of me, the place no one finds

I dreamed of you, leaning over, a painting in motion,

your small hand

tethering me to the furnace of your eyes, a language

I couldn’t hold faith in, Je voulais tellement te croire

who is to say, you do not possess beneath your

candle light skin, the fur of ravenous wolves?

How to sustain faith? The thirsty plant, gaping curtain,

the light that gets through

falling on our faces as we watch dust particles

collect like lovers in ever shining quiet

whilst we grow old with the fatigue of loss,

its shroud a warmth against cold nights alone

thinking of the furvor of youth, its glossy coat

shaking off trouble like a lean legged hooker will

stand straight backed even in snow. Our tempest

for life, an appetite, whetting, scuttling blatently

down deserted roads, the roam of longing,

I tie my hair back, pinch my cheeks redder,

watch the violet play of day and night run

her unwashed glass through my eyes, leaving

a smudge of blood, a tinge of what’s to come,

the descend of love, as it bursts full and redolent

throbbing in our ears, like shells pressed tight

blocking out the stifle, hearing her thinning,

each year, a chink of life, apportioned into past

a transaction of dying in
silhouette, the boy swam

against the tide, his muscles straining, ever deepening

wade of escape, we all

keep to our tea stained hour

the rustling moment they were there and photographed

haltingly and aching behind inherited furniture

their eyes like mine, covered over with

old coin

sent to another realm, behind, stand behind

time and her exquisite fangs

drinking the lost salt of this land

her daughters

her sons

they grow weary of watching

and turning slow like dials

in dusk

their shape sharp

against the ochre

bleed of diminishing

sun

elongating until

their form is

altered ever

more.

The unseen world

At the corner of your mouth, where it curls in gentle distain, a little spiting mirth, lives the unseen world

In your eyes, polished obsidian run through with black onyx, lies the hearth of your internal combustion

As you breathe, I cannot fail to notice the lovely juxtaposition of your bones gleaming beneath apricot skin, as the buttons on your shirt atest, each breath yawning her fitful glimpse

I cannot help but wonder those stored bottles of delight, high upon your shelf, how your nipples would taste, the flowered breath of your heart of palm

And divining central, that pulsing mandala, reaching her fragrance into dreamworld, the color of aubergine and hibiscus bled in winter river as redwood is lost to time

My artichoke girl, wreathed in wild flowers, your body a temple for this supplicant, as light diminishes, your thirsty form grows spectral, a mango tree heavy in fruiting

From within, you glow with the hardy tempest of your nature, a pulsing, feckless creature, nimble in your art of deft possession

If I could starve for want of you, I believe I would. For no moment passes with satisfaction, unless in some way, you exist on its marble periphery

The very yoke of a day is cast by your presence. I could subsist on the rounding detour of your thighs for a hundred sleepless nights

Grow from your slumber the memories of your cries, curled in my ear, my lips, my reincarnation of our slippery motion to capture

When it is cold my hands seek your bright match to kindle animation, climbing from the solace of you, strengthened by remembered, evoked echo of intimacy

A song wound around my ribs as river reeds pull the charmed to their divine drowning and with last sip of air we relinquish control and let go

My love, your eyes bewitch my life blood, kindling the charred rejoinder of hope, a poppet to your sorcerery, emerging from deep forest

When dying comes for me, it’ll be your face I kiss, feverish and familiar, your preternatural smile haunting my passage, faithful ghost, mine

For some there is no method of separation, we are bound in crushed roses to one

In this place. In each other. A languid, yawning soft space between, the unseen world.

She breaks you with every glance your way

Yearning

You should have your own language

And if you did

At times it would hurt

Like a thousand pins

While the beauty, when it came

Carved your heart into shards of bliss

Just being near you is a feat, the inexorable desire to touch, a reaching in all but reality

You leave me starving for what I have never known

A strange cruelty in desire, sunk deep as well whetted knife

Shall not appear to cut.

Yearning

If you were a woman you’d wear

Form fitting clothes highlighting your impenetrability

You’d be honey too high to reach

And your sting would swell, relentlessly

I think of biting your lips and how

Your blood would taste

Would that I could stop wanting, turn from you, bottle my passion and fling it to sea

Would that I could switch off that burning torch or douse it

Truth is, if you lay beneath me, you wouldn’t open your mouth in complaint

Not once I began

You’d be crying for me to touch you again and wondering where

Your self possession fled

Which is why, recognizing this at some instinctual level

You shy away like feral deer

Your haunting eyes keeping pace with mine

The electric whip of fear, glinting in your restlessness

How you rearrange your clothes as if I had pealed you bare

Nude in my mouth, nude beneath my tongue and in the sweet consuming of you

Your thin wrists pinned beneath my surge. Did you say you were strong?

I am stronger. I hold you down against yourself, I’ve given myself permission

To have you all.

Move closer, do it

Don’t repeat the pattern, break it, leave it crushed

Obey me, acquiesce

Do as I say, become mine

Let down your surrendering

Let me unfold you like a letter

Feeling the words of you running in my veins

Assuage the need I have

For your surround and ultimately

That raw cry of mercy

And the murmured echo of devotion

I want you to love me fiercely, I do not ask

I command it.

Feral

Girl with ire, for you are woman, though you are still

a girl

dark skinned girl, like a fruit grown in midnight

richer somehow, distinct in a world of lost focus

something in movement deliniates this, hones in

brands you ageless in ways

only few achieve

it is your saving grace and why

my jaw hurts from grinding

all the passion I have to pieces of

confetti, ready for your marriage to

status of unattainable.

I had a rule once, don’t fall for girls

who cut their fractured eyes at the world

ruled with upturned, defiant chins

don’t succumb to the delights others see

in that girl who brightens the room with her

brown-eyed glare and gnashing smile

she is merciless, she is cruel at times, cutting

in that barbed way of the magnificient, used to

her fawning subjugates

she is unaware of you and the depths you swim

for she exists only in the light, that hot wattage

her skin, her movement, set on high to drive you

to distraction, as you watch her skirt hike

just slightly above her knees as she talks with her hands, unknowing her own unfurling

not to want anything, not you, not solace

where radiant and hot she stands, fuming

diety, showered, sharp teeth licking

what it feels like to carry that long tongued weight of desire

with adulation and never

all those shuttered years with trembling

closed lips

for some secrets cannot be revealed

save they render you victim to the

longing you want to bear, a willing nudist who buried her unspent confessions, aching for release

she is everything you are not

and yet in a hesitant moment you can pretend

you have the right dial and tune in to her song

that will lull her back from her gleeming audience

claim her yours

surely, surely, in all the years spent thinking of her

you found some way to make her your own?

Some method, spell, isn’t there a means to every wish?

Wordless, you know there is not

the unattainable sit just out of reach

lingering in their fancy of being regarded

untouchable.

And she? She is one of those fine

creatures you read of in novels, who make men

mad and women? Women are not mentioned for

our ardor is pressed flat along with the flowers from

the marsh we collect, I would if I could, string them

outside your house until the perfume woke you

from a dream about me, and you ran, barefooted along rail tracks like urchin dancer,

into my waiting arms, and as I think this, I know

you will no more run to me, than I could hypnotize

a snake not to bite, a feral cat not to scratch, a

pain not to hurt and cripple the daydream.

I don’t have mastery over you, nobody does,

you chew on rules for breakfast with black hot coffee and make

scolding and conquest a daily thing, in the brilliance of your

caramel-centered bedroom eyes, I see only an acknowledging

of control. whilst I, think of ways I might

stand out, be different, have something going for me

that could mark me worthy

it is of course, an impossible thing, a poison dart captured in my throat, quietly

hybernating or dying in drips and drabs

as you will never lay in my arms, molded to my shape and I will

not know your taste or how your lips part

with the first of many sighs, I cannot even

imagine touching your hand or pressing myself, small and hungering

close to you and knowing of what you smell, there in the stymen of your flushing bloom

the myriad ways you breathe in and out, the chorus of your existing, I

stand far, even when near, too far for comfort, perpetuate rain, disguising distress, I told myself as a young woman, do not

fall for the Siren’s call, she is merciless, she will

cut you without meaning, your futile search

for the key to her blistering heart

no closer

could last a life time and you’d stand, unpacking your fools errand, as a beautiful gown will

invariably spoil in predicted monsoon

she is ferocious and untame

the elongation of her beauty

a thing you must only weep over

when alone and inconsolate you imagine

a life time of wanting

what you can never, ever

capture.

Letter to a dead friend at 5am

Natalie my friend.

Because you are you know. A real friend.

Though you lie beneath your roses now and I

feel as if I lie beneath them, with you.

For I am not as alive, once, twice, three times

as you ever were

you, who were beloved in life, you, who passed too soon, too well

into the light, beyond to your garden

where those who loved you and there were many

sat cross-legged waiting for you to tell a story

make us laugh, make us smile, radiate with your old world charm

for you were one of the last ones, the best generation

reminding me of my grandmother, those fine ladies of yester year

who did not have our mistakes and our errors, the Booming Boomers, befuddled Gen X kids, lost Millennial’s who

never quite learned, how to wake up early and brush their hair, until

it gleamed.

I keep your photo, I retain your last message to me, I have a quote on my

desk you wrote

and mindful always, you told me; Listen, don’t give a shit

don’t!

People will hate you, especially if you are good

it’s the way of the world, you told me, smell the roses, don’t give a damn

and don’t forget to swear copiously …

I have forgotten many things, my rule book is sabotaged, I keep making

the same mistakes, *stop it!* (say nothing, it’s safer!) I blunder as if I were a child sometimes, unsure

of the etiquette, not able to read minds and plunge my hands into

the mass of wriggling thought, to harness something tangible

I never understood humans ever so well (why are they so cold?)

their mascinations, their secret selves, it were as if being

an only-child I watched from the outside with bemusement

(or horror) (or incomprehension) why do they survive without needing

something? Someone? More than ego? Self-satisfaction? What

urges them to action? If not something meaningful?

One minute they would be saying, they loved me and the next

turning a cold shoulder, the variations, the deceptions, the quiet

subtext I did not relate to, what ever did they mean when

they went silent and I dropped like a dying star (autism is

more honest than what we deem normal, i’m certain)

out of their orbit? How to tell? What to care about? (I am

afraid of not mattering to anyone, and everything I do being futile, I don’t

want to go my entire life as lonely as now, with that hollow

fear inside my mouth, unable to come out, lodged deep

like a burrowing moth will press itself like unbidden velvet).

Natalie – – you said; Child, don’t care so much

for nobody cares as much as they say they do

unless God is watching and even then, they would be loved

without putting forth effort, they would have worship without

knowing the feel of ground skinned beneath their knees

few will truly care, this idea you will have a devotional

following, is only for the wicked and the vain, if you are lucky

I mean — really lucky

you may have friends you can count on one hand

who truly, when the chips are down, and before dawn has come

will turn to you and rise you up

from sickness, in health, in death, who will come and pay their respects?

I recall your funeral, how we passed down the long line

many were your contemporaries, women you said used to

criticize you for swearing overly, even accused you of making it up

about your mother, (surely her life wasn’t that hard!) but that’s why I love you, you said

for you believed me straight away and with the innocence

of children we came together, I had my first seventy year old friend

staying long at the coffin, flowers on top, clouds filled with rain as

if God were waiting until we passed, to let loose his tears

I didn’t believe in God, as you did, I did believe in you and you

were faithful and hypocritical like the best of us

a flawed, imperfect, relic of a human being with

magnificent hair and a dirty laugh.

I should have come visit more often, I said,

as we all say when someone meets their grave and the

smell of dirt is in our nostrils, time being as it is, so fickle

and short, and we, who are still young, think we are far

from this hour, not so far, not so far.

You told me, listen, forget what you’ve learned about

piety and mortality, people are beasts, the world is cruel

but if you can find someone who loves you, then hold on

for dear life, and do your best to help them through

for there is nothing sadder than loneliness in a room

full of people and there is nothing better than one hand

reaching for you in a crowd

pulling you out

into fresh air, where if we were the same age

I suspect I would have stood up to those who bullied you in

your thirties and told your mother to go hang when she

said she found you a disappointment

I know how that feels Natalie, we shared the same stories

forty years apart, when you were born I was not

still feel I am not, I miss you because

you were a riddle in a lesson in a riddle in a lesson and I

don’t meet people like you very often, nor have I in a long while

stood in your garden and smelt the roses, they bloom just

before the light you said, just before it begins to dawn and

that is when I would most like to close my eyes for the last time

and sleep forever.

On that day you died, I watched out of my window

for surely there would be a sign, something of you

gathering into the ether, if I took my glasses off and squinted

maybe I could see in the unyielding darkness a little of what

you spoke about, that stirring of Gods and tempests and

humans lost on their own gloat, people who exist without

giving a damn about, each other, or the basics of care, I never

understood, even if I were well versed as you, on parents who

didn’t really want (me) (us) (you) (I) (anything).

Last night I dreamed of going braless to the store and seeing

an old lover who stared at my chest the entire time, I dreamed

of boarding a plane with nobody on it, except waving oxygen masks

I dreamed of you and I dreamed of my mother

in the dream of you, you were walking through the rose

bushes and in time you were out of sight, and music I liked was

playing through an open window and I saw you take flight

and soon you were high in the sky and my eyes could no

longer follow your trajectory and I thought – – maybe I should

let go, but I don’t want to, I never have wanted to, I can’t

it isn’t in me to let go – – – (God I wish it were!) and the dream was about my mother

and she had always been gone and wasn’t there and

I was (holding her hair brush)

and I was (stepping into a lake)

and I was (still)

left behind to take these memories of people and sustain them

as if a bomb had obliterated everything but my recollection

be it real or wrong or scattered like pollen, I don’t know

I don’t know what to do Natalie, to be loved? Be glad of shrugging

them all and living in a cabin in the woods? Or to matter, to

be of consequence, like I felt with you. Was it because you were

old or just kind or just hurt or just battered by your own mother who

you said told you she had wished she had

a boy and not a girl and not you and not you and not you.

Why do the good ones die? Why will one day I watch them

throw flowers for my mother and long then, to have had her

tightly woven around me like clay

but untouchable is untouchable and yearning is for children

(she won’t have a funeral anyway, she doesn’t believe in God

either, and she won’t invite you, no she won’t invite you least of

all to a wake without a wake).

So grow up and put your shoes on child, your feet will get muddy if

you continue to walk bare foot when it rains and the thorns

will always sting even if you are pricked countless times

there is a sharp edge to beauty you said, did you know, I was once beautiful?

I know I replied, I can tell, you still are, because a woman with

wrinkles like ships on her cheeks can smile just once and

a room is devoured by her radiance

if others can’t see that, it’s all right

I think of you now, and then and in the future

alongside my day as I work beneath the fan, it is still hot

in September, yes you said, it always was in bloody infernal Texas.

People remain alive in our memories or they are forgotten

as I am, before they die

it’s all about how much they exist and what magical

recipe keeps them real and how much glue they possess

and whether they hold on, out of sheer bloody mindedness

or just for the hell of it

or perhaps they swear a lot and eat three over-easy eggs for breakfast

when the sun rises and the day is golden

and we begin over

like fools

like humans

like lovers of people who are warm and good

Natalie, like you.

Invisible ink

When they say someone is driven to distraction

can’t stop thinking about …

I imagine

a woman running in the rain

newspaper overhead, painted nails

pursed lips, the crook of a smile despite

her hose getting wet, soaking her clavicle, glistening like

some jewel in a torrent might

suddenly fruit

it reminds me of the first time I heard Suzanne Vega sing

not knowing she was singing for a woman

but something in the detail caught my eye

how she felt the same hot breath, steaming glass

lost bra strap, showing slip, untucked blouse

a stray hair, falling in her eyes, it took all of my

self possession not to reach across and brush it

back into place

although I’d rather press my face

into her neck and lose myself to the sound

of rain and tempests, growing inside me

wordlessly showing her the crocheted waves

with every brush stroke

a painting cannot be completed without

sufficient water and concentration

much like a woman cannot be pleasured without

the breath of sea and infinite patience

it is like learning an instrument

your fingers growing sore in repetition and as they

tire, music is formed, her mouth opening

throat reddened, thighs dampening, heat climbing

you find yourself approaching

a cusp of wonder without worthy language

to describe, its motion

when I am tired, sorrowful, when I feel wan daylight

setting behind me, proffering dusk and your absence keenly

I close my eyes and feel her in every song

that girl beneath the awning, trying to close her

umbrella, her shapely legs and slender ankles

breasts rising against damp silk, in one long sigh

there are passions within us

that have teeth and fire

where hunger is a permanence

just like the silver locket hanging

about your neck and how if you play with it

I find myself needing to be

that silver, that shape, that falling

between you, against your skin, as if we can possess

another which we never can and so we try

again and again

thinking up ways

as coffee grows cold

as people flit in and out

hardly noticing the girl

who sits alone

wrapped in thought of you

a blunt pencil by her side

writing

in invisible ink

the landscape of a

woman

lost in rain

just out of reach

Even as I tie my shoes,

the distraction in my chest feels like you

has your taste on my lips, wetted with

unspoken remonstration

time can pass so fast, until years are bundled into telegraphs

yellowing with their swollen journey

still so few stand out, make themselves remarkable

just by their bloodied being

those who shine, one in a thousand, more, tops of heads

in a crowd, who gets the crown?

With everyone chiming for attention, I give it to you

even as you do not ask , such is my cinema of devotion

watching the replay in my mind, every turn

lifted wrists, precious movement, chiseled in memory

if you asked me I’d know exactly how you felt

even without touching, the xylophone of your small ribs

for I have spent hours sculpting your shape

these silhouettes and textures known by one

who watches ever observant, silent in her study of years

the first time, then now

landscapes apart, still, as if time has

claimed you a piece of her, nobody else

has a part, they are forgotten on periphery

ordinary to your owning

as long as I continue not to speak aloud

I can pretend it’s real

observing you, as you might a

longed for thing, just out

of reach

blinded to all else

a rapture without

name

The night I went out without shoes on

Wasn’t it a miracle?

Neither of us died trying to get to the meeting place

all the lights in the world seemed out that night

I had only known how to drive a few months

you were an old hat who routinely broke laws

with bottles wedged between your legs, a

cigarette burning ash down your fingers

there had always been a desire in me

for brokenness, as if I recognized in those

souls, something in myself

or a freedom in people who abandoned ettiquette

and discarding it, became suddenly free

I liked the wild, I liked women with untamed eyes

and dirty minds

the moon was full that night and we watched owls

gather themselves in flight and swoop

cloudy restaurant lights flickering in and out on the side

of the empty high way

I had watched films about a life like this

I said to you, films like Gas Food Lodgings or Paris Texas

where the greatest landscape was the tarmac

and the wide abundant merciless sky

where people sheltered in shadow and night creatures

crawled unseen and women met by closed restaurants

the flicker of their 24 hour advertising, sizzling against blackness

you were strange looking as if you had

deliberately tried to destroy yourself and I

forgot to wear shoes, my feet hot against still baked

soil, biting fiends flying in humid air, thick with ‘unspoken

entreaties

I wanted you to slam me there and then against

the unresisting brake of my car

leaving a bruise the size of texas clouds

I wanted to break apart like rocks with gem stones

inside, find something in both of us

bigger than the sky, deeper than weary darkness

but I was too young then and fear wrapped herself

like a blanket of stars and pulled me back

into the world, into doing what is right, into being careful

and sitting up straight when you eat at the table

all these years later, I still think

if we had set the car on automatic and just ridden

away

down that empty highway, into hushed, blooming night

we might have found the part of us

still lacking

every day we wake up

wash our face, comb our hair

and look too long in the mirror

searching for the lost parts

of our dark dreams