Friday, November 27, 2009

a fragment before midnight

a fragment of your voice
fell behind my eyes
amethyst eyes
that hear like ears of flesh
it fell and lingered there
and with my eyes
amethyst eyes
that hear like ears of flesh
i heard you say
this is how i love you
i had not heard that part before
had not heard the how
i grasped with such speed like
trees racing
past my car with six windows
past my coach with six horses
racing and wanting to fly
on a tarmac of black and white
before midnight struck
and the pumpkin and mice appeared

but you said
forget this car and these windows
forget this coach and these horses
they are merely a pumpkin and mice
scurrying in a fairy tale of
uneven proportion
remember only this
these six words that will remain
this is how i love you
they are not six horses that
at midnight disappear
remember only this
these six words that will remain
this is how i love you
and brand them on my naked flesh
that, even if you, my princess,
should burn to cinders and
become stardust in the air
i, your prince,
shall have them yet

but i know the cinders possess
like ancient trees with twisted roots
and although we dream of
magic wands and golden nights
they will possess this time again

i am a mangled layer of skin
flat upon the tarmac of black and white
amethyst-eyed and berry-mouthed
like a silent-movie star
sleeping and dreaming
with my glass slipper
tucked beneath my head
sleeping and dreaming
by the crashed cars with
soaped-over windows and
six layers of fresh paint that
don't hide the dents outside
or the cinders within

i am a mangled sheet of vellum
flat upon the tarmac of black and white
underneath a dry sky that is you
and my dreams are my quill
drawing upon me
a catalogue of confetti
an inkblot of confusion
propelling me like a compulsion
into the darkness of
an unjeweled midnight
where an invisible wand strikes
and we all become
pumpkins and mice

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


you walked upon
a hanging bridge
not only in your eyes
but also in mine
a matter of perception
a trick of the mind
coming closer to the end
the end of what
you asked
i said be watchful
mind your balance
your footing will fail
given the
proper dimensions
you will float
both here and there
in a sky falling
you will float
outside the vapid mist
a speck of matter
in the cosmic vacuum
following the arrows
north south east west
and nowhere at all

you say they say
the earth is shrinking
i say they say
the time is coming
when we will
froth and foam
bubble and bust

but we will not perceive

we are hostages of
mutilation and desire
we slumber within our
lesions and dreams

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Involuntary Reversal

It all happens so quickly. You move to beautiful, breathtaking, sunny Sardinia with Kevin, the man you chose to marry twelve years ago - Kevin of Celtic blood and temperament. In Sardinia, you find a quaint house overlooking the coast in an expatriate neighborhood and move into it with Kevin and Alexa, your ten-year-old daughter with a sunshine smile. Life is good, your freelance photography career is going well, and you are happy in every sense of the word.

One day, shortly after you have moved into your new home, they come to tell you, "You must leave this house at once. The landlord has passed away and his heirs are reclaiming their property. Apologies for the inconvenience, naturally."

You think to yourself, Is being kicked out of my home considered a mere inconvenience? And you ask them, "Is there any way this can be avoided?"

They look at you with false pity and say, "Signora, the property must be returned to the heirs for them to do with as they see fit. You have twenty-four hours to collect your belongings. We pray that such time will be sufficient." And they depart, the tails of their expensive attorney blazers flapping in the breeze.

So you start to think, Why is this happening? But before the thought has come full circle in your conscious mind the doorbell rings once more. Now what? 

"Hello, I'm Leslie Branch." Her sun-streaked chestnut hair is in a ponytail, and her warm honey eyes, which seem to be smiling at you, are glowing like two tongues of flame. "I'm your neighbor from across the street. I just came to tell you that if you need a place to stay while you find a new home, you're welcome to stay with me."

You thank her profusely, wondering how she ever found out, and you tell her that she's very kind but that there are three of you, and you couldn't possibly impose upon her privacy in such a manner. You are very proper while speaking, and she is watching your face very intently. You become self-conscious, wondering, Did I pluck the hairs above my upper lip or can she see them? 

"Oh, don't be silly," she says to you, and you think she's talking about the hairs. But of course, she's talking about the fact that even if there were five, six, even seven of you, there's plenty of room in her house. "And you're welcome to stay for as long as you want. Let me give you a house tour."

So she takes you by your wrist and leads you. Her hand is warm around yours, but it is also strong and callused. And all the time you are thinking, These are not the hands of a woman. 

"Please don't mind my hands," she says, and you jump because you assume she is reading your mind. But of course, she is merely apologizing for having grabbed you with such force.

And now you are standing in her entrance, greeted by the pleasant aroma of baking orange scones, preparing to take your first step into what might be home for a while, until you and Kevin and Alexa can find your own place.

"Don't be shy. You can't afford to be if you stay with me," says Leslie, while you reluctantly survey your surroundings, taking in the deep earth tones of the walls and the elaborate but monstrous crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. You also take in the portraits of various stunningly attractive women which adorn the walls, and you ask Leslie, "Who are they?"

And she says, nonchalantly, "Oh, just friends," as she grabs you by your wrist again and leads you upstairs so she can show you to your room. You follow, like a pressured teenager.

Soon, you are standing in the doorway of an enormous room with an antique four-poster mahogany bed, crimson velvet wallpaper, and another sparkling monstrosity hanging from the ceiling. The walls are decorated with gilt-framed ceiling-to-floor mirrors.

Something twists inside you, like a key in a lock.

You start to back out of the room but Leslie is standing directly behind you, her crotch to your ass. You begin to tremble, and she tries to calm you, her breath in your ear, telling you that there is no reason to be afraid, and that inside of every woman this is what she really wants, what she spends a lifetime searching for subconsciously. You find yourself nodding like an imbecile as you are taken by the hand once more. And even though the sun outside glows golden in the clear blue sky and, in the distance, the waters of the Emerald Coast shimmer, in your head, your gut, your heart, the sun sets on Alexa's smile.

Monday, November 9, 2009

the next train

if i were to take a journey by train, suitcase in hand, and stop at station after destination after station, i would struggle with the burden of this suitcase, heavy and burdensome with my weights. i would stop at one station, a bone in my throat, asphyxiated, my feverish heart clamoring for someone to help with my suitcase, heavy and burdensome with my weights. and this with the mind of not knowing, really, if this someone will help if i ask, or if he will want something in return if he helps me. and this with the mind of not knowing, really, what my next destination will be, or why i am going there. 

i have traveled from mons to bruxelles to liège to köln, station after destination after station that smells of burned rubber and recycled human breath, against my desire, wearing my feelings like a string of scalpels around my neck, and seeing in their eyes her love is away for six months and she is dying inside, but saying it must be - this journey must be if i will find the chips missing from the mosaic. perhaps in the embrace of steam to my face as i sip an espresso in a sidewalk café. perhaps in my uneven walk up an uneven hill while, in the town below, the church bells toll for the dead. perhaps in a knowing bite on my thumb as i watch a child smile at her mother while the smiling is still innocent. yet i find myself stuck in köln on a rainy monday in this crowded station of glass and steel and peculiar geometry while the active crowds walk past me with static faces, their entropic intolerance for one another like expensive perfume, their waxy eyes branding disorder upon my screeching flesh. and i await the next train to take me to the next station, but with a primordial resistance, perhaps because i do not truly wish to find these chips missing from the mosaic. 

so i remain upon a bench of glass and steel etched with graffito after graffito by those seeking some form of commemoration - ich vermisse dich 13.05.07 and du bist mein engel. i sit with comatose body but zealous mind on this monday in köln, i too missing my angel, with the glacial rain shooting bullets onto the stone platform, slapping my face and drenching the suitcase that sits beside me, heavy and burdensome with my weights, while i allow train after train after train to pass me, though i have a calculated awareness that i cannot sit in this station forever pretending that i await the next train.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

creator of illusion

see the imprint of my lips
upon this chalice
lips that harbored the bread
drank the wine
and became a mouth
a mouth that spoke
confessing transgression
seeking absolution
abandoning discretion
it spoke in jagged screams like fallen trees
murdered in jungles by inhuman mortals
and now
creator of illusion
with unquiet lips
the judas lips of
those who betray
those who pull hearts from open chests
and nail them bleeding to a wall
with elegant lies and chameleon kisses
you offer me your eucharist
your bread and wine
my wholesome spirit knows your evil mind
so your wine
before my lips can taste it
spills upon the floor
trickles and creeps like ignoble blood
and you
stomp through its puddles
in derision
your crisp and eager footsteps splitting the air
like communion wafers
masticated by impenitent sinners
and i
who can only betray you
in my imagination
will offer you a eucharist
inside my weeping heart
but know
that there is no absolution
for creators of illusion
and your lips
stained with the wine of betrayal
will never leave their imprint upon this chalice
will never be a mouth

Monday, November 2, 2009


"They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn..."  Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Imagine this.
You live for one day.
In this one-day life memory is obsolete, aspiration is unnecessary, and reality is relative.
Because it is winter on your day, you will never know spring, or summer, or fall.
You will eat three meals, but it will not matter what you are eating because you will not remember what you ate anyway.
You will make love once, with momentary passion, but you will not understand what you are doing or why you are doing it.
And when you lay down and close your eyes to sleep, it will be your first time, and your last.
But none of this will matter.
You will be oblivious, unaware.
You live for one day.
And in this one-day life memory is obsolete, aspiration is unnecessary, and knowledge is nonexistent.

Are you mad? you ask.
Have you lost it?
It must be the Fates determined you incapable of making decisions and so took decision-making out of your hands.
Your words give me pause.
It is true that while others sought knowledge I was seeking adventure.
While others sought wealth I was seeking pleasure.
While others sought stability I was seeking banality.
I lived like Kerouac.
Stolen moments in stolen cars.
Getting my highs out of watching others burn burn burn.
And those were the choices I made.
When I could make choices.
But now I clap my palm upon my mouth and weep while the wind wails.
Now I am older.
So have I earned the right to become a tyrant?
Have I earned the right to say what I want without having people ask How? and Why?
Have I earned the right to hurl insults like I'm flinging a fistful of broken buttons out of a window?
And to march to the head of the line?
I have watched those who have tried before me fall on their faces.
And I have laughed at them, along with everyone else who laughed.
They walked with a swagger, with an I've been around and I know something over you kind of manner.
But when they fell they did not rise again.

You speak so proudly of being "alone".
"Independent" is the mot de rigueur.
But when the word "lonely" is mentioned you bite your tongue and roll up your eyes so your tears don't spill over and tumble down your cheeks and give you away.

If I told you I talk to myself because I have no one to talk to, would you think me mad?
If I told you I am driven by fear because I cannot drive it, would you think me mad?

I should ignore the widow next door when she cries over the bloodspots on her dead husband's uniform.
I should ignore the child next door when he plays soldiers with his dead daddy's loaded rifle.
I should be happy with cellophane hints of admiration meant to comfort temporarily, not to satisfy permanently.
I should be happy with diamond glints of silver hair meant to wisen slowly, not to terrify poundingly.
Yet my Self seeks to stand out in a crowd, and, when passing a looking glass, to not see a gothic distortion.

I dream that I fly, and as I soar higher, my wings vanish.
I dream of men before a firing squad being promised their lives will be spared if they eat a meal, but when they come to eat the succulent meat they are served, their mouths disappear.
I dream of pulling out a gray hair only to have ten others grow in its place.

I think I will go walk along the mirage, now - there are no rivers in this one-day existence.
Perhaps I will stop for a moment and admire a prickly cactus.
Perhaps I will buy me a roasted cob of corn from an imaginary vendor and gnaw it with my toothless gums.
Perhaps I will chase down the mirages before they fool me with their shimmer and shine.
Perhaps I will wait for others to find me, though I will be waiting and waiting and waiting.

We learn so many things in this existence, but then, we learn nothing at all.