outside it is pouring, dark spilling over the sidewalk like a glass filled with the blood of something fragile. you and I are somewhere in this flood of warmth. the rain continues to knock on the roof, a witness to all of this nothing. time drips slow. quiet. you and I will part so soon.
It’s not as much a tussle as much as it is a boxing match; the dodging and weaving like swerving into traffic. The reason people must inevitably bury themselves is the same as why full stops must be full. You know the steps by heart: here is an empty space to be filled. Here is a name erased. Here is another lie for you to be placed in. Graves, too, must be full. You are boxing yourself into a coffin. Your heart is full of mud. Here is an empty filling to be spaced out, crossed out, placed outside of the boxes and the self. Here is a list of instructions for the heart to erase. Here is the box that got the trafficker hung, here is the weave of an executioner’s mask, the judge’s wig, here is the tussle you will bind yourself in, the bullet you will learn to dodge.
Inspired by real life conversations. I’m back on my bullshit of trying to bang out drafts in a single 10 minute sitting. Old title: “Springboard”
Paralyzed and emotionally stunted,
poet finds solace in unread words.
Sometime tell me it’s wrong to
be. Mad, about everything and
nothing. Sad about something
for sure. If God is real, is this
ataraxis, or bad writing? Am
I a background character on
this ugly stage? The man in
a tree costume. I feed, off
the bright of these stage
lights. I stand reluctant.
I want to live – I want to
die. I see your message
and I don’t reply. The
sun rises; I turn away
into falling leaves,
denouement, exit stage left; to no
audience, no no no.
Those fearful,distant words,
these hollow,centered wishes;
surely in twenty years they’d
have expired. But they haven’t.
Fossilized, they stay forever:
pointed, sharp, piercing, true.
These are facts that we cannot
change. Bridges we cannot rebuild.
Tell me darling how do I tie this
rope’s frayed ends into one again?
How do I forget the taste of ash?
How do I learn not to ask?
How do I stop.
And those lines echo and reverb
in the vast emptiness of my mind:
I wish you happiness. I wish you’d die.
Beautiful, tragic, desperate wishes.
Do people wish harm upon others
when they blow the candles out on
their birthday cake, surrounded
by their friends and family?
People – people, are but bodies of
70% water. What lurks beneath the calm
is but wilderness. There is much to learn
about this – perhaps, too much to ever satisfy.
Perhaps, any amount is an amount too much.
Perhaps there are things I wish to unlearn.
Simply put, I want to grab these said words and
chuck them out like golden and silver axes.
These words, we hold onto,
serifs biting into our palms,
knuckles white as filament.
Blood flows, as fresh as yesterday’s cut,
taste as rusty as a used needle.
keep everything within.
pack the corners with cellophane,
lung with cigarette. tight thoughts
without forms: is whoever my
pincushion my religion?
what is what? is what is, is?
questions without answers.
journeys without destinations.
sealed tight, that unknowable
great, that observing cloud,
is but a mason-jar of desperation,
that’s swirling, and swirling still,
never at ease, oh – never eased.
If I could, I would give myself
to some unknowing God, tribal chief,
prostrate bone against blood – if it
meant that all of you were safe forever.
To be kind, this crushing sense of love –
it permeates the skin, a henna tattoo.
I feel its breath, pressing down on my back,
a cape of self-absorbed sighs, billowing,
like fog on the moors. It rolls around
in my palms and curls up in my fingers.
It lingers as I open and close my hands,
like hazard lights at a junction. We’ll all
move on. Utterly defeated and swept,
I just want something to grab onto:
be it frayed rope, burning candle-
wick; barbed-wire vine.
Final draft. Thanks to everyone who gave feedback, especially Dan.