poetry, prosetry

Pablo

I saw a Picasso painting and it fucked me up
because it wasn’t oil on canvas, it was a mirror.

Her pain was contagious, her skin all sickly and diseased, all yellow and green, her hair in blue and purple streaks, matted, heavy, left unwashed for weeks.

She was stifling her screams and catching her tears in a tissue made of broken glass, muffling her sobs with icy crystal shards, alone, in pain, insane, confined within the edges of a 60 by 49 frame.

Those eyes held stories of the lives of every person she’d ever known yet betrayed no life of their own. Black holes filled to the brim with untold horrors, her eyelashes holding back the weight of a thousand lies, a pathetic barrier between the tsunami of torture within her and the face that she wears for the world;

but it will not hold, it will not hold, the wave breaks the boundary, spewing poison, rioting down her cheeks and into a handful of glass, the tears fall and fall;

and her lover only watches on, making her a spectacle, a beautiful and tragic sight to behold, not one to be reassured, not one to be consoled. He studied her pain because he wouldn’t face his own, just as you study mine because you will not face yours.

She and I, we are the same:
a sight to be seen,
a suffering machine,
a perfect exhibition
of devastation and depression.

I immediately recognised myself as the subject of the portrait
although I know that you’d say, “No, that’s not you, not at all,”
but I’m so certain that it is me, I am so certain.

How did Pablo know me so well so many years before I was born? It seems that the only people who ever truly knew me are two dead men who found beauty in the forlorn.

And so I’m left behind
with these tidal waves of grief
and a disintegrating heart,
wandering around empty galleries,
and wiping away my tears
with shards of broken glass.

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prosetry

Love, Or Whatever This Is

You call this “love” but I can’t.

Whatever this is feels like being wheeled into the operating room after years of waiting for surgery, where I’m not entirely convinced that this operation will work but I’m willing to try. It’s the final hope, the last resort after exhausting all other options and, though I am hesitant, I pray that I’ll feel different when I wake up, if I wake up. This feels like “Now, count backwards from 10 for me, slowly…”

Long before I met you a doctor told me that I’m rusting from the inside out. You can’t see my diseases: pretty on the outside, decaying on the inside. Eventually, the rust will reach the surface and you will understand why I disagree with you when you tell me that I’m beautiful. I know the devastation inside.

Last summer I received a letter informing me of a pioneering new treatment for rust-removal, a feat never before performed in its entirety but successful in parts. The surgery involved keeping me sedated, peeling back my skin and scraping out the rust, then patching me up with dissolvable stitches. It was going to be a very difficult, very painful, very time-consuming operation, with no guarantee of success. But the letter was full of optimism and hope, the hard facts and risks peppered with positivity and reassurance. Week by week I would be anaesthetised and parts of my inner workings would be revealed and cleaned, piece by piece. You are the doctor who wrote and signed this letter. You said you’d look after me, and while it would be a testing time you had faith that I would turn out brighter and better than ever before.

I’ve always been in possession of lots of unanswerable questions. (Maybe that’s why I turned out mad). One which I still cannot answer is this: is it better to feel everything or nothing at all? I’ve tried both, several times, and both ways of living simply aren’t quite right. Almost but not quite.

Whatever this is feels like you numbing me up, trying to fix me and putting me back together. When the bad parts of me present themselves, when you find the rust without even having to dig that far, when you merely scratch the surface and see the wreckage beneath, you anaesthetise me, douse me in vodka and scrape scrape scrape away. It hurts, it has always hurt. But you make it hurt less.

You keep me ticking over, alive but trying not to feel so much, with prescription drugs and drips and alcohol and class A, always keeping the edge off my pain so that I don’t crumble under its enormity.

When the rust under my skin starts to itch you keep me topped up with a steady supply of champagne, cocaine and comedy shows.

When the panic surges up from a source you thought you’d already numbed, you give me air. You make me breathe.

And when the anaesthetic on my heart wears off, when I remember the things I try so hard to forget, and the tears pool at my feet you quickly give me laughing gas. You are my steady, ever-reliable supply of nitrous oxide there to make me laugh through the tears, to make me cackle until I can’t remember what I was upset about in the first place.

But I can’t stay numb forever. Believe me, I enjoy it, I enjoy this and I try to make the most of this curious state of discomfort, of not being able to feel my legs or my face or my heart or my hands but knowing they exist, and I love the strange sensation of being there but not there. Would my life be easier if I never felt another feeling ever again? Or would the nothingness be the death of me?

One day this experiment of yours will be over. Perhaps you’ll dig too deep or you’ll unearth a level of decay which is simply more determined to stay with me than you are. Or perhaps the money will run out, or you’ll find a prettier, less challenging, more rewarding project to work on: another sad girl, another bad life.

Either way, when you leave, your faithful supply of numb-ers and uppers and laughter and vodka will leave with you. And once all of your magic tricks have worn off, the pain will hit me with a ferocity that’s impossible to anticipate. I will begin to self-anaesthetise but it won’t be the same. It’ll have an entirely opposite effect. The rust will grow through your handiwork and break the surface. My tears will only help the rust to spread, damage erupted over my skin like freckles born from darkness.

Love, or whatever this is, is anaesthesia. You are my favourite anaesthetic: they ought to bottle you and sell you in pharmacies. You can’t make me forget about the rust completely: I know that the rust is still inside me and it hurts, but you make it hurt a hell of a lot less.

We must enjoy these dreamlike days while we still have them. Keep on keepin’ numb. Because one day this, this anaesthesia, this love, whatever this is, will wear off and the pain will be unlike anything we’ve ever had the misfortune to experience before.

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poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Empied of harm

Passion, you may feel it in obvious ways

How he leans in with his enveloping strength

Or, in the thunder of your chest, riding imaginary horses with your best friend

Forgetful of arithmetic and teachers who felt you’d end your days in borstel, because you did like running rings around them, didn’t you?

Regretting those petty rebellions later

Then in the crisp light and imagined stampede

Thrashing to the furthest point in your mind, bathed in fantasy

A place hard to reach, even splayed on cold Mexican tile, pretending your hand was his

Even, swimming underwater, until your lungs burned to surface

It was as if, once you grow up, the way back becomes harder

Like a secret language, only known to children, daunting you with reminder

The tree house of your neighbor, as you take the prescribed walk, your cardiologist insisted upon

The first rain lillies urging through Texan soil against all odds, their impossible fragility, an exquisite reprieve from cracked earth

Have you gone so far child? As to forget the combination? 

Here, where verbena and lemon grass, pummel air with magic 

Here, where you didn’t need anything, but the cupping of your hands, wonderment running through water, like you were born again and again, empied of harm 

Full of the vigor, of not knowing, the beaten path, to adulthood

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poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Facing the fear

I don’t want to lie to you but I sure wish I could start lying to myself. Tell a different story of me, one that sits less altered in her chair, skewed by the forks laid to eat in tarmac

Truth doesn’t sit well at 2am, when the specter and the sickle crescent with the moon, to chime their heady blend of ‘what if’s’ and disturbance cavorting against imagination

I think of the quiet Christmas eve house, Tom and Jerry fooling about, seems I’ve been living long, if memory can stretch the length of night, without curling back upon itself

you’re there of course, shy and bold and beautiful

and out of the corner of my eye, I see the young me, her nylon night-dress and untrimmed straggly hair

Penguin looks with his sad eyes, Teddy tries not to cry, as knots in the wardrobe come alive, menacing faces, terror in familiar places

he said, sit on my lap child, this won’t take long and after midnight, Cinderella was never the same, she preferred cinders and dark corners

just as you, pulled me out, toward gathering morning and soon light will decide fear and tomorrow will appear slow and steady like a hand on your brow, wiping away the wait

there, there, child, sleep it off, dream the future, where you have inherited the surge and the dragon and you avenge your unseen foe

inch by inch, we reclaim in years, snatched from time, half over us, like sword of Damocles, poised to swallow whole

yes we have much to dread, feel the hook of fear and do it anyway, bury that part saying oh God, no, I can’t as the kids who jump, reaching for rope and burn

to vault into space, grabbing rubber tyre, absailing in space and time, lifted from their feet, by the impossible feat, oh God you can leap

keep on, just keep, on

facing the fear

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Uncategorized

The seeking fingers of tomorrow

When we were young we thought
just as the saying goes or the first line of every youthful book
we had all the time in the world
time does not speed up as you age
it simply reveals itself, standing unclothed in dawn, still wet with dew
the sundial of life moving slowly in circle
once you believed yourself invulnerable, not because you were young
but the blister in your heart that said
i will never stay here and take this crap!
so you urged yourself to sprout and using every strength
sometimes in the form of what you did not yet know
flew into the reddened sun and burned there a good long while….

later when shade gave salve
it seemed foolhardy to have done battle
but that was the ire of twenty and five
seen differently when scope is set ten years advancing
through all the steps you will take, from there to now
maybe a family, maybe alone, maybe reaching out, maybe closing down
is it possible you think, to change?
so unutterably, as to forget imprint of first edition?
so completely, the way you felt then, now strange and unfamiliar
as if a stranger shucked your skin and walked away
leaving you to puzzle over how you lived as someone else, for so long
the girl who drank herself to the bottom of the bottle
lifting her skirts for her ravages and lowering her eyelids on truth
the boy who snorted off backs of others and
seeing the harm he did, carried on digging the wet way to the pacific
where he hoped to find a green stone and turn himself into a forest
they slipped and skidded, as children with weapons will
damaging better than any terror could have reigned
we know the sharpness of our own ache

and now that time has reflected and returned another summer, another slow
turn of water wheel
sending ducks garbling and spooked across uneven lawn
into waiting foxes jaw
we see the hem of life, peaking from beneath rubharb
as it pillars its redolence among plain earth
declaring a magnificience
we see how the young bathe in their moment, only to rue
that cigarette, that set of choices, laid out Majong and glossy
alongside the diaphram, the emptied promise, drying on cotton sheets
it could be a dinner table set for eight, or just for me
when you have flown, along with the last ears of corn
having lost their golden, turning back spots of age
if we reach now, we reach too late to see
the circumfrance of inevaitable fate and so
one day, will be the last seat, left to fill
nobody remaining behind, to open windows to
the seeking fingers of tomorrow

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poetry

The Swim

Immersing myself in the blues
that would usually make me sink
usually make me drown
I dive in, unafraid, brave
leaving depression in locker 8E
heartbreak standing naked and shivering
on the concrete edge, grief wrapped up in a towel
washing paranoia out of my hair and misery off my skin
with every stroke I am light and almost carefree
in this controlled, contained, waveless sea
pulsating frog legs
counting
breathing
in, two, three, out, two, three
it doesn’t matter who is faster
than me and my dwindling lung capacity
I am so very nearly free
inhaling chemicals in a legal way
tears made of chlorine not melancholy
in, two, three, out, two, three
no time to think, only to breathe
and push on, further, stronger
the girl sits upon her throne in the sky
the guy patrols the perimeter
with their matching red t-shirts
matching whistles
matching sports watches
they watch me
in, two, three
and guard my life
out, two, three
these strangers who exist solely to save me
they are employed to ensure
that I am safe
that I do not die:
I think that I need them everywhere
all of the time.

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Uncategorized

Charlie, you had it right

Insurance

is a Big Mac scam

poisoning the well

LOOK

there is a good intention

befouled by corrupt system

ecnarusni, spelt backward an incurable malady

ennui

macadamia

strawman

forger of meaning finds none, in frosted window

double glazed against both noise and cold

the office where they work is stifling

it engenders more blood thirsty intolerance

You are denied a purpose

stamp, thump, goes the proverbial red ink

now replaced by click of key

to the isle of denied claims where

headless cast offs watch themselves

turn to oriental soup

without air conditioning

 

You want to be covered by healthcare?

but what about my bottom line? My margin

of deniable error

if I’m okay then why aren’t you?

who said we should be charitable?

Jesus didn’t have a new sack cloth

I prefer the prosperity preacher

when his kids are sick he sends them private

on the tithe of his butt-lifted worshippers

 

Hear the bell toll

it tolls for thee

we have no mercy to ladle

as you breathe in

Round-Up and years later, lose sensation in your legs

dust to dust, pesticide to fungicide

a new Mercedes for her quinceanera

sweet sixteen at the preachers house

a coffin is being built for the backs you bent

in building your prospering you lost

that trace of humanity or

it was corruption installed under

APP – GREED

when one believes themselves

worthiest of all

 

Charlie are you listening?

you had it right all along

within the downy fur of your giant peach

roll starchild, roll

universal truths nod and blink

squash one beneath gain and gamble

futures and shambles alongside pork bellies

dancing without their heads

served cold with a side of boom n bust

just when you thought the choke couldn’t get tighter

they advertise it as S&M

but we know what we know

beneath illusions, seen the blinkers obscuring

in favor of artificial afterglow

guaranteed to make your piss red

a fine poisoned vintage

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