poetry

Mercy

Standing on the cliff edge,
two feet away from certain death,
I hurled the contents of the velvet box
into the Atlantic;

piece by piece,
broken-promise ring
by failed-engagement ring,
years of of tears and diamonds and memories
flew down into the sea;

now all that silver sparkling pain
is at the mercy of something bigger
and angrier than me.

(But why I don’t I feel as free
as I thought I would be?)

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life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

What I should have said then

What I should have said then

when I couldn’t say anything

somehow my tongue

too tired from kneeling beneath 

as you showered in your glory

built myself into silence

slap by slap, brick, mortar, spit

learned by being told

what is the purpose of YOUR voice?

what worth do YOU possess?

Imprint by the imprisonment of conflation

 

you dictate your terms

do it because it will please me

do it because I tell you to

opening up places thought involate

for your greed of sin, my loss of self

one night you said

that’s why they called you Candy

you are my favorite sweet in the box

sticky like melting toffee

now get on all fours

and my obedience became my shame

wondering

what really stopped me bolting from stable door?

the lock? the key? the strange way disapproval becomes yoke?

 

what I should have said then

no

I’m not interested in violation

debasement

being your sex toy, staring in cheap reenactment

spreading myself like jam for your ugly glory

I’m not the girl you thought I was

acquiescent

silenced by faulty beliefs

incapable of much

too young to know better

grown in the dark without succor

I’m a fire bird

touch me and you will burn

 

what I should have said then

make your own porn

fill your own holes

blow up some rubber, get it on with yourself

but not with me

I’m not made in Japan, pink and plastic

I’m not a girl in knee highs, ready to blow and suck

I’m a woman

almost

and you

you’re just a pimple faced boy

who thinks too much of himself

wanking in the afternoon to full lipped songs

 

what I should have done then

is walk backwards

down the street of my fate

hand on my stomach

fingers in my mouth

hair over my eyes

not watching endings or beginnings

until I walked past the moment

we ever met

and kept walking back

toward the sun rising in the east

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poetry

The kneeling girl

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Though only 29 she had the eyes of someone who had been

staring at walls too long on her knees

her pupils, dark as they were

glazed over with loss of expectation no longer reflected

I wore the skins of effort, and the boots of climb, in my hands I carried keys

how can you have given up already? My inner query voiced

you can learn very soon and very young that there is nothing. Her dark eyes reflected in response

I wanted to gather her up and save her

I was after all, the one who tried to save people, it was the only thing I knew to do

and I couldn’t even save myself

the pockets of my dress, opened outward and everything I claimed

fell behind me like voices caught in a well

I knew they would accuse me of exploitation, “You only saved her because she was beautiful, you’re an old pervert, there’s always an agenda with your choices”

could they be right? Who will defend the mockery of the mute

did part of me hope upon saving her, she would turn to me and?

peel her orange skin like a locust and reveal her lacquered center?

I didn’t dare think on it. I wasn’t as they thought, an old pervert, glut on the lust of youth, sipping through a straw, the firm skin of minors

I’d never had expectations, what did they look like? Ink marks on paper, a map, a set of rules, runes, signifiers, the last message left in Roanoke

where did they go? Those four and twenty souls?

If I had been her age I might have put on Dreamweaver and lying on Indian pillows, we’d sip our Mathilde and smoke ourselves licorice into sleep

If I had been her age I might have reached over drowsy and foolish and lain my hand on her mango hip bone, jagged as it was, rising from her clothes

and if this was a fantasy, she may have turned to me, her heavy-lidded eyes, perfumed with fruiting intensity and let me inside

where ribbons of everything she’d seen in 29 years, hung like unworn dresses acting as flags on empty ships

and if I were walking her long strip of velvet behind me gathered twice about her neck like a looping string of pearls dipped in midnight, what song should I have sung?

she who lay beneath me purring herself into pleasures chasm, stretching herself about me like an elastic band with limitless rebound

then in that moment, our fingers, clenching and unwinding, pouring deep and still like frozen water catches its breath before tumbling forward

her voice in my ear, hot and fast, all the things never disclosed

it wouldn’t matter then what others thought

they on their high horses unable to stoop and reach in, the breast of earth and plant their hearts

the flicker in and out of light and day

her back like well oiled marble come alive, arching and soldering

her hair, matted and sticky, flung beyond the sheets, causing forests to make way, for her cry, an unseen bird among the trees, low throated and unceasing, releasing alabaster sorrow and pent-up cellos of crime

she would no longer stare at walls unseeing

she would learn in her youth, the rush of spring and renewal vibrating against her could feel

good and real, a returning silhouette, ushering memory to fresher climb

and I, who fixed people could

lie next to her smile, feeling in the air

a cage emptying

my own and hers

found in azure lake

dreaming of escape

kneeling until ground seized by

termagant gave way to infinite space

filled with starlight

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life, poetry, prosetry

Beneath the curtain

Peter Keetman Highway By Night, 1956 black and white road photograph

A man ate himself nearly to death

a girl starved herself almost dying

a bird hooked on wire by strong feet

sat away from the other birds

her wedding ring impinging on her swollen fingers

couldn’t be removed with soap and hot water

the nape of her neck pulses with effort

a shrill knock on the door of skin

you kneel in drab faux fur in the back of cupboards

smelling of moth wings, cedar and burned toast

charcoal fingers probing your eyes

the circuit fizz of bulb

trying to send messages through

barbiturates

dissolving

drowsy pain

Debussy plays

as cut flowers bow

in reverence and unending severed thirst

you go, I’ll stay

here in vase, waiver and quiver

etching lithograph outcomes of

left-over marks

sweat and tears and violence

villains without cause

beauty missing myth

when they say “you’re so beautiful”

I’d prefer they heat up a needle

stitch their mouths shut

it isn’t true

I have a russet horse for a jaw

a blue mountain for a forehead

my eyes are continually watering

with their attention

some words do not feel like kindness

they are broken pieces of yourself

irreconcilable

don’t call me that, can’t you see beneath the layers?

a scream is

not beautiful

you speak because words have become filler

for silence

and often for truth

the truth is I am an animal

my jaw continually muscular

you chew on this artificial

sweetener

pluck the instrument

hear your chord throaty and whole

a thrust and burst, losing suspension

this outline of who and what was

before condemned to silhouette we rush

into beckoning darkness

a faint smell of amber and myrrh

left on stale air

beneath long curtain

heavy with dust

(Photo by Peter Keetman, ‘Highway’ 1956).

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epistolary, fiction, life

The Purity of Remembering Now

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I should have written a novel about her at the time, or a short story at least, kept a diary maybe. A scant-few weeks have elapsed, but already I can sense my mind reaching out for the detail of the past with manipulative hands, twisting the truth with between my fingers to fit a narrative. If I take my pen to paper, I am not convinced that what happened then would be as I document now. It is an immaterial thought; for my hand is not steady enough to write.

I look down into my shot-glass, positioning myself direct above the rim so it forms a perfect circle against the dark-stained wood of the bar. This circle is today, not the past. It is absolute in form, with no distortion of perspective, no aberration in colour, no lies told that I cannot correct with an informed shift in point of view – this is no selective memory, yet. I drain my drink and order several more – I lose count long before I run out of cash -but with each refreshed glass I make sure I look down upon that circle: to remember.

Alex can see I am a mess and like any good bartender she asks after me, the concern on her face genuine, for I am a regular now and we have become familiar of late. I don’t tell Alex about the shit going on my life, because then she would be no different to the others that show interest, be it society-required faux-concern, or genuine. Every conversation with Alex would be stilted and short, progressing in the same way – “how are you holding up?”, “it must be so tough”, “I can’t imagine what you are going through.”

I want Alex to remain my personal escape, and of late I need her to be my imagined infidelity. She lifts her short skirt and lowers her panties, bending forward, supporting herself with her hands against the rough brickwork of the alley at the back of the bar. Her mouth spews encouraging filth as I give her, at her own demand, a severe pounding from behind. But then, even in my own fucking fantasy-dream, I can’t keep up and I slump to the cold floor – breathless, pants around my ankles. Alex straightens her clothing and laughs at me, then picks at the grit in her palms in an absent fashion, as if she has done so many times before; and in my mind she has.

I still wouldn’t swap my imagined failure for Alex’s pity; I already have too much of that in my life. I wake in a puddle of light, soaked in the midday sun and, I think, my own piss. The bedroom reeks like something has died in here, and, as I open the windows wide, once again I wish it had been me and not her. I hold my wedding ring to the window, and in the blinding sun I look upon the perfect silhouette. This particular circle is of the past, and I cannot recall as much about her face today, as I did yesterday.

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