Your mind sways heavy like the night wind. Death on the doorstep and a thousand voices running chills up your spine. In the time it takes to find your keys, the earth has opened up and swallowed our trashed civilization whole.
We dream of getting out somehow but it seems this is our fate. Trapped like animals easily fooled. Easily lured by fresh kill and feathers. No matter disease. No matter the rotted decay of the leaves.
As the full moon rises and locks into place for the night, you think about the wide eye of eternity stretching out overhead like a black satin curtain. You pull your cloak tight around your chest.
Meet him in between the cemetery and the crumbling church. He tells you to keep quiet and stay still. To listen for the howl of wind through the empty trees, cold as a whisper, breathing on ice.
In your ears, the chanting, the moans of time as time bends into space and evaporates.
He gives you red wine and you drink it down slow.
Bright eyes which shine like silver, face as pale as pristine snow.
He places his finger in your cherry stained mouth and you suck it like your life was worth more than you could ever express for him in words. Spread legs and slick thighs. Poetry as hungry adoration. Poetry as limb from limb. Poetry as gilded age.
There used to be a time for talking but that’s long over now.
He makes a sacrifice of your body, burns a candle and sends you home with the blood. The time for words has ended.
You lower the blinds, turn the page, close the book of ancient lore and place it on a shelf high above the rest.
Slide your hand along the golden edges of the days gone by.
Life as the ghost of the woman you once were and will never be again. Life and the end of life, suspended like clouds in your midst.
Sitting in the garden, I light up a cigarette from my secret stash. It’s been a day and it’s not even midweek but there’s nothing new under the sun if you just keep telling yourself there isn’t.
I flick the ash into the dirt and notice how many brown dry leaves have already fallen from the maple trees which stand tall in a circle and tower over the roof. You don’t really notice the passing of time until you see it collected at the foot of another living thing. On the air is the scent of coming rain, eager earth and damp roots, waiting, panting with their blind naked tongues.
In my mind is a poem I am afraid to write. It’s funny how you can write all your life, every single day without missing a beat, and still come up desperately short when you least expect it. Writing is the telling of forbidden truths.
It is frightening because it doesn’t begin with the telling, it begins with the uncovering of truth. You know you shouldn’t. It’d be so much easier to get along if you could leave well enough alone. But you seek it out in spite of yourself. That thing which calls to you from the heat of the dark.
How often you cannot tell anyone else so all you can think to do is treat the page as though it were a small velvet lined box, a hand carved confessional, and hope it will forgive you all the promises you know you were a fool to have broken or a fool to have kept.
Blowing smoke into the already smoke tinged air, I watch as a little squirrel flurries across the wooden fence, carrying what looks to be a hefty chunk of half-eaten crabapple in his tiny mouth. A feast of a find. You can see the joy in the way his quivering tail waves and puffs out with excitement and fear.
We take what we can from this life and try to savor and protect it at the same time. No wonder our brittle bones are tired and our clenched jaws ache. Certain people crawl under the skin and it’s a damn tragedy trying to wring yourself free when you want all of the mystery and none of the risk.
When I think of you, I think of smooth wind across an empty beach. The way the mist descends just before the storm rolls in. I want to kiss you on the mouth for hours in the rain, until I rush like a river all the way through your veins. You like a baptism, like soft skin immersed in a swelling sea. Sparks on the ocean. Thunder rumbling through our chests. The gunmetal beauty of you tempts and terrifies me.
As the sun slips beneath the low branches which clutch at the edge of the wild pink horizon, I crush out my cigarette and close my eyes. Soon the moon will rise high over the corn fields and strange little heads will lie down on pillows to sleep. And I will drink wine and stare at the time and not be able to write a goddamn thing.
The rich get richer and the pretty die young but this is the way of things and so be it. It’s nothing to me because all I have is now and now is tucked safely under my elegant wings. He pleasures me so deeply I moan and weep and beg before I reach the outer limits of the perceptible universe and then roll on over to the sunny side of the bed.
There is nothing he would not do for me and nothing I don’t request. There are stars in my eyes and stars blinking all around on the sweet soft song of morning as it bounces and reflects all over itself in an ecstatic dance with all of the beauty ever expressed since the first lovers ever knew the aching gravity in the heat of their forbidden touch.
It is nearly autumn and the changing colors of my heart are already racing toward the end of a time which has held us hostage for far too long. Love is at the bottom of my coffee cup. Love is a white silk robe snug against smooth tanned skin. Love is warm like honeysuckled air and I don’t even mind it one bit.
My hair has turned light buttery blond under the hot rays of glimmering summer sun. I watch lazily in the mirror as I wrap small sections around the curling iron. The primping is low-key sexy. The eyes are just smokey enough with a hint of daytime brightness. Cool air skimps my bare back as it rushes through the open window.
Down below in the garden, a small gathering of butterflies flits and soars atop the last flowering blooms as they froth to life in their vibrant poppy reds and tropical oranges. I burn the tip of my finger because I’m not paying proper attention to the tools in my hand, too distracted by the way the afternoon sun caresses the leaves which sway atop the majestic trees.
On the seventh day, the good Lord rested and even though I’m not nearly as accomplished I went ahead and slept in, too. I don’t care for religion and I don’t care for church. I mess around with earthly indulgences in the hopes of remaining forever in a place and time which is destined only to crumble and never to last. The big broken world cries softly on the other side of the front door to madness and I can’t bear to let it in. I smear my lips with cotton candy gloss as he hands me a crystal flute full of bubbly, a plump red berry floating ripe and juicy on top.
On the breeze there glides a sweetness only the end of summer can stir into its humid air. Seasons click, frame by frame, from one to the next.
There is coffee in my cup and a long list in my mind of things I will need to get done today around the house and outside of it.
But for right now. Silence. Mindful presence.
This may sound as stupid to you as it does to me in my head but I feel very good today. Like not fake good but honestly, in my bones, in my soft beating heart, I feel okay.
I am not nervous. I am not anxious.
I can see the way the quiet morning light falls gently on each leaf of each plant by the open window. And I couldn’t really even tell you what it is inside of me that has shifted.
I have always worried that if I have no angst in me, I have no art in me either. What if that isn’t true. What if so much of what I have believed all along about myself, who I am, what I am here to do, what I am made for, simply is not the truest version of me.
Big dreams to uncover. What is this wild hope which flows in my blood?
Perhaps we are made to change. To be different people, say different things, think different thoughts.
In our own time.
There is a pulse of something beating in me. It is ancient and knowing and wise and patient. The amount of patience which exists in this place is enough to fill the chest with tears.
Perhaps this is a time of shedding.
An airplane flies in a high straight line, clear across the razor blue sky. After its sound, only the crickets and crows, and the crickets only for a little while longer. Until the air turns to cold smoke and the atmosphere to haunted purple.
In the black heat of early morning, I listen to the crickets as they chirp their buzzing symphony right outside my open window. The first day of autumn approaches and I want it more than anything. Bonfire smoke in my hair and chunky boots on my feet. To turn the page of the season of sticky madness and slide into a smoother, smoldering state of being.
It is still too dark out to see the outline of the majestic trees but I can hear them rustling in the wind. A cool pungent rain is moving in today and I could not be more ecstatic over it. I need the gray so badly I can taste it. Rain is such a glorious, replenishing thing. A dreary gloomy mood entire. I want it to fill me, all of me. Quench whatever this restlessness is inside.
There is writing to be done. There are plants to water and clothes to wash and calls to make. Emails to send and all the rest. The mechanical gears of life as product, life as machinery.
Out of the corner of my eye I catch a perfect ink black spider as it scrambles its way across the wooden floor and disappears into a corner. Where on earth did it come from and where is it going. Fast. Wherever it is going, it is traveling at lightning speed. Little spy. Little bandit. Creature of shadow. Things on its mind. Probably blinded by all the lights.
I type a few lame lines and delete them. My fingernails are too long and I’m dying to chop them off but I’m in a formal event next week and want to try one of those French manicures which are apparently still a thing. Some styles are a classic and classics are my favorite. Timeless looks. Audrey Hepburn. Grace Kelly. Lauren Bacall.
I’ll need a whole new face, of course. New lipstick, eye shadow, the works. It’s been a while since any of this level of fanfare has made its way into my otherwise low key existence. A lot feels overdone these days. Dramatic, over-the-top. Flashy. Exhausting. Senseless. But as I scroll for fashionable inspiration, I can’t help but lust over a liquid onyx eyeliner and some brand new jewels.
I mean, I can be painted for a while. I can be made into a glamorous sexy thing if I want to and it turns out maybe I want to in spite of the excess and the money and the effort and the annoying length of my nails. What’s that saying? If you can’t beat them, join them, right.
As the sun just barely peeks over the horizon, I can see the faint outline of tall trees covered in a thin gauzy mist. A school bus rumbles down the street, headlights staring down the stoic asphalt, and I note the ungodly hour. Who the hell can think so early. Who can be expected to have a single thought about anything that makes any kind of sense when the sweet feathered birdlings haven’t even yet made a peep.
I drop a silky chocolate brown eye palette into my virtual shopping cart along with some very expensive oil which claims to lift and plump and tighten and all the other bullshit. I watch a very tan, busty woman curling her bleach blond hair. I watch another woman, strikingly exotic looking, drizzling what appears to be some sort of honey-infused syrup all over her young dewy cheeks.
I know I shouldn’t want to perpetuate any of this gimmicky nonsense. And yet I fall for all of it like the first tiny leaf to turn auburn before turning crimson before turning brown as dirt and unfastening itself. Cascading down on the wind in the one magical, final free-wheeling dance of its short little life.
Somewhere across town, the lights go out in a room where secrets are written upon the walls in closets lined with cardigans, hung with skeletons like drapes. A slim bottle of vodka cradled in a pair of brand new Nikes.
False gods are false starts. How clever to seek the end from the outset.
Self-care. Self-reflection. Self-sabotage.
She sinks her teeth in.
Shadows blossom, wither, and fall, well before the stars peer listless into dawn.
At the back of the minds of the people who used to know better but seem now to have all but lost their way, the screaming has stopped and the silence moves its black eyes through the cracks in the fencing.
A house built to crumble into the crooked hands of non-linear fate.
There is wet sand in the shoes set out to dry in the hallway. One hundred miles tread lightly in the dead heat of a summer’s night. I have seen her body move like the ocean. I have seen her, she glows in the dark.
Never judge another until you’ve worn the soul right thin.
They will not tell you about the danger because you have kept the press of the winds against the cliffs inside of you still. They cannot tell you anything when the blood is a red rushing river in the blurred ears of your veins.
Come, see. A sin is an injury. It is an angel’s hairline fracture along the broken limb of grace. A rupture; a break in the relationship you had with the person you thought yourself to be but never quite could hold on to long enough to make it to the other side.
I can see you through the waves of heat, swerving like a highway drunk. I will burn every bridge down to its terrible bones. Swallow the match myself and walk away.
The sand on the beach is cool and smooth as it is gently washed out to sea beneath a ghostly moon. Hushed, the shell of a man in his hollow heart. Jaw set. Hell bent. Listening.
There’s the one where I miss the plane and panic, and then there’s the one where I miss it on purpose and laugh all the way to a sexy little wine bar where I kiss a stranger dead on the mouth.
The latest one seems to be that for the life of me I cannot get a flight out of Italy. No clue how I got there in the first place but I’m desperate to get out because, for some strange reason, everywhere I go I’m so tall that I tower over everybody else and on top of that I’m wearing sky high heels which get caught in gutters and cobblestones and make it nearly impossible to walk without stumbling.
I don’t know why I decide that if I could just get out of Italy this freak phenomenon would correct itself. Ridiculous and also quite maddening. as most ridiculous situations tend to ultimately be. I cannot remove the shoes. My lipstick is fierce tomato red. I don’t know how I know this without looking. But I do.
Sleep comes a little easier these days and I’m so grateful for it. It’s that gorgeous time of year when you can sleep with the windows open because the temperatures at night are in the low 60’s and the air is crisp with a touch of smoke from fires always smoldering off in the distance no matter the hour. I fill the house with apple cider scents and pumpkin spice candles. Everything is burnt yellows, rich blood-oranges, and sumptuous crimsons.
We light fires in the evening, play music for each other as the suns sinks out of sight and the sky turns electric fuchsia for a few minutes before easing into soft plums, then finally into the heavy dark blue vastness of star studded twilight. In the back of my mind, I wonder what all of it means and what will come next. I worry about the stupid things like everybody else – money and future and whether or not any of my choices have been the right ones all along.
But the trick is defining right and wrong when you feel like the compass inside of you is less and less synced with the compass of the people around you. You know you exist within society, that you have a voice and all that, and some may even try to convince you it matters, yet all the while it feels like you don’t quite fit the mold they were hoping you might so to voice your voice seems a mute point.
You consider chopping your hair off. You consider torching all of your clothes and starting from scratch with your wardrobe and diet and aesthetic overall. More gleam and less uncertainty. More ink and less conformity.
You forget not only what day it is but what month in what year. This occurs more regularly than not. You zone out in meetings and choke on the coffee which is as sickly stale as the gray-beige walls and industrial carpeting beneath your feet.
Time, which used to stretch out endlessly in front of you, suddenly seems threatening to telescope back in on itself, landing you right back at the start of something you struggle to remember, let alone define, all progress in any direction be damned. There is an eerie immediacy to absolutely everything, out of the blue, and you just didn’t feel ready for this kind of thing to settle in on you like a constant buzzing sensation clutching underneath your skin.
We all have our troubles, of course, and no one is perfect least of all the ones who try so desperately to fuck around with perfection. We all have our demons and we all have our fears. Perhaps there’s some kind of comfort in that, slim as it may be.
A few seconds after I inhale, the sacred smoke blossoms in my lungs like a fragrant earthy flower. I stare into the fire which is now roaring in a heavy blaze at my feet, as a tiny little spider, swift and black as death, crawls right into the raging flames.
Here you are with a thousand questions for me and I don’t have a single answer for you. The thing is, if I had answers I would never write a goddamn thing. Writing is a search not a destination. You write one thing and the only thing it solves is nothing and the only thing it starts is the next impossible question.
I know this exhausts you and I can feel your eyes roll from all the way across the room with my back turned but how the fuck do you think I feel? Me, the actual obsessive, who is mired in the words in the head and the words on the page and the words on the screen all day long.
I follow a thin red thread of ideas like a cat. A soft red thread I will never ever reach but oh how it taunts me, fills my svelte little body with the searing chemical fire of chase.
The unresolved is what drives me. The unresolved is the only thing that feels real because it seeks me out like a finely set trap. A question is a plaything. A dare. An invitation. Always moving toward you and away.
You pour me a drink in one of those thick chunky glasses I like to sip from because it makes me feel like a big strong man which causes me to smile to myself and spread my legs too wide. Which is absurd of course, as if an inanimate object could turn a person into someone they are not but what can I say, sometimes I think the props help. Life is but a stage and you and I are stuck improvising our parts.
Could you imagine if I had the unchecked power in this bullshit world the way a fucking man does? I shudder at the thought and if you really knew me you probably would, too.
As the whiskey begins its warming of my tired body and aching soul, I step out into the cool of night. The sweet beautiful darkness of an eternal kind of seeking envelops me like a familiar blanket of sparkling celestial adventure.
How many I have loved and lost, known and disregarded. And as much as I want to romanticize the timid battered hearts of humanity, in the depths of everything I am, I know I’ll only ever wander the halls of these mysteries which swirl inside me alone.
All day, tiny bits of light appear like puzzle pieces I didn’t know I was searching for until they reveal themselves one by one in whispers of otherworldly voices. Don’t waste your time here, angel. It is but a passing train in the night through your heart in its melancholy solitude.
Reach out and touch. Reach in and slide all the way down into that place where you began in the beginning. I wanted to write a beautiful thing. I wanted to hold you so close you forget that you spent a lifetime pushing me away. I can’t be entertaining, I’m too tired from the length of the day as it stretched me all the way out inside.
Parts of my body still ache with thoughts of all the things we’ve done to each other. The amount of devotion drenches, drowns the imagination, takes the breath and suspends it out over the twilight of eternity.
Maybe they want me to call it love and I do. I do. Of course I do. But the thing is, when I say love I mean it as a kind of relationship. Not ‘The kind’ of relationship. It isn’t perfect. It isn’t always nice or even kind. We try to be but we get in our own way, the way of ourselves and the way of each other.
People change. People need. People hide and seek and tell most of the truth, but not all of it. Not all of the time. They will tell you that’s out of cruelty but that’s not entirely true.
There are promises of adoration and the way time can keep the versions of yourself from recognizing each other. Second thoughts on arguments and second thoughts on togetherness. Panic at the idea of separation and then panic over why that scares you so.
But no one ever speaks about the silence.
It is easier to disregard the sadness so it only rains on the other side of town.
It is negotiation. It is amalgamation. It is a crackling fireside and a bargaining tool.
When the evening rolls in like a back lit summer scene all over the neighborhood, I watch as the dwindling rays of sunshine comb their beams through the low limbs of trees. In my mind are the quiet thoughts of a contemplative soul. Feeling somber and curled up in bed. Feeling thousands of light years from home.
But enough about me. Let’s talk about you. You with the good hair and the dark evening eyes. You with the tiny butterflies fluttering around in your stomach and the knots collecting in your throat.
I can see how fragile you are. I can feel it when I place my hands on you. I catch its scent when you stay perfectly still.
I can sense, too, the infinite strength of your potential. The hardness of bone and the heat of your fixation. I like your hunger. I contemplate it. I fantasize about its release. I can taste it when you are close to me. Soft, yielding, honeyed.
Don’t look out at them. They cannot see as I do. The visions I have of you unfolding endlessly across a midnight sky. Stars and satellites blinking in the blackness of your velvet mind. Tell me what you see out there in the vastness of empty silent space.
What is it like to feel the first brush of magnificent wind beneath your brand new wings.
What would you offer me in return for the rush of freedom from all the torments you keep inside. To lay that heavy armor down for just a little while. To spread yourself wide open and fear no pain. To recoil from nothing. Reach out and grasp the things you want. Place all of your trust into my sensitive waiting hands.
This world is a menacing place for creatures like us, sweet thing. We have been forced against our own design for centuries. Dragged across the grates of the punishments we never once deserved. It has been an agony we quietly keep locked away. A burden we bear alone in chambers of the heart we lack the words and permission to reveal.
You close your eyes when I kiss your mouth. You moan from the depths of your soul when I encircle your neck. And I can feel the way you need it like a thin moth seeks red thick flame. It has been a lifetime of longing and loss. Bruised knees, bloody gums, tear-scorched skin.
A never ending search.
And I can’t save you, angel. I’m shattered glass just like you, beautiful and true.
I cannot fix the broken things. Cannot stop the storms from crashing in.
But I know the shape of each cut and the sharp angle of everything they ever threw at you to keep you trembling. I know the map of pleasure and the coordinates of desire’s peak. I will take you far from harm. Be your warmth and keep you safe. Give you everything I am and everything I have to finally soothe the ache.