Sunday, Late Afternoon (audio)

I saw this beautiful boy on the internet, a poet. His words were captivating, heavy with melancholy. He could enter into the silent parts of you and whisper against the walls inside. His imagery is haunting. A beautiful, beautiful boy. And he’s not posted anything for almost seven months now, at least not to Instagram. Lotta poets on there, or there used to be. I was one of them. Years ago, years gone by.

Times change. So do people. So does poetry and trendiness. So do platforms and the space they hold in our minds, which have changed a lot in the past few years, too. I think we are afraid. And we are searching for the things that make us feel less so but underneath every stone we turn over we still find that we have the same fear. It hasn’t changed that much since we were little. It is still there. This fear of silence. This fear of death. This fear of living. I see these poets who fall in love, fall our of love, and as they fall they are desperate to bring all of us down with them. Listen to me. Listen to my ache. Hear how this infatuation haunts me, grips my throat and fills my lungs with noise. It is so bad. So very very cruel and bad this sweetness which crushes me.

There was a time when I wrote poetry and sold it. My little clips and collections were received with such warmth and light. Even my darkest words, my deepest wells of desire and fear, longing and eroticism. It all consumed me then. Not so much now. Now my immersion in life is of a different kind, of a different texture and spin. What I used to hold so tightly I have all but let go of and forgotten. Almost so easily it makes me smile, as I am doing now. What I had thought was a given in a schedule or a day or an activity or a relationship, I see now is not. It’s all up to me. It’s all up to us to decide what belongs and what does not. Where we want to be and where we don’t. It’s all a made up thing.

This life, like poetry, we come to it in silent reverence, we leave it, we come back. I sit now by the open window in my writing room. I remember my place inside myself, this home that I wrecked and left. I’m eating these little candies I used to eat when I was a kid, these fruity gummy things. The sunlight is the softest I have ever seen as it suffuses through the late afternoon. We meant to do so much more than we did today but it’s Sunday. So what. I don’t want my poetry back. I don’t believe in going back because there was a lot of pain there that I couldn’t see but I could feel. If I let myself, I could have felt it so completely. But I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t half the woman I am now. So healed after having been so broken. So in love with the silence that even the fear falls asleep and I can finally dream.

I Know It’s Hard to Do

Time is running sheer all around us now, sweet thing. Look me in the eyes. I know it’s hard to do, to look into the love which you are terrified you don’t deserve. Like an abyss, like a falling which is blind, which is without end. Soft like forgiveness. Heaven and hell all around but not within reach. You are falling at a speed incalculable, which doesn’t matter of course, but it grates on you that you do not know. Cannot know.

Stick figure. Paper cut eyes. Six hundred and sixty six ways of playing God. Go ahead, taste me. Go ahead, drown yourself, end it all like a murder, like a suicide. Love and death. Like you can handle it.

Promise me this: you will carve out a space where only you make the rules and then you will kill the rules off one by one. You call the shots. You say the things which need to be said. There is a voice you carry within you which is beyond this world and its fixtures and fixations. Your voice, your world. The likes of which they have never heard. Couldn’t possibly fathom. But you know of deeply, intuitively, instinctively.

Words carved into your palm, onto your lungs. Poetry etched into the way you move your curved body, like a breathtaking storm. Like a tornado. Like destruction. Like a deep oceanic sound. Haunted. Hunted. Charted. Mapped. An invisible vibration of color, of darkness.

Please understand, no one told me any of this. Not directly and not anyone I could trust but somehow I learned it along the way, or I knew it as far back as the beginning. No, no, not of me but of time itself, of life itself. The dawning. Surely you know what I mean, even if you don’t believe in anything other than beginnings. That’s all God is. The Devil. Something penetrates, wets, agitates. Some kind of life swims in the womb full of the heavy blooded blackness. Death all around. Death as beginning. Beginning as a terrible light.

Please pay attention, my love. Note the number of times you think about time. In the coming hours how often you worry about the hours. How you split yourself, turn into yourself trying to make the calculation. You pour your coffee. You turn the key in the ignition and the day is too clear and too cold and the windows a fogged frost, thin.

Traffic as time left. Red light, green light, the turning of the eternal, tires grinding skin.

You say you do not pray but you feel the sickness in your bones while waiting at the intersection. You open the glass doors into the glass building from which you stare out at the swaying spring trees as the boss needs and the phone rings and the hollow man in the side office is talking at you in a voice you cannot understand. You type a letter you delete.

And somewhere far, far away from where your life is breaking into silent pieces blown away on the stale wind, you are standing in the dead center rush of the middle of that intersection, twenty five lane highway as the cars and trucks blast past your tiny fragment frame, like standing among the wildflowers, you are soft, supple, drugged, alone. Let the sunlight take you from here. Let the beams of little dust light all around you make like a thousand points of potential impregnation.

At the beginning is the end and so it is, too, the reverse. Look into me, sweet thing. Life as blessing, life as curse.

Tempt the Tides

Fire flickers in my chest, I feel its heavy heat as I look up into the bluegray sky, dark with promise, thick with secrets I keep to myself.

The wind is shaking the trees, hard and stiff they sway from the pressure. The invisible air makes a crushing sound against my window pane, pushing, pushing, roughing up the atmosphere like a shoving into and out of place.

We learn to shift. We learn to lose. We learn to surrender. We learn our flexibility and our strength. I think of lovers who have moved me, startled me, awakened me.

Wanting something else. The recklessness of that. To dare the wreckage of that. To tempt the pain. Tempt the tides. Bend the waves.

He speaks to me in silence. I come to him in the same manner, hauntingly still. Desperately eager, hungry, empty, alert. I know what I want. I know I have not found it yet.

Or no, that isn’t quite right. I have caught glimpses of it.

Felt its soft black feathers swinging in the soft flesh of my throat, my breast, my center. The words which unlock my timidity. My experience of the truth sometimes feels like begging, pleading.

I have dreams where I cannot find the way, door after door, hallway into hallway, endlessly. I hate it and I trust it. The only way is no way at all. The only way is never ending and alone.

Perhaps as poets we know only to reach out for phantom things.

Open our mouths against the words which may or may not come.

What would you die for. What does it look like. What does it feel like.

It isn’t what they told you, is it. It is never like they told you.

You cannot name it. But god, how you bleed for it, seek for it.

This exquisiteness you swear you’re made of

vanishing inside

behind the burning sun.

 

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Photo by Pietro Tebaldi

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