The more I try to recall
The less I remember
Was it all made up in my head?
You were the stray thread I pulled to remove
But drew out longer instead.
It was only last spring
We tanned like burnished beets
Under an Indian sun
Now I hold you as you grow
Further in my arms.
You were in my car beside me
The handbrake between our seats
Widened like a gorge
We fell to pieces a thousand times
And a thousand times reformed
Dust motes swirled on your breath
As we unravelled our entwined fibres
There was tyranny in your kindness
If only tenderness was foreign too
Then I could forget how it feels to want you.
All colours appear to me as one.
Through motley stillicide I’ve become
A hue of white, a splash of grey
A glimpse of life within the fray
All my senses have grown cold
Though I am but a dozen-score old
I have lived centuries, but will never know
What life has really to bestow.
Death appeared to me one day
After years of simmering dismay
Speaking in soft funereal tones
Do you know what you have sown?
What is life we while away
When all is gone and none can stay
What is suffering but a means to live
In ceaseless longing emptiness
None shall pass the test of time.
And I have trouble now to rhyme
This inner fire, this fraught desire
To heights I dare not ever aspire.
So tell me what I do not know
To shovel out this perennial snow
And teach me how to navigate
The bourgeois life till I am sate.
Lip service, to you, bounces like mercury
Then seeps its way in: toxin between our sheets.
My worship turns you caprice
But you, my opioid, I must keep.
I made a nest in your concaved chest
Prickled my ear against your restless murmuring
The tremors in your cage within my reach:
So close but further still.
If I could wedge my fingers between your ribs
(the same way god drew Eve out of Adam)
If I could sync my pulse to yours:
I may know your Eve within.
September brought the heat
Plums soured into aubergine
You took off; restless feet
As I learned to love what was missing.
The morning after our earthquake
I examined the canyon between my legs:
Your swelling, ebbing and withdrawal.
The morning after our completion
All my jigsaw pieces grew new edges
Yearning to be part of a whole that would never exist.
The morning after our journey
I set sail in a paper boat folded from your letters
Watching myself drown in the ink of your fickle words.
The morning after you left
I could not swallow the pill:
Your promise of life left me itching; wanting;
Craving your withholding as much as I hated your giving.
Let us pollinate our minds tonight.
Let us spread our cerebral tapestries on
My yellowed ceiling like glow in the dark stars
That hung above my dreams from two to twenty-two.
We will peel each other open like old photo albums
Leaking sepia onto our fingers with each memory.
And when we are done, not even the morning can sever us
For between these sheets we have created our own galaxy,
Our own gravitational forces
Our own orbit.
Carve upon my bones
Your esoteric alphabet
The sharp edges of your tongue
Your instrument of inscription.
Your words are ancient but indelible
Etched upon lichen bones you used
To divine our omens. When my blood
Was not enough, you left these ruins
For another city to conquer.
Your runes are carved on my ruins
If I run my fingers against them
I can almost remember:
Your ruins felt like magic
How could I tell you I was afraid of your eyes?
They reminded me of living
Long after I had turned back for Sodom
And froze into a salt pillar for lusting after
His promises of milk and honey.
I saw your heart unravel in your eyes
Melting as a lifespring into my porous hands:
Too frigid to receive your spring rain, too hardened
To know love was not about sucking moisture dry.
When you said you loved me
You did not know that you
Were the rain, and I was
Paisley rocks, flowered stones blossomed in your eyes
You told me to follow your chartered constellations, but
I was only led to distant, crustacean shores. Here,
Your words wash against me, foaming gangrene seaweed in your wake.
My ears, curled with the same canals of a conch that
Remembers the ocean’s voice to sing in memoriam —
So will I cup my ears, to hear your voice once more
These murmuring sirens, calling you from an alien shore.
You are still cetacean, impenetrable like evergreen
On cerulean coasts, bewildered and bent but never broken.
While I wait, I will sail your tessellate, undulating mind
So I can navigate you like tides of my turquoise night sea.
Apologies for my prolonged absence. In the past month I had to deal with a seismic shift in my life, including completing a university degree, moving houses and going away for a family vacation. But now that these tectonic plates have calmed down, posts will resume regularly.
In my youth I had so much time
Endless celluloid, press start to play
Record the quotidian day to day
If it recorded a pain; a loss
I could simply fastforward; completely engrossed
In moving away from humdrum distress, but
I did not know VCR tapes could find
Chinks in the recesses of my mind
To play motley pains and losses on repeat:
Stuck on you, and others like you
As if you were a reliquary; a shrine
A monument to all lost loves in life.
In my old age I know I will find
A screen of static fuzz, as
Oblivion erases my mind
But this I know to the very last day
I will still hear you calling beyond the grave
A nocturnal whisper; a ceaseless chime, Singing
O love – rewind, rewind
My father tried to warn me
Once your soul found form
In a wooden body
It would never be free again.
Do not learn an instrument
Anything hollow with strings
Do not fill its cavity with
The abundance of your waters
It is an unquenchable thirst
A language without words
Writing more histories than
Any papyrus, tablet, ink;
At dawn, he will writhe inside you
A mute symphony, welling within
Crystallising as notes you swallow:
Gastric memories, digested by time.
At noon she will draw out your thoughts
Like your bow, elegaic and unforgiving
Carving more emotions than
Moons, oceans and their swelling lips.
At midnight they will wind and unwind
These pegs that hold your heart together
Even the stars will become a trite memory.
My father’s strings were broken before mine
He warned me, too late:
Once you surrender your heartstrings
To the gut strings taut against your belly
You will never be able to
Move without strings attached again.