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.
Silver ice covered this purple fig
Heart, commanded to bear fruit no
Longer many winters ago, when
Selfish appetites stripped it bare of life
You braved the violent winter that year
Spun away the bitter cobwebs, the
Frozen sheen I had adopted as skin
In lieu of budding fruit devoured by cold
Darling, I know that after the frost
I will bear fruit one day.
But when we curl up against the draft
And you drape your sanguine aura
Over my gnarled, frozen shoulders
You have become the warmest winter I know.
Fill your pockets with stone, each pebble
Measuring the exact weight your lungs
Are accustomed to carrying, for
Every breath is an exercise in recycling
ashes of your own internal entropy
Your mother and father’s fractured shadows
Your brother’s calloused hands on your thighs
Murky forms are the only clarity in amorphous
Hours, when you succumb to bitter convolutions
That harden as quivering multitudinous words
Like paroxysms of love that follow their absence.
They catch your breath when all you want is to
Prepare a dinner for your doting husband, but
When you’ve internalised all this external trauma
Even the certainty of his goodness cannot save you.
Virginia learned the hard way
If she cried woolf too many times
Her own mind stops believing. Then
The only one she trusts to carry her weight
Are waters that drown her with applause
So she would not be caught perpetually Between the Acts.
Everyone has their own Bell Jar, said Sylvia (or did she)
While hers roasted in an oven, incinerating
The Mad Girl’s Love Song, never sung again (I think I made you up inside my head)
If god considered what he made in seven days (does he exist?)
He’d see an ocean of fish trapped in oxygen jars
Drowning and undrowning in unique suffering (No one understands my pain)
It was Pandora’s fault. She held the first jar
That birthed the jars trapping all, without even
The semblance of hope that they can shatter (Your pithos became our prison, we think)
Struggling beneath frosted glass, we fail to see
Other jars and other suffering, but if we simply
Strained beyond our own fragility, maybe this
Veneer will fall away to reveal we were never alone, and never need to be.
(But I am alone in my feelings, surely?)
I cup my ear on her skin, eavesdropping on
Her dallying soul; the chiaroscuro profile;
Its shape mirrors the brown Japan on her clavicle
She lines her eyes charcoal; blackened pits
Swallow me whole in her rhizome labyrinths
Fall into her brown Japan as she falls into me.
Together, we awaken into the narcotic night.
The promise of a carnal symphony plays as
Leaving imprints of her mercurial lips; bruised.
She pulls me through all my synapses; tender
I, hungry, dig into the filigree of her epidermis
Even while knowing the same sides of a magnet
I am afraid what my blood test will reveal.
Genetic foibles; mutated infractions of my ancestors
We spent so many generations hiding these secrets
Our artery walls have become rigid from compressing scarlet.
If you spill this scarlet, run tests through it
You will not only find the corrosion of your void
But a gestalt of all the loves we had to forget.
Do all my red blood cells resemble empty bowls
To transport life through plexus and peripheries
Or is your absence writing itself in my veins?
For some nights you possess my platelets
So I cannot help but Bleed to your vacuum
Like a switchless fountain, never ceasing.
All my organs have bled for you. Your memories
Pool and congeal as tumours over my anatomy
In my kidneys, brain, stomach, arteries
I fear if you move too close to my heart
You may arrest the only muscle I reserved for myself
So pierce my skin like a first heartbreak. Test me.