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
I buried you last year.
Like Egyptian pharaohs, your
Funeral was a stately affair.
I embalmed all your memories
In polished urns detailing our
Sultry summers surrendered to oblivion
I painted my lips crimson, with
The life once in your veins
Your chafed heart, weary
Of loving too much in vain
Has its special jar amongst my shelf of
Expired hearts burst from futility and shame.
You said ghosts were cutouts of souls
Plastered onto the cornea of the living
All their visions have a hole the shape
Of a tenacious shadow bleeding the past
Into the present, reluctant to die.
I was like that to you, you complained
Little did I know
By burying you like a pharaoh,
You achieved immortality.
Even if your eternal life is
As a spectre in my retinas
Always present, like fuzzy eyeworms
Disappearing upon focus.
Yes, haunt my dreams tonight.
If I did not bid you to die
I would never have known
The saccharine bitterness of
Falling asleep every night to
This sweet somnolent lullaby.
Follow me down to the Blue Elm tree
Where the river babbles around your knees
There she waited for him, and him for me
Her eyes screamed ‘robbery, robbery, robbery’.
You remember her swirled in morning mists
As her hair swept over her wistful lips
Wading between the reeds, silent and swift
And in an instant gone was her silhouette.
Slipped upon white eggshell stones
Adorned by layers of moss overgrown
Her bones upon the water did float and roam
Lost to dancing iridescent foam.
If you look in the Blue Elm tree
Though gnarled and white its skin may be
There lies a man in the alcove, collecting debris
Waiting for her, and waiting for me.
Splayed open for all travellers to see
His bones as white as his beloved, deceased
Picked apart by ravens for their winter feast
Scarcely given a chance to bleed.
There will be a day you forget the Blue Elm Tree
But until then will you wait for me?
She lies in the water, transparent and free
He lies in his nook, in her thoughts and my dreams.
You are only spoken of in guilty whispers
Between obsidian walls
By my aging father
His hushed urgency divulges:
You made a whole number flawed.
You do not have a grave
Because my mother still carries you
In the plots of her heart reserved for
Burying festered parts of herself
Never to be mentioned again.
Can one miss another who never was?
I miss the bond we never had, like
My left arm misses its right
The gaping hole speaks
Of sundry experiences I will never know.
All I know is
When your premature limbs began to convulse
And the walls that nurtured you suffocated instead
Her womb became your drowning tomb
The tremors seized her as he held her tight —
And all they could do was clutch your translucent body beneath the tungsten light.