Rewind

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

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Wooden Belly Beast

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.

Lost Words

A jar of lost words — biochemical hazards
Rolling in my dusty memory
Collected from the chinks in our sanity
After each futile larynx competition

I weaved a web between our nocturnal encounters
To trap these shavings of our decency
Like dandruff and dead skin; lost words
Clog up the soul when left to sediment

The glass reverberated with the humming
Of a thousand lost words carving their
Vendetta and venom on the jar, longing
To secrete abstract poison into physical organs

I was careless last night.
I tilted my head too far off the bed and
The jar rolled out of my memory
All the lost words escaped, gleeful,

burrowing deep into our lexical gap
widening it to an irreparable chasm

You are long gone, shoved into my
‘failed love experiment’ drawer
But when the wine glass grows heavy
I still find some lost words

Behind my ears

Beneath my pillow

Between my fingernails

I roll them on my tongue, but
Having a mind of their own they
Sting my tastebuds to escape, or
Travel into the recesses of my grey matter to

Eat me from the inside out.

Banshee

You love me, stare into my eyes
Study her fragments in the grey flecks of my iris
She sits on your sagged shoulders
Perched atop your frame, ethereal
Triumphant in her transcendence
She is thinner than nitrogen
But permeates your lungs
Layers of soot collect in your bronchi
From years of inhaling her essence

When you kiss me, she floats down
Her lips plumped crimson
Adept at stealing your kisses
From less deserving women
She is diaphanous
Yet fills the room you inhabit
Her gossamer memories
Reproduce in your cranium
Weightier than cities

You deny her existence
She lies betwixt us every night
When we walk her shadow
Casts a length greater than mine
She is the crepuscular wind that caresses you
The white morning terrors that seize you
The noir filter that drains all women of colour
Everyday she grows, while you pretend
You love me as if I was she

You love me, she stares into my eyes
Gloating in her vicarious victory
She knows, even as she cast you aside
She still possesses you
In every woman’s eyes.

Chewing the cud

Poets are cows
Scattered on fields of language

Morning to evening they
Tear up juicy stalks of words

Worn molars chewing out chlorophyll
Defining, refining, agonizing

They need four compartments to
Ferment, ruminate, regurgitate

Language is imbued in their flesh
So we cut them open for our consumption

Today my words were stuck in my throat
A stubborn piece of steak, refusing to fall or rise

Many tried the Heimlich, but
I only succeeded in choking harder

Maybe by ingesting other poets I

Years of Silence

Ruth had not spoken for five years.

It wasn’t a vow of silence or a spiritual journey

She never planned on being mute, but

One day she woke up and there were no words because

Words became sirens that cried to her like Odyssey

Dripping honey-poison from their lips until

She lost all will to live. Take me with you, she screamed

Clutching their muslin skirts, thin as water.

But they slipped away as fast as they came

And she remained, tied

To the broken mast of life.