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.
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.
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.
You have found her — Aphrodite
She fills your desert to the brim
A sea is formed within, for her
You’d do anything.
Cast your nets out every dawn
To fish for what she desires
She’s in the distance, perfect; lithe
In your loins she ignites a fire.
Hoist the sails on your boat
As the currents bring you closer
I have mapped constellations for us, you scream
I will give you what you require.
But she does not see your wayward boat
Nor the abundance of your sacrifice
To her your offerings are but a
Sprinkling of rain upon a precipice.
Days and months of drifting lead you
Nowhere near her heart
You realise that your sea is just
A sea of unrequited love.
You seethe, you writhe, you toss your waves
Working up a tempest
It is simply unfair for you to love
While she remains untouched in the slightest.
But if you put down your telescope, you will find
She is not your Aphrodite
You have spent so long at sea that
You forgot where the land is.
If you continue on this sea, you will
Drain it dry with your parched fantasy
But if you disembark from this futile trip
Maybe, just maybe
She will be waiting for you on an island.