She was a melange of cigarettes and perfume and illicit men and late nights squeezing life out of intoxicating substances and long morning reckoning showers and how those nights add years though somewhere still in there was a heart like the sun that would slowly creep up on you.
I feel life ebbing, a sense of something dying, but my heart is a prisoner holding on to the prison bars of my chest yelling to be released and for one last moment of glory run wild and free and barefooted these wheat fields before me. And I’m also that raging river that yearns to find its death inside your lips, and like a junkie alive out of his mind, ruined by the pursuit of liquor and highs and failed love, I’ll happily contemplate the beauty of the sky from some god forsaken gutter though the night is tarnished only in that the stars do not match the fire in your loins. But I’ll returned to this landscape to a choir of birds. And I’m that one bird somewhere in the back lacking form and technique and refined grace but my song is vibrant with the colours that you’ve injected into my arms.
Beyond the clanging of swords, I use the sun to tell time. And by noon my heart has collected a thousand wondrous and curious things. There is beauty after the death of an old life.
This is what we’ve become. We lie here as two divergent ships. And the years and our wars lie here as silent oceans between us. But I am a jewel thief, and my eyes glint with her graceful softness of soul, and the way she gently steals the breath of the world. The tips of my fingers ache to pick up the broken pieces of what we’ve become and put the stars back in the sky where they neatly belong.
We were love dancing in gardens of crotons. And nights were spent by kerosene lamp greening our fingers with pods of broad beans and peas. And our ears were regaled with ghosts and tragedies and the battles she’d fought. And she was the hurricane. And everything had to be uncomfortably clean and neat. Meals were trips to heaven. And the mornings dewed our feet and we’d witness the rising sun. And life was tethered to planting and reaping. And being simple. And being decent. And going to church. And her life as a girl felt like another century. And time would shrink her to fit into my arms. Then she was no more. And now her history lives every day on my tongue.
The Night I Gave Up
Bella. The night I gave up she wore white shorts and heavenly curves and she was lovely and oozed the carefree fluidity and litheness of youth and I will never remember anything else. I saw her waiting for me somewhere beneath the shadows of trees or were they electrical poles and I instantly felt guilty and slightly ashamed and maybe too much like a man struck by lightening. Bella. Maybe I lingered just a few moments too long. Looking at her, beautiful beyond argument, I felt I was looking at something I had no right being privy to.
And I wished I wouldn’t go through with it.
We drove past a cemetery and it was the darkest place on the block and the universe. My mind went blank and there was a lull in our conversation. I have nothing to give, no thoughts, and certainly not to ghosts and causes, even those draped in flags. There’s a silent and bloodless war no one covers anymore. The erosion of life as we know it. No one cares. The dead are accorded oratory to remind us of them. Who cares about the living?
What do I have to give, Bella? How have you not yet seen through me.
Today? Life is indeed too much for me. I give enough to the outstretched arms of the world and still it demands more. More. I do not have anything left in me. I do not know how I’ll make it through today much less tomorrow without losing my mind. I feel myself slowly creeping to the edge, a casualty. But she’s here now. I do not tell her these things. I smile. We live.
I look for small victories and blow them out of proportion just to give myself a reason to live. And the way she moves and feeds my eyes is a gift from the sky. And every moment with her is a year and blaze like the chirping of a billion crickets that drown every other sound from the night. I drink to her, to them, to the sweet oases in this desert of life. Growing up is the slow and painful reclaiming of fairytale dreams. But tonight I live all my possible years in the moments of our kisses.
And maybe this one night is enough for me.
I think of you and my heart is a storm of butterflies. But once my feet had been slow on their way to you. The days of youth would be endless. So I took many an errant path and spent nights in cemeteries of dreamless dreams. And I imbibed away all guilt. I transgressed the light of the moon and ignored the view of the stars from your eyes. But I grew disappointed with rainless days and the sun always being so hot. For once my heart had no room for love and the softness it made in my soul. Now here I am forever in stillness against my will. Once brimming with life it now drowns me. Some great power have stolen my place in the universe. For the mischievous wind upon your skin should be my hungry kisses. And I should be there to hold you amid the coming wintry grey skies and the first flakes of snow.