Prodigal 

Imperceptible are the aches that once beset me, as I make my way across, the sun on my
neck, on my arms. Across the wild fields. The orchards. The duck ponds. The whispers of the charred wheatgrass. And I am a becoming, I am becoming a flower to the night, a flower again to your eyes.

X24

A bird chirps. Deep in the woods a bird chirps. I can pinpoint its location. As soon as I do there is another and still always another ahead of me. The soil beneath the grey skies is soaked still with yesterday’s storm. Soon there will be a crescent moon, a symbol of the fall and rise of man. But the day is a beautiful discovery, and night has stolen nothing of which I could ill afford to lose.

The Chasm

One day closer. We will bridge the chasm that is the you and me, that are these shells. I feel the currents getting stronger and stronger as we are pulled farther and farther away from the nothingness and confusion that is this life. I see them dressed to the nines, dressed in their dignity, and I don’t know if I am, if we are, getting smaller to fit through the key hole, or that we are growing bigger and stronger to jump our way over. There’s a beauty beyond that which our eyes can see, that is not really beauty, that is not mere truth. There are no words, no real concept for it here…but you occurred to me once in a tide of thoughts.

J.E #1

At first I had a cloaking feeling of numbness, but on greater inspection I felt more like I was on the edge of every possible feeling: sadness, pain, euphoria, ecstasy, terror, loneliness, magic, wonderment, memories etched by each and every heartbreak; and that I had left my mind for a less turbulent home, somewhere closer to my heart, though it wasn’t really my heart, but a place that held a greater peace, somewhere from where to observe even the ugliest of all these, and with a flowering, knowing smile see in all this the unspeakable beauty of living.

Human

I faced the spectre of my lonesome days.
Your laughter won’t echo from the walls;
and the world outside does not exist, caught in the throes of some secret, silent rapture. Yet weep now not for me, for I have wedded myself to a muted bliss – though still you are an abiding thought…How typical of us? Humans.

X14

It was a vivid dream, but not in the sense of bright, lurid things. Events were all too ordinary. From a school at the edge of a cliff: a stern voice, hiding warmth. Yelling down at the barren, dusty path. A well-meaning task. But there wayward we…a bloom of wild, stubborn hearts…

x1

Abandoned child,
I had no choice in my salvation,
Where I was taken. 
But I didn’t find it there.
There was None Beyond the washing of feet,
Tho loudly proclaimed in rituals. A
Grotesque scene.
It was a grieving heart
That took me upon wayward paths,
Where I found 
Tabernacles in the swaying trees,
The green writhing river;
Children and innocence 
At play
Upon the breeze;
Kernels of truth
In the quietest of sermons
Spoken by the moon.

Merciless 

A country boy. A no-name in the streets.

He stood no chance. Except that one night.
Though he started out shakily. One false move
by the assured champion. A surprised victory.
Then boldly he called out the other three. 
Right there. Defeated them. All four 
paraded there on stage. Surprised 
defeat dawning on their shamed faces. 
The spectacle broke my heart. Only he repeated the 
feat again. And again. Country boy. Still no love. 
No fame. Then one day. The morning
sun warm and pleasant. Thick. Syrupy
through the trees. Below. In the orange glow.
He stood there again on stage. Refined limp. “Good job, old man,” they said. Scorned pity in their voices. 
Undone by an upstart. He left in 
undignified silence…and this too broke my heart. 

1-a

Rise did the cold wind like smoke. Rose like mist
upon my skin, through my coat. Comfortless, I detested my clothes, those mirthless arms around my soul. The moon, halved, was still there, and morning stood beneath it like a ghost in a long white robe. And the day ill-fitting shoes.
I looked forward to that long warm caress of an eternal night.

Chester

Skanking indecorously to the harsh rhythm for warmth, we were huddled there loosely in tough pride. The wind, the pale white monster leers, turns, leers, and turns, and then quickly pounces. We were dressed in ratty, tattered sneakers, brown and black and years’ faded jackets. A collective exultation of horror. The cold wind sinks its vicious teeth in our flesh, bites our fingertips. And spring won’t come too soon.

Steve

It was a twenty year wait but there we were together again. He was charismatic and tall and handsome and tough and protective. Steve. Growing up, I’d always wanted a big brother like him. I wish I could say that day we were united in grief, but the man was no more than a stranger to me. Steve cried and retched. I was steely stomached upon seeing the taut skin stretched across the bony outlines of his lifeless face. I felt neither sadness nor anger. I felt nothing. The sun streaming down and his tender, brotherly arm around my shoulder, we had passed rows and rows of caskets in various stages of construction out on the open street on our way to the morgue. The living making a living from the dead. I think I had an elevated and exaggerated perception of how violent that part of the city was. For people, after-all, do die from natural causes, and hunger, heartbreak, accidents, sickness, loneliness. People die from loneliness. I saw that in the pathetic handful of people in the chapel that day. There was no one there to remark upon or to add substance to or to illuminate the darkness that was his life. I myself had nothing of worth but twenty years of gaping silence to say of my father.

Morning brings a
Silent catastrophe
I leave under the quaking fronds of dawn
Out Upon the empty streets
A disembodied man
Put there to the
Stake
My mind and soul
Still here
It matters not what
The world does to me
It is only blood and bones and sinews
The essence of a man is his heart
And this I leave always with you

What a fortuitous time it was for a blackout. I was about nine, and it was my first Christmas and only a few months deep with my foster family. Decent, staunchly religious people. Except for the older kids, who hid their depravity but not their inveigling influence under freshly starched and ironed Sunday clothes. Who as we walked along the street, that Christmas Eve, ogled the toys we’d never have. All the way from China. What genius tinkerers. And hawked now on the sidewalk, those toys. No gentle lies. We had no innocence to woo Santa, no chimney to welcome him. So we eyed those trucks, those superheroes, toy soldiers, those Tonkas, those toy trains, those windmills, toy guns. Tinsel glinting under the street lights. The beautiful, magical, twistable shapes of plastic. How our imaginations played. How the makers knew our hearts so? And then the lights went out. Exhilarating was the night. Blind thieves in the dark. Our ill-gotten troves. But short-lived are stolen pleasures…We miscreants laughing and running the length of a small town.

Apostates

And should my
Father
In his unquestioned
wisdom
instruct me
To a
Marauding heat
To make
Red the oceans according to his will
Oh but for the
Courage to deny Him
To be as
Gentle as the caressing
Jasmine scented zephyrs of spring.
Oh…
For love and compassion
To Be my religion
To be as the Northern Star
To my rebellious heart

:.

Limbs heavy with the pangs of yearning,
I lived in a quandary of lust. Addled and
sleep induced, I descended the bowels of
night, to rest the weight of this life,
to find soothing words and hymns, to see
behind your garments – no, the veils of
which from me you hide your soul. For this
I went in search. But there was only
numbness. There was only nothingness.
Dreamless were the hours. Silent was my
hunger against your bonny enchantment.
There lived only the deep silence that muted
my heart. I saw not even the uncertain
pining in the deep recesses of your eyes.
Deeper still…I saw…grey….spectres of…
time and space. So, here, I awake…in the
blazing fire that is the sun. Left behind,
but now I know the stilling lullaby of death

Arya: A Retelling

Struck down by a mortal blow, and writhing in pain,
he begged for a swift death from her merciful hands. A giant felled by a vicious sword. She happened upon him. He tots loudly his evils, the wrongs meted out to those she had loved, their lives snuffed out by the cruel winds wrought from his massive hands. “Kill me,” he pleads, “For your brothers. For your father. For your friends. For my sins.” But her hands would not be incited to quick vengeance. Today she was as fluid as his blood, merely an omen of his impending death, justice silent but certain, spilling slowly and excruciatingly from him, all the way down the mountain and from his wounds. Justice today would be solemn and slow, echoing through the wind, carrying his pain-etched wailings all the way deep into the night. Clean were her hands and her violence sheathed in silence as she walked on…at last.

Saturday Morning

Just out of the academy. A boy. A rookie. He came sauntering down the street teeming with pedestrian traffic. A vision of respectability. Of law. Of order. A strange and inscrutable machine behind him. This half god. The black peak of his officer cap gleamed in the sun. His uniform neatly ironed: the seams sharp enough to cut men, to spill their blood. Down the street someone shouted: Pickpocket! Too quickly he reached for the gun, holding it ineptly and nervously in the air. A frightful, ridiculous scene. We all too felt sorry for him: this half god, overwhelmed by the sudden and heavy power of death he held in his hand…

Coelacanth

Once our feet and hands were closely bound to the ocean, as if now a different life. In dark shades our silhouettes; the glitz of the city beyond. The past yet present around us. Hitherto the deep pools of your eyes, the land of verdant promises. Foreign are these skies with a blurry moon. Desultory was my heart’s claim to fame. Yet I loved you. Night. Hungry fingers to grab what is not mine. Artificial limbs grown once when from the murky sea. Streaking rain on the windowpanes. Dispersed blues and greens. The coelacanth.

Portia, after…

When away from wayward climes, 
I’ll turn my hands over and into the ocean these briefs, these white doves scrawled with lies. My heart will send them fluttering to their watery deaths. Guile will lose its primacy. Truth will be prized over diplomacy. And the compass of my soul will find safety in your harbour; its one true victory.

It’s as if at seventeen I was washed up on the shore from those dark and lonely teenage years, no longer a boy but not yet a man. It was a beautiful and seductive new world, yet one strewn with the rotting lives of the newly afflicted; ground zero to a chemical epidemic. I would have been an easy victim. Motherless. Fatherless. Searching for myself. It was here that she found me. Today in once familiar songs, long discarded to the exigencies of living, the words, melodies and forgotten histories now coming back to me…she reminded me.

Saying Goodbyes

I thought of the way it ended. His ending. I thought of papa and I thought of his last pain etched words, the ones that even now, after all these years…after all these years still now ring in my ears.

And then I thought of you. I thought of you there in Earth’s last dawning autumn. That last morning. In the garden. The roses were vibrantly beautiful if not garishly red. And it was only in spilling the secrets too long cloistered in my veins that I was able to free them, to bleed them to their more natural colour.

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Land of the restless. Here…here…here I awake. The birds sing praises. Days lived in fear and not seeing beyond the wall. But in the pines, in the quiet vale…shhh…a murmuring. A Coming siege? Windswept names. The quiet brook. The past will not forget. The sweet and bitter things that have sired her. Today I shall abide. And I’ll taste them all, naked hearted and guileless, toeing through the doorway to her welcoming arms.

The Stranger

Strange party. Eerily quiet. No music. No words. A few balloons. They sit around hushed tables under off-white weather beaten old tents and at dusk just after the rain. A few teenage girls stand apart from them, next to an open door car. I’m waiting a few cars down. Suspicious. I feel their glancing curious eyes. Friend or a freak? I collect my order from the nearby restaurant and slowly drive by the larger group; gingerly passing by the quiet tables and their carelessly parked cars, their soundless dances and their odourless food. She stands out. Stares. There’s a dawning shadow of a smile. It disappears at the realization. I mourn the silence.

Returning

Late summer. Early morning. To the low choral hum of window unit a.c’s, mysterious animals fearlessly scavenging in the middle of silent streets, and sleeping minds still dreaming – mechanical dreams, here return I home a lone soul just before dawn, under the glittering light of the bright morning stars. You have softly commandeered my heart, and my side of the bed with your arms, and your legs, and your warmth…and, my love, I do not mind. Make my world yours.

On Becoming Nothing

The night was lonely and dense and contained but a single path leading to the deeper wilderness. It was the looking into a mirror and seeing only the pooling darkness of my mind. By the window the crickets rioted. I was held captive by my fears and a vague subversive mantra for my own destruction. But as the sun creeps slowly over the hills and through the trees, and the birds chirping pierce the gloom of the stricken air, I do now think I understand.

The Sadness of Grapes

Lightly, very lightly along the edges I will walk. And though my heart the engine roars low and menacing and ready in my hands, and I am tempted to drink heavily from what we were – when the blissful days all blurred into one, and everything was the heady explosion of colours, for now, though pleasant the fermented hours of you and me, to sip heavily just once must be enough, for you have become the sweet intoxicating sadness borne by the grapes.

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Life is indeed too brief and long is Grief. My euphoric Words have seemed few. Yet Powder all that I’ve ever said and sprinkle it to linger as infinite echoes over the mountains. For though There were only those vague golden summers, and though the Demons of memory now lash at me like ill winds, Let the kernel of my truest convictions forever prevail and be moved from place to place by the beaks of swallows spreading still the possibilities of love…

First Kiss

In the sad hesitant night you said, “Kiss me, you fool.” The stars were suddenly in my eyes and in my throat and on my tongue…urging me into a thousand hungry pieces. And my ecstatic lips and hands leapt over the beautiful precipice to the certainty of their doom. Yet from all the way down, still the fires rage in all the gorgeously ruined pieces of me.

Harvest

In the betrothal of the day and the sun, in the joyous harvest of you and me, We stroll the garden drunk on kisses. The confidence of my love is lathered over your skin. And in the lush mystery of your eyes, the Tulips and chrysanthemums dole out smiles. And my Every pore and every breath and every strand of hair and this heart beating are but eager fingertips that gleefully reap the wonders in this bountiful garden of life.

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I don’t understand the feminine spirit. And yet I do. I do. I do. This is when I come closest to hearing the inner workings of my own heart. Some think that this is to be weak. It’s not. This is strength in a different dimension. There’s no strength hidden in the barren caverns of your fist. That is but closed grips and guns and bombs and centuries stained with bloodshed. Strength is in the open palm of your giving. It is in the open arms of your comforting. It is in the open palm of wiping the tear stained face of another. It is in the open hearts of flowers. It is in the giving wisdom of open books. It takes strength to be soft, to love, to let your soul be gentle however the vagaries of the wind. To lay yourself open, there is no stronger or more courageous thing.

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There are no such things as broken hearts, or mourning for some defunct days of ecstasy, or remembered kisses, or pining for that which now lies gaping and missing. There are today these….billions of hearts suffering through the lack of love. Let us avow in this quiet endeavour, remove the hard cloaks of what we are to the world and be the night’s warm comforting arms to each other.

For Kati

I’m stifled by the odour and the smog, the filth and decay, the strain of bills that must be paid, the intervening days that fall between you and me. I rush through it all – to get back to you. It won’t come soon. But Night brings quiet; a fragrant darkness falls upon the land. I smell the sweetness in the centre of all things. I am but a blur…I am one with the birches, the birds, the flowers, the garlands of wild butterflies. I don’t know why, except it happens each time I make my way back to you. Night is the dawn of you and me

The White Room

I lie awake….eyes searching for the light. The sun bleeds in through the blinds, to the White painted walls. Birdsong fills my heart…This most ephemeral day. I breathe in the scents of flowers and think of you, and how Those bridges blaze again in my mind. But Chemtrails, and boom, and Muffled television noise, The heavy sounds of time Seep deep into the soil. I arise…to live…to find the remnants of my life.

Night Breeze

I can’t remember if there were stars, or if moonlight fell softly upon the leaves. I was…blind to the spectacle but not the spectre of a loveless night. I wanted again those guarantees that once lived in my heart. But the night exudes ill its breath and returned to me an ocean of scents: the flowers and trees. I awake expectant from this dark tomb of the sky, for pain and joy are but flips of the same coin.

Juvenile Tigers

Last night the wall between time and forgotten memories melted away, and like magic you were there in my arms. It was in that waiting age of innocence and juvenile depravity, the brooding quiet before the storm, the quiet hunger that you stirred in my veins. But as you plied me with sweet confessions of your own, and I pounced to sink my feral teeth, again – again you vanished away.

Jacinth

After it happened, no one came to us and said, “Ann Marie, Steve, Antoinette, Gregory, Junior, Ralph, Deon, well, it is an unmistakable fact that your friend, your peer, your fellow nine year old lies silently in that box of polished mahogany waiting to be brought prematurely to her final place of sleep. This is an anomaly. Gunmen don’t usually rob schools as they do banks for the obvious reasons. Do not fear one bit for your precious lives. This will never ever happen again. Go out and play! Play your hearts out!”

No, no one soothed us. No one lied to us that day.

RGS

When I’ve had too much wine my tongue no longer speaks as mine but harkens back to the days of my father. It is through this medium which I visit him. And I do not detest but understand what afflicted him. I myself in my juvenile days had veered too close if only to see. I stood on inebriated street corners at nineteen with friends and we spoke of girls and politics and tried to put the world in words we could not find. And a few pints would do me in. I would slightly stagger home, my heart sweet and light and free and clear. And I knew. This is how it felt to be him.

Music and You

I must have passed by those houses, gaunt and lonely looking, a thousand times on that stretch of road. Never once before did I see them. Now my once indifferent eyes were open, seeing everything. The sky was a grey dome and the dipping, dimmed sun struggled. There was the swirling of the lightest snow. As all I’d been oozed out of me, I came face to face with my own mortality. I was not afraid. I was surprised by this. I accepted it all with the calmness of a surgeon’s hands. Tallied up in the book written by man, I’d been a failure. No wealth. No mark would I leave for posterity. But I was not sad. There was music and there had been you. You.

Rainy and foggy, a sleep inducing mist covers the land.
From the bracken,
Enticements in hand,
Metal voices call out to me.
Momentarily
These words I take on as flesh.
Besotted with them,
This sweet stupor,
I must indulge…
But deep down
My waking eyes yearn to witness
The truth that
Lives in a separate land from
The world of the machine.

The Orphan

Cold was the wind that blew me from her arms; now I don’t even remember the taste of her name.

I hear her in…

Cars passing by on the road.

I see her in…

Lonesome cabins

Beyond the pines

Under gauzy Skies filled with muted stars.

Some hunger rises,
something pained and feverish calls from the bottom of me.

Here intangibly lies my story…

They smell the rootless nothingness on me:
Motherless,
Fatherless,
A nation seeking its own land,

And I’m not worthy

Of my Lover’s hand.

Friends

The moon blaze on the edge of this magnificent tomorrow. The night is abuzz with hope. I see her outstretched arms to me. I feel the ecstasy of life on my fingertips.

But shadows loom large over it.

I cannot help but think of all the things my heart cannot leave behind: things broken irretrievably, or things the earth swallowed. In our silence lives this chasm between us that time is yet to bridge. This rotting sorrow of broken things. This stench from the graveyard of flowers. Memories that cannot be captured with words.

So Another year goes by, auld lang syne.

Though I’m on the threshold of this new me, this fire underneath my tongue, my eyes that are opened anew, all that is sparklingly beautiful and wondrous and new, still I cannot free myself of you.

No Morsel of understanding visit my eyes, even after eons of rumination, or collecting the light of the sun in my skin. What is there to be learnt from the remembrance of lost things.

Let my heart find peace in this farewell. We will never be again.

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