Fragile Thoughts Had On Long Walks

1.

The words I hear you cannot see;

they settle on my skin like dust.

One day perhaps my skin will litter your kitchen table,

and all that you will have is this dust of me.

But for now, we are fighting the currents of pain and separation.

2.

I have told more stories than you will ever know;

becoming less myself is my source of life.

Know that I have only ever told one lie,

and it hid from you the rest inside.

I thought I wouldn’t want to get to know you.

3.

You asked me why I stand so still,

my eyes aghast and thumbs pinched in.

My neck cracks as I remember:

I will never drop my stance for you,

though one day I may come to love you.

4.

I left the rose you gave me on the shelf.

I like to think it grew old enough to feather into petals.

PARADOX I

I did not see the sky today;

I hid myself in layers.

I found the ring that doesn’t fit,

called the brother I’ll never miss,

tried on the dress and noticed the rip.

Today I did not crack the shutters;

I do not deserve to see the day.

I left the restaurant hungry yesterday,

praying he wouldn’t ask me home.

I want to be left alone, 

and when I told him so he hit me.

I cried today.

Twice.

I don’t think God is listening.

And though I have not seen the sky today,

I have not told a lie.

Wild-Girl Heart

Clawing your way through a wooded town

on a rare day of autumn heat won’t get you anywhere,

I think you’ve forgotten.

You’ve been drug away from the forest floor,

eyes a knotted, snotty mess and hair in your teeth before;

why can’t you give it a rest with your wild-girl heart?

 

Dried leaves crumple in your clammy fists,

a flurry of red-orange flakes with edges like broken glass

unstick themselves from your palms and float down,

never to be reassembled

or remembered;

crushed in vain by a girl with a wild heart and hands of a man:

even holy water could not cleanse the things you touched back then.

 

You bring rock to trunk to scratch the features of your face

into the soft clay bark of the old oak tree.

Naturally, the disfigured tree disfigured you;

and for the rest of the days that its roots burrow down into the forest floor,

your folded jowls and pinching eyes will grace the clearing’s door.

As such your face wanders into country lore

and you are remembered as a monster;

Old Hag of the Hill who ate wild-girls’ hearts.

 

Too late, the crack of guilt lashes down on your hunched back,

the rock slips from your grip and you follow it down;

finally collapsed in this lawless wooded town.

 

You know the hours will pass and the searchlights will find you.

Questions will be asked and avoided, repeated and half-completed;

half-sense words building sense and sentences in the moonlight.

You’ve all been through this before.

 

The forest knows how to wear its destruction well,

that is to say, it hides it all;

little do the occult ad-ults know what wreckage goes unmanned here;

the wrecked remnants of your wild heart.

 

Years pass in the forest, and your tantrums subside.

No-one asks why, but you remember,

wild-girl at heart,

that night you tore your wild heart into pieces

and planted its meaty pulp in the roughed-up forest floor.

 

 

 

As Long As It Takes

I measure time through methods more intimate than

seconds, years, or days.

 

You learn to, don’t you, when time zones lead to tears?

When the anxiety of separation manifests for years?

 

Time has only shown me that our meager, human

methods of dividing up a day in ticks and tocks

leaves so much time unaccounted for.

Time is more than regularity;

it should be shown as valleys and peaks

with the echo of eternity:

“As Long As It Takes,”

echoing eternally between them.

 

Time will take

As Long As It Takes

and rigid divisions are a shitty constraint

on a concept that is one- and ever-flowing.

 

So let me preach:

Measure time in tubes of toothpaste

and moments in metres and miles ahead.

Measure hours in hot water cooling,

and days in books not yet read.

Measure years in love and decades in passion

and life in what’s been produced from the thoughts in your head.

 

Take it from the girl who lives six hours behind her boyfriend,

five hours behind her best friend,

two hours ahead of her home address: home to the house she’s never lived in,

and three hours ahead of the first house she was ever brought home to,

under a rainbow one day in late October;

 

time is a patchwork of moments.

 

And those moments will take As Long As They Take.

Fallen Leaves & Shodden Skin

I did my growing-up in kingdoms and swing sets splattered far and wide

across this worn Earth-world.

Vine-covered buildings dropped their leaves at my arrival,

and armed with only a glue gun and a green marker

I tried to right the wrong of my being

in the place I was living.

 

No-one told me it was natural.

 

Natural to shed one’s coat or skin

either because of personal growth

or a season’s whim.

 

No-one told me it was natural,

 

seven years behind us now,

to be imperfect every once in a while.

That sometimes nature has ideas bigger than

our day-to-day interactions and reactions.

That sometimes leaves will fall and skins will stretch or shed

for the best of us and the best of them.

 

Yet when they do, see not a naked scar

but a rugged skeleton letting

life in.

Uninspired I

My fingers have ground to a halt,

Their prints run dry and blisters bloat the muscle behind my skin.

Words no longer flow with such fluidity now they’ve been rubbed so thin.

My sight is crinkled at the seams —

Exhaustion is usually a breeding ground for poetry,

But from this early-morning darkness I’ve spun out only fragments of stories;

If knickknacks were words and scrapped books came together,

That would be a picture of my poetry.

I can hardly breathe for fear and cold,

These empty words have stolen the hearth on which I warm my soul,

And I am left alone with little to hold, and time again ticks out its close.

New clichés are born in my head

Whispering uninspired, uninspired, 

To the body rotting in this bed.