I met God in a dream.
He lived on the bottom of the ocean
in a white room,
painted with blue water shadows.
A drowned, damned soul, kept begging outside
stuck mottled, barnacled hands through the blinds
reaching for the forgiveness he thought was there.
God told me to open the door
and the sinner stumbled to God, shrieking.
I covered my ears and cried
at the sight of flesh wrinkled white
and eyes blind from the salt.
God forgave one sin.
But the man carried so many more.
I could see it in the way
he grasped his lost hope,
futile, furious, frightened.
Cruel, purgatory cycle,
there are too many sins
to forgive before the world ends.
The unforgiven fled God
into the night of the sea.
I feel horror fill my mouth,
as I stare up at the deity in a white suit.
This was not the God
they painted on chapel walls.
This was damnation-
and Hell is water, not fire.
And my tongue meets your lips
I am all woman
and you are all man
carnal flowers of passion blooming
soft as petal upon cheek
red as the blood beneath our skin
Ebony and Ivory, night and dawn collide
in the sanctuary of evening.
My fingers are lost in the forest of your hair
as matching streams of breath course through our mouths
your shoulders have risen like hills above me
your arms have twined like vines around me
your hands unfold like leaves beneath me.
Our ribs meet like the wings of birds
beating with fervency fueled by touch.
Your eyes stare soulful, unblinking
I find the depths of stars within them,
drown in them, happily.
I have heard your heart beating
beneath the plateau of your chest
Lullaby rhythm of a beloved's life--
to know that if it ceased,
mine should fall silent, too.
My breath is barbed;
skeletal strings shift into smoke,
drifting into the shadows
as the darkness will choke.
Pearl snow stuffs my skull;
my grandmother in an earthern womb,
sleeps under it all.
A tombstone the last thing we bought--
a report card of her life:
She is with Him in Heaven, In Paradise...
With Him, Without Pain--
is speculation but turns into thought.
The icy steps do not deter me
as I sit on the crooked concrete spine;
speaking to her, hoping the snow
does not make her cold, any more,
'I can stay a while longer...
I do not have to go home, yet.'
Eco-friendly light spills from under the door,
forming a pool as yellow as diseased skin.
The brass doorknob is like a girl I once loved:
hard on the outside, hollow in the inside,
unable to be moved and okay with it.
Fury from a faucet fills the bathtub
and rings my ears with its intent:
to fill a void and go away when cold.
She lays in the water
the city treats better than us,
wading in a wealth of watermelon wash;
her body flushed from fading flesh,
pores swim and stretch around
cursive carvings, kissing cursed curves--
and I sit upon a bone-white curb,
stirring my finger in the soup of her day;
watching the drain suck, wondering
if she'll, too, drift away.
The house, when empty,
feels like a moseleum.
Everything is dark.
It is strange, how literally I can feel the heart tear.
Pericardium and myocardium,
ripping with the slow, tough gash of time and waiting,
atrium and ventricle split.
Far away my brain turns in on itself
as I stare at the candy on the road,
left from a Christmas parade,
Defined by the things its left behind,
though they lie unwanted.
My soul has fled to the wilderness
birth pangs of grief beginning,
prepared to deliver a stillborn heart,
As another star falls out of my sky.
It will go dark, I know.
One by one fall, without wishes to bring them back.
I stare at my sister's golden hair
and dread the day when she will be the one lying white,
in a hospital bed.
Oh my mother, Oh my father,
are you to fall away, too?
Light. I scream, I need light.
But I will not throw bits of glass at the sky
to pretend I have re-lit the stars.
I have dreamed of you. Branch like arms, solid sapling strength
as you arrange words perfectly on a page. I have so long been frightened of shattering the silence. Silence and I, we are old friends, can it do without me? Dare I bruise it? As the proverb says, are my words beautiful enough to make snowflake-shards when it breaks?
Words, what are words? I can write them quietly-- silently, here they hold no decibled danger-- shout them, sing them, whisper-- silently.
I thought my mouth an ugly thing. Sister jealous of quiet depth, woman of few words, tired of the vomited syllables that pour from others, tongues flapping. Do words live or die when spoken? I could not add a note to the melee, my head swims as it is. Voices, so many voices, inside, around, abreast, beside. I cannot help but listen. I listened so long to their siren's songs I forgot how to speak. I have mastered the silent tongue. Fluent in touch, in sigh, in glance, shift, breath. Incompetent translator, I have forgotten the mother tongue, red lips standing locked and lifeless. Does something misfire in my mind, rusty rifle whose trigger cannot be pulled but on dry days? Thoughts have scattered like leaves under my feet. I am bland, I am blank, blanched, useless, dumb.
Speak, you say. I want to speak. I will sing, I will shout, scream, anything for you. Listen to how much you mean to me. But not just for you. For me. For the heart of hearts that cannot reach the page, the tone even the most emotive of words cannot capture. Yet fear has bound the mouth of my heart shut. So afraid of causing harm. So afraid of pain. Is the fear of suffering really worse than the suffering itself? I am frightened of the first un-eloquent strokes of the tongue.I do not want to blather, chatter, stutter on about pettiness. I do not want my head to speak when my heart cannot. Tell me, dear heart, tell me, tired heart. Tell me we will learn to speak again.
It is night. We are sitting on the steps among fallen leaves, looking out into an eerily empty scene. Pale blue light shines on the weathered concrete where a single white car is parked in a forgotten spot. It's strange without people, the bustle, constant hum of voices, engines, the occasional horn.
It feels more alive to me now. The place in and of itself alive-- as it would have been if man had never existed. If our existence had been lost somewhere up among the few stars that now dare to shine through. Those few (happy few?) who dare to look upon the tragic, transient, mortal beauty of men.
The familiar symphony of night sounds can be heard in the little line of trees before us. The wind is plucking leaves from branches. They fall brown and lifeless at our feet. I wonder if trees miss their leaves, or if, perhaps, they have accepted the perpetual cycle of loss and renewal mankind has yet to make peace with. Each year shorter than the last, each day longer than the first. I have always loved the melancholy of autumn, its bittersweet solitude, the leaves as quiet reminders of mortality-- tiny deaths to foreshadow our own. No, I do not wish for death. I have, but not tonight. Tonight the air is soft and cool, and the air and sky are clear. I am finding peace in the mundane chaos.
He is next to me, thinking. Solemn, with a tinge of sadness, but for what I'm never sure. He laments the loss of our child-like wonder, and I question if it can be regained. I would like to think so. I think somewhere, inside all of us, our childish hearts remain, molten core of memory, identity, the first, the fairest of us. Who we were before the world beat it out of us.
He has a soft, deep, murmur of a voice. A tiny gap between his two front teeth I notice when he laughs. A lovely laugh that shakes through his willowy, wiry frame. His eyes are kind and thoughtful, yet serious. When he looks at me, it feels as though he is trying to stare right through, and I turn away. For all my wanting to be known, perhaps I am not ready--yet. But parts of my spirit which have long lain dormant are surfacing again, coming towards the light. Timid, they step out, unsure of where they are, what the footing is here. But so far, solid.