Anxiety is a furious storm,
brewed and born
beneath the shade
of the cage of your ribs.
A mere heartbeat between
the dread of the unseen
and what reality truly is.
I've lived too many years
focusing with fear just in case
all is about to break,
without ever learning
that to truly unburden,
you mustn't lend worry
the time nor the strength.
Your face holds a countenance
so expansive and contradictory.
Every facet shifts differently -- like a twinkling gem
with the changing of the light.
I can see every form of the human condition realized,
evolving and then dissolving with just a slide of your eyes,
or a twitch of the mouth.
I watch the whole of the world come together,
then immediately fall down.
Soon an upturn of your lips brings it all back around,
breaking a dawn that lights up the dark of the room.
But your eyes remain grave, they haunt and consume
with an energy that draws out the dread in me --
pulling it forth from this mortal sea like a drowning tide.
Then suddenly you slow my heartbeat, my mind
when for a moment you give yourself
to private feelings inside and you are lost
in contemplative silence.
It is here I can glimpse the whole of humanity
coming together in one synchronized harmony.
Collective heartache held in the edges of your lips,
the tensions fraught in the strength of your chin,
battlegrounds revealed within the scarred skin of your cheeks,
the wisdom of experience held within each creased wrinkle.
And the lids of your eyes comfort all of our cries
as they luxuriate in a dream-like hope
that falls from your gaze, washing away life's pain
as it cascades down the bridge of your nose.
Your face holds such tender promises,
triumphs, trials, and ghosts.
Just a mere glimpse into the depths of you
and I feel a lump in my throat,
as I remember far more than I believe I can endure.
But then your face morphs and shifts
into a compassionate bliss
that was not there just a moment before.
Instantaneously you cast out
all regret, shame, and doubt
and I am at once whole again,
mended from my despair.
You have a true air of divinity
that shines outwards and enters the rifts in me,
gifting me the notion in swells of healing motion
that whatever is, is never astray.
Your eyes reach right out and assure me
that all things have always been this way.
It is only through love and acceptance
that we can properly navigate.
You are timelessness, agelessness,
comfort, beauty, and grace.
You reflect a truth so inclusive it moves
the very earth with a turn of your face.
Your very nature saves me.
It expertly heals and then breaks me.
A look from you will completely remake me
into what I know that I can become:
the whole of all human experience,
fused tranquilly, into one.
I will allow myself to come undone
in the radiant sum of your face.
I will allow myself to be filled with love
and build myself back up, unafraid.
I recognize my place: somewhere
between soft upper lip and cheek,
where my deepest joy and ache
both gravitate and so inevitably meet.
There, your smile spreads a most wonderful peace
that ceases all of my pain.
It echoes indescribably in beautiful, rippling refrain.
Like a benevolent wave it carries away
the weight of all the ages.
Something is hardening within me,
causing a bitterness,
a dissonance between
who I am and who I seem.
There is something unseen
lingering in the nerves of me,
taunting from painful memory.
It ultimately goes against my heart --
picking at my wounds until I fall apart.
Scrambling, I am almost vanishing
from the intense empathy
that sits abundantly within me.
It is a most tender, grievous seed
that forever flutters and ruptures
deep inside of me from the slightest bit of pain.
I rearrange myself into another’s shoes
and feel the sadness that they’ve accrued,
until it is no longer me that moves
through these fragile, mortal veins
and I can no longer feel the same.
I build strong, defensive walls
to stop from feeling this way.
I blame my past for how it made me bleed,
making me feel as if I cannot breathe
another sigh of aching sorrow.
I shroud myself in endless tomorrows,
weakening beneath the strength of today.
And when I feel heartache and need
squeezing through the sensitive pieces of me
I clutch them tighter so that no one can see,
not wishing to feel too acutely.
I hide senselessly the depth of my sensitivity --
which rolls inside of me endlessly, in complete discord
as if I can no longer afford the price of an open heart,
as if the wealth of myself could one day start
to suddenly seem cheap in truth.
What to do when your soul is innately kind,
but at times the only things that you find
streaming from your lips are soulless scripts
of detached and cryptic cynicism?
What if in order to run from the intensity of feeling
you tie tight knots deep within your being
to stop the feeding of your lifelines
from saving anyone else,
because you’re too afraid you’d lose yourself?
What if you never allowed yourself to use the gifts
that were born within you to soothe the rifts
that fissure through people's lives
in these most desperate times?
What if you never even tried?
What if your ultimate sacrifice dies,
only known to your silence?
That final night
held the fire in her eyes –
emerald and wild.
And all that was loved
was felled, defiled in clumsiness.
Cold hands of consequence
touching, crushing us.
Bemoaning the moment
from our rash, offending owing:
these deeds --
secretive, errant needs.
This bodily bliss now gone to spoil
from within the shadows
so often embraced without burden
in stolen furtive hours
of gasping, holy grapple.
That torrid rapture.
We wallowed in true treasure
before the doleful eyes of God.
Now possessed with such sorrow
that would not abate
when from most foolish, heedless haste
was bred this horrid, wounded fate
that neither more time given
nor hope, reclaims.
Once discovered, we were stained.
The ache held plenty
so as to outweigh delight,
enough to ravage the lovelorn,
We sighed out all passions --
surrendered what was dear
as offerings to fate unjust.
We shared no trust
in tomorrow’s unkind arms
that pilfered our pining, disquiet hearts
of their most personal effect.
The room’s fire long snuffed out from neglect,
all movement only dust and breath
as both settled upon the lifeless boards.
Together we prayed as never before
in most dark and sickly silence.
She kissed the floor
with her bended knees,
our hands held and trembled
in frightened grief.
Heads pressed to and bowed together
to beg reprieve.
Oh that loathsome, pitiless grief…
it’s affliction panged 'til morning.
And in the light we rose as ghosts –
hollowed strangers in our longing.
And our eyes spoke not a word
in this torpid, oppressive gloom.
Our hearts weary and averse
to any further transfer.
So stricken with pain,
all living light, enchained,
walked out the door with her.
At once, the day’s duties called
but all went slighted and unheard,
suddenly absurd and comfortless
in their performing.
Such was the full destruction
of this grim and labored
The black and white hides
the color of their cheeks, their lives,
makes them feel as if they are more like
fixtures or ghosts –
mere symbols of an era, silently posed.
But look how the two walk together so close,
not as a ghosts, but as friends enjoying a beautiful day,
beneath unending blue sky and warm golden rays.
Enthusiastically they went to this great event,
eavesdropping on the crowd’s hearsay and news.
They laughed together, they gossiped, they schmoozed.
Their clothes at present were not antique.
They walked in style, impeccably neat,
in clean, leading fashion of the times.
They could feel their tweed trousers swish
against the firm flex of their thighs
with every movement of their casual stride.
Perhaps that day they felt sharp, dignified.
How true they now become.
They carried immense feelings inside
that swirled like magic beneath the fabric and skin.
Two friends connecting over everything that came to mind:
the worry, the hardships, the loves in life.
We will never know what united them,
what drove or inspired them,
but they were human:
complex and prone to mistakes,
the embodiment of epiphanies, joy, and pain,
with memories too often relived and retraced --
all shown in the deepening lines of the face.
How many times did they lock eyes that day?
Little boys grown into the dark suits of men,
strolling through the crowds and trying to blend
into the sea of this distinguished scene --
these upstanding men of society.
We will never know what lies between or within
the deep hearts of these old friends.
The photograph lives, but what became of them?
How did they end?
Not black and white,
but simply trapped within time.
They are past and present dichotomized.
Immortalized, yet unrepresented.
Now the men are projected to life once again.
They roam the streets lucidly within our heads.
We can almost call out to them,
touch, and become them.
We find ourselves suddenly standing among them.
For a moment we’ve forgotten that cunning illusion
that we’ve come to know as death.
We sat in the car within a rich, damp forest.
The evergreens were stretching out before us.
A deer, curious, watched from across the road.
I rolled down the window to feel the rain
and I realized the tiny droplets felt like pain.
Each drop upon my skin, stinging, like pins and needles
across my stretching fingers and open palms.
It was such an odd thought to stumble upon
on that dreary, Pacific Northwest day.
Life translates and presents itself in so many ways --
when refreshment and pain can somehow interchange
and take the form of the same life-giving necessity.
I realized life generously allows you to interpret
every moment, every divine circuit around the sun.
Life melds as one to your chosen perception,
forever reflecting whatever truth you’ve accepted.
When I was next overwhelmed with inner pain
I chose instead to feel the rain
falling down to restore every part of me,
absolving away the very dark of me.
My deepest hurts finding me clean and ready
for ascension to the next rung of growth.
Transformation hurts and it annihilates.
This, the universe knows.
So it bestows us gifts like the double-edged rain --
tiny tear-drop mirrors of both pleasure and pain.
The lesson comes in all forms, but remains the same:
you have the power to change
the ways in which the storm hits you.
Old instincts are calling me,
dragging haunting fingertips
across fragile memories
along the fringes of my mind.
They whisper inside,
“Don’t you remember?”
and allow the same old ache to enter
through the tender rifts I try to hide.
This is the time of year
when these shadows draw near
and leer from the corners of my eyes.
Emanating a wave of unsettling vibes
I believed I had survived and beaten
just the year before.
Yet they groan here at the foot of me,
once again, calling temptingly.
I was a fool to believe them to be
entombed within the ground,
because they somehow lived,
though they made not a sound
as they concealed themselves
comfortably among the dirt,
deep within the frozen earth.
Like a curse that will not die,
they reappear intensified
when they realize
I have lost my awareness.
I am a woman prone to dreams,
prone to living as if behind the scenes.
Present to absolutely everything
except at times presence,
because what I feel is too immense.
I have recollections that don’t make sense
and they play out inside my heart, my bones,
vividly behind my eyes --
scenes that don’t belong to this life.
I try so hard to merge the divide,
to be truly alive right here and now,
but I desperately ache for another time
and I know not how and I know not why.
These memories, these ghosts --
they do not empathize.
They only ask that I remember.