There you are, structure, bones
standing tall in the sunlight
all of the personality drained away.
Oh, goodbye to that twinkle in your eye
Goodbye to that thing we couldn't put our fingers on, that thing that sparked passion
Because all you are now, is a skeleton.
A skeleton with so many ghosts, war veterans, teachers and teenage girls that I used to know,
That old version of me who skipped, smiled and run her fingers through her hair
she dances through the corridors when no-one else is there.
Along they came. Dress you up, ready for business. That's one thing I learned from this, patch yourself up, make yourself look okay and no-one will realise how broken you are. No.
No, they won't notice the graffiti marks of those who have been,
on your skin.
No, they won't notice those damp patches,
in the corner,
of your eye.
They didn't notice how your ribs creaked as you let out a sigh,
your final goodbye.
They certainly didn't notice when you closed your eyes to die,
I remember when you comforted me from the world with soft, warm arms and friendly words.
I remembered how you nurtured us and watched us grow.
A loving kiss on the cheek and off we go, but I couldn't let you go.
So here I stayed to watch you drift away with each passing day as they measured your waist,
for the suit.
Pull it in tighter.
A stitch here,
a stitch there.
Iron out the crease.
No room to breathe.
The suit may not cover your face, but it is a mask, covering up mistakes.
The mistake of your missing heart, the drive, the ambition.
The mistake of your missing eyes, seeing goodness in the world, giving beauty to the hopeless.
And the mistake of your missing smile, inspiration for lost souls trying to find their way home.
But you, you were home to me, my skeleton.
Now however much you lose or decay, you will never go away.
You will always be there, a ghost in my memory.
My loving skeleton who is now in a suit.
You should hear Her speak of the time
When love had struck Her, left Her blind:
The intuition in Her breast
Was left ignored with just one request:
“Please, love with care (and a little hate);
This may prepare you for your fate.”
Then, a One-Eyed-Monster dared to peep
At this starry-eyed Girl with a soul still asleep.
The Monster's nature, as it strove with pleasure,
Pleased Its infinite fervor, which nothing could measure,
As It Schemed, and found, and mostly destroyed
Her love-struck spirit that It yearned to employ.
These reckless hits made by this Daring Dart,
Un-mended the Girl from Rosebud to Heart.
Not believing all the Monster said,
The Girl sought the truth, but found it with dread.
Upon seeing this Monster's very bright colors,
She drowned in sorrow, but refused another
Hit by this Dart, as It still carelessly slaughters
Other Hearts, like Its future Daughter’s.
And then came a time, much later in life,
When the Girl understood love’s unending strife.
Many One-Eyed-Monsters, She now bears in mind,
Aspire to love, but still cannot find
The passion They hunt for and ache to sway,
Because they zip Themselves up when love comes Their way.
Confusion They feel, and this does not die;
But, what can They see with only one eye?
These perilous passings on love’s sojourn
The Girl does not dwell on, nor does She mourn.
Instead, She has found new ways to see
Love’s ultimate beauty, unexpectedly:
A journey enGENDERED with Ladies of taste,
Where only Her own Sex can love back without hate.
Like a child enlightened by heightened curiosity,
So is a native swimmer by poetic luminosity.
A prose in sight and sound devoid of modern flair,
For poetic convention the diver does not care.
But take this vague verse as one roaring rhyme,
And take it as verbiage very overdue in time.
Unjustly sunken voices the swimmer seeks to hear;
Battling a torrent history...above, below, and near.
The inquisitive diver infers a present too dismal,
As around an angry sea lies an origin, abysmal.
Rejecting all fables history’s abettors inked true,
The swimmer seeks fair chroniclers as wreckage was their due.
Sought is Illyria, a place far from here;
A land said "not to exist", so how can it disappear?
Most fabricated history our beings cannot fathom;
Quelled grandiose splendor serves political stratum.
So, how does one interpret Illyria’s butchered will,
As her godless schism fibbing history faux fills?
While Illyria’s rebel ship sailed upon history a fright,
Shakespeare's pen amorously inked the 'Twelfth Night.’
Calling curious minds to ponder this hell of a theory,
But consider the diver's roots with impartial query.
What the Illyrian believed in was a life well spent;
Not man-written guidance begging cents to repent.
On modern Illyria’s outskirts sly mythology prevails;
Modern Illyria’s pervasion of such mythology still fails.
But her feeble-minded native is essentially to blame
For their grand, deceptive role in the imperialist’s game.
Brutal eradication of Illyria’s vocal reason
Deem all these conspirators of ultimate treason.
As the State buries the intellect for piercing wits,
The native dog barks, upon foreign command he shits.
In the European south roam these bad hounds of species;
Anatomical sketches of Europe's rear excreting feces;
A pile all imperialists eject with laxative ease;
A pile all imperialists still smear as they please.
Above Illyrian graves, those below made to inspire,
The dopey dog dances, blind to his own fate in fire.
This damned work of art, not a site for you and eye,
Is an emblematic governance gagging an eerie cry.
The dog's disintegration, painted by his foreign master
Is an art to be repeated in future governing disaster.
As today’s worthless pawns in corruption they engage,
Illyria’s distinctive scions remain fools on a stage;
Our bodies dance and sway like silly puppets at play.
Our minds confined to idiocy as the capitalist’s prey.
Now, a poet's jingle jangle on probing minds they should linger,
As besought are worthy scions who must leave behind a 'finger.'
I am reclaimed by the earth
That does not judge me.
My waking days mark my entrance
Into the jaws of the snake
Where its tail conjoined with its mouth.
These footsteps in the sand:
Circular groove (we are all asleep)
Heads down, trudging
Blot out all dreams
Until the decicive act and the footprints
Lost in elegance our princes fly above
The dark continent
Above insomnia land
Caring from a distance
Blinked once these prism
Caught a glimpse through the
Clouds of vanity;
Just for an instant the umbilical
To go dancing in the
Belly of God.
Looked far in the night
For movement beyond the stars.
A great being hugged the stars
Like the Mother holds her children:
The moonlight interrupted by
A wing-curved tip;
Head bent to the Chalice to take
Pearl occlluded by the darkly-sweet
Such a sticky situation you and I so caught up in this beautiful web of lies.
We always act so innocent when they come around but the truth is I just want to kiss him and I know you want to touch her.
I smoked the last cigarette in the pack we shared; drugs and alcohol were the two things we had most in common.
I dressed in my best dress and danced along to your favorite song while you held my hips staring at her tits.
He caught my eye on that cold December night & the truth of it is I wanted to lick his lips to see if he tastes anything like you.
We got caught up in this mess... destroying ourselves while destroying each other.
I catch you grin as you watch me sweat cause we know tonight we will be the ones who connect.
And even in this stick situation you hold a piece of my damaged heart and I hold a piece of yours we can't quite let go of yet.
Could vous just take a second, a moment, one solid instant
to visualize the boy in the stall with more felt lacerations than words of admiration.
Could the bold, bright, beautiful ones start singing
because I'm sick of the loud talk that goes through the motions of lingering
in an echoed room as they "try" to save the oceans - tell me, did we
litter on the way there? There's a forgotten world in stories told of heroes, breathing clean air.
Could the world give one more shot (a mountainous event) because history needs valor.
But technology is further than requirements for bravehearts to trigger a gun. Envision
a man four foot high, who stands a flag where poppies lie because he was that lucky man
who watched his fellows die
I'll say, weaponry wields death to We, naught could prove me wrong.
Could the world be a little bit more tight; bring back the mystery of gentlemen.
We're too loose and on the edge of loss, and the cost - oh, the cost
is sentimentality that somehow became disconnected when
baring your soul and stripping bare became two
and when I meet the one, my mind is plagued that we shall only amount to half.
Could the world be about more than the new, the sophisticated
or have too many eye closed to the life before the Dodo's died; now only
one view: to screen the disease from the rescued swingers, sinkers and singers
ahhhhhhhhh! basking in captivity: to compensate, we take back by metabolizing habitats.
Could the world be about to - because me and mine are everywhere,
but mind: the brain's likely to reach revelation. Clap, we will excel. After all,
when the world explodes and we reconnect, I'm sure each will preach and teach and leech
until it's known - We'll thank Gutenberg as needed, but printer is no master
when the minds are intertwined. But P'haps it has been a bad morning because I've known you
and you've bled true - long been fixing those around, so they aren't torches who warn off monsters,
instead they shave down fangs of loathing, there's no - not one! - beast they burn.
And don't I wonder? Ah yes, I do wonder: that now
Could the world be about to turn?
You've got brown eyes
You've got grey eyes
You've got blue eyes
and I'll watch you go
I don't make eye contact or say hello with the cute, talented boy in my class.
He's weird, but I know I could take it. But.
It's because I'm tired of being cut on the way up to the way down.
I hope that I can see him again when someone with more courage stands in these shoes,
that knows what to say and how not to use--
--to use and use these spots of mine
that shed with touch and the setting sun.
Spaces where the taxidermied remnants of partners lie bare
from the times I lacked the effort, or time, or was too scared
to ask them not to go, or ask them their name, or, "I'm sorry, forgive me?"
I let a hand go
I pull away from a kiss.
I don't know what's wrong with me
or who I do or do not miss.
I fall, helplessly into the meadow. The tall grasses embrace me with their long fingers. The soft yellow bells droop down onto my cheeks. They cover me in their sweet scent, and the warm butter sun melts onto my face. I push myself up with my arms to gaze at the sanctuary around me. A gentle breeze wisps in circles around my head. Several stray strands of hair dance on my cheeks, and catch in my eyelashes. I pull the tangles away from my face, and stand up. I am surrounded in a barrier of ancient willows and maples. They seem misplaced here, old, wrinkled, and sagging. For the rest of the meadow is a swaying sea of oddly touchable pastel flowers. I bring my hands up to my head, and touch my hair. The light is warming my agave colored hair. I step forward, and laugh melodically at the feeling beneath my feet. The soil is welcoming, and the long tentacles of the green grass tickle my toes. I realize when I look down, that my feet are bare. I forget what happened to my sandals. In a flash, the thought of how I arrived here passes through my mind. And then it’s gone.
The grass whispers and brushes, rustling a delicate sound. But apart from that, there is only one sound. Somewhere distant, somewhere unknown, my ear catches the music of my childhood. Ocean waves, pulsing against the earth. Suddenly, a current of air snags the light fabric of my dress. And with that current, like a child’s kite, I am picked up from my feet. I can feel an indescribable sensation in my stomach. It flutters like the butterflies that float around me. My feet pedal like on a bicycle, and I roll around in the magic that lifts me. My laughter rings in the sanctuary as I drift higher, up into the sky. Beyond the wall of trees, I can hardly distinguish the features of the land. Pillowy clouds lie low, and random branches from the trees sometimes peak out the tops. The horizon erupts in a splash of rose pink, mango, and turquoise. A pure, innocent beauty.
The ecstasy is abruptly interrupted. I look beneath me, and I am painfully, suddenly aware that I am floating, high above the ground beneath me. The spell is broken. My body drops, plummeting down, fast. I scrunch my eyes shut, and brace for the hit. But there is none. I cautiously open my eyes and realize I am mere inches above the ground, suspended in the current. I reach my fingers down, to kiss the earth with my fingertips. My legs and waist elegantly lower with the rest of me to the ground. I turn over onto my knees, breathing rigidly, attempting to regain my composure.
Where am I? This world, I am found in, is curious. I doubt this reality. One cannot simply escape from the world! With great doubt, I raise up my hand to cup the daffodil in my palm in front of me. It never falls into my palm. Instead, the petals begin to grain, and distort. And in a matter of seconds, it simply vanishes. In confusion, I look to the sky, and watch as the vibrant blue fades to a wan purple and cracks, like the shell of an egg.
“This can’t be real-“ I mutter to myself. The long branches of the willows evaporate their leaves, and like skeletons and bones, dry up as if submerged in acid. I stand up, and spin, desperately looking for a part of this world. Something, still alive, something animate. I twist and turn in desperation, the world around me smearing into nothing.
My breathing is rapid, and uneven. I lift my face from my pillow. Sweat beads on my forehead, and my hair sticks to my neck. I look down, still in pajamas. Lying in my bed.
I am baffled. Was this a nightmare? No. Not quite. But, was it? I scoff at my ridiculousness. Of course it wasn’t real. What am I thinking? I sigh, and lie my head back down to my pillow, and turn my head to the window. ‘Sleep again, it wasn’t real’, I tell myself. But, just as I start to shut my eyes, something catches my eye. Despite the impenetrable darkness that lurks in my bedroom, I spot something soft and yellow. Set atop my rug, lies the same delicate, yellow daffodil, waiting for me to cup it gently in my palm.
In order the heart, keep running without knowledge
Of the living torch, of the soiling fires that wipe
Hopes memory, the boiled blood must breathe
In a sea of borders, of waves and rushing tides.
In order the heart, beats time, though it knocks,
Near breaks, as the wind that swoons is divining
Treasure, the jewel in the box of flesh must hold,
Must shore the rivers of the branching bleed.
In order the heart, is closed, and dry of touches
Towering keep, let the eye know mercy, let the seas
That travel with the bones never feel the marching
Desert, the hollow caves of the discarded lovers.
Less like, Peace the fuck out,
more like, I gotta go.
I'm leaving the way ships are wooed by waves,
under the pretense of more promising continents.
I can see where countless hands have pulled at my shoelaces,
wrapped my arches in ribbons of origami,
left me second guessing how well holes burn through soles.
It's been a long day of finding breathing space between double-knots and bending
broken fingernails back into place;
the self-constrained chaotic embrace of something supposedly so
straight as string brings forth beckoning ghosts of
those figure-eight souls who laid themselves
to waste their Sundays tracing the Hills
on the breath fogged side of some painted-shut window sill;
trading the promise of Infinity
for the Religion of Monotony.
Praying through agoraphobic day-dreams
raining across the night sky of their eye lids
with the brilliance of meteorites,
imagining how earth-shattering they could be
if only these tyrannosauruses would just look up.
I have come here;
Less like, conquest
more like, exploration.
--Abandoned the comfort of quaint, suburban
ruins of the American Dream, which buckled
like widows knees mid frail-voiced eulogy
mourning the death of their Salesman--
and wandered aimlessly into the improvisation of some story-book jungle,
wishing I was better rehearsed.
I have come here
to congregate with the snakes and beasts; to feast beneath
the din of carnal sin and primal instincts. I've chosen to begin jumping
from stump-to-stump like stepping headstones
in a graveyard of fallen trees, where men,
who grew up too quickly and forgot the importance of fictional stories,
who learned early on how to black-market trade
the need to imagine for something a little bit more
who, smiling through serrated teeth,
saw it fit to clear this wilderness for something a little bit more
But thank god, these brambles grow so thick!
For every hail Mary their metal tongues would lick
into the trees' skin, a hallelujah of vines and branches and roots
would erupt in confused medley,
and their finest mathematics couldn't begin to calculate
the thriving division of a place so ungoverned by logic.
In a jungle plucked straight from storybook pages
I'll band together with these untamed brutes
--these feral barbarians and unbroken monstrosities--
to howl at the moon with the effervescence of a Ginsberg poem.
We'll forge a tinsel-town crown and take turns
playing king of Where the Wild Things Are found.
See, unlike concrete cities
The Wild of Atavism has never forgotten that
Tradition is a catalyst for change
and that nothing is permanent.
Hell, I've been having laughing contests with a mountain
because every now-and-again he will crack
A smile, and when a mountain laughs
He does so, so gutturally,
From deep within his catacomb chest that
the whole Earth quakes -- everything shifts--
And I'm not gonna lie to you right now,
I've sort of got my heart set on being a part of something so
So if you follow,
shipwrecked and mapless,
your shoelaces strapped tight
and run off the infinity of double knots.
If you go looking for me, continue
past the paint chips, through
the open window;
Set your sights to the far treelines.
And don't strain yourself listening for
the laughter of mountains,
Because when that stoic disposition
Finally does crack, you'll feel it in your feet
no matter where you are.
And from the way his ridges are crumbling,
I think I've almost got him beat.
© Christopher Voss