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I deserve this anguish on my house.
It was late.
He was stalking the ruffling.
Her skin was pale,
her dress was red, and she was shuffling.
The cobblestones rose and fell
like waves.
His eyes as deep as oceans,
his eyes as dark as caves.
She ran. She ran. She cried.
He loved. He loved. He lied.
And when at last his strong hands
crushed the life from her throat,
he stood, he gazed,
and he brushed off his coat.
The satisfaction never came.
Things would never be the same.
Forever in the fray, forever apart and away...
I looked down from the balcony that night,
and, gods help me, I stayed. I stayed.
Whoever thought you could find such freedom
hidden in a steel cage?
The wind yelling in your ears?
The unearthly-
******* roar of the engine?

Speeding up to make a vain attempt
to catch your breath.
Scream your ecstasy
into the blurred images.

And all at once,
a heartbeat stops as the brakes squeal.
****** about
in and out
of your seat so fast
you get whiplash.

But the ache you feel later
reminds you of the pleasure of the chase.
I have all of a sudden completely realized,
I am getting married tomorrow.
In the morning.
In the city.
To you,
And I,
Don't see
Anyone else.
No one in the room.
Just you and your placid smile.
I am counting down the long, slow hours.
I am so nervously excited. :)
All I can remember...
Was trying not to cry
My face was hot, and my eyes felt like grapes
about to burst from my head.
Hands gripped my throat, and still,
my body, unconvinced,
was shaking for air.

I don't remember scratching as much as I remember
Trying to move my legs.
All I know is that suddenly the wall was slamming into my back,
and my eyes could only focus on
the thin red lines on his bare arms.
I was pinned to the wall by my throat,
like a butterfly...
trying to fly away...
trying to get away...
Look, how pretty.
I thought if only God would show up,
I would never catch a butterfly again,

I remember thinking,
"Please. Please. Please. Please."
More like a mantra than a prayer.
As if I was willing him to be finished with me,
my shell;
willing him to be pleased enough to just let me sleep.
Or die.
Or live.
But I couldn't really think of anything
without the oxygen pumping my ideas through me.

I didn't even realize when I stopped struggling,
I was just suddenly still and he said,
"Can't have you passing out."
And he let go.
And God let go.
And I let go.
And I started to cry
as he threw me over his shoulder.

I could see so many beautiful spots in my eyes.
There was Red. There was Blue.
Some of them were dancing.
Fading in and out.
It was like they were twinkling.
My own beautiful endless night sky.
Van Gogh, where are you?

Then I suddenly became aware of myself;
My shorts gone, my skin bare to the coldness.
I was lying with my hands pinned between my back and the floor.
I started taking stock of myself
And tasted blood on my lips.
I suddenly thought of pennies;
lots of pennies floating in front of my eyes.
No wonder they were twinkling.

I heard more than felt
him laboring above me.
He was silent and wouldn't look at my face.
And I was aware of my eyes burning
as salt water seeped out on
a quest for the ocean.
I was going with them.
My tears.
I would be a sea captain.
Far from this.
Call me Ishmael.

But it was the most quiet I've ever cried
as if I didn't want the weeping to disturb him.

"God, please. please. please."

And I was taken back to another form
hovering above my young body,
whispering things into my ear about playing house,
and staying quiet;
"Shhh. Mommies have to be quiet."
I wanted to go back to playing with my dollhouse.
Please, let me go play with my dollhouse.

I am breathing on my own again.
I am back in the room, staring up in horror,
at a boy I thought I knew.
I was trained for this,
I was taught to be silent
from childhood.
I was shown how to react to this
so long ago;
in silence.

But I was not born for this.
I couldn't have been born for this.
I was born to give life, I was born to create,
I was born to bring hope.
I am a divine creation,
Aren't I?
I feel like I'm floating.

He is finished with me.
He lets me go.
But for some reason I don't know how to sit up anymore.
He walks out to have a cigarette.
My throat is sore,
My eyes are burning,
and I feel bruised under my skin,
all the way to the middle.
To a soft part in the center
that I suddenly see
as a tender nimbus,
floating over my chest.
Forcing me to rise
and walk again.
Up, up, and away.
© Ashley Quarterman 2010

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Some days just don't belong to you.
They are foreign. They are alien.
Like an unannounced death sentence,
They wait.
Stalking and wrapping shadows around themselves,
Until at last they spring-
They slide into your life;
Slithering like a silent grinning serpent.
And only after they disappear
Do you realize Paradise was stolen from you.
And you are left there
Confused and naked to the
Harsh winds of change.

And you pray.
And you pray.
And you pray.

But you're still there.
Standing alone.
Damage done and no way to go back.

And when next you feel
The echoes of happiness
Slip over your skin,
It feels like a shell that
You can't see
Has been in place the whole time.
My dearest love,
You make me want to punch you in the face.
Then throw a T-bone steak on it so it won't bruise,
And kiss it so it doesn't ache.

I will be your fiercest protector,
with sharpened words headed for any who doubt
your inescapable and obvious brilliance.
And I will tell you for the fifteenth time,
"No. It is not funny to put the cats on the top of the bookshelf...
no matter how cute their forlorn faces are."

You will be my shelter in times when
I can't feel happiness.
When I've gone off the edge again;
You will give me warmth.
Like a blanket.
...even though I steal the blankets at night,
and never wake up to your plea,
spoken with teeth chattering.

I will be the pain in your backside,
and you will be the lone pea
stuck between my mattresses;
We will constantly remind each other
of our presence.
Sometimes we'll just be there to say,
"I saw you. I was there. I'm a witness to your life."
Sometimes we'll say things like,
"I can't believe you thought putting the laptop
in the microwave was a good idea".

But always,
we will be there for each other.
Like a shadow,
or a stalker.

Or an old friend,
who made the very foolish mistake
of falling in love with you once,
And promised to do it again,
and over
and over,
©  Ashley Quarterman 2010
When I think of the way we love
I spill Shakespeare like a fountain,
I spit rhymes like a rap star,
Words dance inside my chest.

Edith Piaf's lyrics hold the most acute reality
That I have to shut my eyes and sway
Translating the words is unnecessary.
The rhythm underneath holding all the meaning I need.

I can't compare thee to a summer's day;
You are most like a solid oak tree in my life...
An essential component to every season.
Adapting with a beauty all your own.

I don't only crave your mouth, your voice, your hair;
As Neruda would have you believe.
I crave your essence-
Found in the most precise way the your head twists
As you you you grow drowsy.
Only your eyes could reenact the look you have
When you're feeling most giddy.

Tupac Shakur and I "prayed and watched the distant stars",
And finally you appeared.
Shining so brightly I shut my eyes often,
Stunned by you.
Like a sunny day at the beach,
When you close your eyes and the sun's glow
Pushes against your eyelids; such is your love.

Pushing at the barriers
That keep my heart my own.
I want to stop the world and melt with you, forever.
I want you to know that even if you cannot hear my voice,
I'll be right beside you, dear.

Songs! Lyrics! Because if music be the food of love, PLAY ON!
And without borrowing other phrases,
I truly believe I was made for you and you for me.

No lyric I could sing,
No poem I could quote,
No metaphor I could construct,
and not even the bold truth of plain words
could EVER express how I feel for you.

But it doesn't stop me from trying.
I want to give you the luxury of taking the way I feel
about you for granted.

It will be that constant.
It will be that reliable.
It will simply be.
© Ashley Quarterman 2010
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