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Elizabeth Brown Nov 2018
This screen, bright with frustration, draws-
with careful precision-
the shape of your face.
It must grow tired, as I do,
of creating this image.
How can I know that you are real
when I have never touched your face?
Bitterness for a system long corrupt grows within me.
I am full to bursting with love and fury.

These complications breed more dissatisfaction.
Afraid of travel, afraid of people.
Stuck in a seemingly unending loop of legality
for crimes forgiven long ago.
How many moons more must I wait
to hold your hand in mine?
Eight years.

Long, empty time laughs cruelly at our labors
as we struggle to hold together a friendship
(now a bloomed and wilting relationship)
that we once held above all else.
My love for you is unending, a thing of faerie tale,
but I find my patience lacking.
I have waited and I have yearned for you.
I have tried, to no avail, to leave you behind me-
instead, I was greeted with the haunting realization that
nothing compares to you.
No man, no woman, no circle of peers,
can provide for me the things you offer.
I know you feel the same,
though a mix of dread and delusion prevent you from showing me
in the way I need so desperately to be shown.
I know that you, too, feel this pain.

Seamless, ceaseless pixels bring me your countenance,
now weathered with sadness and age.
Once upon a time, I thanked them.
Now, I throw curse upon curse;
hurling all my animosity at those things that carry you to me
in the only form I've ever known.
"I've been living so long with my pictures of you that
I almost believe that the pictures are all I can feel."

If I cannot feel your hand, cold in mine-
If I can't smell your hair
or feel your chest drenched with those happy tears of
At Last!,
do you really exist at all?
Mercilessly, cruelly, are we brought before our judge,
The Test of Time.
Eight years; is it wasted?
Wrote this Oct 10, 2018. Computer crashed and I thought I'd lost it. Here ya go, I guess. Sorry not sorry for the pop culture references. These things are a part of who we are, and I bring my soul forth to bear.
The history—you and me—
it's carved in sandstone
               
                   I've taken to asking
                            Scheherazade myself


As though capital-T time cones
into a chisel of wind with which
to strike its flattest face

                  There was a time I thought
                            you had taken to the idea
                   of leaving me and there
                            is naught to blame for
                   that but myself


There is little evidence to believe
in history on loop until you've again
been consumed by blindness and
fear and utterly sick of yourself

                  The one person you're with
                             every waking second


Just thinking can—at ***** times—
be an act of self-negation

                   *You told me you loved me and
                             I felt it in your breath
Hard to imagine life by candlelight.

Dinner and reading, days of rain.
Fire and its heat. I am used to candles with scents:
grapefruit and fir; eucalyptus mint; tobacco leaf;
sea salt and chamomile; red hibiscus flower.
Hold your hand inches above the flame, feel its itch.

The wick of a wax bedside candle can burn
unevenly and flake at its edges. The wax will
pool at the base of the wick, a reservoir of scents.

For millennia this wick was rapture, a flame
lighting moonless nights and lightly warming
little spaces. We made fire stay put, gave it a
finite life and watched it burn away from top
to bottom until it was dark once more.

Now we light the world with gaudy neon,
pulsing blisters and hulking electric strobes
that do not change. Cold fire in a glass bottle.

These fitful wicks have been replaced by manlight.
I am inopportunely shy.

I cannot apologize because I know this will not change. Like so many moments (in-between unusually hot seasons for instance) the sweat of ceaseless back-and-forth wears heavy on my nerves. I suppose this acts as penance.

The process of a ***** analysis, for those unaware, is as follows:
—Drive an unusually long distance
—Enter a dingy storefront as quickly and quietly as possible
—Pay your $20 ****-cup processing fee at a counter that smells nonironically of cups of ****
—1)Wash your hands, then 2) lift your shirt, then 3) drop your pants
—Put your mind on Do Not Disturb as you try to pull focus from the man pretending he is not staring at your *****
—Urinate (following an uncomfortably long drought)

When considering all possible alternatives, this is easy. It is benign in all respects. And yet, for the life of me, I cannot shake these shoulders free of worry. Too easy to indulge the mind and its vice-grip on the body.

We aren't ever really in control, are we?
I need no prompt to zone out and dissociate or become unattached.

At nighttime, creaks of wood tinker like tall tales. There is less I can see. I am too reliant on my eyes to tell the whole story. Sound is a sightless animal. The house I live in was probably built in the 1960s and I've noted it doesn't croon with the wind like other places.

Does speech require a mind? The human voice cannot be as massive an instrument as we make it. As wholly self-serving creatures, do we hear ourselves between cracks in this patchwork planet?

Is midnight just a silly word for numbers, like any other?

An empty house reclaimed by nature and subject to her laws has no want of questions and answers. Shapes are not made whole by human voice. If I could speak to my great-grandmother now, as I did six days before her death, would she tell me what she always told me? Would she wish I'd go back to church?

Raindrops paint my window a blurry gray. There is not a straight line to see through. Each ripple, and in it a reflection. I can piece it back together; I can see my small self seeing through it, and contains therein some middleplace that continues to escape me.

A full moon is hidden. Missouri is covered by clouds, like a wet blanket. The house will creak under water's weight , and when the clouds disperse and nighttime sings brighter it will creak still. This house is not a thing of nature.

It should not be here.
You smoked your throat gone.

I'll sit in bed opening and closing my Opinel No. 8 and stare at an unread compilation of a then-alive poet's correspondence with a then-and-still-dead poet and wonder at the cover art, a fishing-line-thin threaded rope that could well be tied in a slipknot. Tendrils that look like loose straw scattered thirty different ways.

He said You can't **** your life away and there are many ways to do that. I'm stuck inside a small bedroom dreaming or hallucinating an open space, streams flowing from nowhere near and flat space so full of sky it is sin to call it empty. The world can be hot and fast;  I am bad at resting. I don't sleep well. I can float a river and not once hear it moving.

You drank and dissected your drinking so it could masquerade as something under your control. We all are guilty of this at some point. In some way or another. I am lucky to sit in my bedroom and write that the next two years of my life have well been mapped. I do not pout, there is no malice here. My head is close, fastened between my small shoulders. I share no heart with Yesenin.

You can't **** your life away he said he thought. These things change. *But you can!
This letter makes frequent references to Jim Harrison's poetry collection Letters to Yesenin, originally published in 1973.
Razo Dec 2015
Judged by my personal appearance,
like really, "you never gave me a chance,"
Others too quick to giving me a label
certainly not a good idea, I'm unstable.
Now see, do I look that intimidating?
or are you like the rest, hating.

Done some things, I refuse to repeat,
not a legit reason, for you to mistreat.
Don't judge me by my personal use,
take a trip in my shoes, learn about my root
You see my scars, plugs and tattoos,
all I see is i'm missing my shoes.

You'll get a name, whether you're doing good or bad,
especially those who didn't have a dad
No matter what, they will talk behind your back
while your boyfriend is buying a sack
Let those mice, run their trap
I count down the numbers, subtract.

Open your mouth to spread those rumors,
used to it, all started when I was a junior
Keep putting your nose where it doesn't belong,
you'll consistently talk **** life long
Sorry, I don't reach your standards,
placing your life in a hazard.

I could careless about what you say,
hoping my next UA will be delayed,
attempting to bring my esteem down,
when truly behing your words is a frown,
Grinning, not caring because I have the power,
head high, looking out my invisible tower.
september 9, 2015

— The End —