The Forest

I’m lost in a forest of the tallest trees,
inundated with wickedly bent, sinister trunks,
thicket so dense my feet can barely move,
the air damp and heavy,
sitting like rocks in my lungs.

Swiping and slashing,
I claw at the overgrowth’s sharpness, aching to lift my legs and run, grasping for vines that might save me.

Yet, I don’t want to be saved.
I crave absolution.

On tattered, tired, and bended knees,
I offer you a ridged branch,
begging for penance,
desperate for something rigid to hold onto,
yearning for you to envelope me in the shelter of your palm.

Help me be my vine.

And then I wonder,
how heavy is that staff?
Is the weight just too much?

But you answer,
you deliver.

You take and give,
give and take.

With each give and take,
a little of you infiltrates me,
suffocating the darkness,
penetrating every fiber of muscle,
saturating each porous bone,
filling and filling,
until you seep up through every
follicle and pore,
spilling out and bending to my every contour,
forming a shield upon my flesh that no thorn can puncture.

With you, I can weave my own vine,
with threads of you in the center,
your strength attached to mine in its impenetrable core.

Together we can conquer –
we can see the forest for the trees.

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Enough

we were skin to skin,
our heat a ravenous, tangible entity between us,
and I could feel myself thawing beneath it,
softening around the edges,
like the petals of a freshly-emerged flower ready for bloom

we spent hours exploring one another,
all night,
night after endless night

all I remember is white everywhere:
the white glow of moonlight creeping around the edges of the curtains,
the white-hot need bursting behind my eyelids,
the whites of his eyes staring so deeply into me,
his teeth beaming from between his lips in a grin, a growl, a pleasure-pain grimace,
his pale white skin against the soft gray sheets

I’d never known skin could be so luminous and translucent,
a network of purply-blue veins visible just beneath the surface,
like threads of color in white marble,
threads that connected us so completely,
I couldnt tell where he ended and I began

through flesh and unmetered time,
I absorbed his calm,
his vulnerability,
his joy

I said yes to things I previously would not have;
I reveled in this new person I became,
this less afraid person,
this free person he inspired me to be

we fucked all the time;
I was consumed with lust,
perpetually, urgently hungry for him,
for this coupled metamorphosis

l needed to touch him,
meld with him,
know him,
to shed all the layers of contrived bullshit –
for him to know me

I couldn’t get enough

Metaphors

over nearly half a century,
time had worn her threadbare,
a tapestry of thinning, loosened threads,
mindlessly and obsessively pulled

as was necessary, sometimes her suffering was sad enough to silence the songbirds,
and other times, her joy was a melody others couldn’t help but to join

by now, she is a well-worn weather map of shared existence,
a lightening scorched scattering of scars,
a thunderous rattle of broken bones,
some not quite set right

but the seasons continue to change,
and she still manages to make leaves from nothing,
stretching her tired limbs toward the sky and offering herself bare to the thickening light

how is it, she wonders,
that I’ve become a minstrel of metaphor?
she hates metaphors

does shade have a shadow?
what else do we allow time to hide in plain sight?
why can’t something just be what it is?

if time has shown her anything,
it’s that she doesn’t need to ‘find her voice’,
she’s been forever truth-talking to herself,
and maybe, once upon a time,
she needed you to listen

now, she’s content in the simplicity of the knowing

Seasons

Freeze from sapphire heavens creates white earth,
melting to steady rain, sparking rebirth.
Soon, sun burns a fierce smolder,
long days turn to nights colder,
as colors fall, fading, crackling last mirth.

*An older limerick resurrected in celebration of the start of my summer!

Fragile

she framed in a charcoal outline
the smoke and mirror eyes
that either drew people in
or shuttered them out

everything is so definite

she imagines herself as a bird,
perched and spinning,
observing,
perhaps something soulful like Keat’s nightingale,
or maybe something darker,
less likely to fade into the background,
like a scribbled crow from Van Gogh’s wheat field

everything is so definite

how much time had passed
standing in one place,
she wondered

I wish the wheel could spin backward –
I wish I deserved his forgiveness
I wish he could love me again

it became obvious –
the ones who were drawn in
were like moth to flame
and always perished in her fire

everything is so fragile

Ashes


my hands smell like cigars
and the cigar box smells like you
your fake Rolex has some tarnish
it’s charred hands no longer move
my lungs are full of tar
and white smoke fills the room

my hands smell like cigars
and the cigar box smells like you
your silver zippo lost its polish
as your fingers searched for truth
the photos all wear fake smiles
and the eyes are empty rooms

my hands smell like cigars
and the cigar box smells like you
my letter sits in folds
words unspoken split in two
my lungs are full of tar
and white smoke fills the room 

you slipped through my fingers
like the smoke that filled the room
my hands smell like cigars
and the cigar box smells like you
these memories are ashes 
and this cigar box is a tomb

-image via Pinterest

In the Dark

the chronic crackling catches
on the lumps in my throat
with each inhale

every forced expiration
is a labored, hollow whistling
keeping me awake

tiny punctures in the fragile lining
widen with every blink,
becoming jagged fissures

until I gasp and grasp
and try desperately to grab onto anything
that will help me patch the holes

so I close my eyes
and line these bankrupt lungs
with your whispered I love you’s
in the dark

-image via Pinterest, art by Codex Anotomicus

Inside

there are inside jokes and references
words or gestures alluding
to some past shared experience
only the ones who were there
are meant to understand

they are a special kind of comradery
of understanding
a belonging to a unique, intimate collective

I think maybe I’m living an inside reality
one that is constant shadowed references
to a lonely past experience
only I seem to understand

it’s crazy –
I look around the room
and see familiar faces I almost know

they must remember
they were there, too

but, just like back then
they don’t want to acknowledge the shared experience
the inside of it all

they speak as if they know me
they make outside jokes
and talk about the past in a rose-colored highlight reel
leaving me on the inside, alone

they begin to come into uncomfortable focus

I realize –
I don’t envy that