Versions

Sometimes I cannot sleep; my mind is busy noticing things, things that were hidden (buried) in the peripheral throughout the purposeful rigor of the day.
The backs of my eyelids are vivid nightlights, magnifying glasses for the razor-edged Rolodex of things I have meticulously filed away.
I notice all the things I did do and wish I had not, the things I did not do and wish I had.
In the unwanted illumination, my heart reveals a measuring stick that is rigged in someone else’s favor. I notice how I often fall short.
I notice time’s mnemonic remnants: the faint ridges of forgotten fingerprints, the oily glow of haphazard handprints, the glossy shine of a forehead once rested in daydream.
I notice the scattering of chalk outlines, evidence of the versions I had worked so diligently to scour away.

-imagie via Pinterest

Advertisements

Bargain

he sat in his partially sunken lounge chair,
transported to 325 different places with the battery-powered click of a button,
drinking another can of Bud Light,
and another

she sat in her earthy-toned, patterned chair,
feet propped up on the ottoman,
legs covered in the brown fuzzy blanket her daughters had bought her for her birthday,
concentrating through a slight opioid-induced haziness,
reading another chapter,
and another

there had been a strange and subtle shifting over the last 20 years,
like the imperceptible movement of tectonic plates,
a millimeter here and centimeter there,
a shifting that left infinitesimal fissures

so they sat without talking,
each doing their own thing,
in their own way exploring the edges of the fractures that had appeared in their lives,
so as not to fall in

and when they did speak,
the words were often sharp,
razor-edged,
some unspoken bargain manifested in cruelty;
the pleasure of hurting someone other than oneself

-image via Pixabay

Alone

In this town, the sun-bleached sidewalks are littered with clandestine cracks that, I swear, swallow people whole.
For as long as I can remember, the sky here has always been a dense gray, the industrial gray of stack pipes and metal on metal, of burning.
The sky isn’t scraped with tall windows framed in the angles and edges of concrete and steel.
Instead, deflated dreams hover like once-full helium balloons, forming a foggy stratus that folds itself into you like time.
Yesterdays are the gravity keeping my heavy feet planted on the ground, and I cannot stop.
These solitary feet never stop moving, not even for sleep; sleep is death’s dress rehearsal.
I move in a sleepwalker’s partial awareness, avoiding cracks in a never-ending search for something precise, something secure.
But, a sleepwalker’s course is anything but precise and secure; I have surrendered to Alone.
Alone is a lot like death.

-image via Pixabay by Leroy Skalstad

Elements

I have been beyond tired, beyond lonely –
simultaneously lonely and never alone,
with an emptiness settling in so deeply,
it was a stone inside of me,
hard and sharp

my past and my fears are the leaden shackles I have always felt a duty to escape;
my rest is formed by my waking life,
and my waking life has too often been formed by feelings of defeat,
sorrows I allow to permeate as I set forth in my duty

but, in the center of my core,
I have always known it is possible to break the old, rusted, fear-forged chains of the past,
to encourage elements to transition from one state into another,
transforming and casting an entirely new life

sadly, chains made of blood and memory are a million times more difficult to sever than those made of steel,
and the past has a tendency to overtake me when I am not paying enough attention,
or, when I pay too much,
and I’ll find myself making the same mistakes as those who’ve come before me,
with the same resentments set to boil

but, I have also been tired, yet content,
simultaneously fulfilled and alone, but never lonely,
hard-won self knowledge settling in so deeply,
silence and gratitude are all I need to feed the gentle stillness in my soul

because those old, rusty chains do eventually break,
even though the breaking is an endlessly tiresome business,
and when I look the fearful past in the face and call it by its name,
it loses its rigidity and strength,
becoming just another corroding element,
flaking away with time

-image via Pexels; shared as part of the dVerse Poet Pub’s prompt, The Art of Confessional in Poetry

Place

life has lead me through experience
to thought,
and thought to action,
through action to trial and error,
on a path back through words,
to love,
and creation

it’s been the most amazing,
eye-opening, and soul-baring ride

and this life keeps leading me back to words,
to love,
and a call to action –
a call to being

but, oddly enough,
that call to being is, at times,
at odds with words,
with time itself

and I can’t quite find my place to be

-image via Pinterest

Reverence

something had shifted,
they could both feel it;
it hung in the air,
an energy circulating the room that neither could ignore

it was as if they’d been in the dark,
just out of reach of one another for far too long,
the reverberation between them reminding them why they were here,
why they’d always been
right here

impassioned, something deep inside him stretched out and curled around her like a shawl,
his finger reaching up to move the curls from her face so he could see directly into her eyes,
and he kissed her,
all of her,
even the parts they’d both been afraid of,
and he didn’t let go

and she let him,
her fingers careful and deliberate as she undid the buttons of his shirt,
her body following whatever her heart desired,
wherever this energy took them,
allowing him to see her,
needing to see him too

they touched each other gently, at first,
as if it was the first time they’d been together,
and that was true, really –
they touched with no expectation,
with no pretense,
with all they had to offer,
and receiving with an openness that had taken all these years to find

they noticed everything,
every shiver and tingle and gasp,
each curve and freckle and goosebump

they noticed their bodies were older, now;
she gripped muscles that weren’t as strong as they used to be,
kissed the wrinkled lines reaching out from the corners of his eyes,
and he traced the silver scars from childbirth weaving a patchwork across her abdomen,
cupped breasts that had become much more malleable –
it was all a part of their story,
a story they wished to tell with the lights on

so they touched in fevered fingertips,
with an urgency that rose from a depth they’d not once known –
they no longer had to be careful of one
another –
they had a reverence for their fragility,
but knew they’d never break

-image via Tumblr

Wood

her heart was hand hewn,
a butchered block of aged wood –
heavy,
weathered,
cracked and dry

it no longer beat;
it only pained her,
its weight a foggy barrier,
keeping distance or closing in –
she wasn’t sure which

all she knew was that it hurt,
its splinters scraping against its walls,
gnashing at the soft tissue,
tearing through

and flooding her chest with dust

-image via Pixabay

Elastic


the first thing you realize 
in a situation without light,
without any way of measuring 
the length of one moment 
over the length of another,
is that time becomes very elastic 

you left,
taking with you everything 
that shone brightly in my world

I’ve tried counting – 
counting the seconds,
counting my heart’s beating,
counting every inhale and exhale –
but my soul can’t focus,
I always lose count 

all that’s left is this dark ache,
time’s cruel richochet,
the backward counting –
retracing the seconds 
to the last time I saw you,
the last time we touched,
the last time I felt
your words grasp my heart

the last time you kissed me 
and made time stop altogether  

-image via Pinterest, original credit unknown 

Weary Bones, a Quadrille 

I hear my weary bones a’creaking,
 the slap-flapping of valves
   working overtime,
     ‘cuz they’re leaking

I feel the slowing tempo
 of waves receding,
   the acquiescence
     of my spirit weeping

I hear my weary bones a’creaking,
 but I can’t give in –

my soul’s still seeking

-image via Tumblr, source unknown; written as part of dVerse Poet Pub’s Quadrille prompt