Earth and Alchemy

I think these walls are killing me

in the half-light of the drapery-filtered morning,
breathing is nearly unbearable;
the fan whirs with its white-noised voice,
failing in its attempt at swallowing the stagnancy,
managing only to distribute it in an oscillating,
luke-warm stream that, every few seconds,
blows directly into my face,
making my breath catch in a baby breath gasp,
the unsure gasp of not knowing from where the next will come

I think these walls are killing me

I sit, immobile, acutely aware of my mass,
of the blood begrudgingly pumping its percussive rhythm in my temples,
of the defective dampness emerging on my forehead,
of the ever-growing patches of petechiae-speckled skin,
evidence of an incurable itch that has risen up from the fate that is history-stitched to the soles of my flattened feet

I think these walls are killing me

I long for a singular, bottomless breath,
for the autonomous, unfiltered sunlight and its searing warmth upon my face,
for the forced closure of my eyes,
for the rays’ piercing, pinky-red glow on the backs of my tired eyelids,
and its tender, ruby kiss lingering on the pasty surface of my gossamer cheeks

I long for earth and alchemy

-image via Pixabay

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Never Let Go

his eyes saw right through me,
a tender microscope

his heart echoed time,
a soulful jazz that enveloped

and his strong arms around me
felt like hope

so I held on tight,
and never let go

-image via Tumblr, source unknown; older poem slightly revised

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

Magic

I thought I knew about a lot of things before I met you

but I never knew what slow, deep kisses meant,
or that they could last all night long

I never knew what the smell of the first morning breeze could do as my head lay upon your chest,
or how that breeze could carry me throughout the day

I never knew how my own chest could ache in your absence,
or that I could smile all the way to my fingertips when we joined again

I never knew I could get butterflies deep in my belly every time you kissed my neck,
or that my desire for you could consume me

I never knew that shared laughter could cure almost anything,
and shared tears could say much more than words

I never knew I could feel fire in my veins when you hurt,
or that my heart’s fullness could spill over when you smile

I never knew I could need like this,
that I could feel swaddled by another so completely,
I can finally rest

I thought I knew all about hope before I met you –
but that was before I believed in magic

-Image credit 7-themes.com; This is for M, the love of my life!; slightly revised older poem

Unapologetic

as a woman,
society tells me I’m supposed to fear getting older,
that I should fight my body’s natural processes,
feel shame for what I am,
and pretend to be someone or something I’m not in order to be in line with some norm or make others feel more comfortable

I am aging – that’s a fact,
and instead of letting a number, a wrinkle, or gray hair be the beginning of some endless battle I won’t win,
or letting it be beginning of my expiry,
I am loving this shit so much

every year,
it becomes clearer that I should never be anything but who I am;
I sink deeper into this place of unapologetic realness,
and it is fucking amazing

I am fatter, saggier, wrinklier,
and salt and peppery

I am stronger, wiser, more patient,
and freer

most importantly, I have lived long enough to have walked the side of sorrow and see the dawn

I have learned that no matter how far I have run,
or how long I have been lost,
it is never too late to be found

-image via Pinterest

Loose

I wake with a start to the monotonous alarm gone off in the not-quite-morning, setting in motion all the things in a day that can’t be stopped.

After dressing, out of the large bedroom window I observe the sun beginning what could be its optimistic rise over the serrated tree line.

The trees bordering our property clench at the last of autumn’s harlequin leaves in their mournful fists, but for one Herculean tree that has fallen, the wide nieve of its root mass ripped up and resting bare above a loamy gouge in the grassy bed.

Downstairs, all around me, they busy themselves eating the breakfast I’ve prepared and readying for the day, oblivious to the storms inside me, which also can’t be stopped.

This time of year, the ground outside takes on water until it is nothing but soft sponge, just before it begins its slow, deep freezing.

Inside, the ground beneath my feet is also beginning an unsettling softening, the imminent chill of winter threatening to make home in the fading marrow of my papery bones.

Like the lamented tree, I seem to have come loose from my station in life.

-image via Pinterest, original source unknown

Mirror Image

Tucked tightly beneath her chin, her favorite blanket created a cocoon around her as she lay quietly on the couch, everyone else going about their business around her. Sitting on the floor in front of the tv, her two younger half-sisters bickered over who should have control of the remote. Her mother worked in the kitchen, cleaning up from a dinner she hadn’t been able to eat.

More than anything, she wished she was invisible right now, and yet, she couldn’t make herself be alone with her thoughts. 

No matter how hard she tried to divert her attention from the hurt, she could not. It bubbled and boiled beneath her skin. It was sludge, heavy through her veins and a pulsing pressure behind her eyes, threatening release. It sat like a boulder on her chest, making it impossible to breathe deeply. She was afraid if she tried, she might burst.

She didn’t know what to do. How to feel. How to move. Her feelings were so huge and twisted, it seemed as if she’d never escape them. She had no idea how to go about a day without the weight of it pulling every thought to the pit of her stomach, into the darkness.

I wish I didn’t feel anything at all.

She’d hurt her boyfriend, Doug, and she felt terrible. Worse than terrible. It was revolting. But it was even bigger than the immediate hurt; it was much deeper than that.

She’d done something really stupid, sleeping with that other guy, and the guilt had forced her to tell Doug the truth. Well, mostly. The ugliness and shame had kept her from telling him the whole story. And the fear.

She tried really hard not to think about the whole story, because when she did, the loathing was so intense she could taste it’s metallic tang and smell it’s charred blackness. The fear would burn and churn in her stomach until she could feel the sting of bile in the back of her throat. The worst part was, it wasn’t even the first time. She’d done it before and let the guilt liquefy her insides all this time.

I’m just like her. 

It was her biggest fear. She could not let herself be just like her mother.

Her mother had been married five times already, and the sixth would no doubt be soon. They’d moved in and out, and in and out. All of them were men who were not worthy of her mother’s love, none who treated her mother with respect. Men who took. Who hurt. And it seemed as if her mother searched for carbon copies, over and over, leaving the good ones in her wake. She cheated on every one, and always seemed to be looking for a plan B. And it often felt like she and her sisters were just along for the ride, and the ride had no breaks.

How on earth will I ever be able to outrun that? Look what I’ve already done, and I’m only 17.

It took her by complete surprise when her mother knelt down next to the couch and stroked her hair. It was uncharacteristic; she was not cold, but she was also not really a huggy-touchy type. Vulnerability wasn’t in her wheelhouse.

“Are you going to be okay,” her mother asked, making eye contact.

“I don’t want to end up like you,” she replied, through quivering lips and involuntary tears while maintaining eye contact, the hurt ans fear vibrating softly in each word. She couldn’t believe she’d said it aloud, but it had been sitting right there, on the tip of her tongue, for so very long. And maybe, just maybe, her mother might understand. Maybe she could help. Maybe it would help.

But, no other words passed between them. No words were needed; her mother’s eyes had replied.

Hiding tears of her own, her mother stood and walked away.

-image credit studiojoslizen, found via Pinterest; edited older post

Sacred

when he kissed me,
I was pure, cosmic combustion,
an exploding urge from some uncharted depth,
stirring this frenetic need to break free from something I didn’t even realize was holding me back,
while sinking into this enveloping feeling I never wanted to end;
it was the quickening of some strange, welcomed metamorphosis

whatever was happening between us had this unspoiled sheen to it,
leaving behind a layer of something magical that came off on my fingers when I touched it,
like the precious powder from a moth’s delicate wing,
something so intimate and sacred that was meant to be grasped,
but still set free to fly

-artwork by Gustav Klimt, The Kiss