let go

I almost wrote you moment ago mr brightside

So lost was I in memory

so filled with the need for understanding

for conspiratorial laughter

and that deceptive indulgence with which you and I always

found kinship

I wonder where you are

what kind of happiness you’ve found

and whether you think of me…

And the children on their swing-sets call

but now my mug is filled with nothing more than tea

and you are a world away

a lifetime ago

but still you creep

ever present in my thoughts

When will I learn to let you go?


He has hands which fit perfectly, the definition I hold, of masculinity. His fingers thick and heavily contoured. Skin wrapped tightly around knob like joints and knuckles, lined with the protrusions of vein and bone as they wage a battle beneath the skin’s surface, each fighting for their right to push upwards, to stake claim in territory beyond the confines of anatomy. Each movement sends twitches of muscles drawn taught as though ready to grip and clutch hold whatever presses against them. Yet they are gentle enough to encase my own, protectively shielding my tiny hands from harm, as though they were the delicate china of a toy doll.

In my mind, his palms are rough with callused pads; a lifetime of manual labor to blame for the thick and broken skin, the rolling hill of heeled thumb encased in a protective shell born of years  creating and destroying, until finally, they have found equilibrium in strength and flexibility. I envision watching those hands manipulate, his strong fingers molding clay, carving wood and stone, his graceful application of tools against metal and glass. I see his eyes focus, concentration honed upon the task before him, as those hands work and rework, twisting, pressing, prodding. How often I’ve felt my skin mold beneath his touch, felt my muscles yield to it, my breath quicken at the imagined lingered stroke of fingertips as they grip the edges, the soft skin, the protruding bone of my own hidden valleys, far beyond the watchful eyes of others.

Reality has made his hands soft, supple. They rest upon my knee with hesitation, uncertainty. He carefully withholds the power of those fingers, those thick masculine palms, allowing me to trace their contours with my own childlike fingertips. I could watch the muscles move and roll beneath his skin, mapping out the battle of his self control for days. His talk fills the silence, telling me of him, his life, gracefully skirting the edges of his complications, but my attention is focused upon the hand which has now moved quietly up to my inner thigh, entwining its fingers with mine to create a complication all our own. I exhale with desire at this touch, exhale with need for more, but firmly disentangle myself from the hand of a man I am forbidden to falling into.

But how I want to fall. How desperately I want those hands to uncover my secrets, to unravel completely the me I struggle to hold together, to pull me into him. How I want those hands to penetrate me, violate me, caress and sooth me and the heat which even now as I walk away, flushes my body with desire.

Please remember me, happily
By the rosebush laughing
With bruises on my chin, the time when
We counted every black car passing

Your house beneath the hill and up until
Someone caught us in the kitchen
With maps, a mountain range, a piggy bank
A vision too removed to mention

But please remember me, fondly
I heard from someone you’re still pretty
And then they went on to say that the Pearly Gates
Had some eloquent graffiti

Like ‘We’ll meet again’ and ‘Fuck the man’
And ‘Tell my mother not to worry’
And angels with their great handshakes
But always done in such a hurry

And please remember me, at Halloween
Making fools of all the neighbors
Our faces painted white, by midnight
We’d forgotten one another

And when the morning came I was ashamed
Only now it seems so silly
That season left the world and then returned
And now you’re lit up by the city

So please remember me, mistakenly
In the window of the tallest tower
Call, then pass us by but much too high
To see the empty road at happy hour

Gleam and resonate just like the gates
Around the Holy Kingdom
With words like, ‘Lost and found’ and ‘Don’t look down’
And ‘Someone save temptation’

And please remember me as in the dream
We had as rug burned babies
Among the fallen trees and fast asleep
Beside the lions and the ladies

That called you what you like and even might
Give a gift for your behavior
A fleeting chance to see a trapeze
Swinger high as any savior

But please remember me, my misery
And how it lost me all I wanted
Those dogs that love the rain and chasing trains
The colored birds above there running

In circles round the well and where it spells
On the wall behind St. Peter
So bright on cinder gray in spray paint
‘Who the hell can see forever?’

And please remember me, seldomly
In the car behind the carnival
My hand between your knees, you turn from me
And said ‘the trapeze act was wonderful
But never meant to last’, the clowns that passed
Saw me just come up with anger
When it filled with circus dogs, the parking lot
Had an element of danger

So please remember me, finally
And all my uphill clawing
My dear, but if I make the Pearly Gates
I’ll do my best to make a drawing

Of God and Lucifer, a boy and girl
An angel kissin’ on a sinner
A monkey and a man, a marching band
All around the frightened trapeze swinger

She has held onto his picture forever. Long before the silence, before the choices, before the fire which burned everything to ashes. And even as change was forced upon her, she clutched his image to her chest.

She held his hand even when he pulled it away, when he left her alone amid the debris, to mend the pieces which together, they’d set to flame. He left the ghost of imagined kisses on her bruised and burnt finger tips: delusions of a love she maintained despite the way her voice echoed around his absence.

She kept him in her heart even after she had left his, and faded into whispered regret.

And in the years which tugged her on, he could be found in every touch and taste. He was every man’s hands and lips, every dark alley and secret encounter. He was the hand which bound, the voice which called her name, the stinging lash and the cool bite of leather against her skin. It was he she sought in their adoring eyes, and him she longed for when finally, reluctantly they faded into the shapes of indistinction, lost even to the sharpness of her memory.

He become a shadow which molded itself to her, which would change and grow. A mirror of herself, he grew into a fantastical version of the him she once knew, a version who would sway her and calm her and ease her loneliness, as his living heart continued to beat in the chest of the man who turned away.

But her love was given him, forced upon him, without hesitation, without permission, without even, the promise of its return. So how could she fault him, his doubts, his decisions, or the sharp edges each exhaled breath carried the moment he gave that love away.

And in that painful fantasy she built, how could she question the truth of his love when finally, the silence was broken, and he was found standing upon her doorstep, apologies on his lips and her shape still engraved in the folds of his embrace?

She found the love she gifted him so long ago in those arms.

But there was another woman with her now, a woman of strength and confidence and suddenly his embrace couldn’t contain them both. She has grown bitter in his silence and weary of this new game he has devised. And with this new woman came a voice more persistent than it was last, more thoughtful and aware of the subtleties of his ebb and flow against her.

It’s she who questions his intentions, his motivations, she who looks for meaning between the words he writes, the language he imbibes to find his truth, and she has found it desperately wanting. For his heart belongs to yet another, and it was her who set him free, and, like any lost and lonely soul, he has sought the companionship of one he knows is connected, as they have become, in heartache.

So free he shall be again. Turned from her doorstep and her embrace to wonder the streets alone, as she has done. And knowing all that he will learn, his absence will hold no regretful sharp edges, and she might finally find the peace she always wanted, but now it will come with a promise of one day finding a love deserving of all she has become.

water dreamsThere are horses with wounded legs, oozing blood, skin scraped to the bone. Dolphins who swim beside me offering their skin to touch and comfort, but always watching with their hollow black eyes. And water which seeps in, soaking carpets, creeping quietly through the grass, and straw, saturating my shoes, or rushing over bridges, violent and insistent, breaking apart the wood and metal railings as though they are nothing but a shell of substance; a half formed idea; a whisper rising from the waves. How destructive and consuming it has become.

Children clinging to my neck for protection, animals leaning on me for support, but I can’t carry them all. I can’t make it through the swelling ocean, the twisting and broken bridge to safety.

A man with an ever changing face appears behind me, taking a child into his strong protective arms. Together, we push through the waves and I am grateful. He has done what I alone could not. He has saved those who clung to me for shelter and taken them to safety.

Early morning dreams, while the sun shines through the sheer window coverings, while the children stir in their beds across the hall. They come to me before I wake, in the first few hours of daylight. Why not in the deep black of night? Why is my mind still and silent, lost to the exhaustive slumber of day’s end… For these images my mind conjures are new and alien, the dreams of another person, another lifetime, trapped inside me. So vivid so colourful. And so very strange. Where did my serpents go? Did they surrender their seductive and darkly sexual shapes for the animals of a child; a little girl who dreams of riding horses and swimming with dolphins? Of her handsome prince who arrives the moment she finds herself in the most danger? Show me where to find her, so I might reunite her with her dreams. Perhaps she can help me find me own, those which take me in the darkest of night, and comfort me with familiar shapes.

Give me back the endless sky so I might spread my wings and soar. Cover me with snakes, wrap me up in them, teach me to charm them in the dark corners of my dreams. But please, take away this water which saturates, which weighs me down and immobilizes my body, which cements my legs and arms, and threatens to drown my last breath. And return these childish animals to their rightful owner, for I have no use for lame horses, nor dolphins who’s eyes hold, unblinking, to my own. These are not my thoughts or desires, they don’t belong here anymore, for they are the wrong shapes and sizes, and arrive much too late for my tastes.

Waves of blond turn red in the Autumn breeze.

A change in the wind, a change in direction

and she turns with it

shedding her tired sandals and sundressesred

her bronzed skin

her summer.

Her hair a tangled mess of fire

twisted and broken in the whipping wind of the dying year.

She is ushered on, pushed forward

locks blowing, blinding

a swirl of burnt reds and browns to match the leaves dropping

heavily to the ground.

The last vestiges of life now dried, wrinkled and spent

they crunch beneath her feet

sink to the bottom of the pools and puddles

Some become her guardians, escorting her

scratching against her stockinged legs

her long jacket

the soft skin of her wrists

before entwining themselves in her mane of fire

to smoother and burn

along with the rest of summer’s leftovers.

Memory is a strange thing. It reads backwards and inside out, missing details, attaching moments to the wrong time, and conjuring faces with such clarity, it would seem we saw them only a heartbeat before, when in truth, it was a lifetime.

He was here, just now, I saw him. His twisted grin playing at me across the table. His eyes locking onto mine, demanding attention… as though I could ever refuse him.

The rough pads of his finger tips scratched against the soft skin of my palm, tracing and memorizing its contours. His urgency to connect with me, to learn again, the complexity of my body and the subtlety of my movements; palpable. His casual posture a well practiced lie, for below it, he is alight with electricity, and I, a welcoming pool of water beckoning him for more. I feel a flush rise on my cheeks, a quickening of my pulse, and the hand he holds, suddenly hot and dry beneath his touch.

My body is an open book which he reads with rapt attention, the twisted grin he wears, growing broader in my exposure. My lips part, and the lower curls inward, allowing my front teeth to form a seductive bite. It’s a quirk I know he adores, and my only defense against his overwhelming electrical charge. But I can’t hold his gaze anymore… My eyes lower, coy, submissive, awaiting his next move, forcing him to take the first step, to reach across and open my mouth with his, to inhale my submission and make it is his own. It’s a game we’ve played many times before, and still it retains the power to intoxicate.

But the moment I disconnect, the air suddenly feels thin and cool. The space before me, hollow, reverberating with the echos of a lifetime past.

The date is wrong. Time, it seems, has fooled me, joining with memory to catch me in a dream. I’m left gasping for air at an empty table, scratched and chipped below a layer of photographs. The tea, so hot and aromatic as it warmed my hands and awakened my senses, has since become cold, oily; the smell sickly sweet and strange and full of ghosts.

He was here a moment before, and now he’s gone. How can I learn to keep his gaze? To fight the watering eyes, the unfocused and painful stare… to keep him here with me? If only time would behave as memories, and allow me to slip in and out, to visit and re-live the moments turned to stills in these photographs. Then another year could float past me in a dream, and I could remain curled up with him, too lost for time to matter and too intoxicated by his clarity to care.