simple (CW: self-harm imagery)

It’s such a simple thing, really.
Nothing to it.
Just open a vein and spill your soul to paper.
There… that’s right.
Now again… good.
And again.
Shhhh, don’t fret over the tearstains,
they add color to the piece.
Now again.
And again.
And again.
See how easily it flows
from flesh to pen to page?
Again.
Again.
You wanted this, remember?
Again.
Your voice in the world…
Again.
Out of your head…
Again.
Until you find that quiet place
again.

tracing the path

And when they ask
(and they will ask)
how you came to this place, this space, this point in your life,
you will be tempted to look back,
thinking to easily pick up the thread to trace your way back in explanation.

Do not bother.

You are not standing in Daedalus’ labyrinth.
You have made your way to the witch’s cottage in the center of the wood.
The breadcrumbs have been scattered.
Or maybe eaten.
It makes no difference now.

Do not be alarmed.
You are not lost.

You are home.

words

And when words fail me, what then?
Will you seek my heart in my eyes when I can no longer give it voice?
Would you know it still if you could not hear it?

Kiss me again, for you have stolen my breath from me.
Return to me what is mine and I will gladly share all that I have.
Words will drip from our lips like heat and honey
as we speak in whispers against the silence.

for Opal

I was never my father’s daughter.
Always charming, always looking for the angle.
Walks into a room of strangers and walks out with a roomful of (useful)(temporary) best friends.

That was never me.

But the woman who raised him?
I’m hers through and through.

Quick to both love and anger, unable to do half-measures of either.
Doors always open, larder always full.
Friends (or friends of friends)(or friends of friends of friends) always welcome.
Show up three times and you’re family, family is forever, and family helps with the dishes.
Always too much food.
Always too many opinions.
Stubborn as a mule and larger than life.

I still have the baby quilts she made for me.
I learned how to quilt so I could make one for her.

It’s come back to me now.
It’s smaller than I remember but still as green as her Irish hills.
Still sharp angles to the eye but all softness and warmth once you’re wrapped up in it.
Stronger than it looks, more durable than you might expect.
A patchwork history, laying on my bed.

memory

memory is a midnight songbird
it hides and reveals itself
with the phases of the moon
and the passing of time
notes ring crisp and harsh in the bitter winter frost
and the warmth of a steamy summer night can warp the melody
into something completely unrecognizable
and one day the refrain will falter and fall silent
and all that will remain is the memory
of a memory
of a song that once was

 

(composed with Taylor Mali’s Metaphor Dice)

truth-telling

Don’t let them lie to you.
This shit is HARD.
It’s a thankless grind,
a neverending litany of everything you
didn’t know
didn’t finish
didn’t get right
didn’t make it through
and every day it
starts over
keeps coming
won’t stop
won’t ever stop
won’teverevereverstop
and you can’t make the ends meet
and you can’t make the pieces fit
and you’re quite certain that the light at the end of this tunnel is
an oncoming train.

But some days…

Some days it all falls into place.
It all comes together and comes into focus.
And you can see the forest and every damn one of those trees.
And the light hits everything just right and you’re quite certain that
you’ve never been a part of anything more beautiful in your life.

So no lies. This shit is HARD.
But some days?
Some days this shit is MAGIC.

storytime

“Tell me a story,” I said.
And of course what I meant was
“Show yourself to me.
Tell me the secrets you keep from the sun.
Let me drink in your desires and wade through your fears.
Introduce me to your demons and your better angels
and let me dance with them all.”

And so he did.
He wove me a tale with his words in my ears
and his breath on my neck,
with lips and tongue and teeth on skin,
and hands wrapped firm and tender around my heart.

And it might not have been “happily ever after”
but the book still rests on the shelf of my memory,
its pages well-worn and well-loved.

And so, my new love, come to me.

Tell me a story.

blind

And you’ll never see it coming,
for there are none so blind as those who will not see.

You’ll never see it coming.

The last questioning gaze that has to wonder where your thoughts wander
because you no longer invite me along.
The last empty evening, spent alone in a room filled with you.
The last open hand reaching for yours.
The last wince at the “joke” that wasn’t.
The last night lying in our bed beside one another,
close enough to touch but oceans between us.

The last silence. The last swallowed tear.

You’ll never see it coming.

And you’ll never see me go.

what now?

Four decades in, and you’ve finally discarded all the plans that others had for you.
You look in the mirror and you’re somewhat bewildered by the person looking back at you,
somehow familiar and foreign all at once.

So what now?

You finally understand that you’re not just standing at a crossroads¬†in this moment,
but that life is an endless series of crossroads,
and that even if you try to backtrack and take another path,
it will never be exactly the same one that you first saw.

So what now?

Fill your tinderbox with yarrow and bones and dead man’s dirt from the graves of all the lives you’ve already left behind.
Bury it beneath you.
Speak the words.
Count to three.

You are the summoner and the demon and the deal.
So…
what now?

three words

“Are you sure?”

So much packed into three words.

hope
doubt
hesitation
fear

“Are you sure?”

past
future
possibility

“Are you sure?”

reaching
longing

“Are you sure?”

 

“Yes.”