I’ve read our memories are best plucked
By specific scents, the sense of time
Bends and folds in sudden agreement
To retrieve a moment from where it’s tucked.
Forgotten years may be retrieved
By a single sniff: A whiff of aroma
Translating ancient hieroglyphs
Into tactile memories perceived
But this roving feeling in my gut:
Hungry, ill, then intractable will
Empowers empty to give its fill:
An illusion of some ethereal glut-
This precise, vivid language, rarely-used,
Unenthralled, unwraps the shawl of years
Exposing in the clarity of muscle-squalls,
“Ah-ha! I remember! This isn’t new-
I once lived here.”
Maybe we belong
because we’re here
but we’ve linked belonging
to some intangible nostalgia,
some forgotten garden aroma
Souls wafting similar fragrance
take the wandering vagrants
by the nose.
Those who’ve said farewell,
whose Home has retired
to either heaven or hell,
transplant their definition
beyond the earthly conditions.
Everyone feels like they’re hurting,
or working, or searching
for a place they belong-
some fantasy of found-family:
Maybe it’s all wrong.
Maybe present is accounted for,
and there’s nothing deeper to be found
than sharing the same ground,
in the same days.
Maybe we belong wherever we are,
just as much as the next dumb soul.
Maybe the concept of home, or love, or whole
merely reduces into shared ideals
when everything deconstructs
into parts we juggle.
Maybe I got stuck, and struggle
to see what’s real.
Today is the part where I sincerely,
pensively, and meticulously consider
In disparate, unique states
my two sisters struggle under heavy loads;
one walking on ageless, solid truth-
one crawling through nightmarish apparitions-
and I have nothing to help.
I also go it alone-
Our mantras don’t rise
higher than the gasses that comprise
our voices- our self-centered choices-
We are encaged by our eyes
Their limited field of vision
casts no farther than our own proximity.
How can any overthrow these
Fortresses of Flesh?
The timeline is an apparent infinity
of myopic grasping.
A globe of collectors:
Collecting things, collecting flattery, power, or security,
some with the audacity
to try their hand
at collecting souls.
Grand things and thrift things
are all the same-
Decaying into a mass-grave,
a landfill of spent distractions.
Flattery is deception,
doctored photos and inflated perceptions-
Drugs for the addict
Distasteful to those who are not-
Sometimes a horror.
Power and security are the other triplets,
Deceptions and addictions,
based on shared intangibles
Ideas that run humanity
like a hidden engine-
a magic machine-
some deus ex machina.
Collecting souls cannot be
A hit-and-run endeavor.
You cannot amass more
than you can cultivate-
Knowledge and skill
to impersonate relationship
but just busy enough
to avoid it.
Our eyes keep us alone.
Island shorelines erode
changing in the absence,
confusing returned travelers,
and no soul remains
if they cannot know and be known.
The gift of our Creator,
Who strives with man
to know and be known
But we have no time for something so non-essential:
Our landfills won’t fill themselves
Our merriment takes work,
and years, and fun
is the new fortress.
I curled up to rest in confidence,
In a feeling of accomplishment
A day where everyone excelled-
My insecurities quelled
But the night crept in
Indelicately stepped in
Scratching where I slept
With terror, in a tragic overstep
And it moved me to waking,
To trembling, to quaking,
To mistaking what’s proved
With what the night moves.
She writes, she dreams,
In dark carnival scenes
Mad-toothed barkers, twisted mirrors,
Remorseless, deathless terrors
In suspended animation-
I shared in her damnation:
It’s all true, in sideways shards
Where truth leaves truth marred
Where mothers’ lips fuel hearses;
Where mothers’ tongues drip curses
And hunger puts its fist in baby-bellies
And the cold pulls warriors to felled knees,
And bruises, like tribal tattoos, shine
Flaunting hell in knuckle-designs
Barkers estimating height, and weight,
And every flaw, sin, or mistake
Stench and stale smothering
Tender skin succumbed to stings
Of ruthless consumption and defacement:
Run-down rides in broken-down basements.
And she writes with teeth still piercing skin,
Like goodness died, and carnies win,
And I need You to be You again-
The unchangeable God: the same
Yesterday, today, and always.
How many years I’ve carried this body,
And how long its carried me-
An intrinsic facet of my existence
And my identity.
How its struggled from the womb
Targeted while tender,
A bullseye-birthmark stained through systems-
And genes- and gender.
How long pain has walked in stride,
Fingers clasped in mine,
Wracked from earliest childhood,
Constant yet, through time,
Wrecked still, the crawling pain
Shudders my skin awake,
While the cold chill grasping
Does not alleviate my ache.
Bedfellows we’ve been
Thirty-eight years to strive-
One day we both shall die,
But after, only I will come alive!
More than a year, it takes
on a single hand
to count these nights.
The foundations shake,
and I’ve abandoned trying to make it right;
I only try to outlast the hours.
I can, but he has deadfall traps
constructed in his soul.
The bait entices, he devours,
snapping jowls and swallowed scraps,
until the trigger takes its toll.
I forget the Viking even exists.
He’s a stranger here, hard to know,
subdued by character and discipline
but when he took my wrist
and didn’t let go,
I realized he was here again.
His Achilles isn’t in his heel,
you’ll find it in his blood-soaked genes:
An heirloom-trap passed on in grief.
Still angry, I asked him how he feels.
“Good,” he replied, like being mean
brought some long-anticipated relief.
I know his decisions are his alone,
and generally he loves me too well,
but these nights leave me unsettled and concerned-
Is resentment hiding, ingrown,
waiting for the chance to swell?
He wouldn’t be the first good man I’ve turned.
Does loving me require the odd glass?
A little something to feel right-
a drink, an escape, an evening of bitter regret?
It’ll be months before the next trespass.
Tomorrow we’ll forget tonight,
But I can’t forget it yet.