Tag Archives: Fire

The Ghosts of Lyells

We were already homeless
When I moved out
Slowly, toe by toe,
Piecemeal, until I was whole
On the outside
So as not to offend
And you called me a name,
Standing in the grass outside
Someone else’s home,
What was it?

I was blind, and did not see
I left behind a piece of me
In that spot.

You procured a house in Lyells
My brothers orbiting
Expecting I would return
To live, to rely, to wait
To be married off
According to custom,
And the world we’d been evicted from
Continued on
Behind the looking glass.

So many familiar things
Heaped in piles, bags, and shelves
I asked for tokens
Some photos, some mementos,
Some toes I’d left behind
Your pursed lips
Denied me:
I forgave you instantly.

Later, I returned
When my familiar things
Spoke foreign tongues
And every corner sang
In minor chords
All the edges wild,
Overgrown
Days in disuse, disowned,
You asked if it would be so bad

And part of me felt at home,
So I ran.

In my rented compartment
Years and miles away
A swift bird flitted by
Singing of your abandonment
None stood by your side
When the final moment came
And I drove all day to find you
Back down the endless drive
To Lyells

Empty rooms
The cavernous throat
Hollowed out and rotting
Like a dead beast in the forest
Food decayed on plates
The final moments
Wasting away naked
Exposed
Slips of paper pasted
On every surface

“”Remember.”

Who are we to forget?
The musty, fusty smell
Of rotted youth
Treasures dumped as trash
In the great heap
Of time and the shattered,
Irreplaceable toes
You were long gone,
But the walls whispered

“”Remember.”

I took no memento
From the macabre museum
Our mausoleum of bones
I stood while all the walls
Shrank around me
Counting eternity
In shallow breaths
I clutched my keys,
And backing out,
I left.

All the little pieces
Scattered along my way
I saved for some return trip
Braving some stronger day
An ace perpetually up a sleeve-
Until the songbird crowed again
I pilgrimaged down the endless drive

All gone.
Razed to flat earth
Every exhibit
Details of form, weight, and shade
Ash and dispersed
Into abstract ghosts
Wandering, screaming,
Haunting the eroding memories

All that may remain:
A wave of lost pieces
Phantom limbs

I’ve heard it said:
Live in a house
And it will not crumble.
Time may overturn its contents,
Coins rolling into every crevice, yet
Memory builds a timeless structure
Wherein no man may live,
Nor flee,
And every stage
From birth to death
Exists simultaneously.


Strike Anywhere

This under-the-bushel life:
This hush-or-you’ll be seen,
Silent in the strife,
Lucid in the dream,
Choking-out-the-light life

When I should let it burn.

This habit I’ve worn,
These lies I’ve swallowed
Hiding what’s torn,
Filling what’s hollowed
By grief or scorn

With whatever can’t burn,

I keep the wick trimmed
Waiting for an invitation,
But when beckoned, I dim
In reckless hesitation
And sin

Because the light burns

But these dark nights
Call my name
And if light gives sight,
Bring on the flame
It’s time to ignite

My resistance and my purpose
To see what burns,

And what remains.


Dying of Old Age

We covered it like secret fear,
Pranced and hid in the now and here;
Children giggling in a static maze,
Dancing through the twilight haze.
Under our fear of responsibility and impurity,
We harbored hatred for maturity:
Divided sympathies, diluted resolve.
We struggled to stay uninvolved,
But Father Time kissed our eyes.
Were our truths or our lies
Most bitter? I cannot remember.
In our tantrums we torched the timber
Of the pretty words we shared.
We poisoned ourselves, and dared
Each other to drain the drought
Starving our passion, feeding our doubts,
And aging us against our will.
How I loved you still,
All Roman marble, a chiseled face,
Pale skin carved in immobile grace,
Until you burst into flame again.
We couldn’t both burn the same then,
Or all would be consumed.
With murderous hands, I suppressed the bloom.
I buried our secret to the depths inside,
Pretended I’d grown and watched it die.
I feigned forgetfulness, aversion, apathy.
With intensity you fought for my honesty,
Pleading and shaking, tremors of breath,
But I was committed to the death.
Our common words took opposing inflections.
We ran our maze in opposite directions.
While in a grave unknown, I carried our bones,
The secret that kept me safe, alone.