Pain’s Concubine

Reclined against these static sheets

My letters fade, the ashes

Of graphite rebelling against

Posterity, my words are hollows

They lack the confidence of ink

They are grey and wasting

Translating only grief


I have never been definitive

About anything, I covet

Ancient philosophies and the

Fallen alphabets of dead poets

Filling the emptiness with

The grim confessions of

Universal suffering

Happiness is for other

People it is not for me

My heart is pain’s concubine

She will never prostitute

Herself to the light, give

Her the shadowed hands

Of a ghostly tyrant

Raping indiscriminately


At thirty I still do not

Understand what I am

Meant to do or even what

Given enough time and

Necessity I could do

So I wait, suspended

In pickling fluid,

Slowly souring

And if I have a talent

I have not yet

Given birth to it

Not in its entirety

The blood between

My thighs, says

No life will survive

My hostile womb



There’s a girl in my closest

She looks like me  but she’s

Flat as a piece of parchment

She’s got that look of a letter

Half-scribed, salvaged

From the waste basket

No longer smooth

It’s not right to

Say she is scarred that

Would imply a distinction,

Imply that there was

Healthy flesh woven between

Better to say she is a scar

One incongruous ravine,

You could follow her tears

Along endless tracts


Sometimes I crouch down

Alongside her, but she is

Mute and won’t answer

Any of my questions

There isn’t a language

With enough gravity

To convey her history

I understand her the way

A mother understands

An obnoxious child

With a furrowed

Disapproving brow

But unlike that mother

I do not love her



Windows opening to the sea

 Your eyes, treacherous depths

   Drinking in uncertain light

     On the bottom we meet

   Two hearts bleached

     An anorexic white

   By tears so sterile

  They reek of chlorine


 Your voice mimics the waves

   Its undulations and guttural

          Intonations, our words syllable

   By syllable matching

     Betrayals, our conversations

    Birds of prey,the slippery

             Bodies of fish, fleshy black-eyed

        Secrets stripped to the entrails

         By vicious beaks and this love

  Is hunger, hunger born

    Of self-soothing appetite and

Emaciated necessity


My longing does not

      Bare your absence well

  It’s not enough to say

 I could have loved you once

 I love you now in this

    Impossible reality even

       Though we amount to

         Nothing more than

  Human wreckage

I love you despite

   What I have become

  Shifted by your

   Corrosive sands


       Breathing sulfur

  In volcanic rift

    More nightmare

      Than reality

   Blind in your

 Coal black ossuary

I flicker with merciless


     Bating you for