Invisible Girl

Photo by Serhat Beyazkaya on Unsplash

There is a moon

in my heart

that rises up

in the darkness.

Silver and chaste

it trembles

like an enigma.

I can feel it swelling

in my throat

like a great, triumphant OM

and I want the world

to stop for a moment

and listen to my voice

not because my voice

is the most remarkable

but because there is

a message inside of me

that is more precious

than life itself.

My life is just one

eclipse after another.

I know where the pockets are.

I know how to walk

from one end of the hall to another

and align my feet precisely

with every shadow and prominence.

I know every secret,

trick, diversion, feint

and all I can say

is that I want to be seen.

I might run

from one end of the street

to the other with a wave

and a smile so light

that it catches in the breeze

when what I want is to sing

and dance and tell stories

about beautiful, uninhabitable places

like those inside of my own mind.

I want to be heard.

I want to be known.

I want to stay wild

even as I flit between

the domestic and the mundane.

Wordle #285

Photo by Christopher Parker on Unsplash

All the flowers in the garden have been plucked and repurposed into halos, vase-fillers, and oracles. None of which have served me particularly well. My life is mostly decoration and sleight of hand. People enter. Bridges burn. Hearts puncture (my heart has more holes in it than a colander).

I still view everything through the speculum that is trauma. I am vulnerable. I am exposed. I am open from the inside and stretched to my limits.

I am an ordinary person living violently at the bottom of a well. I have no outstanding features, unless by outstanding you mean distinctive. I am a pile of bones woven together with flesh and red string. I would rather be a kite than a thimble-full of brackish water. I would rather be a catalyst than a consequence of reason but you can’t have everything and that’s why I settle sometimes. If I could have everything then I would have a cabin in the woods, an attentive lover, a Pagan wedding, the soul of a poet, and the heart of a dog.

The sky is gray and gluttonous I pour my sorrows into the rain and the mud that wallows underneath my chilled feet. I have no stories, only rancor and a vague but unshakable sense of hopelessness. The only service I am capable of offering is lip service and like anyone else I search for meaning wherever I can find it. Mostly my life feels like a series of roundabouts and one-way streets. I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast. I dance when I hear music. I think in words. I feel in words. Sometimes my soul comes loose and I drop to my knees and wait for the moon to strike me dead.

Just gibberish rambling. I have been writing intensively for several days and now I need to recharge myself.

Rainbow Adjacent

Photo by Rhett Wesley on Unsplash

Never surrender to pretense

when there’s a door

or a window or the faintest flicker

of the vacuity and vastness

that is conscious awareness.

Let your laughter dissolve

the clouds that overshadow

the fiery indolence of youth

and lie down with me

on a sun-saturated patch of dirt

underneath a tree

who speaks to God

about the seductive wisdom

of certain fruits and reptiles.

We can get married

and arrange things together

in organized piles

and pretend that wishes

are our best kept secrets.

For example I promise

not to test the water

before drowning

in any adjacent rainbows.

The only halo

I want wrapped around me

is your smile.

I don’t have wings

but my hands

hardly ever touch the ground.

There are so many ways

to strangle the life

out of a relationship

I never thought

that my love for you

would become a weapon

until I realized

that its content

was mostly rocks

and that what I took

for sophistication and spontaneity

was just a sly way

of crossing the street

without being recognized.

Magic like everything else

turns out to be real

right up to the point

that it enters into the eye

and in that still, viscous pool

everything takes on

an air of artificiality.

Deep down I think we know

that nothing is real or realized

outside of ourselves

which is why

you are an angel

and I wear a grin that looks

more like a bread knife

than a waning crescent.

This is the third poem of the day. The others I am planning to submit. I hope this one came out okay!

I am that wilderness

Photo by Michael Olsen on Unsplash

I have too many emotions.

They stick in my teeth,

in my twisted viscera,

in my glowing red heart

in my stiff grey lungs.

They are my hands and my feet

and all the spaces in between.

Feelings can’t be ascribed

to any one organ

they rise up between

the solid bits.

They are a void.

They are eternal

right up until the moment

of exchange.

I am inconsolable

whatever my orientation.

Viscous and viral

there is a wilderness

so wild and so vast

that no map could ever

hope to translate it.

I am that wilderness.

I never have

the same emotion twice.

Each emotion is its own construct.

The only thing which is certain

in me is uncertainty

but that does not

bring me comfort.

I sleep hundreds of hours a day.

I am the dream, not the dreamer.

I do not wake but every now and then

life comes pouring in like salt water

and takes me to another place

and in that foreign place

I take on the arduous task

of drowning.

Lesser Gods

Photo by Ganapathy Kumar on Unsplash

If I have learned anything

it is that you can’t pull

a reflection out of a mirror.

What we call love

is simply the recognition

of self within another.

Hate is when that same person

disappoints your expectations

which is inevitable

because no two humans

are exactly the same.

I could be a sun

with my own heat and gravity

or I could be the moon

which follows.

If I knew how to be the sun

I would be the sun

but I possess

the physiognomy of the moon.

My mercurial blood burns

just as much going in

as it does coming out.

I never wear the same face twice

and my moods are always

tinged with melancholia.

A smile is just a little bird

with its wings outstretched.

Tears are punctuation

they appear whenever

an emotion gets too big

to cram into a single breath.

I am prepared to live

the exact same day

for the rest of my life.

This is what it means

to put your faith in lesser Gods.

I found myself in your eyes,

that little sliver of divinity

which speaks of union

and I fell in circles around you.

If I love this man enough

then I might just forgive myself

for a lifetime of neuroses and repetitions.

Only to forgive myself

it is necessary to keep him

and to keep him

it is necessary

to cut away the pieces of myself

that don’t fit.

Find an object to worship

and grow small with redundancy

or find the God within yourself

and become a universe

miraculous beyond measure.

Those are your only two choices.

Story Swap #4 “The Man Who Never Lied” vs The Woman Who Couldn’t Tell the Truth

Photo by Lucas Gouvêa on Unsplash

Gaslighting is defined as “manipulating someone by psychological means into doubting their own sanity.”

Here is the truth. The last time I spoke to my father was on his death bed over Skype. A significant portion of my family was present for the reunion. At some point he asked me why I had never told him about Isadora. Aside from my mom I had never told anyone in my family that my father molested me. How could I answer him without exposing the truth? I didn’t tell my father about my daughter because I feared that he would, given the chance, do the same thing to her as he had done to me. I knew that even if I never left them alone together he could still do a tremendous amount of psychological damage. My father was very clear and very persistent when it came to his views on women. He was, in fact, relentless in his sexism. He steered most, if not all, of our conversations towards sex and the inferiority of women. He was often drunk. Often belligerent. Completely paranoid. And most of all dangerous. So I decided that it was better for me and better for Isadora if I cut him out of my life altogether. This was one of the best decisions I ever made but how could I say that to a room full of our closest relatives? Did I really want to expose the truth of my father on his deathbed? I finally answered “because it wasn’t safe.”. I didn’t elaborate even though he pressed me. Eventually he said “it was all in your imagination.” Referring to the things I didn’t say about our relationship and in that moment everyone in the room understood more or less why I had disappeared for such a long time.

My relatives had questions. My mom answered them honestly on my behalf and they believed her. One of my aunts came forward to say that he had raped her as well. By far the most difficult conversation of my life was the conversation I had with my father on his deathbed. Although he never admitted to the truth, he did, in the end expose himself.

I kept that secret from my family for 30 some years. My childhood was one of secrecy. I was told how to feel. How to believe. I was given a version of reality that didn’t match my own. My beliefs, my boundaries, my emotions, my well-being none of it mattered. As an adult I still question everything I think and feel. I question my motives. I accept other people’s version of events over my own. I question my worth on an almost daily basis. If I feel sick I question whether or not my illness is just a way of avoiding my responsibilities. If I am sad I question whether or not my sorrow is just a way of evoking sympathy or manipulating the situation. If I am angry I question whether or not I am being selfish and unreasonable. I even question my existence at times.

I believe that to make other people happy I have to subdue myself as much as possible because no one would love the truth of me. So for all of my life I have chosen to live in a kind of bizarre compromise. I am half-way myself. The half-way bit goes off like a bomb in mid sentence. You just never know when I am going to surface but when I do I am full of a lifetime’s worth of subdued emotions and forgotten dreams. I have learned how to endure a lot of things. Abuse. Neglect. Cruelty. Failure. Disappointment. Sorrow. Indolence. I have not learned how to endure Happiness. Love. Success. Unity. Reciprocity. Praise. Productivity. I have a sense that emotions aren’t really an act of endurance, that life really isn’t a contest of how much you can take before you break.

If you asked me what I wanted in life more than anything. I don’t know would probably be the most honest thing I could say because I have spent my life on the fence. I can’t tell which feelings and thoughts are mine, much less which thoughts and feelings are coming from fear and a desperate desire to run away from myself and anyone/anything that could touch upon the truth of me and which thoughts and feelings are coming from love and a need for expansion. Right now I am faced with the choice to move forward even at the expense of making a mistake, or acting with bad intentions, or misguided emotions, or from a place of fear/avoidance, or risking my comfort because what else can I do? I have spent my whole life hoping that the truth would be louder and more insistent than my doubts but if doubt is what I am conditioned to perceive than truth, whatever it might be, probably wouldn’t even stand out very much to me in the beginning. So mine is a quest for truth and in the process I might lie quite lot because I don’t know what’s real and what isn’t or maybe I do know but I just never learned to believe in myself.

Wordle #282 Hiraeth

A raw overcast sky

hangs softly outside

of my insolent, unblinking window.

A milkshake of monochromes

and bald-faced satellites

march unseen

behind the ashen veil.

I can feel myself sinking

with every breath.

My thoughts are heavy and insistent.

My hands are caged birds

weakened by tension

and fragile as they pound

fruitlessly against my pillow.

No one but me

can hear the cracks

taking hold of my heart.

No one but me can hear

the terrible, taunting hiss

of my liquid pain released.

The stars

count my wishes.

Wishes that I will

someday follow

from one adage to another.

Wishes that must be forgotten

to reach fulfillment

because more often than not

I get in the way of myself.

I am not patient

the way nature is patient.

I would rather destroy

something than contemplate

the hours between

one moment and the next.

The space between us

feels especially solid,

it has fangs and claws

and if I let you in

too deeply

I know your absence

will consume me.

We will always have

the moon floating

like a pumice stone

on top of the water

by the lake.

The leafy hands

of a primal nation

extending towards

our bare legs

like needy children

as we spin in circles

from one end

of your unkempt yard

to the other.

As I sit here,

in a state of hiraeth

and mild panic

I wonder

if I really have what it takes

to belong to someone,

to have memories of someone,

to be at home with someone

and not get lost

between the words.

Wordle #279

There was pop and a sudden searing sensation as the hot dog released its juices into his waiting mouth. The sun overhead was relentless, like the needle on a sewing machine, it imposed upon his bare arms and his cleanly shaven face with unnerving precision. His hair was too hot. His clothes were too close. He stood some feet away from the vendor, near a tree. The tree was decorated mostly with old shoes. It provided little in the way of shade or holiday spirit but he liked the idea of it. The idea that simply by changing ones’ shoes you could become someone else, you could take a different path, you could discover an entirely new mode of being.

The hotdog left him feeling vaguely queasy and not altogether satisfied. He licked the mustard and ketchup from his fingertips and threw away his soiled napkin. If only it were so easy to throw away blame. His wife blamed him for a great many things that hadn’t worked out in her life. She couldn’t cope with the loss of her youth, with the loss of her beauty (according to her), with the fact that he looked ten years younger than she did even though they were the same age. He wasn’t entirely sure how his youthful appearance offended her but it did offend her greatly. She was jealous now. She hadn’t been jealous at the beginning of their relationship. He was just as loyal but for some reason she didn’t believe him anymore. She was, to him, still the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, only now she was angry most of the time.

He fingered the bishop in his pocket, it was all that remained of a chess set that his grandfather had given him when he was a child. It was his good luck charm and whenever he felt something uncomfortable he held it between his fingers very gently to ground himself. He’d never really developed an interest in the game but he could remember playing with the pieces much the way another boy might play with toy soldiers or superhero figurines. The bishop in his pocket was made of dark wood and his caresses had worn it very smooth. As he stood there wondering precisely when he had lost his enthusiasm for life his eyes fell upon a red pair of Converse sneakers suspended from the tree beside him. Good condition. Right size. He took them down and exchanged them for his own shoes.

As he walked around the city, in his borrowed shoes and his borrowed identity, he felt more like himself than he had in years. His whole life had been a myth. Love. Success. Beauty. It was all just an elaborate social hoax, a game of chess, a caste system which split the world into the haves and the have-nots. He was technically on the winning side. He loved his wife, however she felt about him. He had a job. He was a photographer and he was good at it so the pay was good. Only in the process of making money and getting good he’d lost interest. He wanted to take imperfect pictures of unlikely people. He didn’t want to take pictures of people who posed like museum sculptures. He wanted to take pictures of people who hadn’t yet had all their humanness wrung out of them.

Just then he saw a young woman in a red dress leaning over to kiss a young man in a white t-shirt and faded jeans. The man fumbled with his phone and offered her a weak, fictional smile. He could see the scales in their relationship were unbalanced. He could see her heart broken and eager surging up in her throat like vomit. He watched her smile, then grimace as she swallowed her disappointment. He watched her pick up her own phone and jab at it half-heartedly while throwing her disinterested lover the occasional wounded look.

In her he witnessed a desire to connect, a desire crushed by mediocrity and indifference. Conversation. Affection. Intimacy. These were archaic notions. Civilized humans networked and stigmatized. Civilized humans didn’t build foundations, they built facades. Civilized humans walked in the park while looking at pictures on their phones. Pictures which had been carefully edited to remove all that was genuine, vulnerable, and imperfect. Graham, for that was his name, decided that today he was going to pick flowers for his wife instead of buying them. He was going to dig them up by the roots and plant them in a little ceramic pot and give them to her. He hoped that she would laugh at him. Not a mean, derisive laugh but a sweet, giggly laugh. She looked younger when she laughed, when she was happy and her nose crunched up and she forgot the symmetry of her face.

Sunday Confessionals : Hello

Dear Heart,

When we first met my life was in transition but instead of changing I just went on pretending that I was a mountain. High and mighty. Immovable. Distant. Jagged and worn. I can endure just about anything. That is my superpower. I should have been fighting to save myself but instead I just went right on living the same way even though the life I was living had ceased to exist. It took me quite a long time to realize that the only home I have and perhaps ever well have is my own body. Wherever my body goes I follow. 

Knowing you has changed me, profoundly. We’ve gone on adventures together. We’ve played like children in the park. We’ve had firsts. You are the first man to take me on a snowmobile, to take me kick sledding, to let me drive a tractor etc. You invited me into your home. Into your family. You brought me with you to Norway. Sometimes you do not even deny that we are a couple. My emotions have more layers now. My personality is bolder and more nuanced. I have found reserves of courage and energy I did not know myself to possess. I have never known such depths of anger, joy, love, disappointment, despair, gratitude, surrender, freedom.

The hardest thing about all these new feelings to accept is that I am the one feeling them. I am the one living outside of my skin while you are safe inside yours, beside me but not totally immersed in the experience the way I am. When you look at me you don’t see forever. I am not a potential lover or wife. I am a woman who is accessible, loved, but unnecessary. I am not your ideal, even though you show up again and again on my list. I have no real power over you. It’s incomprehensible to me that no matter how deep your heart goes, your intellect will always be capable of digging it out again. When you do decide to find the right woman, you will go on, you will have a life without me and that life will be enough for you. I will feel your absence with every part of me. Maybe your absence will be the thing which finally breaks me. I think I could let you break me.

I have a lover who will never make love to me. I have a husband who will never marry me. I have a boyfriend who thinks kissing feels too much. I have a partner who searches for me in other people and tells me so. Maybe one day you will find a me, who is not me, and she will be to you what the universe is to a person, everything. 

I am the person you love most in the world. I am every hour of your day. I am a majority of the people in your life. I occupy every role, male and female. Sometimes you even forget that I am not you. When you leave it feels so final, so definite. Then you return again and I am there, full on and critical. Some days you love me with a sincerity and a ferocity which makes the impossible seem possible and I think now he really loves me, now we have surpassed “almost” and “what if”, now we are finally living our lives whole-hearted and then we are half-way all over again and I remember that I am the only person in the world. Everyone else is everyone else. I am only me and I don’t know how to handle a human heart.

Thank you for the almosts,

forever yours, forever mine