My Splintered heart
Has lost its ardor.
Of the edging day –
autumnal chill –
Frosts the diaphanous
Pallor of the daisies
Lining the hallway
Of my indifferent smile.
Vapors of inconsistency
Swirl up to the glass
Ceiling of veiled tones
And hushed silences –
Screams of violent,
beautiful hope –
Love’s lunar squall:
Waxing and waning,
In Hatred’s eternal twilight.
And yet, time’s healing
In scraps and patches,
Stops the bleeding,
Salves the pain,
And baptizes the darkness
Of my starless night.
Words will find me;
Words like water
Will wash me clean.
Sticks and stones
Thrown into hope’s
Dwindling fire —
My broken heart!
Of bones and ash
Hurling love’s insult
To my added injury —
Of your envenomed
And your words —
Like pointed daggers —
Bleed the fire
From my lips
Dripping with sin.
Spread the compost
And watch it
I just need
All will be
Can you say
I need to hear?
I am Mara.
I am the bitterness you taste
In each sip of your morning
I am Rahab.
I am the lust burning in your eyes.
I am the harlot of disquieted imaginings.
I give and you take. You give
And I crawl into my dreams.
I am Sarah.
I am unbelief. I am mistrust.
I am the joy leaving your lips
In your sweet, soft laughter.
I am Mary.
I am the sainted wonder
of His fire. I am the bearer
of life and splendor.
I am Martha.
I am the dishrag hanging
From the hooks of your heart.
I clean. I scrub as you keep tracking
Mud into the waxed floors of my mind.
I am beauty —
I am hate —
I am strength —
I am frailty –
I am Redeemed.
I am more than my name.
I am more than the labels I give myself —
I am more than the stickers and gold stars
Of approval from other broken
Maras, Marys, and Sarahs.
I am who I am because He is
Who He is – the great and mighty
I pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.
I say this pledge every morning. In unison with my students, we stand with our hands over our hearts in respect and reverence for the things we are to remember. I wonder if they are fully aware of the profundity of this pledge of this allegiance that tethers us together as Americans — as citizens of the great United States. I think not. They are roboting their voices in unison – monotoned, droned, Novocained to the impervious nature of these paramount utterances. By saying these things, does that make you any more or less American if you actually mean it when you say it? Sometimes I try to recite it as if it were the first time or as if my voice wasn’t metallic and inky, but the struggle with that is timing – pacing – uniformity. We MUST stick together or this whole thing falls apart. Is that really true? Who am I to say in earnest or even in true honesty because I, myself, am a fluxing flowing void of psyche and obligation. One MUST say this pledge. One MUST stand with hand over heart and RECITE from memory – from five years of age until you no longer bleed blue. Well, I bleed red, white, and blue; but I don’t like saying the pledge. Does that make me a bad person? No, of course not; but I can’t help thinking that it is a slap in the face to those who have fought for my rights for my un -, sub -, or under-appreciated freedom – it’s nothing to sneeze at, but these poppies keep pollenating my sinuses. God bless you! No, let’s leave Him out of this, shall we? Can we? Is that at all possible? I think not. What if I lived like I truly believed in this pledge? What would my day look like? Would I do things, say things, appreciate things differently? Or would I continue to robot my way through the unsatisfactory endeavor to achieve what Jay Gatsby and Willy Loman couldn’t? That elusive, slippery little lie – the great American Dream of happiness and contentment…I haven’t found it from saying things, from mere recitation. Perhaps, I must put my money where my mouth is…but the casting shadow of Lady Liberty is long and wide in the sunset of my dreams. So, I will continue to perform in the most allegiant of efforts to entertain, sustain, maintain the proclivity and profundity of that Star Spangled Wonder hanging in the corner of my classroom and my heart.
Love me like a metaphor
Bathe me in your words
Intoxicate my thoughts
Enliven me in verbs.
Emanate my breathless tone
Nullify my pain;
Conjugate each falling star
Steady love’s refrain.
Speak forms of love in diction kind
Sing lilting songs of joy;
Command the syntax of our hearts
Compose my words held coy.
Conjunct in me your grace, your strength,
Inspect my passion’d curves.
Come diagram my heat undone,
Relent my sweet reserves.
Love me like a metaphor
Call forth my form’s desire
Satiate my needs aflame
Douse me with your fire.
It’s quite difficult to explain
The complexity of my heart…
But sipping your champagne’d thoughts
Mixes nicely with my berried ripeness…
It’s all so clear — the allure
Was more than just ordinary physical
Attraction; the depth of his gleaming eyes
Revealed the truth neither of us wanted
To say. His hands tell me more
Than his well-meaning words do,
Falling flatly on the floor of my heart.
It may trick you, but it will never lie.
Just give me another sip, another drop,
Another other taste, another raspberry
Tumbles into my effervescent love.
The bubbles suffuse the ache in my heart;
Your sharp love softens in my airy thirst –
Bursting vacancy and seething peace.
A smile leaves my lips as the tenuous warm breeze
Tickles my skin like hands gently brushing away
The unruly tendrils from my face –
Just one last sip of the glittering glass –
Set it aside, my heart will imbue your pain.
The sun washes over me —
Eyes clenched tightly —
His glittering rays pull at my skin –
Like tender fingertips grazing
My chin, my lips — just before
A sweet, delicate kiss.
Who is this woman I see here in the mirror?
An unrecognizable face – porcelain’d
Pristine – cracking under the pressure
Of unknown perfection – this mask
Doesn’t quite cover the flawed disquietude
Of her heart. Riven splinterings of vague
Familiarity – painted realities of expectation –
This looking-glass girl confides in me –
Doesn’t she know that these salted tears
Never salve the pain? Can’t she see the love
That is wrapped around her from beneath the
Vaneer’d prison she hides inside?
In the infinite splendor of the cosmos,
Comprehension eludes me
In form and shape – a box? Put it all
In a box and see what comes of it?
Pandora won’t stand for it and neither
Will the Fates! They snipped and tied
Their strands with such synchronicity
Things cannot be replicated – unless
In the blipping form of déjà vu…
So, out of the box we go and into the
Unparalleled wonder of destiny’s
Hold — this microcosmic entity of reality:
Time. We can’t force it to stand still
As much as youth would covet
That chance. Nor can we compel
It to speed up; she drags her tedious
Heels through the sloughs
Of hours, minutes, seconds…
An egregious summation – a torturous
Grind when true love must wait
For her soul’s reflection to return
From the rippling wave in the waters
Of the firmamental deep – torrential oceans
Of pictorial magnificence — constellational
Glorification in undulating rhythms
Of perfected, harmonious love –
Waiting – yearning – hoping
For True Love’s reciprocating kiss
From across the dusted stars of dreams.
A box? Put it all in a box? Time and space
Won’t warrant such an occurrence
As desirous as it might sound to have control
Of things. A hand, marching in circular form,
The gradual agony of the slow ticking
From one numerical prison to the next –
It’s an eternity until your voice fills the void,
And seemingly a lifetime passes in the night
Without your form next to mine –
But, in the context of heaven’s
Wondrous crown – the paralleled Ether
Of stars and moons, of clouds and suns –
It is a mere celestial moment: a small granule
In the hourglass of cosmic measurements
Until I am with you – Boundless and free
From infinity’s fateful grip. Forever satiated in
The fullness of your love’s glorified aeonic embrace.
I am enfolding — my infernal evaporation
Into the darkness. This is nothing more than
The declension of a tired spirit: succumbing
To Dante’s path once more. The way is marked
With Virgil’s beguiling light of limited
Human wisdom. The candles dim to flickering
Shadows as I reach for the jar atop the highest shelf
Of my mind. I placed my shattered heart there
In hopes to keep it safe from the darkness –
But these cold, inky thoughts continue to flood in
Through the cracks in the walls and under
The dead-bolted doors of iron and rust.
Then, like a warm summer breeze
That playfully sends my long curled tendrils
To dancing, your whisper lifts me
Out of the sordid pit in which I tried
To find solace. Instead of rebuke and disgust,
Your hand reaches for mine pulling me close to you.
You beckon me to healing as you take
The broken fragments of my heart in your hands
And begin to piece them lovingly together.
Your words become the encasement for my
Reshaped heart until I am all but melting
Into the light of your soothing whisper.