Paint me…in your arms – Draw me in
Close enough to taste my skin.
Trace the lines of each wandering curve –
Letting your fingers do more than observe
Uncover each detail both small and wild,
Sketching my lips – drip sweet and beguiled;
And with a delicate hue of my whispered blush
Color my love with your amorous brush.
Shade in the places of soft, supple black,
Hold me in your canvas – hold nothing back.
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.
She has this way of making
everyone she speaks to
feel important. It’s more
than just a steady diet
of Miss Manners; it’s in the way
her attentive eyes twinkle
with thoughtful and probing
questions. They charm him
into thinking that his words
carry the same profundity
and philosophical flair as
Kierkegaard or Sartre.
Reality serves a blander dish:
social media — the catch of the day —
with a side of status updates. His words,
driveling on like an arterial sprinkler
broken in the middle of a drought,
spurting worn out maxims and
zealotries that more than miss the mark,
leaving behind a lawn of dead grass
and ill-advised prescriptions
of overgrown weeds. His words
are thin like the threadbare
sock whose likeness has long been
discarded and forgotten. His words
become a song that scores
the mundane lives of wonted stature
and last night’s score
for a sport she knows nothing of
and cares little about,
yet her eyes still sparkle and
suggest that she is, indeed,
I don’t need breakfast, brunch, luncheon
Or supper. Words are my sustenance –
Lean and raw. Eating them up; drinking them in;
Satisfied and satiated in their abundance.
Honestly, I don’t need a thing…
I’m sustained on a steady diet of typing.
The sun is shining
and so are you —
your smile is full
of rainbows and
hope. But, I wear the sun
differently. My eyes —
cloaked in the melancholy
of your scars —
cloud and bring forth
unsettled and unavoidable.
My love is messy —
to say the least. Pieces
of me and you are
scattered like ash
in a blaze of
stardust and dreams.
My anvil’d heart
sinks into the depth
of your ocean eyes.
Your words, like water,
wash through me
as you burst into
colors of vibrant mists —
your hues of healing light
glitter the path
to what will make
me whole again.
about the painting: “The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” (oil on canvas) piece was painted by the German Romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich in 1818.
Each Saturday morning
was like the one before —
Get up, eat breakfast,
Ms. Amy, the perfect ballerina,
taught me the meaning of
anguish and adoration.
She demanded perfection
from her little swans —
but I was just a crow.
Nothing I did was ever
good enough — I was told
that she saw potential
in me and that is why
she pushed me so hard.
Removing my skirt was
my punishment — my back
wasn’t swayed. My hips
were rotated just so —
but that pesky little (ahem)
not so little derriere
caused so much agony for me
at the barre. No skirt, no
dignity. When it was time to
exchange our soft slippers
for our point shoes, Ms. Amy
would watch as we wrapped our
toes with paper towels from
the bathroom — no gel pads
or extra stuffing allowed.
If she was feeling
generous she said
we could use a little
lambswool — but just a
little bit! I remember
in the mirror — scowling
at my svelte dancer physique
Never good enough — the girl
next to me was always
thinner, more flexible,
more graceful, had a prettier
arch in her foot —
Just like Ms. Amy, I
only saw my flaws, and perhaps
unlike Ms. Amy, I never saw
When I was a little girl, I thought dandelions
were beautiful yellow flowers. I never understood
why my dad would get so angry
every time I made a wish
with those cottony clustered clouds.
Umbrella-ed seeds floating all
around spoke of all the possibilities of who I could be and
what was to come. My wishes rarely came true,
but then the parachutes didn’t
always catch the wind. Stubborn anchored sprouts refused
to move with a puff of my cheek. And I knew
that my dreams were stuck.
Now that I’m older, I know better.
Dandelions and their seedling blossoms,
the ones that line the beds of unkempt gardens,
are just weeds of wistful thinking.
Yesterday was blue, like smoke.
We walked through the cloud
Of the unknown, the unseen:
Matters of hope and hopelessness,
Joy and sorrow, laughter and tears;
In order to find our true purpose.
From there, we awoke
To the dawning of the sublime;
Where stars shine like beacons,
Glittering the path where we break the yoke
To our past, to our struggle, to our unending night.
We are beckoned to the blaze, to stoke
The flame of red and orange and blue.
And the smoke fills this place and our lungs
With hope. Now we long for the day
When we will say: Today is this,
And tomorrow will be that.
This is what is true, this is what is spoke.
Background: The line “[y]esterday was blue, like smoke”comes from the absurd yet existential play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard. This line is found at the end of Act 2 when Guildenstern and Rosencrantz discuss the change in season from summer to autumn. Rosencrantz remains on the surface with this conversation by only concerning himself with the fears of being cold in the fall and winter; whereas, Guildenstern immediately jumps to a deeper level by discussing the “browness at the edges of the day” and how “[b]rown is creeping up on [them]” as if he is completely aware that they are nearing the finality of their existence in the play (their proverbial winter). Meanwhile in the same scene, Hamlet converses with the soldier from Norway as the three schoolmates make their way to see the King of England with an official letter from the Danish King (which originally calls for the death of Hamlet; however, along their journey, Hamlet rewrites the letter to the King of England, which then calls for the immediate death of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern).
Throughout the play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern vainly attempt to cope with the predetermined fate (via Shakespeare’s Hamlet) of their impending death. To universalize this notion, we can consider ourselves as characters in the play of life, and like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, we are all aware of the inevitability of our own demise. Yet, we soldier on through life and act as if it (death, our necessary end) weren’t completely true or applicable to us. We attempt to find meaning in this beautiful and tragic play of life.