The past breaks the future 

My heart is a stone
I lie in the arms of my lover unmoved
My heart is a cherry blossom
As it craves a sensual touch
My heart is a river wide
Drowning with tears, rising upon the banks
And flooding homes

My heart is a stone
As I lie untouched in my lover’s arms
It hardens with craving
And yearns to be spoiled

My heart is a leaky faucet
The bolts are loose and weak
It drips and drops rust coloured water
From pipes older than the house
They reside in

My heart has lived a thousand lives
It doesn’t know How to trust another
After all the war it’s witnessed
And pain it’s caused

Irreparable damage held together
With a duct tape heart
Frayed seams
Caulked valves
Antifreeze in my veins
So I am not ice

But I am rock
Hard as diamond
And yet pretty not
Reflecting light not
All for naught

My heart is a stone
I threw through the window
Of a young man’s house

And I am waiting for him to return it.

The Uncanny Heart

I know this to be a broken heart
I know this from experience
I recognize this malady
this discomfort this ache

Broken ribs pierce a lung,
air slowly seeps into the cavity,
now empty, where my heart resided
before it burst, shattering ribs
puncturing the lung
not enough to kill me,
just enough to make me tired,
something about not enough oxygen to the brain
as it slowly fills the empty space,
leeching useless into the body
it no longer feeds

The twinge of vacancy
causing glazed eyes, mislaid thoughts,
forgotten desires…motives not worth the effort
of their eventual loss.

But this uncanny feeling is not what confuses me –
there is comfort in its familiarity
and shelter in the dark,
no hazards to lose what is not there –
what elation, what faith, what ambition?
All absent with the forfeiture of my core –

What obscures conclusion
is that no injury has occurred,
no sudden travesty or infirmity,
so what has generated such a heartache,
a brain sickness?

What is missing, save happiness itself –
which can still be found in
the blue sky
a good song
time with friends
a joke, a laugh
books and escapism –
an unsettling lack of loss dictates
at least an indifferent condition be established
– but not the torment of
heartbreak

Bits of mystery spill from the
Pandora box that now endures
in the airy space under my sternum.

Press on.
Let lack of heart not be distraction,
No more to wear upon my sleeve,
only a secret my face cannot keep.

 

The Recovery

If I could wrap a thousand times a bandage round my face,

It still would not hide the giant lump that’s firmly taken place

Above my jaw, inside my cheek, the proof of battle bruise

The war occurred within this mouth, and all for tooth to lose

A poke, a prod, a dig, a saw, a chunk of cheek now swaddled with gauze,

Some missing gum, not ever chewed, and while I screamed he took his pause,

Put down the axe, the blade, the tools and took up his sewing kit to close

An open wound inside my mouth, though I struggled, they were not foes

No more removing wisdom than my brain, but a simple tooth which tried in vain

To stay so put inside this bloody drain, whilst the digging leads to me insane.

And finally done, I could rest assured I was complete now with my loss

Free to go, with a long set of instructions, at last with excuse to stop with floss.

Still, two remain to haunt my dreams – heaven forbid I go through this again.

Untitled

I

She let her dress slip so it hung off of her shoulder,

turned around, but then glanced back at me.

Her laugh danced like bells on the air.

I knew because I heard it earlier at the restaurant,

but I could not hear it now.

There was an ear-splitting, glass-shattering shaking and drilling which instilled tremors

in the ground we were standing on,

and tremors in my heart.

All I saw and felt and heard, however, was her, and her laugh, and

I mistook those tremors for a feeling called loved

which is a mistake I believe

so many people make and have made throughout time and history.

And I believe that this mistake can be held accountable

for many tragic events – take it from the Greeks.

I’m sure it wasn’t only them, it just took their obvious error to embarrass

politicians and presidents to better hide their own.

Walking behind her,

I slid both my hands down the back of her neck,

sweeping them over her shoulders and, carrying the dress with them,

down her arms.

Her skin was not too pale.  There were few freckles, but not enough to say she was freckled.

She was simply imperfect, and average, and in that moment,

she was mine.

My own shirt came tumbling off and in that second,

she pushed me.

I fell,

What some may say as falling hard –

and fell deep, into the water.

And this I also mistook for love.

Because in the presence of desire, everything seems like love:

the air you breathe,

and what you fall into,

and the tremors you feel in your breast.

And the nervousness and fear of looking like a fool

you mistake for butterflies,

and the fear of being rejected

you feel as fear of losing your beloved.

And none of it is real and none can be trusted

because if it all disappeared in that moment, you would live on,

your heart whole, even if cracked by disappointment of expectation.

She dived into the water beside me.   Her hand

gently tugging my pants off in the water

before she came up for air.

I had no fear of drowning as she swam into my arms and our combined weight and my

lack of swimming ability and strength caused us to sink further down.

It felt like I was falling further in love.

Some one, or two, people walking by shouted at us judgingly (and jealously it seemed to me), “Get a room!” and a little boy asked his mother, “Why are those people not trying to get out of the water?”

But we couldn’t hear them over the tremor in the sky,

like it was tearing apart and the world was ending, and

staring into each other’s eyes and lusting after each other’s bodies,

there was only us in the moment.

And her hand running over my body mixed with the watery sensation

and my legs kicking, struggling to stay afloat, caused me to cry out her name,

which I was really whispering,

but I swallowed some water and began to choke,

and I thought my coughing was actually cries of passion

because when you are in love, everything feels like something good. And as I

sank a little deeper, I fell for her a little harder, and my heart grew in size

to accommodate the amount of love I felt in my bosom.

Twenty minutes later, it was only she who emerged from the water.

Her dress was draped elegantly over the railing where she left it.

It fell over her shoulders like silk and didn’t hang or cling to one inch of her completely and suddenly dry body.

And she flung her lengthy locks over one shoulder, and they fell long and perfectly down her back.

And if her shoulder blades could feel love, they would have fallen for and with the hair

— as I had.

And where was I? I had sunk so deeply into the wondrous passion,

and felt so much amour for my dear

that I knew the water in my lungs, filling up the space made for oxygen,

was only her taking my breath away with her beauty and radiance.

And I knew the light disappearing from my eyes

was only so that I could experience her body and all passion

with my other senses so fully.

And I knew the rocky sand beneath my feet was our bed

and that panicky feeling – like drowning – I knew it was butterflies,

it was love.

I gave it all up for love,

and it was worth it.

If anyone tells you their feelings were a mistake, they were not in love.

They did not feel it all.

And how can I not believe that she did not feel the same? I know she did.

II

She walked home alone that night,

with a curious smile on her lips, one that said

she had another successful seduction,

one that asked,

Who’s next?

III

And the earth shook, and the stars fell out of the sky,

and she seduced the moon from its place in orbit.

The tide turned, my body washed on the shore, and I died

of heart break as I watched her traitorous arms wrap around the man in the moon.

The city streets flooded and the ocean’s emptied,

and somehow everyone stayed asleep.

And I was dead,

my heart in pieces.

A Poem of Melancholy

What has it been since I realized I loved you?  A year? Two? Does it matter?
My heart beats to a rhythm which matches only yours.

And every time I feel like I could love another, your face appears on theirs.  And I am yours.

Only, you are not mine.
You are so far from my grasp, the realization of our love is impossible.
It is simply my love.
My love reflecting off of an endless sea of dashed hopes, and dreams, and seagull shit.

And the lake?  The lake that day, in the sun, our feet in the cold water.
Our faces in the cold water.  My bathing suit falling off, and your hands around my neck.
But I was safe.
The elements against us, and we were safe.

But it was not enough.  Or I was too much.  But either way, the quantities could never add up.  Nothing was 100%

It was wrong.  Did it not feel wrong to you?  I wanted it, though it felt wrong to me too.

And with every Nickelback and Spill Canvas and Taking Back Sunday song, indeed with every song, I hear our life, our love, our words, our arguments play back to me.  I hear us conquering and failing battles.  I hear fights, and frowns, and good memories all jumbled together. Like the tornado that stole away Dorothy.

Only it stole away passion, love, acceptance.  It stole away happiness: mine.  And though it felt as right as wrong – to me – you could not be swayed.

Which is fine.  Because then…you would not be the one I fell in love with.

But it hurts.  Even now.  Can we speak?  Can I hear your voice?  Can you torment me still? I would live for that, die for that.  I miss your face, your laugh, your smile – even your judgment.
I miss being perverse and having secret desires.

Now there is only a desire overburdened with a profound and infinite sorrow.

Psychologists think they invented things like depression and split personality disorder.
But before that there was melancholy and broken hearts, and love.  And things that  created a craziness no pill could fix.  And writers, and artists, and composers discovered these first.
And pulled out the infinite sorrow and turned it into words, and pictures, and sound.

And this art had the ability to break hearts and transcend time.  As can love.

No science can build or break down that.  We were here first. Creating, thinking, journaling, painting.  We were breaking hearts, spilling words, bending minds, melting time, and most importantly having our own hearts broken, our own hopes dashed against the jagged rocks of rejections, death, despair.

I miss you.  Come back to me.  Don’t let me die alone.  I want to stop trusting, believing hoping.  But then how would I be able to experience this pain that I crave.  I crave in place of you?

A Fall Day

It was unseasonably warm for a November day
And I took full advantage, wearing open-toed shoes
And a light jacket that flared out in the wind
Which was also warm, not cool as it was usually wont to be
So late in the season.

My head moved up and down to the music streaming
Through the mini speakers in my ears
And my toes were tapping as I walked because the music
Was not only playing through my radio but also
Hung in the air with the wind and the sky
And everything else that is so beautiful right now
Like the warm sunshine on one’s skin
And the squirrels rustling through the leaves
Looking for the last of the late summer food.

Days like today make you forget that winter is coming
And they make you forget that things have to die,
And they make you remember when you were responsible for raking
Leaves into giant piles in your youth but you
Never finished that task without destroying the pile
And spreading the leaves over the lawn once more.

I remember that day, and they were caught in your hair
And I was too young to know that “No” existed and too
Young to want “No” to exist when
You caught me off guard, holding my lips against yours
And my face was red, cheeks rosy, not only from the cold.

We had to hurry away from the leaves for fear of being caught
And went into the house under the pretense of getting hot chocolate
Because it wasn’t as warm as it was today, though it was just as sunny.
But we skipped the cocoa and headed for the basement, our parents under the impression
That we were going to watch a movie.
But no movie could have taught us the experience which we were learning
Through touch and feel and taste and hearing
And our senses came alive for the first time.

While we never knew what we were doing,
Or the wrongs or the rights or the warnings,
We felt the foreboding wrapped around our entangled limbs
And somehow didn’t care.  Like stealing dessert before dinner,
We had arrived at something guiltily wonderful without ever knowing why.

Today I held a coffee in my hands as I sat outside,
The sun beaming down and warming me through all the black
Clothes I was wearing, soaking it up like water in a sponge.
I thought of the time you broke your leg and we thought that was
The worst thing that could happen to a person
Never imagining that we could wear black to funerals
And have someone never speak to us again,
Because they were so underground they couldn’t
Breathe the air.

You sat with your leg propped over the edge of the tub
And your mom would take a sponge and wash you
And I was there, because we were young
And didn’t know that nakedness could be awkward or shameful
Or that baths were private, and, anyway, you were wearing
Your bathing suit – the same one you were wearing the day you pushed me
Into the pool.  I dragged you in after me, and we spit the
Breath from our lungs, and sank to the bottom,
Like two corpses who didn’t need air, our eyes stinging from the chlorine,
But we refused to close them because we wanted only to look at one another.

That was when we were little, but somehow it was not unlike the nights
We spent at our families’ cottages, older.  We snuck out onto the dock at night
And after watching the stars for long enough – although who can say what is long enough
in looking at infinity – we would strip off each other’s clothes, giggling because it was as
wrong as pushing someone into the pool, giggling because although it was summer
the nights were too cold to be naked, and giggling because
we wanted
what we saw.

As the sun goes down today, the weather cools off not a little
And I reached to the back of my closet
Pulling out my thick coat for the first time this year,
Slowly pushing my arms through the sleeves and letting it
Fall
Over
My
Shoulders and pulling out my hair which always gets
Caught
In the zipper if I don’t move it out of the way

I am held in the coat’s embrace so that when I leave the house
the now bone-chilling wind, which rips at my knees  breaking through my pants
And sending goose-bumps up my legs, cannot break the barrier
Around my torso all the way up to my throat.
Still, the cold breath on the back of my neck raises my hairs,
So different from the warm exhale I felt in your embrace.
My hairs raised that night, after my father got sick,
you squeezed me
your breath so smooth, compared to my ragged gasping,
and your kisses fell lightly on my cheek, my neck,
My shoulder, my breast,
And your arms were my coat, my warmth,
Strength and protection against worse things than wind,
And it was a time when I thought things could get no better
And that I would perhaps never be happy
And the possibility of death appeared on my doorstep
But you held me, and no death or frost or chill could creep down my spine,
Still my hair stood on end as we explored
Well known territory and conceived
Something more beautiful and powerful than death that night.

The air is cold, tonight, on my fingers since I forgot my mitts.
I thrust my hands deep in my pockets, searching for the warmth they
Crave like I crave you.
Why did you leave the house on that cold night, and get in your car and
Drive; you drove away from everything you knew,
And I, who thought I knew everything having had a husband, and a baby
And having travelled, and having experienced the miracle of
Health, and having known more than so many – I thought I knew.
I thought I knew you’d come back, and I thought I knew the phone would stay silent
All night, and I thought I knew that life stayed perfect once you reached this height.

The things you must have learned as the car swerved,
The things you wish you’d learned, the things that you thought you’d known
But never did, and the adventure you’d thought you’d save for retirement
All came down at once, in moments, in seconds – in slow motion, perhaps –
I can never know, and I never wanted to imagine, but sometimes I can’t help it
Because all I have left in your place are my memories.
All I ever wanted were yours.
Imagine what happened, my mind whispers at night, and sometimes I cry
Aloud in reply
Shut up, shut up
and it’s around that time, worse than my father being sick – who is well now –
that I thought I would never be happy again.

But those words are too simple, life’s not simple like that;
people can’t write it, nor can I, but I can paint a world
So unlike the one I’m in today, where the sun
Didn’t feel warm on my skin.
The morning light and darkness looked the same,
The day was not inviting, and the night felt like daggers
And stabbing pains would grasp my ribs while I did the dishes.
Sometimes my hands wouldn’t work on the job, and I couldn’t hold the pen firmly.
My boss told me it was okay, but nothing was okay or fine or even anything.
My eyes constantly watering, or they’d be dry until I ran out of laundry soap.
The worst happened when my baby brought me a coloured picture and
I ran outside away from her
Knelt in the mud
Pounded my fists into April puddles, let the rain wash away my tears.

I shudder, today, in remembrance.  Not wanting to be that wreck of a person,
Embarrassed that I was,
Knowing you would have hated me like that
And then you would’ve felt bad that
You were the cause of any pain.  I think of the apologies
Spilt from your lips after you killed the spider and I got upset at you.
It was wrong of me to care, and you were the one
Who felt bad. I didn’t want to disappoint you then,
I don’t want to disappoint you now,
and so
I live.

The night air is fresh on my skin,
But nothing like your breath.
My empty bed, holds me at night,
But nothing like your arms.
My friends will take my time and make me laugh,
But nothing like when you stared into my eyes.
It’s in the happiness today that I remember you most,
And though a part of me, distressed, buries her sorrowful head,
She is so far buried already that I can only enjoy
That every happy moment is so familiar,
Because I’ve felt them all already,
I’ve felt them all with you.