Minotaur and Other #Dramatic Poems.

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I lay with your weight upon me and
All I could see was a hand that was not my own
Stroking your shoulders, dazedly, hazily
An echo of my own movements
And I could have screamed.

There’s a heaviness on me that now
(in your absence) feels fuller than you did
I’d push my fingers through the flesh above my breasts
And tear them from my body
But I cut my nails in preparation
For this just in case.

Hands in my mouth
Pushing from the inside out
A retching that never ends and chokes me
And stifles
And ruins
And mangles
And I heave

In my mind my body can be discarded
A heavy overcoat made sticky with wet and slow rot
I’d grasp my heart and wrench it
And fling it from my chest in one great gasp
And be free again of you.

A snarl rises now and I bare my teeth
Expressions of an animal shape
You savaged inside me
Where ‘girl’ and ‘good’ and ‘whole’
And other such words once
Shaped this creature I called me.

Cavities and wretchedness and rage
And hanging flesh describe now
The minotaur you made of me.


It always amused me
When they- you- never considered me dark enough.
I always wondered what enough could be-
Did it have to be blackness and exhaustion,
An obsession with the sucking absence of light?

I am a thing of flowers,
I love a queen of flowers,
And both of us in our petalled glory have the taste of
Death
On our lips.
In my body an aching inch of time,
A slow decay,
A steady treading from spring to summer,
Summer to autumn,
Autumn to inevitable winter.

I always felt your darkness to be stagnant.
What is the dark without the bright,
The life, the living,
The brilliant dazzle of energy you work so hard
To forget?

Beautiful Persephone,
Immortal and mortal in her own way,
Taught me darkness like language.
Every breath a word, progression,
Marking a step toward the finish line.

We are all the living dead.
Flowers plucked and wilting.
She in her mistold tales
Rose from her kidnapping to become queen of the underworld.
Bruised pomegranate in veritas:
Vanitas, memento mori;
She is both alive and not alive;
She is thriving life and enduring death.

And so am I.
And so am I.


 

It’s like memories
Slipping my hands across your chest
Up your throat
Pressing and feeling you let me

Arms pressed down against the sheets, scrunching maybe, but still
Resistance-less, I press, and watch
And release to see the parting of your lips
As you take a breath.

Memories that never happened,
They’re rich like the chocolates I never ate
Or maybe I did
I think that I did,
They were wet and foul and turned my stomach
But they were something
And I swallowed.

The touch of your tongue to your teeth
Is particularly endearing.
I fantasise often
About the trust it would take to let me hurt you.

It has always been about trust.

Always memories that never happened-
Backward and forward in time.

There is discomfort in this confession.
It’s not pleasure. It’s not sex.
Understand that this format is never poetry,
Understand that these forms are timed
Linked to
Tied up within
My hesitations,
Each new line a caught breath,
An ache in my throat,
Waiting for fear to crest and ease
Or for my stomach to stop turning.

In my mimicry of you,
It’s your tears that pique my interest like
No one else’s.
In my mirrors and reflections I can see
This is not what you want.

But this is in you, too.

Observations

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You asked me to write you.

You asked me to write you and yet

And yet and yet

Here I am writing but it’s not what you’d like-

Not what you asked for, I suppose, not what you can use-

But that there are blue veins beneath your skin

Blue eyes to match

Blue lips- cyanotic- too long apnoeic

You play the role of the dead too well.

 

I wrote once of a girl who explored her insides

She was dead too, you know,

Preserved but cold; slippery and wet, still,

But yes, very dead.

For her traumatic, for me erotic,

Rather like you, like you,

You drive me to lick my lips

But I don’t know why.

 

I see, I see,

When I close my eyes I see

The imprint of your skeleton against that void

Not empty, but vast, vast, so vast

That any glimmer of anything else gets lost

Minutiae before- within- the face of god.

Camouflaged your heart

I can’t see it, but I’ve a fist that fits

Within your chest to feel it.

 

I’d suck the sun from your lips I’ve written

As good as saying it

Almost as good as feeling it,

But you, an autopsy scar,

I don’t know if I want to tend you or rend you.

You want to break open as badly as I do.

It’s almost like you invite it.

 

It’s not sex, understand,

It’s far more guttural than that.

 


Sit back and wonder
And wonder, and wonder
If the heaviness in my hands as I bring them to the keys is simply
A lack of practice or an absence of feeling.

I’m tapping an invisible pen against the back of my teeth,
The distant knocking of words that yearn to be written
But they’re invisible to me
I feel them
I feel them

Stilted and jilted a love song I can’t quite provoke
Words of regurgitation,
Of abstinence, of the guttural and distant
Nothing here comes smooth
No trance to suck it from my gut
No passion, no inspiration.

Every word a tired, dull thud upon the page.

If you have to push for it,
It’s not worth it, right?

Give me my words.

I will wrench them from the universe if I have to.
I will write trash. I will write paragraphs, solitary paragraphs, with no end and no beginning.
How dare I be given the need but not the substance.

Here with no stories.
Fierce passions lost to the ether,
Nothing new to explore,
A burning I smother by spreading my legs and opening my mouth,
Loud and proud and still

Silent in the only way it matters.


Angel.
I would call you angel, if he hadn’t
Hadn’t been the first, I mean.

Initially an antithesis, you,
Chin dropped, brows heavy, an unconscious manoeuvring
Of limb

You seem nothing of an angel.

But if they were wings you hefted upon your back,
Instead of the weight of your world,
You could be Michael or Lucifer
Or Uriel lamenting, your sword in flames.

You think fire does not become you.

Cloying smoke and burning ash
Seem dark enough to me.

 

Red Dust Lover

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I wrote this in response to this beautiful post by @inkskinned.
It started off as a comparison between ‘seasons’ for the rest of the world and the Australian seasons. It ended up becoming a sort of therapeutic self-love thing. My healthy self writing about my sick self. Shh.


When they say their lovers are like the seasons, it takes me a moment to remember that their seasons are not like mine. I’ve never thought of her as being like the seasons- but then, I have, I have, I’ve thought it to myself on quiet nights when I watch her sleep, her expressive face stilled, body sanguine, naked, uncovered. Sweat-slick at 3 am we do not touch, the overhead fan creaking with exertion. Our seasons are not divided into quarters. There is no clear winter in her, no autumn, no falling golden leaves.

My love, she’s red dust and blooming acacia. She’s a wide sandy grin on the coast at sunset, in September, when it’s warm enough to swim but not hot enough to coax the cicadas into song. Her laughter is the creaking of the gum trees, and her kisses, her whispers, are the susurrus rippling through their leaves. She is soft and precious, like the orchids we find on our evening walks.

By November there’s a cloying stickiness to her love. She grasps for my hands despite the humidity and overhead the clouds rumble. It’s hard enough to breathe and like the flies she clings to me and I slick her from my skin- I love her, yes, I love her, please, enough, enough already, enough!
The sky flashes and over the crashing waves I hear her thunder, a crack in the depths of her that shakes the windows of my soul. Unbeknownst to me, lightning far away strikes bright the first bushfire of the season.

As quickly as they came, the storms pass, seemingly overnight. Left in their wake is a dryness that yellows grass and leaves me rasping in her presence. Her eyes are hard. Her voice is something crueller than cold. At least cold is wet, at least ice will soothe the parched lips of the lonely and the lost. I seek her but I am blinded by the brilliant light of her; I reach for her and find only vapour. She is a mirage, far from me, beautiful and devastating. The crispness of her conversation pricks me. Her barbs hook and catch and carry with me through the days.
We fall to silence. It’s too hot, too dry, for me to speak.

She burns.
We are taught in summer to clear a boundary around all we hold dear. We strip the land of life, we soak it with water, we plan our escape. We burn in advance. We pray that this year we will be passed over for the inevitable destruction. I follow the guidelines as closely as I can, careful to maintain control as I lay my boundaries before her. The silence is stifling. Across my lonely distance I watch her tremble in the sunlight.
When finally she does erupt, the flames are devastating. She is summer in full swing: the fire in her obliterates all it touches, and spreads, and devours. She rages without cease. Charred scars remain wherever she sweeps, smoke billowing on the horizon, and when her gaze settles on me I am already choking long before I feel the searing pain.

When January comes, and it does quite suddenly, I find her smouldering in the remains of all we built together. Her face is streaked with ashes. She is dripping, almost extinguished, no longer considered a threat now that there is nothing left for her to burn. She looks about herself like a child. She doesn’t know why she razed so much. She doesn’t even know what sparked the onslaught. All she knows is that it began, and raged, and ended.

More fires spark, here and there, as the months cool, but none of them with anything of the devastation of her summer fury. We sift through the remains of last year’s world, listing the names of those lost, salvaging memories. We lift water to eachother’s lips as the cleansing rains sweep in again. The Doctor, that ocean breeze named for the relief it brings, cools our skin. I hold her as she trembles through the shock of cold nights. I braid white wildflowers in her hair with each new day.
Those who survived the bushfires return. They survey the damage just as we did and a few of them leave, finding little worth saving. Those who do remain, however, band together. They help us rebuild.
In March, when the heat finally breaks, she sobs an apology.
They chuckle gently and murmur, “This is part of loving you.”

You don’t live in Australia and expect safety. You take the suffocating heat and deadly summers with the balmy days and sweet blue beaches. I love her even though she is like the seasons because when April and May roll around, bursts of hardy green break the scorched earth. Seeds released in the flames- seeds that are only released in the flames- sprout and bring new life to the ragged landscape. Our autumn and winter are not seasons of death and stillness. They are rich with new life. They are the salve to the aching wounds of our summers. They are resilient beauty, thriving in the chaos.

And there is nothing more beautiful than my red dust lover after the burn.

My love is not aesthetically pleasing.

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I offer only gristle
Because in bleeding there was nothing.
There were no flowers in our lungs,
No sweet green tendrils twining our lips and tracheal cartilages;
My anatomy is not so illustrated
Ill-defined and wet,
A mess of acrylic red and kidney maroon.

And my tendons twanging, twinging,
Stretched taught against yellowing bone-
I am not clean and sun-bleached.

I wrote a poem once of lovers in the kitchen,
Dusted with flour, a delicacy.
In this body a slab of meat, calf muscle and tender heart,
But fat and connective tissue also;
The less palatable with the rich and bloody.

If there is art in my physiology I struggle to find it.
There is no melody in my movement,
No marble to my flesh,
No recycled literature to be splashed with paint
In depictions of my ribcage as a vase.
Rough-hewn I am rickety
And stagger in the dance.

Even with flour and a sprig of rosemary
There is little craft in the making of me.

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11 pm and mulling warm tea, contemplating my perversions – garden variety, darker and richer perhaps than some would be comfortable with but nothing overly problematic- and a hollow-eyed Dionysus comes to me, rising like a marble statue from a black fog. Around his head are living ivy wreathes, straining, dancing as though for the sun. His lips are curled in a grimace stolen from the countenance of Adam, his brow heavy bit still beautiful, his cheeks stone white but growing ruddier the longer I gaze upon him. It’s as though he’s the metaphorical to my thoroughly literal. I am sore from my dancing, and aggressively ignoring as usual my fears of abandonment- he did not come, not when I painted myself red with crushed berries, not when I swallowed the wine, not in the hours I flung myself rhythmically to madness–

But that was the problem, wasn’t it, it wasn’t madness. I could never leave the confines of my thoughts. Locked in my head I may as well have been dancing alone.

But here I feel him, swaying, aching as I ache but differently. The hangover in more ways than one, the greenish tinge to Caravaggio’s Bacchus, a hint of the slouch in Rodin’s bronze, the hands to big, the face too pained. Marble and flesh, this half-born, thrice-born god-man-child. His festivities, his beauty, his rage, but so rarely we see the shuddering breath that comes after. The fall beyond the crescendo. He’s there too. There’s madness in grief as much as there is in ecstasy. I wonder now if we confuse the Dionysian with the Apollonian in our manic golden age. No more the maenads alone: He rides the world. In every city his festival roars to life with the sleep of the sun, on every crackling screen his ithyphallic countenance groans and moans and rolls, rushing, languid, spent.

Alive – The Glut

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I like living, I really do. I’m hopeful. I hope the world learns from history and things are actually getting better and we just can’t see it yet.
I’m hopeful for a future where things are different and good and that humanity is evolving toward a better, kinder existence. I don’t actually believe so, but I hope so, and that’s close enough.

Today is a nice day, it’s sunny and clear and I’m talking to a beautiful woman across the other side of the world who tells me she loves me and has such a big heart and is excited about going to dinner with another beautiful woman

And there are colourful yarns and I’m listening to music, music that is so bountiful I could listen to a new song every three minutes and never ever have to repeat one

And I am healthy, and relatively young, and I have touched and been touched by some of the most brilliant minds ever to be totally unappreciated by the world, and there is art, centuries of art, cataloguing all that the human race has ever done

There is architecture and philosophy and poetry and cooking tv shows and Gordon fucking Ramsay and christmas carols which I hate except for when I don’t and people crying at airports and orgasms and news anchors who burst into tears on live television because they saw a picture of a dusty young boy pulled from the wreckage of his home and

metal rulers and movies about slavery that make me cry at 2 in the morning and memes and stupid articles about Apple headphone jacks and beach breezes and a Cute Pancake Girl who may stay or go but right now she kisses me

And family, blood and found and chosen, and pretzel sticks, and drinking water from rivers and bacteria and very pretty rocks and very plain rocks and wine bottles being recycled into glass walls for glass houses and cruel politicians and the goddamn KKK and whirling planets and songs about Voids and boys with body issues and girls who write porn

And dalmatians and pallas cats and wine and anthrax and
This world is a glut, my loves.

None of it matters, and all of it matters. Everything hurts and there is joy all around. We’re all going to die someday. The whole human race will die someday and all of this? Everything? This is all history that we’ll leave behind, and whether we’re alone in the universe or if there’s some kind of life out there, these abstract passing functions of our existence will outlast us.
Is there a word for being simultaneously hopeless and hopeful?

This is what we are. Neither good, nor bad, just… Alive.
For a brief moment. Alive.

Harmonising

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And again, and again, the nowhere place, the liminal space,
Again with these halfway words
Within, without, holding, beholding, witnessing I suppose
But what
What beyond fixation and fascination and the push
This the pressure inside me that builds like orgasm
But when I grasp it, it fades, it eases, it
Falls folds up into itself.
Like towels being pulled from my mouth it heaves up from my stomach
Behind my ribs
Suffocating and thick, scraping
Each retch like forceps, metal at my teeth, fabric in my throat.

Urging me to sleep
I’d rather make use of this
This, I waste on vomiting words to friends
Describing prophesy, watching like birds
The non-fluid dribbling from my lips I offer, cupped in tremble-steady hands,
Palms upraised, wrists dripping, water or blood or something else altogether.
Like dreaming this, absence, I think, focus
And nausea and hunger and
This desire to tear out- at- my womb
Self-evisceration.

Clarity of vision like lucidity but
Alice down the rabbit hole
He never described the way it feels like suffocation
Lungs pulling hard on mirrored glass before it bursts

Peaches and cream fingertips
Cold and welted
Pull through or push against.

Spine screech
Like trains on rails or a fumbled bow on too-tight strings
Do I arch my back and offer my throat or
Do I curl over and inverse-gasp groan
Bite down hard, grind teeth, rend flesh or
Crack open my ribs and expose cat gut-cardiac muscle to the air?

 

 

Observation

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It’s  a little cold to be wearing this dress, but I don’t mind the chill. One leg is uncomfortably warm anyway, perched precariously close to the heater. I’m watching waves of goosebumps roll across the skin of my forearms. They tingle. I guess my body can’t figure out whether to cool down or warm up.

I’ve got half dreams and semi-stories lingering on the walls of my mind and I’m not sure what to do with them. I spend so much time sitting at this desk these days, and so little of that time is spent writing. It’s almost like the part of me that wanted to be an author buried itself somewhere in a dusty nook at the back of my mind, never to be seen again. I tell myself that it’s simply because I haven’t found my story yet. Something about being unable to tell a story I haven’t lived, but I know that’s nonsense. True for some, I suppose, but the stories used to pour from me. I hadn’t lived as much then. Why the silence now? Perhaps I’ve done too much living.

Perhaps my well has gone dry. Hopefully not quite as dry as Hemingway’s.

Most of the scenes playing themselves out behind my eyes aren’t new. They’re old tales, brief flickers of love and lust, fascination with other human beings. Sometimes they’re not even human, just beings, sentient creatures, human-like, human enough. Perhaps that’s where things went wrong. I lost that fascination. Now I’m just like everyone else: waiting for someone to come along, to sweep away the bitterness, to restore my faith in what humanity could be. To remind me what love could be.

I don’t think it will happen. I don’t think it ever does, to anyone.

Human enough.

Am I human enough?

Am I too human, perhaps?

Where has my imagination gone?

There’s silence in the other room. Intermittent. Interrupted by brief guitar. He’s good, I’ll give him that. He’s talented. Talented in a true sense of the word, an inborn trait, an innate ability to achieve in almost anything he puts his mind to. It’s an irony that he hates himself quite so much, not because he can’t see his brilliance, but because that’s what everyone else sees too. That’s all anyone sees.

I have that familiar creeping craving for physical contact, comfort of some kind, but I’m not sure if the asking is worth his indignation should he be disinclined. The answer will almost definitely be no and I feel that if he says no too often, I’ll somehow matter less and irritate him more.

Best not to, then, I think, and save the asking for another night when it’s not so much a want as a need.

I wonder if there was ever a time when curling up with me wasn’t tinged with obligation. I’m sure there must have been, I’ve had other lovers, lovers who actually loved me, but such is the nature of my brain that I can’t remember what has been and only what is. What is, right now, is a lot of time spent alone, and a little time spent with someone who would rather be alone.

Perhaps that’s why my desire to write has been so absent. I tend to write love and longing. Cravings for adventure, for the land, for the touch of someone new and sweet to the taste. I don’t feel that much myself anymore. I wonder if writing is a kind of pharmakon, a cure and a poison, depending on the dose. Am I unable to feel these things because I do not write them, or am I unable to write them because I do not feel them? Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Outside the night is full and warm and buzzing with noise. It’s only a Tuesday night but the world is still so very much alive, and I still feel the pull to go wandering. It’s not safe alone, I know, but the current is still there, tugging at my heartstrings like fishing line. There’s so much inspiration to be found under the night sky. Is it fear or laziness that keeps me from it, I wonder? When did either gain enough power over me to determine my actions, to deter me from my adventures?

Spring crickets have begun their song, and I can still smell the fresh cut grass from earlier this morning. I don’t know what phase the moon is in, or if I can see the stars. They might be covered by clouds. I could get up right now and go look, just to know, but I don’t. My left leg itches with the heat of the heater. My right arm tingles with the cold. There’s silence in the other room. This is how it will be, until I go to bed.

I could change it. Will I, though?
I suppose that, there, is the question.

Re: Grief and That Painting

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(Painting by Matthew Jackson)

There’s this thing in my head that I can’t quite put into words, and I’m not entirely sure I want to.
I originally wrote this in my journal. It’s that kind of personal.

But I feel now that I have to say something, to explain why I can’t accept… I don’t know. I have to speak.

It’s buried too far in, somewhere cool and dark and private. I want to talk about it sometimes but I can’t. It’s too personal, too raw. Just writing about it feels like I’m glorifying or dramatising it and maybe that’s why I keep quiet about it. I don’t want to soil this truly, painfully raw thing with the dressing of the world. I don’t want it to be seen or heard or witnessed by anyone but those who understand and appreciate it.

There’s this painting dad created, of he and I at the candlelight vigil after Rachelle’s death. He shared it on facebook and I feel exposed- not so much in a malicious, malignant way, but like my tragic superhero backstory is just there for anyone to see.

Except they don’t.

Captured in that painting is the precious aching real thing in me and none of them can see it, can understand. I can’t call it beautiful. I see myself in it in clearer detail than I see myself in the mirror.

A sees it, A understands, but she’s like me. It’s this common thread between us, our traumatised childhoods and our terminally ill parents. L has it too. This thing, this quiet, bleeding thing, but because it’s ours we never speak of it. It’s not done. It’s barely even acknowledged.

It’s like it’s secret, but it’s not. Rather, it’s secreted away. Protected. It’s the core of our beings, an integral component to our makeup, and we carry it in our breasts the way Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne carry theirs: In plain sight, where nobody can see it.

And even with this post, it’s still perfectly, silently mine.