CATHARSIS

I hit the reset button—because my thoughts were taking too much time.

And the yellow primrose and fuchsia sweet pea were stunning—

how the primrose collapsed its yellow pages when the sun closed its eyes

and the fuchsia-flutter stumbled up the bedroom windows—its curled, sucker leaves.

Tiny miracles against background violence.

I had said too much on a broken motherboard; threw away my memories when the keyboards were switched.

Keys were broken and misplaced, cyber-links to the secrets of the universe.

Letters that needed nimble hands—so much elegant music still missing.

Initials carved into birch trees boast indelible love, but we all know better.

And the flash drive—it could no longer hold me.

I lost that, too, in the fallout of cheerful dominos.

I had been winning, but the wind sliced my vanity into shreds.

Perhaps you know how all this feels—and rubberneck, too, at the train crash and tsk tsk, it was going way too fast and the woman with all of her children piled into the careless SUV should not have been in a hurry to get her hair done.

Things come as surprises—offering up infinitesimal glitters of sun-crash and shattered star.

At night, crickets vie with cicadas and tree frogs for the utmost attention.

Before the catbird signals the rest that it is time.

I wrote in the Dictionary of Melancholia, Handbook for Fatigue, Diary of Mercurial Wanderings, Notebook of Promises to Oneself, Notebook of Modified Contingencies, Notebook of Intensities, Coda of Rain

and slept finally in the downy clouds of my ancestors beating through my faulty emotions and chromosomes.

I survived many kaleidoscopic dream fractals and other attempts at nomenclature, but with verbs.

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ORPHEUS BY THE SEA, OR THE UNDERBELLY OF LOVE

I awakened from my underwater maelstrom-tango with chaos’ sharpened teeth set at my piano-wired jaw.

The gods had done this to me.

Slimy seaweed spectrum-ing oleaginous to moss green knotted my wild hair; still-sharp seaglass slicing my restless hands, pained to sculpt tangible

sing the Sirens’ haunting atonal riffs and shatter human narratives

magnetizing me to the underbelly of love where I would no longer recognize myself—

just a swirl of murky ink in the sea, lost from all beloved.

Orpheus, I can’t hear your glass lyre in the tempestuous sea where bruised humans play shipwreck-bumper cars—to act out, do something, hurt someone, feel something.

On this shore of pulverized pearl sands, prostrate with my face up swallowing cloud-sky—I’m waiting for thee. Come.

The hours before sunrise stretch infinite planes not like existence.

Hours while I greet emptiness to resurrect itself, spin me sublime.

Play the notes of my ribs broken in the shipwreck, my Orpheus—my whalebone corset splintered into my torso where I bleed out—in time—in your music

that unfurls me into sea into sky into the lies I professed to maintain some semblance of sanity while those around me schemed to sell the country.

Drown my poetic lines that never end into a sea that never ends into a love that never ends with any certainty though with certain certainty we will surely die.

I don’t know.

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THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW /3

There was a hunger, a desperation, for words used in a different way—to decorate the holes in the ground when one steps across invisible abysses across the day—

that delicate traversing through conduits, bridges one could say, from one unsteady moment to the next—

unsure of what the self has become—so impatient, seeking purgation of the uppermost kind.

Sentences packed in an expanding suitcase lodged in the stomach—can help, mysteriously, to continue underneath the wild sky (that does not need us), collecting itself for storm.

Something else or someone else needed me. Someone will notice if I don’t emerge. It’s time to release the hurt bird in my pocket. The music goes on and on.

Not everyone experiences the same confusion that hits when stepping from one’s house (shell) back into the human world—even to the mailbox. How lucky, they are.

If you drink more water, the body will remember where it became itself, formulated wet wings to hover waves and more I cannot say.

Please forgive the directions, such as the way out of the treehouse where you hide—trying to enter childhood that left you on someone else’s back porch of dreams.

Stay there a while until the squirrel signals with its tiny hands clutching the smallest sunflower seed to crack the shell in its teeth—that it’s time to throw something together for dinner, tacos perhaps.

No one will need you (mourn your absence) in the same way.

I did touch you, but I froze the photograph, suspended ime. I brought your favorite things but couldn’t find you.

Wearing gardening gloves, I climbed a ladder (finally) to return the hurt bird to its nest of elaborate twig and scraps of blue and clear plastic. Maybe it misses me.

Sentences and pages may exonerate you—that Möbius strip on which you often cringe during the travel, hands up, look at me, I’m moving in a bright direction—one more year around the sun.

Some transgressions are unavoidable. There are habits behind closed doors that are questionable at best.

Rituals upon waking and falling back to dream can be inevitable—your favorite coffee cup, that symphony in your head.

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THE INFINITE CONVERSATION

The sinuous path to the river and its now-silent, thickly-layered ice remain too treacherous for the car to climb. 

I’m too tired and ill to build another fire, and the house has suddenly gone cold; too exhausted to tell you more until tomorrow late afternoon—before early-winter dusk settles in dusty pinks and cornflower blue, imbuing the sky the way your watercolors sink into thick parchment paper—

when you’ll find me wearing a purple face mask adorned with thick, silver glitter and fractured stars—breathless at your side porch door, speaking to the smallest, nervous birds you feed in winter, assuring them they’re in good hands. 

You’re somewhat pleased about my surprise visit, I can tell, but your stomach has plummeted into your spleen—afraid I’ve come in dire emergency or to bear disturbing news that will crumple your New Year. 

I’ll explain that I urgently require another human to sit across from (a safe six feet away) to dish, spill, explain. 

After you acclimate to my unannounced presence, you settle your weight against the house’s blue-gray wooden shingles that need to be scraped and repainted in the spring. 

I surprise myself as the words cascade from my salty mouth to your porch floor that slants a bit, which would be even more noticeable if someone were to set free a large marble, its black Evil Eye rolling slantwise while unconditionally protecting us from iniquitous spirits—

“What are we here for?” I ask you as if I’m probing you for commentary on the snow now falling.

You look at the sky to formulate what I’m confident will be a thoughtful, bullshit-free, and extraordinarily-articulate answer. I love you that way, but won’t tell you, afraid you’ll become too self-conscious to answer the question for which I have walked three miles in my snow boots to inject into the air between us.

“Please put the kettle on for hot Middle Eastern tea and the fresh mint” that you grow on your sunlit kitchen window above the farmhouse sink.

You gently remove a glass (with a delicate glass handle) you purchased winters ago in Istanbul in the Medina closest to the Blue Mosque. 

The kettle will whistle with a piercing sound that hurts my ears before you pour the boiling water carefully into the hand-crafted blown glass that will soon warm my cold hand. I failed to find the missing winter glove I lost in the brown, barren field the day before Thanksgiving. 

Then, even more nonchalantly, I ask you to be so kind as to shuffle your worn deck of cards, the ones with miniature angels on the back that your mother gave you when you were six when your now-deceased father was teaching you patiently how to play bridge, how to resolutely hold your cards tight to your chest (even the low numbers) with the poker face (especially when holding trump cards and aces) you would learn to perfect when much older.  

Finally, I’ll ask you in a breath barely above a whisper to regale me with stories of summer—about girls with seaweed hair swimming in high tide who are unafraid of the sea floor, the fish slicking the silver scales of their tails; stories about the garden in summer, the gold-fish nasturtium you pick for garden salads, their over-sized lily-pad leaves hanging horizontally as if by magic in a forgotten fairy tale, how the tree frog stuck itself to the inside garage wall and visited you, how the garden clutched all of August’s sun.

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THE ISLAND WITHIN

I left again in the rain that erased me.

That’s why you can no longer see me.

Why you gaze at the curvature of earth to catch sight of the gray ship you dreamed left me at this shore where, perhaps, I may be saved.

The shipwreck delivered me back to the tempestuous sea and its salt that desiccated my skin to flimsy parchment paper in the burnishing sun.

I’m grateful you no longer witness how I carry my disfigured heart pumping outside of me, a broken fist from a violent fight with the galaxy.

The ship pilot’s sextant and charts were destroyed by the fire of which I can scarcely speak.

Its brilliant dragon flames, hi-lighter and goldfish orange—jerked my tongue inside out from me.

The pilot mumbled about fractured stars while he looked past night; the sky no longer a sky, but blackness.

His fear palpable—though he hid his face with the hood of his raincoat while with a velvet blanket, he gently covered my dress of silky cashmere, a gift before I had gone poor.

I felt like royalty. I can’t explain properly.

I slept in softness in the calm before my birth, before anyone knew me, asked of me, except the gods we had regrettably shattered, splintering all icons (because they would not intervene when we beseeched them to mitigate our suffering).

I still cannot pinpoint what invisible force catapulted me to the sea-slicked floor of the ship, though I try to recollect, but exhaustion sifts me smaller than grains of beach sand.

When I woke after what seemed like a tangled string of blurred days, the sun was climbing the sea’s horizon.

Sharp turquoise sea glass was unexplainably housed in my mouth that was bleeding.

The taste of iron calmed me because I knew I was, in fact, alive.

I don’t know how you should attempt to bring me back, find me.

It is deathly quiet on the island (and I can’t help but think of my own death) where the ghost ship delivered me before I wept at the bow, dreaming of my lost father, lost from my mother, brother, and me—lost from his lungs, from everything.

Yes, it is very quiet here. The quiet of one gone deaf after one could hear. An emptiness without music or resounding church—not even the thumping of the semi-crushed bird before it surrenders its feathers.

The hours have become very small.

Night is a new dress I wear; its sleeves stitched through my skin.

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MEASURING WINTER /z

Absence defines. The negative space of composition can be.

Even your hand when it can’t catch, still touches. Song that is wanted is still song.

Things can be counted some of the time, such as ideas or times; time, uneven, hardly pinpointable in spite of the calendar consuming the entire kitchen wall.

Time, devouring moth wings gathering winter.

There will be more determinations of moving angles; protractors set against the shrinking sky.

Early winter light on display. Its intensity farther away; the game questioned as fair or foul play.

The panda cub rolls itself down new snow hills and does not appear to be lonely in this instance, at least.

It is possible to live inside complexities that no one, (if) aside from you (if  being doubtful by its very nature) will understand.

There will be more agenda items to cover, examine, sign off on. Ink is still preferable most of the time, but for how long—no one can say.

One wants elucidation not murkiness, but the will, itself, can be unkind.

When things grow back more robustly, I’ll send notification to effective parties, so we can add up the math, the meters of snow.

Calculate the collective courage of all involved, who traveled unchartered distances outside themselves to lie down, no longer self-betrayed.

Expect an important announcement, something perhaps unequivocal. Ha-ha.

The orchestrated dance, interpretive and fluid, expands the stage built for dreamers.

Conceptual art at its absolute best, how strange—what we are—or might explain.

How long until the hour undoes itself, the appointment evaporates into the waiting room—all the keys go missing from the rotting piano, the dog stops chasing its tail?

Sometimes one has to dig out savagely, bare-handed, from elaborate underground labyrinths—their own languishing.

And then it feels okay to sleep, finally—to sleep for countless days and wake up alive.

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ORPHEUS CUT OUT AND SINGING

The moth unhinged from the ceiling on Wednesday, the door appropriately named and shed.

Last winter the bicycle spokes catch a hand.

Everyone in a hurry to take the remote, give back an arm—until then.

The building fastidious until there is nothing left, not even a frame for a sentence-shed.

Behind the TV, I’m growing pieces of music, shaken in a bag; we could live on the same channels.

I have grown new considerations for purple, for melody, for the play—the theatre misplaced and fuzzy.

One adjusts and can be two or three thousand pieces at the bottom of the issue, the fairy tale lesson of the castle and boat.

Don’t be afraid to go alone—whom have you told?

Stand behind the dilapidated garage, sorry for your tragic becoming.

The windows can be cleaned from bloodshed, the filthy blackboard erased completely—thrown out, in fact.

The house detaches from the sea animal; there is always a new friend.

Park your car where the sky is holding—grammar untangled, intricate sentences diagrammed—before expunged.

The rebuilding, unruly—Ramshackles!

Afraid of the Orphic music, how it hides, sends us scrambling through the artery-streets in need of blankets.

Press here to become curious again—in love with nothing but the arrival of stage, the haunting music again.

In the meantime, we must go quickly; it is dangerous—and stunning.

The night swallows the sequin stars, moving the clouds cloudy.

You must drink the anodyne, sequestered in language.  

The sea urchin drowns the book of meanings in another book about a book.

We are waiting for time—to glue the paper guitar back on Orpheus’ torn arm.

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LIGHT INTO TUESDAY

To finally arrive—detached everything; a changed disposition skipping in a new coat made of shiny buttons.

Go to work, sleep through the news, fold the lines into an origami boat to float in the bathtub that needs to be scoured before the unwanted company arrives.

Smile and say, we are leaning in a bright direction.

The theory of the factory won’t open the enclosure.

The workers are naming all the broken parts of the massive new machine, its instruction manual in Chinese.

They release the boy who can’t drink the elixir—pressed under a car, performing terrible tricks—breaking windows for home.

How easy the game of hide-and-seek in the attic when no one is there except dirty pigeons that don’t mind the nails spiking straight up to send them running off the roof’s gray, tarred shingles.

Their thick necks of dusted, oily feathers—careening—jerking—on high speed because they no longer care to fly.

Their flattened, dilated golden eyes multiply, following in the smallest room facing the front of the house—where you wait for the too-thin girl with unwashed hair to cross the street, alight the crooked porch steps of the old woman who can’t remember the girl’s mellifluous name.

Pull out your spleen to show the middle child while the pictures of death detach recklessly— shattering the platelet of the sample.

Collision’s blueprints clear Tuesday’s field of glaring sun that doesn’t mean to hurt you—doesn’t mean to disturb you with sharp pebbles.

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YELLOW

The painter combated the gray day with an entire tube of yellow.

When finished, he sat in front of the canvas as if it were the sun.

Lemons plucked from summer trees morphed into liquid buttercups void of lies.

Somehow he had highlighted happiness from defunct childhoods across countries.

It was an altar that didn’t require sacrifice or playing chess against segments of time.

In the gallery, the catharsis would be amplified though Icarus’ wings perpetually melted.

They had all become fatigued from living online.

With enough boredom, solitude shifted into plateaus of loneliness.

Every day faces became smaller, and the wave from across the street at the mailbox invited a potential epiphany.

Every set was a series riddled with memory.

Even a null set formulated absences, a treatise on entropy that unfolded beyond grief’s harbor.

The quilt was a timeline without meter—and desire, something to hold on to, not an anchor but a sail.

Someone kept sending unfinished stories that followed like a dream that wouldn’t end even though the dreamer kept waking.

In the Diaries of the Somnambulist every dream was a new city, a magic room in a house that multiplied.

When the moon perched before darkness, its pale, faded light taunted night.

An organ played in an empty church, echoing through the nave where angels wept in stained glass windows because they were afraid.

After the final scene, the antagonist in the dream play removed her costume backstage but couldn’t get out of character.

Her family missed whom she had been but were, admittedly, mesmerized.

Without props, her life became a drama of the absurd and not a tragedy.

It was silly—all the searching for something to save.

The garden whispered into late November in a duet with the neighbors’ landscape machinery.

Sweet pea vines still flush green, and the decorative grasses wore tufted plume hats.

Snap a photograph and call it Still Life with Such and Such to salvage something before the dark velvet curtain call when the moon again became a trusted beacon, a pendant poised on night’s thick neck.

Consult the book of titles on the nightstand, the necessary orientation.

Sadly, the whole day couldn’t be a poem or a painting of sun.

There were more chores to do, and it looked like rain.

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WINTER WALTZ

The moon gave you a standing ovation tonight for enduring so much hunger.

It loomed larger than a face on a TV screen and followed your car skirting darkness.

That slow dance on the ice made the barren trees weep for fallen leaves and long-ago summers.

First, darkness lead and then the fractured stars took over, the smallest lights lifting your torso skywards.

To lose a part of oneself left a hole that could grow into something even beautiful with the right safety nets.

The woman lost at the frozen lake sang of her missing husband, the one who never found her.

In the book you are writing the holidays were magical and the dog didn’t die.

The beloved offered gifts with violin fanfare where the coldness froze every heartache.

Fire flames devoured the old notebooks you offered without distraction or second guessing.

The map to Monday also became ash.

If you could stop unwinding memories and let time again be linear, shed fear of hours that could destroy if you fell through

The book would stay as kind as the moon following your measured footsteps.

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