Mama, did you know the precious amethyst shadow hours
I spent beside you, cuddled cosy-close, nestled in blankets of light,
shawled in your red-gold hair? I kissed each tear you cried;
each one a starlight pearl forged from the depths
of your fragile soul. I rocked seashell-shut to each lullaby note
and silently watched as you rocked my cold, empty cradle.
Sometimes you sensed me coiled at your breast -
a small balled knot of grief. You felt my tiny fingers plucking at you
as tingling shivers. And sometimes I bounced sunshine-free
on your knee, a giggling orb of light.
Little one, once again I felt you here,
entombed in the womb of this eternal everywhere room,
your spirit sifting through my fingers like hourglass sand.
Pain has blanked my mind wraith-white, but I felt
your lips nip the warm rosebuds of my nipples
as I pressed a lullaby to the delicate shell of your ear
and brief blessed seconds spun out like years.
My sentient heart will always hold you, my grip will never slip
as my earthbound hands, human-warm, reach through time
and heather-shadowed ether to love and care for you.
*'phantasy' is a deliberate misspelling, an amalgamation of 'phantom' and 'fantasy'
Inner conflict dissolves under your lunar eclipse
playing across my fingertips and lips
tracing the hoodoo of your hips,
causing me to burn down into cinder-sticks
reborn as a Baton Rouge Phoenix
by the gravitational pull of Jupiter
orbiting in your eyes.
Rising above the ashes,
siphoning-off the swamp,
I collide in a slippery mudslide
of euphoria, until steam blows off
and only spring water remains
raining upon soil sprung apart
by the Trident of Hermes,
exposing for us naked iron
to place into a flame
dancing along liquid-skin language.
The extraction of you being the exception,
leaves behind a hole
to bury our fortresses of tragedy
grappling in our roots;
now broken-apart by our roots,
until the last crumbling stone
sprouts into untainted sheaths -
rigid - yet willing to bend
with the mending currents
of change. Becoming cleaner within,
hanging onto a truth to be found
in the wholesome speck of dirt
longing for my fingertips and lips
to feel the hoodoo in your hips;
a complementary dish of duality
alongside your whispers bleeding
into the blood-waves of my heart
merging with your lunar pulse.
(in-between wakefulness and dreaming,
in-between free verse and prose....it flows -
I wouldn't trade it for candy-coated couplets,
nor silky sonnets set in cities of gold,
for my delirium is uninhibited,
over there, here
a nuance, a taste on the tip of my tongue
leading me towards need
without a name
Prying open other people
to see if you were inside.
Searching for a known desire
with an unknown label,
to find something never actually lost -
to make it more palpable - closer.
Crawling out of my skin,
out of my skull,
slinking through invisible trees,
a jungle cat
licking my mind - you always made love to my soul first,
before enticing me
with a liquid growl
off-set by the pitter-patter of paws and purring.
your velvet purr
rumbles for my submission.
Willingly I accept
the invitation of vulnerable humility
bowing towards a fearless trust
with a luminary
catching up to right now.
- Right now -
Your black-light curvaceous
licks my mind, my body,
my hands and mouth glide across your skin,
testing the earth for stability.
The tectonic plates of my belly
resettle within your womb.
outside-inside a lotus-soul union,
just as ancients had hinted,
letting you devour me,
before I drink from your salty grail.
leads to an un-thinking
waves pushing out - in
until the shoreline and tides
a backdrop to a pace
Outside-inside of you,
you are outside-inside of me,
there is no longer the need
to fear unknowns,
for the unknown guides us higher,
guides us ever deeper,
until even our release
merges with the flow
of ancient rippling rhythm.
In all the earnest buds
that long to open…..
and ambrosial May promises
I tried in the silence
and the rush of the storm
that rages wild and unkempt
to fight this consuming
To cease the feeling….
To halt the sticky sweetness
(berries on your lips)
I can’t stop it…baby
It’s there in every hour
In the breaking of the dawn
painted pink and washed in fire
In the turbulent waves of blue
and salt rain on my face
In the way you speak
and caress me
and the way your eyes just mess me
In the stark speech of branches
and the reawakening of flowers
The breeze that teases my hair
and tosses it carelessly
It’s just always there
stroking and breaking
and rebuilding me
Crashing me to jagged rocks
and yet spreading my wings
to fly your passion sky
In the dream of something
came the reality of you
In the fantasy of a wind’s embrace
came your precious face
and now I am powerless….
just helpless to stop this
My exposed heart blasts out
this eternal hankering……
this infinite crimson crush
A war against the pitching
A battle against this tumble
A railing combat…yet….
Aye! In the night that steals the sun
In the clouds that whisper achromatic hues
and the freesia and lilacs
and violets….. I see you
You are there just waiting
Oh baby, I just can’t stop this
I fall, hard in a breathless fumble
Into your waiting heart
Like a trembling cat
I curl in your lap
I am so in love with you…
Memories of the North Sea
sift in like sand kernels
on a fast, frigid tide -
events that transpired outside
the confines of rhyme,
instead, unfolding exactly
as they were meant to.
I had never before seen
so many shades of gray.
This monochromatic splendor
within an absence of sunshine
that was perfectly fitting,
instead of being bleak and bleary.
The smell of salt and seaweed
awoke deep within me
something dormant and eternal -
a surging desire to flush
from out of my blood
with an inverted force of pride.
Salty blood and water
coming together in a communion
of distant relations and movements.
A flash of bright red
digging in the sand beside me.
My child is wearing the only
vibrant colour to be seen for many kilometres.
The colour matches
her enthusiasm and energy,
as she moves from one spot to the next
like a dancing flame.
My own fire burns in my eyes.
I had unconsciously dressed
in the same colours of the sky and sea,
blending into the scenery
as a chameleon --
an illusion thicker than clouds,
an illusion of stone
for me to melt and reinvent
at the spinning speed of thought.
I look over at my daughter
who is wearing a wide smile of wonder,
for she has not ever seen the ocean before.
She can see the chameleon
walking alongside her in the frothy surf.
Together, we collect shiny stones and shells,
our pants rolled-up to the knee
as we wade through waves.
I wonder if people onshore
can only see a solitary dash of red out here,
or if the chameleon is more
noticeable than I had thought,
while we watch sea-birds
cover the steep cliffs
in a blanket of black and white feathers.
~(2012 North Sea Remix)~
I am the Preacher's son
who stole the bread
and broke it with a wrinkled face,
the essence weaving behind her retinas.
When I stole from the church,
Mrs. Worther 'the bird', had spied me
sneaking out the vestibule door,
from her usual early service perch
in the very back pew.
She carried this secret for many years,
including when she caught me eavesdropping
on midweek board meetings
from behind crates of cheap wine.
Instead of showing scorn,
she had given me a warm wink,
offering a lesson
by leaving me there to think.
who had been my Sunday school teacher,
had made me study the lessons
without ever becoming a preacher --
when it came to my thievery
and excursions into the park,
where I broke the bread
with a wrinkled face,
the essence shimmering behind her retinas.
I am the Preacher's son,
who instead found the presence
amongst ducks and swans,
when I broke the bread
with that crazy old lady -
gleaned what I needed to do,
and since then,
have never again
sat in another pious pew.
I am the 'bad' Preacher's son.
Some people whisper righteously
how I have come undone,
made a pact with the dark,
while I break the bread
with that age-old essence in the park.
March 24th, 2014
(originally written: March 24th, 2010)
An almost stillness came about
as she strode into my door,
like breath itself refused to move,
fearful of touching her mysterious beauty
But her obsidian eyes betrayed her.
Sharp and gleaming,
with a silver sheen
she looked at me,
and I knew…
Molten lava spilled forth from her mouth, melting our clocks—
eighteen hundred nightmares compressed in two hours.
Long hand moving forward, as the short hand moved backward
How can memories persist in such an acrid life?
She spoke of a beast in the guise of a man,
one who ravaged innocence with the flick of a click
A coward that collected milk teeth for hardened bones
of other horny beasts with no spine
That throaty tenderness when she spoke
sprinkled crystal seeds of frustration in me
She says he loathed him, denied she loved him
but her obsidian eyes betrayed her
There she was, a bud he plucked from the nuns’ garden
He grafted then he pruned her,
spreading her pollen, wafting her scent
yet folding her petals to himself
Caterpillars feeding upon her leaves,
she lets them devour her,
yet once they are wrapped in their cocoons to sleep,
she stabs them with her thorns.
Tears then slid down from her midnight lace eyes
and it was all I could do to catch them
She said she was weary of curtailing butterflies,
of tearing their wings before they can even fly
I had to ask, how many… how many winged gems?
She lifted her sleeves, and showed me her scars
One ugly mark for each innocent child plunged deep,
my heart getting slashed at least three hundred a beat.
A certain stillness came about
as I strode into her door,
like fear itself refused to move,
letting breath touch her mysterious beauty for the last time....
Her obsidian eyes had betrayed her.
Sharp and gleaming,
with a silver sheen
I looked at the knife beside her.
Maroon-mapped sheets, a stunted womb.
Strains of Bon Iver’s “Flume”
flit past the sighing air like a butterfly,
and I knew…
Place my mind into a boat
doused with kerosene.
Create a lantern on the water:
light the boat a-flame
and push it out to sea.
Then my heart will be more free.
This dance feels resurrected
Right down to the cherry stains on your sleeve
And the tapestries that look like iron will
But are really shadows cleverly woven to imply it.
I can not see here
The lights are too low
But sometimes things are better seen
When lit by the lanterns of the mind instead.
They look brighter
Closer to real
Than real could ever be.
We were here once before
A thousand years ago give or take a century.
I spoke with a carnelian tongue
You tasted like pomegranate seeds.
Going back there again
Carrying that same tune
I lost my breath
You gave me yours
You held me
Anarchy and misery whispered so softly that only she could hear
their voices, so she threw crabapples at a mail man to draw attention,
ran feral between cars, remapped streets that never gave adequate
directions or a single landmark to show her the way home. Mother
loved the shell her baby bird had long ago broken, a mourning dove
cooing for soft pieces, each scattered peep. Breath, the only thing
that was hers, truly. Oh, the relief to snatch a bored sigh, draw it back,
deny escape. A-gore-rhythms and Form-you-la’s, school’s strangle hold
methodology of mind control. Skip to my Lou. Skip class. Skip through
rush hour traffic. Still, no one understands. No one speaks the language
of Ash. Purge-atory is no fantasy. Every day, the same losses: possibility,
sensitivity, civility. Hey guards, listen to all the things she will never say.
Words, what the hell are they but manufactured strings of disappointment
that she chokes on? The entire world babbles platitudes and lawyers’ lies
and vulgar chastisements. Why speak, why waste a single breath?
They fling their crap, so she returns the favor, knowing they will not
translate her message. They use verbs like pepper spray and cavity search
and solitary confinement. She is nineteen, but the numbers don’t add up,
redo the equation. Just don’t ask questions or try to hurt yourself. Just?
Again, she feels the noose close her throat, smiles at her secret antidote,
the open doors of unconsciousness. A caress, this burn against the neck,
again and again, saved and saved and saved, as though they’d noticed
the flame’s gone, as though someone cared that she’d become soot, ash,
ashes. Ashley? Ashley to ashes to ash to dust, just dust. Just?
About this Poem
Ashley Smith was a troubled teen who would run into traffic, scream at people, cut classes.At 15 year, she was incarcerated for throwing crabapples at a mail man, this led to behavior which kept her in prison. She defied the system, threw feces at guards, refused to comply and strangled herself many times a day. Ashley was restrained in a chair for as long as 8 hours, forced to sleep on mattress-less bed frame, pepper sprayed, tazered and kept mostly in segregation. She would bang her head against the floor until she bled, told a phychologist she felt suicide was her only hope. She was moved 17 times between 8 facilities in only 9 months. On October 17, 2007, Ashley, aged 19, hung herself in her cell as guards merely watched, having been ordered to only intervene once she STOPPED breathing. Her death was filmed. There is currently an inquest into Ashley’s treatment and suicide. For more information-
May change come.
May change come, now.