“Love is a journey through waters and stars, through suffocating air, sharp tempests of grain:
Love is a war of lightning,
and two bodies ruined by a single sweetness”
Carnal Apple by Pablo Neruda
Between wake and sleep I feel the brush of your hand against my cheek as cold as winters breath. I thought I glimpsed you in lightning strokes through my window, heard your steps come and go down halls still echoing departure as night slips by like molasses, the mist of yesterday receding over the lake of time.
So that you may see what is left of me I’ve etched your eyes to mine.
Dismembered by scythes of devastation we scatter like autumn leaves.
You go where gravity pulls you, disappear through shimmering veils or wind
down my cheek like teardrops settling in the hollow of my throat, conscious
fingers of stars gliding over hoarfrost fields or weeping willows sweeping an ice capped pond.
art by Brad Kunkle
In the hushed silence between waves
sighs fill the night as stars come alive
and the breeze is a soft poem.
Nude in the moon light but for drifting
shadows the swirl in your glass keeps
perfect time with far off thunder.
I need to look away from your gun powder eyes
that lethal shot
before the fluttering of a thousand butterflies
I breathe in the circlets of your cigarette and
the honey sweet scent of willing hostages.
As fragile as fireflies we escape to the madness of
our minds where all we have to do is live.
Browsing through souvenirs
I am reminded of you.
The door to the past swings open
releasing sleek eels of memories
where I am nothing or at best
a trembling leaf lost on a autumn breeze.
Do you ever think of me?
See me in constellations pressed against the sky,
hear me in the surge of the tide?
I would seek comfort in the moon but I am
so trivial and he is taken by the stars.
In dreams my tongue is a crimson snake
Hungrily flicking the skin of your thigh
curling around the catch in my throat.
He is god and has named me regret.
I close our door with pried fingers.
I’ve given up on prayer hands.
Art by Rita Hardy
From my swing
I spot the Monarch
sipping from a nectary,
gently I snare him
by his dew drenched wings.
I wonder if he knows
his fate lies in my hands.
Clutched between my fingers
imagine how his heart pounds.
After you left I ran along the shoreline past the jetties and scattered surfers hoping to catch the last waves. A haze veiled the shore and vanished in the rain. Fat globules of salt encrusted my eyelids and each breath ripped upward from my belly tearing through my lungs. I sank down on the damp sand behind the old seafood restaurant. Guttural sounds mutating to unearthly howls carried out across the waves. I waited there until they dissolved into the sea.
The sky is always blue and the ocean is frothy meringue not a murky sea where in heavy boots you wade past that place where you lose your grip. Your eyes and throat sting with the rush of saltwater, screams fill your brain but not the air. Sea gulls swoop and squawk, perfect black angles against the sunlight. I open my book by Tennessee Williams whose writing I abhor but the edge of its cover was leaning out as I passed the bookcase, Sweet Bird of Youth.
I will indulge the unconventional.
On a mossy hill behind a mock castle
we will read Aristophanes to harems
of nymphs as they strum their Lyre for you.
While you transform words into wings
flitting the hearts of lovers I will
contemplate the perfect angle of your face,
breathe the amber resin of pine that
permeates our senses.
There in the unruffled pools of your eyes
I will die just a little.
*drug addiction is referenced in this short story.
We begin making things up by six or seven,
minds of hummingbirds we sip from wells of illusion.
We can take you with us
to the eddy of an ever prodding muse
dip our wings in her breathtaking colors.
I Leave as though I am going to work. Instead I walk downtown and meld with the chaotic masses, searching eyes that are infused with survival. As the morning wears on relentless chatter becomes an undercurrent of whispers fading with the crowd, a form of stasis, sweat and coffee stinging the nostrils, clinging to skin. Alien faces etched behind my eyes.
Making my way to the metro I must pass the warehouse district. The young addict is still propped against the graffiti covered wall that turns golden in the sunset. Unkempt, her arms are folded around her knees. Jarred by the boot of her pimp she glances upward from her induced euphoria, her skeletal hand fumbles in the pocket of torn jeans, fishes out a handful of dollars. Looking both ways, he slips it into a smugglers belt and hands her a small bag. I wonder how she will sleep in the night cold. It smells of urine here, even the stray dog lifts his feet. I glance her way again, leaving her to isolate to death.
Passing a vacant garden I pick a flower for you and playfully slip it behind your ear. From the same garden, we share an apple that reminds me of an autumn orchard and a love struck boy whose memory compels me to rub my body against yours in search of that trigger, the wild place in my mind that is precious only if it is gone. I can’t write until you leave and I can empty my mind of the devastation. You think I’m crazy but to me it makes sense.
Communing with birds
I open my empty palms
expecting metaphors to light
like fireflies on my life line.
From the back of my eyes
I can see the river Delta,
sweet green tarpaulin stretched
across the hemisphere and those
deep murky waters that reflect
a silver sky.
Fleeting memories disperse like clouds.
Just before sleep I sink deep
into illusory havens,
escape the boredom of life.
Metaphor and Allegory by Ju-Yu Chen
When I spread my wings
I can feel the pull of freedom.
I spread them wide and trail
my shadow the way birds do.
Your hands are elegant thieves
and your words a web of lies
that shine right through.
What is real or an illusion
in this desperate nest of chaos
where I found you?
When the veil falls apart and
the daylight slivers in I can see
the slant of sky where you slipped in.