Remember the cabin among the trees hidden like rabbits resting in nests of autumn leaves? By the window that looks out on the river there is a writer’s desk with printing ink and fresh flowers on the sill, froths of tenderness kissed by the sun.
Can you recall the warm days we shared among redwoods that spoke to us? The memory evokes such nostalgia for that ache, fierce with crushing devotion. I left a heart shaped basket of seeds in the arch of a tree for the birds to scatter. I will always remember you and the cabin by the river, the sultry nights I would dance for you, sheer layers floating to the herringbone floor.
Insects large and small flit
through the lemony filter of dense canopies.
In hushed whispers we point to a clearing
where a roe fawn nibbles at pine needles.
Clouds soft as cotton brush the crowns of ancient trees
below a hanging mist clings to blonde foothills.
You pluck a marigold to tuck behind my ear
your golden hand print left on my thigh.
I wind a garland of leaves around your wrist
close enough to run my fingers through your hair
carry your scent back home with me.
Deborah Gryka “Turtle Woods”
I shower and dress, apply makeup as though I am going to work. I barely recognize my own reflection in the mirror but I am wearing my favorite dress and my hair is the color of rusty nails. I ignore your perplexed expression and questions.
Downtown I meld into the chaotic masses, eyes that are infused with the pain of survival. As the morning wears on relentless chatter becomes an undercurrent of whispers that fade with the crowd. Sweat and strong coffee stings my nostrils, clings to skin. Alien faces are etched behind my eyes.
The familiar girl is propped against the graffiti covered wall that turns golden in the sunset. Her head rests against skeletal arms that wrap around her knees. Jarred by a boot she glances upward from her induced euphoria, fumbles in the pocket of torn jeans fishing out a handful of dollars. Glancing around the man slips it beneath his belt and places a small bag into her weedy fingers that loosen, dropping it between her feet. I wonder how she will sleep in the night cold.
Repelled by the scent of urine, even the pigeons keep their distance and the stray dog lifts his feet. I feel those good intentions rising but they remain contained in my hermit mind. Does it count that I thought of her as she isolates to death?
Making my way back I pass that abandoned garden, pick a flower to playfully slip behind your ear. I rely on distractions these days.
You kiss the back of my neck and once again describe your beloved island and how the sun’s glare bounces off the seas surface and life glides beneath the sparkling blue that spreads over the horizon.
From my deserted 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 you in search of that trigger, that wild place in my mind that is precious only if it is gone.
On sleepless nights
I stroll the left bank in black sequined heels
My Eyelids heavy with smoky glitter.
Among the art I find you
your essence pierces my veins
settles in the pool of my heart
soft lights flicker their last warning in the sad cafe where
like willows we sway to long forgotten love songs
then you are gone a Modigliani reclining never hearing
Je t’aime the only French I know.
Mark Spain Art
“Je t’aime, Je t’aime
Comme un fou, comme un soldat
Comme une star de cinéma
Je t’aime, je t’aime
Comme un loup, comme un roi
Comme un homme que je ne suis pas
Tu vois, je t’aime comme ça”
There are times when I can see myself through
your eyes. My pale face so in love,
aching for the caress of a flaxen
haired boy racing through rolling fields.
Suddenly serious your adventurous eyes
sent yearning shivers through me.
I longed for your touch anytime and
kissed you opened mouth without
I adored your mock anger when you
chased after me and the awkward way
you looked down at your hands.
Soon Autumn threw its shadow on
sprouting wheat, smooth and wet.
Now, I listen to the soft whisper
of his breathing through a half
closed door and know there are
different kinds of love,
wild, ruthless, and unafraid.
art by Rob Hefferan
I feel you in the pouring rain
violent or soft as a summer storm.
A distant star you appear only to fade
into the night from which you came.
Decaying gardenias fill my room with mortality
a treacly specter of memories.
Wounded hearts are slow to heal
I have become indifferent to pain.
We are a wasteland, all poetic breath died with us.
I long for the scent of earth infused with deep roots
the soothing sounds of chimes swaying from the
limb of a live oak, soothing sounds for the twilight hours.
You are my obsession
undulating waves of fixation
that can not be restrained.
What I know of you
I have learned through osmosis
the taste of ozone I crave
like breathing air.
Beauty only knows to
be beautiful, send me a
signal through the blackout.
Take my hand and let
me land in your warmth
for I am shivering.
It is always raining here,
I am nothing but precipitation
slipping down your skin.
This is an entire album…you might want to stop it at 4:24.