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A song of despair

Dormant, like the earth in winter.
Ground hardening beneath your feet, forming jagged peaks along its surface, tripping the poor fool that tries to connect.
Unapologetically piercing soft pink skin, bleeding it slowly across the tundra.  Snow blanketing everything, beautiful but frigid- it is so quiet here.  The solitude is intoxicating.  No signs of life, no scurrying animals, no flowers bursting forth from the bud, seeking the attention of bees.  Nothing but the occasionally caw of the crow, across a desolate landscape in a frosted sky.

Skin encased in solid ice, the kind that you can skate on top of without fear of falling in, falling into someone else – their warmth, their life, their story of you, Tangled up in a calamity of hearts – beating in your ears, your throat, your chest – Tumultuous, emphatic and deafening.

I don’t want to be warmed up.
I will take my numb and frozen limbs, frosted eyelashes adorning vacant eyes and inhale deeply of Skadi’s chilly breath – cleansing me of all the pulsations of life, carnal and sentiment, kinship and lineage – flying over drifts, befriending the shiver the replaces a beating heart.

They will tell stories of me around the hearthfire, huddled close on nights when the wind wails through the trees and the whipping snow blinds unwitting travellers upon the path.

She is monstrous they will say, harsh and exacting.  She stands 20 ft tall with eyes like glass, claws of sharpest obsidian, and the fangs of a basilisk.
Do not look her in the eye.  Do not get too close.  But do not flinch.

The oldest among them will say – once long ago, she used to be a woman – jilted by love, wounded by circumstance, seeking solace, seeking clarity – she set out into the night through the deepest snows and her heart was infected by the ice.

A cautionary tale to keep the children close, to keep the tribe united, to be a grotesque caricature symbolizing the consequences of giving up on love.

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Letters to a young wife from a veteran at this thing called love

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For better and for worse is so vague and doesn’t begin to encapsulate what is necessary or at all what marriage means.   Even the word worse, you cannot begin on a sunlit morning under a canopy of ivy, releasing doves in front of your friends and family, beaming from beneath your flower crown in lace finery to  imagine worse.

We say these words, by rote – by ritual and ceremony while giddy with the anticipation of new love, hungry for a lifetime of beauty and completeness.

But what these words really mean is – I need you to love me even when you hate me, when my face turns your insides to soup and constricts your throat like a serpent strangling its prey.

We walk together down an aisle, exchange rings and feed each other cake, we vow to always love never thinking that we might hate each other – but we will.  Ripe for disaster, a diet of sorrow and bitterness from the slings of life that no one controls –  Your name breaks my dry ice tongue my chest cavity a glass cabinet, my heart the china that no one ever drinks from, slowly being reduced to bone dust from lack of use.

You will choose to be right over being kind.  I will prioritize my ego over protecting your heart.  And these things will make me hate you.  And they will make you hate me.

Don’t despair of my words.  They are not some ominous curse hanging over your blessed union.  They are instructive, dear one.  Listen now, I ready you for what is to come.

So say you’re sorry.  Say it again.  Not flippantly.  Never angrily.  But do say it in the in between times – on a Tuesday over breakfast, when things are beautiful. When nothing has occurred and you are just enjoying each others company, take her hand and say I am sorry – for all of those things I have done, and for all of those things I am going to do – I am sorry.

Say it now, for the times when your apologies are pulverized by grinding knashing teeth, for the times when you open your mouth and all that comes out is a swarm of angry bees, for the times, when we are curled up in the bed, backs arched angrily away from each other, alone and seething.

Tell her you love her, tell her all the reasons why.  Tell her that her laugh high and clear cleanses your spirit like a Tibetan prayer bowl,  that the earthy scent of her body feels like home and sounds like prayer, how she moves through the world like  an elemental – as though sunlight or wildflowers had come to life and decided to be a woman.

Announce it everytime you feel it, everytime you can.  Water her with an ocean.  Wrap her in a constellation of stars.  Tattoo the smile that makes you ache on the inside of your eyelids , and spill your tender heart like honey in springtime upon her

Reach out and pull lovenotes from the air.   She can keep them in her pockets and in the bottom of her purse, so she can dig her hands down into her broken  heart when she needs them most, and read them over and over while you grind your teeth in bed.  They will keep her warm in loneliness.

This is how you survive worse.

Sometimes…

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Sometimes, I look at photos and wonder….

Who is that she? That she who is me?
Or at least who wears my face better than I do?

She who is funny and smart, and who works my body like she is walking a runway
While I stumble behind tripping over my inability to keep up.
This she, who is me, but not me.

Not real me who lives in stained pajamas subsisting on toast crumbs and despair
whose days are spent trudging through the mundane tasks of survival, every moment a struggle.
My work is staying alive.  Keeping the faith.
Holding back the deluge just behind my eyes.  Ever vigilant.
A moments respite will unleash the mighty flood and wash away the village.

Nothing will be spared.

She who is me, but not me, throws her head back and laughs loud and deep, the pleasure of the joke cascading through her curves in the most delightful fashion.

She is building a business.  She is planning an adventure of far flung travels.
She is cultivating authenticity.  She is lies upon lies upon lies.

I pile them all on my plate and  voraciously eat them all,
each one making me more malnourished than the last.

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This isn’t the kind of love poem where I tell you that I drown in the liquid amber of your eyes, or that your touch makes my skin hum like a hive of bees in a heatwave.  This love is not new and it knows more than eyes and skin, it goes deep, through bloody muscle into bone and sinew. I feel you in my bones because you have rooted yourself there. Made yourself a home in my skeleton, your fingers, know not just my breasts, but the ribs they sit upon, and that greedy muscle whom they cage.

You love me not in spite of my filthy heart  – but because of it­­­.
And I am not easy to love
I am arrogant, vain, dramatic, and exacting.
I am the kind of woman that a Disney illustrator would light from below, surrounded by billowing smoke and cowering henchmen

I don’t take anyones shit – but I am utterly grateful that you take mine.
When my stormy countenance rages and I am thunder
You do not cower, you do not flee, you do not erupt
And when I howl in suffering, my face a river,
You do not go in search of shelter
You weather these storms because these are the seasons of your country

When asked why you don’t prefer a more temperate climate,
You seem genuinely shocked, by so daft an inquiry
She is a wonder you reply.
Her laugh is the  Aurora Borealis, shimmering ribbons of rainbow lights dashing across a velvet sky
Her heart is the mighty Amazon, its tributaries coursing through every part of her body, refreshing her spirit with compassion unbounded
Her shoulder are Everest, snowcapped mountains of the highest height.  Reaching for the moon and landing among the stars.
I live among such transcendence, and you’re concerned about the weather?

For Donna

I was born of  pursed lips, averted eyes, closed curtains, rosary beads, white lace doilies, locked doors, don’t make a scene, do as your told, wait till your father gets home, what happens in the house stays in the house.

She throws her head back and laughs, deep and throaty
Pleasure shaking breasts and the roundness of her belly, a riotous calamity of wildness, mischief and joy

Where did she come from?

She is a symphony of beautiful noise in an otherwise silent room, a brightly coloured bird that somehow flew in through the window of my black and grey world.

She is a filthy joke, a belly laugh, a survivor, a sage,  a sacred trickster dripping in costume jewellery, her platinum blond hair, adorned by a vintage hat.

We were cut from the same cloth – leopard print, undoubtably.
She began my education in the theatre at the age of 6, and  inspired me to be anything but ordinary.
To rage as Lady Macbeth or to grieve as Othello, no human emotion was ugly so long as it was honest.

I learned that conformity was as ineffective a means of preventing persecution as it was a tiresome habit, and so I embraced all the more passionately those things that others tried desperately to hide. And that life was all the more enjoyable when injected with a healthy dose of whimsy.

Those who are determined to hate you, will find a reason.  So you may as well live Boldy.

I didn’t go to the funeral.  She wasn’t there anyway.  And people would tell me she’s at peace.  And I couldn’t agree.  If anything, she’s at mirth.  Always was.  But try saying that at a funeral.

I leave her thimblefuls of whisky, the good stuff.
I never miss a curtain call.
And I burst into laughter as often as I can.

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Here I am for your consideration
a most curated version of myself

This me doesn’t wear yoga pants and thrift shop cardigans
She doesnt eat pepperettes and poundcake for dinner

She doesn’t spend inordinate amounts of time in bed masturbating until her thighs go weak and her brain goes numb

She isn’t poor or disabled or queer,
Unless you are looking for diversity

no, this self is a whirlwind of confidence in flawless eyeliner.
With excellent references and profound insights

She tells the kind of lies you can believe in.

How to be more than last nights lover

When she sits next to you, small and broken in a crumpled paper dress
Humiliated by the ravages of her own body
Tell her she’s never been more fiercely beautiful

When she rages like a torrential wind, fury whipping, felling trees and hurling gravel,
remain still.
remain loving

And when the storm passes from her spirit, wipe her tears and call her sunshine

Make her cups of tea.
Remember that she isn’t yours.  Not really.  She belongs to her mission,to her passions, and to her dog.  Accept this.

Make her skin sing and never stop touching her.  When passion ebbs, rub her feet, kiss her knees, especially the one that creaks when it bends.  Trace the lines on her face and rejoice in how time has written itself there.

And when her face is a river, feed her mundane acts of devotion
Do the dishes, walk the dog, go to the store.
Make love while you sweep the floor, shovel the walk, tuck her in.
Do not be afraid that her ice blue eyes resemble an isolated lake
She will return.

Love isn’t a stone, it needs to be made fresh daily, like bread.
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Wild Hearts

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Her heart was like a rattlesnake, quick to lash out
And Deadly, to the unsuspecting fools drawn in by the music of her laughter,
As high and clear as a Tibetan prayer bowl

How were they to know that beauty’s heart  was its own beast, filthy and ravenous, pacing inside its ribbed cage, living in unsanitary conditions, fed  but scraps to keep it weak and tolerant of mating in captivity.

Some days it raged, howling into the night with every beat.
Others it despaired, curling up into a darkened corner of her chest, heaving there silently.

Both jailer and guardian, she vacillated between giving it the space to run, full tilt, rolling in earth and bathing in moonlight, diving in to the sheer and pungent joy of being a  free and wild thing

and binding its frenetic beat and passion for violence with all manner of restraints,a kind of living death, in which the only form of resistance was to crash about its cage chaotically, interrupting the breath.

Between the heaving and the howling, she paints a flawlessly face,her breath quickening as the beast beneath her breast feels a stirring rememberance of prowling for its prey, the stalk, the chase, the kill.

She applies the crimson red tube to her lips and both recall with satisfaction the salty taste of blood.