Make whole

dance-death-girls-favim-com-206302Temporary

Wrists turned 30 degrees

Pushing wharped wood

Make whole

That which has retained

Only a faint salt outline

Your chin lowered

Hand curled

Scarred table top

A drink

Coarsing liquid fire

Tremolously their bones

Knit in shape

Prepared for

The buried beckon

Of sleep

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Cut the crusts off

038-048 BeautyPapers#2_TomJohnson_SY.inddWhen they say

You’re so beautiful

I’d prefer they

Get a needle

And stitch their mouths

Shut

It isn’t true

I have a horse for a jaw

A mountain for a forehead

And my eyes are

Continually watering

With their words

Some do not feel like kindness

They are broken pieces of yourself

Irreconcilable

Don’t call me that

Can’t you see beneath the layers

A scream is

Not beautiful

You only say that

Because words have become filler

For silence

And

Often for truth

But the truth is

I am an animal

My jaw continually muscular

You chew

This artificial sweetener as we

Press ourselves obedient

Sitting in high chairs at empty tables

Void of nourishment

The formal hedges of the maze, flower late this year

Too little rain save saline, and crackers, left to dampen in the tree house

I always said

Cut the crusts off

Take a plunge

Underwater you can see better when they come

Patent toes incased in skin, cramping their march

Like wooden soldiers who

Briefly lent life’s lumbering

Will grow flushed and warm

Retaining their glimmering uniforms

Dyed into the marrow of their grain

Did you see the imprint of the pillow where I have lain?

Watching for night markets among the trees

Hawking their jewels as magpie thieves

A glimmer of willow the wisp

Forfeiting glamor for real magic

Vaporized by the sound of reality

Clicking like an old boiler trying to knit her self the semblance

Of youth

Glazing the russet bleed of nightfall

Sent off

I licked

the envelope

containing myself

shut

and before I knew it

standing by the metal post box

let it drop

heavy and thinly covered

composed of filigree

a sound I am reminded of

with each urge

to be enclosed and

sent off

I know not where

but it will have

sail boats that knock against each other

with gentle shoreline waves

and at night

a lute

plays reedy and low

as dancers without shoes

as slim as whiskers

bronzed by day

slip in and out

of wet candlelight

 

Between

ring1Good day then

fais de beaux rĂªves

between the spectacle

shut your eyes tight

always keep them open

conviction

affliction

conducting weather veins

bristling they ebb

pointing into heavens

would they could talk

up there up there

they look and mock our drama

what we believe ourselves to be

quietly observant at the pew

head down knees knocking

Forgive me Father for I have sinned

the day I turned on others and rubbed in

the same welt

gory and open for flies

to lay their magnitude

little children

little liars

come hold hands by the roses

learn a thorn can prick but words are mightier

wielding penchant for harm

like a crystal ball

hear the soft foot fall of night

clothe us in redeeming disguise

fingers behind our backs twix crossed

one for ourselves, one for luck

nothing left to add to the stew

all poison all venom all malice is

but easy fitting shoes on lusty urge

stay your hand my girl

spend time among the rich of heart

they hold less in their pockets

more in their eyes

as first rays of morning

broker subsuming clouds

of darkness

breaking past

releasing

light

Portraiture

f801918ca3883a4898de8530a0e88a98It is true if I could I would claim you through time

circle your coiled hair and patent smile

did the photographer pose

or you just know

how to swan your neck and hide your pain

in thrice mended sweater a size too small

our boiled wool and best kept stockings

sweating out youth

if now you lived I’d show you what came after

austerity and lit eyes of hazel

wishing into the future

is it better now? or then when

the greatest harm an unmarried pin

sticking your freedom to the quick

you laced yourself in and breathed out

coal dust and fisherman’s hands

chaffed and reddened by toil

ancestors enriching highland soil

would we have been friends?

my lack of Godhead your penchant

for John Bunion and his sermon

who can say? only the field mouse’

small and mauve in death

brought in by cat laid carefully by farm-house mat

beyond a sewing room where you cobbled looks from Paris

on muslin form, breathing life

I was clumsy and wide waisted in compare

climbing trees watching for the worm

as magpie attracted to beauty

is not capable of wearing his fine theft

he is a creature of the outdoors

looking in from cleft of oak

like I summon you through time

spend a moment here

lend me strength

show me how

you endured the fallow path and

hard winter of turning twenty

as light leaches from heathered hills

and tired men return for their supper

only the fair-headed girl lingers

until last golden arc presses against

violet hour and she too must

return her gaze to humbler pasture

Quiet sincerity

575d3e8450d2b93d9ae583716b569a05I learned

long after I should

friendship comes not

in fizz and pour

nor the brightness of

shower and radiance

nor promise and its papery craft of bows

but more often unexpected slow

hesitant over years

water leaving her tears on

marble rock

stalwart and less demonstrative

a cat who watches food put out

does not immediately approach

I fell for the fireworks

the hot kiss on lost ego

glittering words

feathered protests to believe

those party animals in their tinsel crowns

pushing me toward celebration

in those days I did not mind

the quiet soul who hung back

someone you could call upon

when deserters ran out of festivity

turned their backs on former animation

I was suckered by their demands to believe

their loudest call was truth, hear me!

now I know quiet love is the steadiest

those who may seem cold or aloof

often outlast town crier

hawking themselves for fancy

I’m sorry it took me so long to

understand silence and softness

are more often truth

much like the piper who

sung children through the mountain

bewitching their longing for loud

merriment

before they grew and knew

the sweetness of sincerity

whispered

For Jane – Pretty things

“Oh you pretty things

don’t you know you’re driving your mama’s and papa’s insane?” – David Bowie

thumbelina.jpgtake a leaf out of this book

fold it into a veined ship

let it sail the hazel brook

dried through fleet summer

now brackened with steam liquor

intoxicating swaying blackbird to

fly close to glassy reverie

their glossy ebony wing

hinting blue and green against

dappled light won with coffee grain

we didn’t rise with the lark nor

make nesting bed for a penny to bounce

high and glittering

we ate buttered toast with frozen fingertips

leaving crumbs of ourselves beneath

pillows indented by dream

for who knows how long

any river has?

then warm days shall absolve this tender

frost blinking in iridescent snow fall

drying out magic divination

cupped in saucers of captive water

the little girl thinks fairies must

look out at her as she peers down

through velvet moss and snail sheen

carving runes

what worlds of worlds of worlds

beneath our flat-footed certainty

stir against shy bramble

our fruit ever sweeter on tongue

as thimbled nectar

for children still believe

amid our pastures creatures swim

in silver netting like gowns of

spider silk and berries redder than

earnest lover

shush, if you stay your curious hand

turn not the faucet nor start the washer

in Thumbelina’s kingdom music stirs

as old as life

holding up the unseen world

 

For Jane. Put another log on the fire for me.

Cast in open mouth

Fickle her words

imprecise

imperfect

slices of lemon

squeezed on cuts

cast in open mouth

let the plaster envelop

emotion

I suppose it’s her need

to inflict harm

when her own heart devours

when lust points compass

and mercy

mercy does not show

for role count

instead choosing

to sit out turn

bashing heels against

old radiators

trying to keep warm

this is the danger of

sore hearts

seeking solace

in the unknown

corridor of others

tempered souls

watchful against

storm

Flat hands pushing

They predicted

she would write down

the scar

since healing

was slow

words conveying

that breakage

They predicted

she would condemn

the ones who made the thirteen turns

in hangman’s noose

and pushing lightly

watched her fall like dandelion seed

catching heavy air

she was predictable

and not the one they knew

but some amalgam of all they had hated

in their little boxes of life

laid without opening on red shelf

she who carried her shoes

when stepping through

knew there were times words

could not save

could not banish

the cruelty of flat hands

pushing