just around the bend, the gravel leads to a strange house, crooked on the side of a hill, wherein a woman lays in wait of death. i find her every morning out on the second story deck with a cup of something hot and the steam rising out of(more) it like a distress beacon, glistening in golden light, and for a moment escaping from her mouth after a long drink. the wind blows down from the canyon and her thoughts are exhaled to me, not so much seen as felt as a fellow bearer of everything burdensome and human. the wind carries with it the strange, out of tune melody borne from the metal and stone chimes hung from another nearby house, whose duty is to gather all the heavy air and bring it to our ears like a lapdog.
occasionally i'll see the same woman in someplace wholly mundane like the post office or the general store, buying this and that, filling up the Durango only after careful consideration of both premium and regular unleaded. we've never said a word to each other although i'm certain she is aware of my existence and can also taste my love, frustrations, and neuroses in the air as something palpable. every morning, it's just the two of us staring something both finite and infinite in its hollow eye, wholly brave and accepting of all God's creation. other people may very well be awake in that magic hour, but i am certain that we are the only ones alive.
if, by chance, we ever meet, (she's probably pushing 60, and i'm 24), i know we'll talk about the weather or something else merely local and necessary, maybe even sharing a quick observation of the light on the mountain - but we both know. (less)
its been raining a lot this week,
and i know its cliche,
but when it rains i always look out my window and think of you.
and you're probably confused as to why,
its not like we kissed in the rain a la the notebook,
or you stood outside(more) my door in a storm and begged me to stay,
or that i was a drizzle and you were a hurricane,
but rather that
i love the rain when it starts
how the air is crisp
and it is a mixture of not-too-hot and not-too-cool
and i just want to twirl round and round in the droplets forever.
but then it starts to pour,
water seeps through my clothes
but i'm still dancing
until the thunder comes,
and the lightning,
and i convince myself its safe to stay outside,
but its not,
and its raining now and i miss you
but lightning never strikes twice.(less)
an eternal ringing in my ears
loud and obnoxious
so loud i am going deaf
like the silence of a bad date
or the ominous foreshadow of a humid summer night
(more) that extraordinary ringing
traverses me to 1995 Shanghai, An Shun Lu
seconds before i turned and smiled
seconds after i fell and a 5-wheeler rolls over my right ankle
there is a texture to the ringing
palpable from the temporal lobes
to the lymph nodes behind my ears
all the way down down
to my breast bone
through my body
and i feel
in my pelvis
in the place
where i allowed seven men enter
who left without my consent
that ringing is accusatory
snatches the memory of august 2011
that summer in a stranger's bed
and places it succinctly
in the palm of my future lover
but that ringing is also wishful
it aches for an echo
it echoes my aches
where sounds are magically conserved
where my offerings are returned to me
i keep wondering
whether my ring is the same as yours
or hers or his.
that man sitting across from me with a wandering eye
that woman wiping her behind with a beach towel -
do they hear what i hear,
are their rings my ring?
perhaps our rings
can come together and form a giant
are in the know
of the ringing
approaching, slowly coming closer. I stand frozen in the darkness, eyes squeezed shut tight.
"It's only a dream," I whisper to myself as a cold wind begins to tear around me. My hands clench into fists involuntarily against the unexpected chill.
Then there's a warm breath on(more) my neck as the creature approaches so close that I can feel the heat radiating from its body. I fight the urge to scream, repeatedly whispering to myself the same words.
"It's just a dream it's just a dream it's just a dream..."
I can feel it seeping into my clothes, the wet pasting fabric to skin. I owned a raincoat, of course. And an umbrella. Neither of them is too far away for me to justify leaving them at home, but I have anyway. I can hear her words vaguely far(more) off but right inside my ear at the same time, calling memories of my much smaller self being gently cajoled into a fitted plastic shield as her graying hair fell around her face and almost hid her small smile and tired eyes:
“Put your coat on, you’ll catch pneumonia. That wasn't fun the first time around; wouldn't you like to avoid it this time?”
I would. But lying in bed for awhile with my lungs crackling and eyes drooping with fatigue is nothing compared to feeling the warm water weighing down my clothes in a way I swear is just how she used to hug me. She would have given anything to breathe freely without that god awful oxygen drizzle, I know, and it almost hurts to be aware that I would throw something so precious away in a heartbeat if it meant I could bury my face in her shoulder and inhale her scent just one more time instead of standing on wet asphalt in wet clothes and taking just a few more breaths of the musk of dusty spring rain that comes so close to her smell. But I can’t bring myself to regret basking in this echo of my memories with her. Not even close. Not even if my lungs crackle for months.
Never in my mind did I believe that this day would come so quickly, in the manner that it did. The warmth of my life pouring out of the fresh hole ripped into me by a cold blade of steel, or seeing the red stain begin to grow on(more) my dirtied shirt. I looked at the perpetrator, my voice trying to project obscenities that were only seen on the movement of my lips. But he knew, and enjoyed every moment with a psychotic grin taken over his face.
I couldn't bear looking at his joy any longer, opting to look at my love instead. Janelle, my sweet Janelle, laid twisted in a pool of blood that had flowed from her throat and abdomen. The idea of a future together was only to be found in the afterlife now, dreams of a peaceful life and a child now gone.
Yet, as my vision began to blur I knew that I had brought this on us. If I had only not gotten involved with the men across the street, if only I waited a few minutes more before I left to deliver the package this morning, a package that damned the rest of our existence. It's meaningless now to think of what I could have done, but instead focus on the sweet release from struggling life. As the world became dark, I felt it. I felt the end.(less)
I feel it in my Sunday morning cup of tea.
I feel it in the warm summer breeze, caressing my face.
I feel it in a warm hug from you.
I feel it in the chirp of the birds, first thing in the morning.
I feel it in the(more) warm sand surrounding my feet.
I feel it in the cool air by the lake.
I feel it in the tears of laughter that fall down my face.
I feel it in my favorite sweater.
I feel it by a warm campfire on a brisk fall evening.
I feel it in your toothy smile.
I feel it in that first bite of my favorite meal.
I feel it in the joyful singing of the church congregation.
I feel it in a warm summer thunderstorm.
I feel it in your hand as I hold it.
I feel it in your soft kiss.
I feel it in your arms wrapped around me.
I feel all of this when I'm with you.(less)