Amnesia

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Photo Credit: frostbox.com

What would amnesia be like?
To forget who you are,
who you were?
I want to forget the me
who can’t forget you.
I want to forget you
amnesia style,
like I never knew you.
I’m tired of remembering
how your arms felt
as they clutched me,
pulling me below the surface
where reality disappears
into fantasy.
But amnesia
wouldn’t make me feel better.
It just makes people forget.
I wouldn’t remember
why I wanted the forgetting
in the first place.
Everything goes
but maybe that’s better
than knowing
the magic of loving
and the agony of losing.

Two Sentences

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Photo Credit: jagaro.net

She hung up the phone with his voice echoing in her ears–I’m safe. Don’t worry. I love you–and she smiled at the memory of his promise to bring her red roses when next they met. The TV flickered in the background, and in the glare of rain and police lights, she saw a mangled car, a body beneath a sheet, and crimson flowers clutched in bloody fingers.

***

I am asking my students to write 2 sentence scary stories tomorrow in honor of Halloween. I am not great with scary, so here’s my best attempt.

Right (or Unraveled)

Watch my face
as you unravel
into chaos.
I see you
folding and unfolding,
pieces tumbling
into the empty.
Paintings and words
cannot capture
the roiling rage
buried in your belly,
the insidious inaction
chaining your wrists
to vice and lust and pain.
I am reaching
into the vastness
of the sea
to find your hand
but my fingers raise nothing
but weak splashes
and vacant vacuums
of your watery face.
See me,
for once.
Know I can ease
this heat
under your skin.
You know I am right.

Letting Go

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Photo Credit: carlawainwright.com

When I try to write
about letting go,
it always comes out
as holding on.
When I fall asleep
to forgetting you,
I always dream of your tattoos
twisting in the darkness.
When I attempt
to shed this shell,
it clings tighter,
snake fingers
throttling my throat.
When I speak
without your memory,
it floods back to me
on water wings,
gently beating
against my heart.
When I write
about remembering,
it’s impossible
to let go.

Drawers

Underwater and starving for something other than nothing but at least all these daily life dramas fill my every waking thought so that you stop swarming my every waking thought but I just wander and wring my hands with your memories but they never really wash clean still brimming with the pain you left behind and I don’t think about you as much because I think about my students and my responsibilities and the things I promised to do or see or say and that’s good because that means I only think about you at night when I’m about to sleep and dump the day into dreams instead of worries put them in a drawer until tomorrow when I won’t think about you til I close my eyes

Wild Horses

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Photo Credit: hdw.eweb4.com

On wild horses,
hearts ride
so to join with
bodies and masks
of who we claim to be.
You are in my hands
and running through my veins
like liquid memory, 
sizzling with anticipation
of times that won’t be spent.
Sweet music moments
and clay images 
melt and reform
into what we wanted
but could never
quite grasp.
Hooves disguised
as heartbeats
pound down my door
and I am left raw
and broken
by the reality
of your absence.

Smile!

Why must life be
so fucking hard?
Yeah.
I know.
It’s a question
in the guise of a cliché,
but seriously,
why?
It’s all these bombs
and there’s no one to yell,
“incoming!”
It’s a battlefield,
like the song,
right?
Or is that love
that becomes weaponized
in this hostile environment,
this war zone called life
or love
or whatever this is
that passes the days?
Where is the movie life
or love
or beauty,
art,
romance?
It’s all a sham
and I’m sitting under
piles of paper
bearing balances
and due dates,
lists and longings.
Spilled ink
of love and loss
and I never say a word.
I simply smile
and ask for more.

Possession

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Photo Credit: pictify.com

I wish for you
on stars
and eyelashes
and 11:11
hoping that someday
my futile wishes
might come true,
but who wishes
for people?
Maybe someone’s
health or happiness,
but to wish
for a person
seems absurd.
Yet, I wish for you
like you’re an object
I can possess,
like something I can win
or a trophy for my wall,
like something
I desperately need
to have.
Like a keepsake
or a good luck charm
that I can carry
in my pocket
and grasp
for a bit of magic.
I guess it’s not so much
possession
as it is obsession
to have you
to reach out to
in these moments of gray
where I am
neither lost nor found,
neither light nor dark.
I don’t want to own you
no matter how hard or often
I wish to have you.
I want to walk beside you
through the thickets
that life plants in our path.
I want to be your respite
in a hurricane
and your friend
when you’re lonely.
I want to be your possession
as you are mine
and maybe together
we can own this life
we are walking alone.

Discovery

His eyes were tired and rimmed with dark circles. It seemed ages since he’d last slept but he was sure it had been longer. Just before dawn sometime within the last–he imagined it had been at least a week–his mother had died. Just slipped away in her sleep, and now his eyes wouldn’t seem to close.

He needed rest but he also needed a vacation–with alcohol, a lot of alcohol. Instead of trying another futile attempt at sleep, he began to Google places he might go to catch his breath. Trees, Oregon, Jack Daniels, loss. Search terms with nothing in common. Maybe it would lead to somewhere worth going.

Instead, those words led to more words than he thought could ever exist. In those four words he found what he had been missing. He found her. Again.

He clicked on the post even though he knew it wouldn’t lead to a vacation spot and because this was really about distraction, not necessity. He recognized the photo because he posted one just like it a few months back. But underneath there were these words that made his heart beat faster, his breath catch in his throat. A poem. He kept reading, one after another. And after a while, he began to know her, to really see who she might be, and the pain of his mother’s death began to ease. He thought about the girl who penned this ache, this loss, and wondered how she captured absence so completely.

His phone rang, springing him free from the grip of this strange woman’s pain, from her unending loss which he recognized as a kindred to his own.

“Hello,” he stammered into his phone.

“It’s me. Just wonderin’ if you’re coming over after work.” Her voice was sweet and so different from the words he found online, the words that he couldn’t shake.

“Not tonight. I’m already tired. Tomorrow?” He wondered if she could here the reservations in his voice.

“Ok,” she whispered. He could imagine her face, her pink cheeks deflating with disappointment.

“Tomorrow. I promise,” he said, but even he could hear the lie in his voice. He couldn’t hang up quick enough.

Work felt like medieval torture when all he wanted was to keep reading. His hands kept betraying him and he walked out with three tetanus-shot worthy cuts on his hands. Worry and food prep didn’t go hand in hand.

In the dark of his room, the computer beckoned him, her words lying in wait, ready for his hungry eyes to devour their hidden meanings. All night at work, he couldn’t stop thinking about those poems, and he had started to believe she was talking about him, such similarities between her love and his own life. He began to read, her pain once more consuming him, and then he saw it–his name at the top of the screen. It was a letter addressed to him, or at least someone with his name. There, screaming out across the world, poetry written for him, hundreds of lines. He realized these words were his.

He spent the remains of the evening and most of the next morning reading every post she had written. When he finished, he opened his closet and gingerly reached for the old shoebox. His fingers traced her old words and his mind raced with her new ones. The sun’s first rays were reaching through the fall clouds and sending heavenly light down to the land.

With her letters in his hands, he dialed the phone and waited for her voice, the one already echoing through his entire body.