Helium

You perform
a magic trick
each time
I hear your voice.
My heart balloons
with the helium of love
but words are your weapon
until you vanish,
yanking them into the dark
and leaving me
black and starless.
Your controlled negligence
is glorious insanity,
a reckless waste,
but the cracks are cracking
and your love
is leaking through.
We have become
faceless people,
phantoms
of who we once were.
Lost in empty rooms
we are nothing
and everything.
I wander
these mundane paths
in search of
something real
and I find myself
lost in you
instead.
The world
is a minefield
of memories
a graveyard
of words
a ghost town
filled with
your voice,
face,
soul.
Once again
your wicked edges
have razed
my wounded flesh,
and I am
not home
without you.

***

Twitter mash up precedes. :)

Smoke and Sunsets

These covert conversations
and secret spy games
exhaust my always weary eyes
as I search for us
down every weathered path.
I reach for smoke
in a twilight moment
suspended between
absence and awe
while you use mirrors
to hide our light
amongst the ashes.
I wake up
next to you
in another life
where the sun is red
and we wish on moons
instead of stars.
We are nothing but
smoky dreams,
divisions of memories
spliced with shadows
imagined before love ended,
a beginning joined to a finish,
a start sewed to a sunset.

***

Twitter mash up precedes. :)

Deflection

Deflection.
That’s a thing,
right?
Like,
when you place your feelings
about one thing
on to another.
Deflection.
That’s what I have
or do
or whatever.
All these really traumatic things
happen
or happened
or are happening
to me
and all I write about
is you.
I read that writing regularly
helps you become
more balanced,
healthy,
emotionally
and physically.
But I don’t write about
these traumas.
I write about missing a boy
who turned into a man
without me noticing.
I spin yarns
painted with the face
of a man
I hope still exists.
It’s strange
to think about
my life
but not write
a word.
Well,
maybe a few
tiny
glimpses.
My new friend
told me
I should write a memoir
of my life.
I only told her
a few things,
and,
yet,
here I am,
writing about that boy…
again…
and how all motion
stops
in your eyes.

Two

I am fractured,
not real,
a girl in two pieces
instead of one,
thinking like
another has my brain.
This is not me.
I am something else
altogether different
and separate,
sharp shards
with round edges,
and these poems
are yours,
really,
not mine,
not complete
because how
can they exist
amongst and away
from these footsteps
the physical me
takes through life?
How can I write
myself
for the world to read
when this writer
only exists on screen?
She is not
the real me.
Or maybe,
she’s so much
the real
that I can’t let her
escape into reality.
Not one person
I know in person
knows these words exist.
I cannot claim them.
They are hers
and yours
and neither of you
are real.

Jumping

I know it’s up to me
which makes these feelings
my fault.
Despite your silence
and eliminating actions,
I know it would be different
if I were different,
if I could just manage
to make a rational choice.
But choosing you
is so irrationally logical
that it doesn’t
make much sense
anyway.
It should be easy
to run towards a lifting love,
one that banishes
all self doubt,
but these feet
are stuck between
right and left,
solid ground and mid-air free-fall.
I know it’s me
who has to move,
to act,
to choose
this
or
that,
comfort
or
fear.
Would losing
be worth
winning?
Or would both roads
lead to ruin?
It’s these unknowns,
the ones you hold locked
inside a heart
that used to open
whenever I was in the room,
that leave me terrified
and standing on cliff’s edge,
five toes
on either side
of jumping.

Water and Love

Footsteps,
side by side
in the sand,
imprint our presence
on the now.
Such beauty,
when lost,
only leaves
a painful sting.
We met by chance,
a rain-filled sky
dumping water and love
from heaven.
We lost by chance
on a sun-bright beach
where we said goodbye.
I can never love you
the way I want to
because you push back
like an angry child,
throwing my words
like a deck of cards.
We were once
completely here,
joined by indefinable existence.
Now we are barely there,
separated by unexplainable absence.
I saw you as my salvation,
my rescue from tragedy
and the agony of time’s tawdry turn.
Now you’re my dream
stuck in phantom form.
Open me up,
slice me clean through.
I will bleed every word
in violent silence
until there is nothing left
but me and you.
And now my stitches
are wearing thin,
my wounds
breaking open
and baring their
deep blue loss.

***

Twitter mash up precedes. :)

Cold Tea and Ghosts

The tea and toast were stone-cold, but she didn’t notice. How could she, when he was there?

His shadow wavered in the evening gloom, flickering against the striped wallpaper of the parlor. Jane sat, transfixed by the movement near the window. Her skin had broken out in goose flesh as the eerie phantom danced in the corner. For as long as she could remember, she felt haunted. It was as if her body had become a water tank, poised on spindly legs and overflowing with the multitude of memories and moments she couldn’t quite escape.

Now those hauntings had transformed into an actual spirit standing–no, hovering–in the shadows of this ancient room with peeling wallpaper and moldy couches.

And her tea was cold.

Tears cascaded down her cheeks in rivers of sadness she couldn’t quite name. So much loss, so much longing, and the tea had sent her over the edge. The running away hadn’t helped either, at least not like she thought it would. Instead of serenity, she seemed to have only found darkness underneath the already black shroud covering her life.

She should have gone to some tropical beach where good looking cabana boys delivered ice cold drinks on silver platters instead of here, to this ancient and dilapidated mansion on the rocky cliff’s of Ireland. It was beautiful and quiet, but she couldn’t help feeling defeated in such a gloomy and desolate place. The rain never stopped and the crashing waves created a thunderous backdrop to her already dark machinations. And, of course, the ghost.

At first, Jane had forced herself to believe that he was only in her imagination, her unsettled mind playing gory tricks on her, but he hadn’t disappeared yet, even with all her focus on blinking him from existence. And now he was starting to look familiar which was even worse than being haunted by a stranger because then she could just imagine it was all in her head.

His watery face looked like Jack and she knew it wasn’t a facade. Jack had followed her for twenty years and he was the reason she found herself sitting on a battered couch in an old Irish mansion with nothing to eat but cold toast and tea.

Jane glanced at the phantom floating near the window and scowled. “Why don’t you just go away!” she shouted, shaking her hands in protest. She had loved Jack so incredibly that she had almost died when he left. Or, perhaps it was when she did. Jane didn’t know and the ghost in the corner was making it so much harder to forget.

She couldn’t stand it any longer and headed for the door, leaving the miniscule meal and the ghost behind in her wake. She would call Sarah, the only true friend she ever had, but the only service on this blasted cliff was near the treacherous edge. Jane didn’t care in the slightest. She needed a respite that this place wasn’t giving her.

Practically running through the ankle-deep grass, her feet sinking in the sticky mud, Jane reached the cliff and turned on her phone. She hadn’t looked at it in a week and the screen lit up with a dozen notifications she bypassed with ease. Who cared about Facebook and Twitter when a poltergeist had followed her out to the cliff. Jane could see Jack’s glimmering silhouette in the distance, hovering halfway between her and the house. Feeling crazier than ever, she glared at him and dialed Sarah.

The phone rang twice and beeped to let her know the signal was lost. Jane scowled at the phone and cursed her stupid vacation plans. With phone in hand, she stretched out, her toes barely touching the muddy ground.

“Damn it!” she muttered as the phone continued to blink in and out of service. “Why won’t you work?” Jane yelled, her eyes pointing heavenward, focused on the phone and not the perilous cliff at her feet.

Just then, the bars lit up and she pushed send only to feel the earth disappear from beneath her. The phone tumbled from her fingers as her body tumbled through the open air.

A scream caught in Jane’s throat and she closed her eyes as the wind sailed through her amber hair. She thought of Sarah. She thought of her writing that would never be finished and her dad who she hadn’t seen in ages. Images of a life, long and sweet, flashed through her mind, a movie playing out behind her eyelids. A smile blanched her lips just as the wind disappeared, but it wasn’t the cold Irish sea she felt enclose her in its liquid embrace. Instead, warmth blanketed her body, sending hot spikes through her skin. Jane opened her eyes, and instead of seeing the cliff or the water, she saw Jack. His brown eyes were blurry and his features uneven, but there he was, saving her from dying at the mercy of fate.

Before she knew it, her feet touched the muddy hillside and Jack’s arms had left her wanting once more. “Thank you,” Jane whispered, the words coming out like sand. She could feel the tears sliding down her cheeks and the longing replaced with gratitude and satisfaction in knowing he loved her. Although Jack still lived, his spirit had saved her, just like remembering his face had done so many times in the past. Jane smiled as the phantom dissolved into the fog that had begun creeping up the cliff.

Jane turned back towards the house and saw her phone lying a short distance away. A laugh erupted from her mouth, taking her by surprise. She hadn’t realized how much she had needed to know that Jack had really loved her, and it finally felt over. She could go home.

Phone in hand, Jane trudged back to the house with a weight lifted from her heart. She needed to call Sarah, to tell someone what had happened. The phone still flashed a dozen messages and the first one was from Sarah.

Oh, Jane. I’m so sorry. Please call me as soon as you hear.

What? Had something happened? Her mind immediately thought of her father and his ailing health, and she stabbed her finger into her phone, searching for more information.

The next message was from her sister.

Call me! Where are you??

Her sister seemed frantic. Jane’s heart raced faster, a tiny jackhammer inside her chest. What could it be? And then the beating stopped.

The third message was from Jack.

Jane, I know it’s been awhile, but I needed to tell you how much I regret letting you go that day. I know now that we could have been so much more than something. Call me when you get back (Sarah told me where you are). I miss you and hope you find what you’re looking for.

Jane’s mouth went dry and she could actually feel her heart beating, its tempo stuttering like her breath. Just as she had been trying to forget him, there he was. Her smile had returned, thoughts of disaster falling from her mind the same way her feet had tumbled over the cliff’s edge.

Absently, she checked the fourth message as her thoughts wandered to warm beach summers and salty night kisses. Jack. He had saved her twice today.

But the message. It said something strange. From Dad.

Jane. You need to come home. Jack died yesterday. Car crash. Come home.

Jane blinked, her vision blurring as she remembered Jack’s ghostly arms saving her from the sea. Her knees hit the ground, sinking into the dark mud, and she realized she should have known. The ghost had never been so real as he was today. Jack had died five days ago, but he had never forgotten. He saved her just like he always had and he loved her. Jane had his words and his ghostly rescue to prove that.

As she lay in the mud, dirt sticking to her hair, Jane finally said goodbye.

***

Written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge–Kill Your Darlings

Chasm

You beckoned me
with your eyes
and I didn’t think
you meant me
until fast-moving hands
and skin meeting skin
at dizzying speeds
made me believe.
Your love is a tumble
of fast approaches
and fire-breathing need.
But I am suffocating
on the illusion
that we could be anything
but two wanderers,
lost in the desolation
of a love that once burned.
I scream out
these words of woe,
this language of longing,
in vicious strings
that shake
in violent contrast
to your silence.
Your arms around me,
your heart beating fast,
I knew you would heal me
with your devotion
and wreck me when you ran.
You left me
on the rocks,
waves pummeling my flesh,
destroying my hope.
In all these corners of dark,
I find our broken pieces,
smoldering
in the chasm of infinite space
where I build my world of you.

***

Twitter mash up precedes. :)

Forever

We never thought this
would be easy
or that our love would
transcend
space,
distance,
possibility.
We are just jagged puzzles
of jigsawed pieces
and assembly
is always required,
but I would go anywhere
just to be within
the circle of your arms,
the focus of your gaze.
You are my destination
for every journey.

***

Twitter mash up precedes. And also, I gave this one as a gift for my friends’ wedding yesterday. Turning sad poems into happier ones. :)

Echoes

On cliff’s edge,
I stand eternally broken,
your silence
echoing,
echoing.
We are shattered halves
of the same heart.
Images of you
and me
and sun-stained beaches
swirl together
into memories
so immediate
that I’m a tumble
of us
and nothing else.
You said
we should
push the past
amongst the cobwebs
of loves lost
and I can’t breathe
without you.
Our love
was supposed to be
the timeless kind,
where you held me
through the nightmares
and I saved you
from yourself.
My whispers of longing
are screams,
loud eruptions of agony,
ripping through me
until I am nothing
but bone and ashes.

***

Twitter mash up precedes. :)