Night Terror (a reading)

Night Terror

“When are we not in a dream?

…when are we not skeletons?”

—Sy. Hoahwah

I don’t remember 

the dream before,

I cracked my head hard

against the wooden night stand;  

the fine grained ephemera, 

which held the dream together, 

burned like flash paper into the air.

A lightning ball exploded 

my darker vision, as the dream,

too agile to cradle, threw me 

deftly from sleep onto the floor.

Not existing fully in the fluidity

of sleep, nor the concrete warmth

of the morning window’s light,

I held my head in my hands,

eyes shut, as the lightning flash

faded, leaving only the muscles

in my neck to burn like trees

broken during the night’s storm.

(July 16, 2021)

Night Terror

“When are we not in a dream?

…when are we not skeletons?”

—Sy. Hoahwah

I don’t remember 

the dream before

I cracked my head hard

against the wooden night stand;  

the fine grained ephemera, 

which held the dream together, 

burned like flash paper into the air.

A lightning ball exploded 

my darker vision, as the dream,

too agile to cradle, threw me 

deftly from sleep onto the floor.

Not existing fully in the fluidity

of sleep, nor the concrete warmth

of the morning window’s light,

I held my head in my hands,

eyes shut, as the lightning flash

faded, leaving only the muscles

in my neck to burn like trees

broken during the night’s storm.

(July 16, 2021)

Acceptance

(after J. Ruth Gendler)

Acceptance makes hot tea

for you on cold blustery days.

Acceptance waits for you 

to decide who you are—

She makes no judgement

based on arbitrary rules.

Acceptance knows she is stronger,

because she knows the difference

between herself and Acquiescence,

who is too afraid to be different.

Acceptance sits near an open chair

knowing you will find a way home.

She likes to listen to your voice

as you take delight in new ideas.

She does not care they are not hers.

With the gentle reassurance of love,

Acceptance takes your hands

as if they were fresh cut flowers.

(July 1, 2021)

A Space Opened Into Absence Like the Sea

Where words we would have said

were swallowed, like sailors sacrificed

to the waves, possibility slipped shut.

If only we could have heard the words

we sang in secret to each other;

if only we had not died there,

feeding like fabled monsters

upon our embittered flesh;

if only we had relented

to the siren’s cold seductions,

then the screams in the waves

which smashed upon the sea wall

would not be lost to the blind pulse 

of froth and spume across the wreck.

(June 30, 2021)

then, an ever present now (a reading)

then, an ever present now

The shuttlecock flits nimbly across the loom with a soft clacking beat. “For every time I’ve told this tale, I’ve told it twice again,” she implies with a sigh as she begins. She speaks of patience and home, and slow unsolicited seductions, as time unravels across the floor like red pools of forgetfulness at her feet.

He watches her hands shift the threads as if playing upon a lyre. He thinks, “There are so many ways through the woods; so many rivers and creeks to cross;  so many hollows and caves to wander lost, always different, always the same as the ones crossed before.”

For years and years as he wandered, he watched the waves pulse repetitive hallucinations and horrors towards a horizon he could no longer see. Unearthly monsters churned the waters feeding one upon the other; the past devoured the past with a ceaseless hunger for more. While elsewhere late at night, she walked the halls without a light, leaned against a shuttered door, and listened to the incessant voices muttering their plots and plans for a life she abhorred.

As the story faltered to its close, there was no soft landfall upon the strand, no wreck scattered upon a beach; no violence in their reunion, nor familial embrace. What had grown between them, tangled like olive tree roots upon a cliff, could not be troubled enough to be called love, if it could be called anything at all.

then, an ever present now

The shuttlecock flits nimbly across the loom with a soft clacking beat. “For every time I’ve told this tale, I’ve told it twice again,” she implies with a sigh as she begins. She speaks of patience and home, and slow unsolicited seductions, as time unravels across the floor like red pools of forgetfulness at her feet.

He watches her hands shift the threads as if playing upon a lyre. He thinks, “There are so many ways through the woods; so many rivers and creeks to cross;  so many hollows and caves to wander lost, always different, always the same as the ones crossed before.”

For years and years as he wandered, he watched the waves pulse repetitive hallucinations and horrors towards a horizon he could no longer see. Unearthly monsters churned the waters feeding one upon the other; the past devoured the past with a ceaseless hunger for more. While elsewhere late at night, she walked the halls without a light, leaned against a shuttered door, and listened to the incessant voices muttering their plots and plans for a life she abhorred.

As the story faltered to its close, there was no soft landfall upon the strand, no wreck scattered upon a beach; no violence in their reunion, nor familial embrace. What had grown between them, tangled like olive tree roots upon a cliff, could not be troubled enough to be called love, if it could be called anything at all.

Constructs

To connect to some constellation,

we curve toward our angle of light,

intwine our limbs

across any lattice we find.

For only in reflection

are lines straight,

a simple step followed by another,

where all our lies are justified

into sclerotic prison walls.

We turn our faces to the sun

like mirrors tracking distant stars,

where there are no explanations

for our desires, where absences

appear unanticipated

like the sadness of angels

momentarily entering a room

only to leave without speaking.

How do we know

to stand before the door

knowing it will open?

How do we know

the door is there?

(June 17, 2021)