Thursday, January 31, 2008

In a Meeting, from the Other Side of the Room

I feel as though I could die--
as though I will die--
from the vibrancy
of the sensations that assault me.
I cannot express, it seems,
the way I am affected
by a nip on the tongue,
the brush of an earring,
the play of my curls on my shoulders.
A shiver, and my eyes roll back--
my voice sobs; the cry is heard.
I look at you with deep, besotted eyes;
your lips part,
and the air is suddenly cold.
I wish I could make you feel.
If I could, I would press myself against you
and breathe life into you,
and you would know.
How I long to run the cutting point of my incisor
along the curve of your neck,
to drop soft, dry kisses on your palm,
to pull you into the snow with me,
where we might pass away in blissful anguish.
How I long to show you!
It is a pleasure to feel pain;
it is a pleasure to feel anything at all,
and I fear I will be overwhelmed:
I am shaking; I am crying.
You are beautiful,
and the colors are entrancing,
and I want to give you this--
but I fear I am the only one,
the only one here who can know these things.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I feel ev'ry tiny grain
of the world, but it is plain
now that I do not feel pain,
though the wind that stings is cold,

and I think I search in vain
for what my brain
needs to flee from stupor's hold.

When I touch the fire or rain,
or pierce a vein,
I can know what lies untold,

but inside, a pool has lain,
and it steams and makes me strain,
and all other hurt is gain
next to heartache, new or old.

I feel ev'ry tiny grain
of the world, but it is plain
now that I do not feel pain,
though the wind that stings is cold.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Formes Fixes


I never could be so silly
as to pretend
to aim to come near such beauty.

Your smile is the sway of lily,
made to transcend.

I never could be so silly
as to pretend.

Your laugh is a dancing filly.
I comprehend
the sorrow of concrete duty.

I never could be so silly
as to pretend
to aim to come near such beauty.


When I am dead, I know what you will say.
You will think you were wanted to forestall
all of the blood I spilt in disarray
over the table, strewn about the hall,
but you are wrong. I tell you I will fall
whether you leave or truly mean to stay.
I know it frightens. I know what I ought.
You are afraid whenever I recall
any of many whispers I forgot.

Now, while I live, they crawl across the floor,
whispering lies that tell me of the sky,
whispering truths that tell me I’m a whore,
coming in pain, and sweetly asking why.
It’s not your fault that I must choose to die.
Do not believe when whispers underscore
all of the hints a good man might have caught.
It is my choice to kill what I abhor.
It is my fate to do what you cannot.


When I swore I would be true,
I did not mean to pursue
that old dead thing, which anew
has sprung up and grown awry.

Now my heart is all askew,
and I review
any virtue I defy.

If you saw that I withdrew
and wondered who
(or perhaps you wondered why),

do not ask me; if you do,
I will surely show to you
all the feeling I subdue
and the passion I deny.

When I swore I would be true,
I did not mean to pursue
the old dead thing, which anew
has sprung up and grown awry.

Monday, January 21, 2008

You Can't Fall Out

I think it must be
a milestone in every girl’s life:
the first time she falls in love
with a married man.

Real love, I mean—
not the kind where you find out
and think, "Oh, well.
That was disconcerting."

I mean the kind
you can’t fall out of,
the kind that haunts you,
the kind that hurts.

Like all loves before it,
it is accompanied by pain,
overwhelming joy,
and, increasingly, fear.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Forbidden Fruit

It sparkles with life,
and it's warm, with soft skin.
The glow, the beauty, dazzles me.

To eat of such a thing
would be to bruise the purest flesh,
but it's there, tantalizing,
and the dear thing doesn't know
how it torments me.

How much longer can I gaze in adoration
before my fingers,
all unbidden,
reach out to possess that perfection,
to bring it to my lips?

I must leave.
But for the caress of his voice,
but for the unclouded joy of his laughter...

The Word

I want to find the Word--
the Word that will comfort you--
but it's not Real,
it doesn't exist,
and I am empty, but for words that fall,
flat and lame,
and shatter.

You despair, unrescued,
and I feel all the guilt and shame and fear,
as though it were my fault,
although that is untrue.

How do you do that?

Or is it I who make it so?

Milk and Meat

I'm in the foothills,
and they are wilder than the lush, green valleys;
they are not as rocky as the heights I hope to climb.

I look forward
and see how much farther I have to go.
I look back
and see how far I have come.

Voices from above call to me:
Come to us! Come, and know!
Voices from below cling to me:
How could you leave us? Have you no heart?

All that is there--my family, my home--
cries out in indignation, shaming me.

O little village, o little people,
will you not come with me?
You are lovely, but I cannot stay.
Stronger voices call to me.
The valley has grown too small, too soft,
and my life there became a frustrating struggle
not to strain my bonds.

I would have liked to have shown you
the things I could see, the things I could hear,
but you do not want to look or to listen.

I want to love you.
Please do not force me to cut myself off from you.

It stings me with guilt to admit this,
but you are smaller than I.
You want me to think well of you,
to diminish myself,
but Truth can be denied only so long.

Goodbye, then;
there are better friends above.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Every Time

Every time I think I can can do it--
Every time I think maybe I can love you--
You turn on me.

You snarl and snap, and I think,
"Poor thing; you're frightened," and I think,
"Who did this to you?"

and I get angry and I fight for you.
But you snarl and snap.

How many times can you bite me
before I give up on you?

If that is the question you want answered,
I'll tell you:
This many. I quit. Is that what you want?
Do you want to drive me away?

I want to be compassionate,
but I'm no good if I'm angry all the time.
I can't be afraid all the time.

It's wrong, wrong, wrong
to leave you like this, when you're suffering so.
Everyone hurts you, and I don't want to add to that.

But it's wrong, wrong, wrong
to let you do this to me, too.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


In the instant before an injury,
when my body at any moment expects pain
and my mind is screaming, "Turn!"

my mouth and nose fill
with the taste of blood.

It is one of those phenomena
that go unexplained
because there is no one to tell.