Monday, August 31, 2009


People always want to know
what I'm thinking--
or, at least, I want them to want to know

But I can't tell them, because
telling the truth always results in
them attacking.
They're sick of dealing with me,
and that's perfectly reasonable,
but it still smarts a little.

For example, I wrote a long letter
that I'll never give to her,
but having written it, I feel sorry for her,
because I know she'd feel sad if she read it.
It's easier to be nice to her
when I feel sorry for her.

I want to ask
"What is the best way to go about this?"
but I know that no one will tell me the answer:
the thing that I want to do
is a bad, bad thing.

And I know it's wrong to be ashamed
of something that's good enough
for everybody else;
I know it's wrong to hate myself
for being something others aspire to be,

We will never escape from the thing
that is hanging above us.

When I do it, there'll be no
half-hearted, pansy-ass cry-for-help shit.
I'll clean the whole house, put cupcakes
on the table, and take the cat
to the vet; then I'll
make an itemized list of the unpaid bills
and lay it neatly near the place
where they'll find me.
I think I'll put down plastic
to save the furniture.

These are thoughts
I'm not allowed to think.
If I open my mouth to let them out
people scold me for being
inconsiderate, people make a big deal out of them
as if they weren't an everyday occurrence.
People are scared of the stupidest things.

I think they just don't want
to have to feel guilty later,
which they would,
even though my own decisions are my own responsibility,
and have nothing to do with them.
Someday, they're going to read things like this,
and think, "she was crying for help!",
which is stupid.

I don't want help; there's no such thing
anyway. All I want is to be able
to be honest about what I am
without having to backtrack, change
'round what I said to make it less
scary for everyone else, reassure
people who start crying, and defend myself against charges of
attention-whoring and "doing things that I know
will make people upset".

I don't know why I keep trying to express myself
--maybe it's an inborn trait--
when I keep learning, this week and last week and next week,
that nobody really wants to know me.

I don't blame them, though;
I don't really want to know anybody, either.
I just want to be known.


Rising up from the freshly-mown lawn
is the sweet, heavy smell of oppression.
It is late August, and
summer is already too far gone.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Troubadour Songs IV: Romance

The Dreamer unto Fairest Welcome, whose Two Eyes are Rubies, sends his Greetings.

News has reached us here inside the Battle Haze that as a consequence of Certain Laws ignored and flouted openly, our Foes imprisoned You within the Stony Jaws of a most Formidable Tower: those Unfounded Words from which You cannot seize Escape. This must distress me, coming as it does upon the Heels of Your Kind Gaze, Your Very Gracious Favor toward my Cause and actions toward myself when we took pause to linger in the Garden. Love’s own Views are that there may be Necessary Flaws in any Winning System, but He goes about of late with much less Florid Prose—well, You and I both know the way He is.

I must make Full Repayment on the Dues we owe to Persons Innocent of Guise who may be injured—Love must not excuse us—but especially in Your case: You whose Ways are charming, good, and gentle. Therefore, accept my most Sincere Apologies and please await my Letter and the Keys we leave with the Incompetent Disease that calls herself Your Guardian. (Love pays her bribes and we despise her.) Curb Your sighs; there lie within the details of the Ruse we perpetrate upon the Tower’s Knees and Your Instructions for the night we raze the Castle and effect with Tender Claws the Liberation of Your Rubied Eyes.

We probably shall all be killed; we chose a Dangerous and Complicated Maze of Paths to win You back—You’re worth a Graze or two upon the Shoulder—but it has the Markings of a Long Affair, and Blows will likely lead to Blood. The Eyes I praise may never see the Buds, the Pools, the Trees again, may never Welcome Love or rise to lock with mine if You do not enclose within the Secret Places and the Pews, with Urgency and Cunning, every Phrase—though such is not Your Nature.

Love would tease Your Curls and sport with You once more, He says, and I am ever dreaming of the Breeze that whispers in the Flowers—and the Gauze of clouds that wrap the Garden Wall because Narcissus’ Fountain laughs the way it does—and of the moment when I will enthuse with You about the Rose and Love and His Profound Illusions once again. He knows the Perfect Openness whose Blossom draws Your Face is all I ponder; You may quiz Him on it.

‘Til that Moment, Freedom lies outside our Grasp, and I maintain my Pose as ever, Yours, et cetera, as was and is Amour; we count the Passing Days.

Addendum unto Welcome from the sprays of genuine bemusement that are ties from Love to Earth, with all its fuzz and frizz. A little word as an addition flows as by the hand of Love, with grace and poise, and as by magic, settles, stops, and dries: You might, you silly little child, turn plows with just your goodness, desecrate ships’ prows with just your nature, slip between the glues that hold the cracks together, turn the screws away from where they turn, and move the saws along the boards until the Fountain spews its water through the castle—but this throws the whole of nature off its course; we’d rouse the anger of an older god who slays without regret, so cherish all that glows within your open face, which pales and shies from tricks. We will forgive the boy that stays within his borders—and that shrew who stews and sets her sights on sugared mead that cloys and turns her tongue to rumor and to grouse will find she cannot chew the very pies she bakes in her own oven. So the highs of life will come to he who drops supplies and spies the Garden as the workman mows.


Fair Welcome unto Dreaming Lover: ease your heart. Your soothing words to me are bees that fill my mouth with honey and that buzz their song into my ears, so when the crows croak loudly near my window, I hear coos of doves, because I know I will not lose your favor. Though I know I am unwise enough to welcome anyone who strays too close to me and to the Rose, surprise! you still desire my freedom. And Love grows unhappy when we’re parted; that’s a phase he’s never had before! so there’s a glaze of honor on my capture.

For I laze about and sing and read and lick the fuzz on too-ripe peaches—oh! I have new shoes!—I count the stalks on which the cricket plays and watch at night the pallid moonlit shows of stars and night birds’ babies: so my woes are not so many after all. My sprees of fancy fly in towers, too; the lows of life are merely boredom and goodbyes.

My guardian, of course, tries what she tries: she chortles, weeps, and scolds; she spits; she spies; she worries over me; she picks; she gnaws; she forces on my ears a horrid sleaze of stories that were better kept in sties among the putrid public and the fleas—but I can stand it ‘til you come: I bruise too beautifully upon my face and thighs to stop the stinging of the stinging flies, and there are lilac blooms and sweetest peas grown slowly up between the workmen’s hoes to scent the air wherein my tower sways.

I wait upon your letter with the fizz of full enthusiasm from my toes up to my hair. Of all the lucky boys on earth, I am the luckiest: I drowse in peace and wait for you to bring the hues of gem-encrusted glory to the bays of my unbroken windows—and the fees for life in such a place are tiny joys, so do not hurry to the walls that house my captor and myself with sticks and straws.

I hope you find the Rose before she dies, for that’s the most important thing. Your ploys are certain to succeed, however: cows are more observant than this woman. Browse among the lilacs when you come; the cries of all the birds there will recall the noise that so enchanted you when daytime froze beside the bushes. Tell Amour his clues are understood and that I miss his poise and his insane affection for his toys, of which I am but one. And when your crews come finally, whenever, like an ooze of sticky sap that seeps into the clays that hold the house together as it vies to stay upright, the stream of longing slows: I Welcome you; I Welcome all your vows.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Troubadour Songs III: Merciful Object

If I did not feel pity
for the intrepid heart
believing me kind and witty
and bringing its dearest part,
proffering, sweet, a start--

If I could not look kindly
over the open hand
that offered its trust so blindly
and wondered if I had planned
anything bold or grand--
If I would never suffer
arms that would hold me back
and prove that my will is tougher
by staying upon the rack
while threads of my soul grow black,

I would be called too cruel,
and truly I do not mind
disposing of every jewel
--I would not be so unkind--
to those who have begged and pined
for what I do not treasure.
Though I cannot love as they,
I may as well bring them pleasure,
for I cannot find a way
to breathe life into my Play.

All who would take were given
loyalty, hope, support,
attention, caresses, and driven
intensity of the sort
that pierces the inner court,
and I pity that perfect, prone part
--the heart squeezing through the sieve--
but no one can take my own heart
of all of the folk who live,
for I haven't a heart to give.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Flight from Houston

I have stared at the sun;
since then, all else is darkness.
The pain in my eyes is the pain of knowing
I can kindle no fire so bright.


A fish inside a poisoned pond--
Orestes, O Orestes, choose!
How meaningless to hold the reins
of one's uncharted destiny
if Earth, on which one rides, is strong
and tilts and turns accordingly,
the subject of an ancient Law,
and gods build mountains at their whims
that split the Earth and Sky in two--
therefore, my choice is not to choose;
I die in water or in air.