We arrive sleepy and bent - a crumpled wad of desire for something new. These wet hot streets - a vistors reckoning - grief. But that is what you carried here my dear - packed neatly in your bags - folded, creased, alert. I tried to find the thing that made London her own. But, belonging to everyone and spread so densely through street upon alley upon court with flesh, she's a union of nations at once - scurrying about in search. The homeless prefer, it seems, to sleep in broad daylight beside a riot of words. There are no shoes, a tired beard, an altar of water bottles left at his feet. I thought about quitting marriage when I couldn't summon joy - as if London should ring that old bell back into awakening. But it was dinner time again - and every other door an open mouth for feeding. So we dine so we sleep so we rise once more and when you say good-bye i love you at last.
<>they gave me a little pill
so they could rip from my mouth
a word hoarder –
a shell of stories –
my having tossed caution to the wind tooth –
that taking made me think of giving
and how much there is to give still –
today, this very minute –
even as each of us hold our wounds,
ice our breaks, disguise our weaknesses.
i like that the lady who drove me home
gave me a one armed hug and said
no you are not fine
because she recognized there were bombs falling
and lights flashing and sirens blaring
behind my swollen crooked smile. Behind my face.
PTSD lingers around like an easy lover you cant quite forget.
You know how to handle her. You’re friends now. You can almost love her for having left. Then BAM! your sweating tears and lips are trembling. the heart – like an upside down fishing lure that has lodged itself in your throat. you’re fucking eyes all crying like a baby you don’t even know. Bitch.
Im trying to pacify her with a heating pad, sad coffee, slippers. no looking at mirrors. no noises. check. no sudden noises.
I tell you what; if I could get high without giving up 22 years of sobriety, I’d be all over it. As if something outside of me could make what’s inside of me right. Nah. But i can still see my brothers and sisters downtown, holding on to their treasure chest of traumas. and its cold out. PTSD is cold. maybe i can find a way to share these blankets under which i am finally starting to sweat.</>
what would you do, heart without a cell phone ringing or me texting and snapping and retrieving one hundred and fifty times a day? what would you say, heart without me having to answer every forty emails, deleting forty more and bothering so much with Siri? what would happen to you, heart - in all your soft glory - if you could just beat and love and beat some more? intuiting the vastness of stars before night even falls. catching his breath before she walks into the room. embracing my child before he walks away. i remember when. there was a feeling. so much to feel really. so much more.
grief is a quiet color - gardenia who lost her scent - a reckoning. grief is without an hour - has no second hand - the face on a clock, gone. there is only space and a vacuous ledge to lean into. my fear - not of falling but that i will jump. when i am a whirling dervish of doing i can only be one way - productive. my heart sits on the sidelines cheering us both on but would never dare to interrupt. i come here to be reminded of the color: magenta fuscia aqua marine blue a light yellow blouse carrying bones. flesh and heart held up in the mix. i come here to celebrate even though i do not recall the occasion until I am here and sometimes not at all. i sit. i admit. i pull away from the ledge enough to breath but not so far as to pretend it isn't there. my grief is a yellow tricycle - empty basket - under a timber of sun. my grief is a magical final good-bye i was not there to make - with all the busyness of being busy. the doing of regret. they say that is a stage of grieving - as if recognizing its components could allow for some dismantling - but it is intact, i say. as certain as a two minute timer. this is how we are given a reprieve. maybe even forgiveness. the landmark for time.
when i reached for the moon and fell out of the crib i was moved to lower ground. when i fell out of the tree and broke my ankle i said who likes tree climbing anyway. when i wrote a poem and you said it moved you i thought i could write forever. then forever became a mighty long time and somewhere i decided it was maybe better not to reach. or to climb or to write. because what if with falling or breaking or resting i could no longer move you? and what if not doing means not being? and what if the climber leaps?
i wanted to bring you flowers - lift the scent of jasmine out of the air or carry the wind with me - to where you were hiding, under the sleep-strained sheets and the empty bottles - to before pills and drink and men could destroy you. but you won't answer the phone or the door or the possibility of things being different - because, you say, there is no hope - inside these dark hours - these endless moments of grief - this constant feeling of loss. i say i have been there - have run full bore into the darkness myself - trying to get there before it could come get me. how i have buried myself also - under the impenetrable longing and the shame - and the elusive promise of forgetting. you still think i couldn't possibly understand, that no one can possibly understand. but we do. So many of us truly do. i once held the hand of a beautiful woman while she pushed a baby out of her body into the world. Two years later, I held that baby while we buried her beautiful mother into the earth. She'd been found dead - kicked to death in a crack house just outside of town. She was one of us - someone with dreams and fears and love and concern - a lifetime of new beginnings and loss. And it started with just one little pill. When i call you - which i will do - again and again and again until you answer, because i recognize that you are ill and not just a pain in the ass - i will say come outside and smell the wind, watch the morning unfurl with me - see how it just opens up quietly into the darkness instead of against it - until all signs of night are simply gone. and look how we are standing here alone - just you and me - and also a million other people inside their houses and their cars under their bridges and in alleys and parks. All of us watching the light open up - wondering how we will do it. what we will choose - while there is still a choice to be made.