The Undertone

Mary stood on a stoop alone

Righteous and alone

Flawed and alone

Relying on precepts that wore her out

like stone on the more malleable stone

of her own resolve.

 

Mary stood on a stoop, tall

Soaring and tall

Flailing but tall

Afraid that her perch could not hold her weight

Afraid that she would fall

 

Mary stood on a stoop to shout

To clarify but shout

To defend and shout

No one else knew what Mary was about

Her perch was too tall –

“Why she yellin’ at us, for clout?”

 

Mary stood on a stoop to love

“How can you love from above?”

“How can you love from above?!”

You need to stand on your own two feet

to love.

How’s Mary gonna understand if she’s above?

 

Mary stood on a stoop to be heard

To be seen and heard

To be felt and heard

For years and years, she had cared so much

but couldn’t be heard

She’d whispered for love  but no one had cared

to whisper back

 

So Mary gave up her stoop forlorn

Aching at the scorn

Misunderstood and worn

Wondering why she’d ever been born if

it wasn’t to find a stoop of her own.

 

Prose et Poesie

Save.

Come, pour it all out to me. In a moment of true need.

 

Shiiiiiittt. You woke up hella late, slept through hella alarms, and cost yourself 20 bucks this morning. Best believe you’re broke enough right now that that makes a difference. A huge one.

You’re having a rough day – can’t you tell? Can’t you smell the doubt, anxiety and self derision – sulfur fumes rising from the well? You’re tempted to gather, to push through, to self-love, to pull loose of this infernal grip.

But today? No. Today, you could have maimed a man in a UPS outfit, if he’d turned out to be a burglar.

Save.

You don’t save. You haven’t yet managed to save yourself. It’s been years in this war that you’re fighting; Constantly engaged and projecting to the world so you don’t have to face yourself. So you can face another and hate the shell. It’s hollowed out – that hologram, because the mirror’s a hoax.

You can’t project your worst on to the world and then face the demons that stare back because you can’t slay a reflection of a problem when the problem is you.

Save.

How can you save others, how can you save yourself? Service. Full service pain. Full service problems. A continental strain.

Why you can’t win at this war? Why you’re always losing? You’re not being you. You’ve been hiding under years of rock and shield. Under years of cover from soul. Sometimes you can’t feel it anymore, what you would do. You see it sometimes in quiet bursts. In eclipses of fear-defying proclamations. You see it hide, retreating tactically as you backtrack your ‘lapses’ and pad over the cracks in the sculpted suit you present as yourself. You see it. Can you save it?

Can you save you from you?

Being honest to yourself is a war you have been losing. But the war, not the battles. You see the truth through the chinks in that armour. You will save yourself – piece by stone, hard, metallic, piece. Then you will save that armour. To remind yourself of what it is to live in the fear, in emotional squalor.

You’re having a bad day.

No one can save you but yourself.

Because no one else can save you from yourself.

Journaling Prose et Poesie

You Did Not Die, You Lived.

So. You were bested.

Was it not temporary? Will you not stand again?

 

Did you not get back up? Did you not survive? Did you not breathe again – deeply?

Don’t you just hiccup now at the thought?

 

At the time, in the very beginning, it seemed that all was lost.

It was not.

It held together as most things tend to do, when will is the glue piecing them through.

Save your victory lap, though. Get to the end and that was not the end. It was a part of the journey. That

Was not the beginning. You remember the beginning.

This was one stumble.

One out of a great many, parsed out over the journey.

Convoluted, hard,

Not an easy route.

Save that which you can, and remember to breathe, when you can.

Deeply.

Just so. And when you consider it later, I want you tempted to hiccup at the thought.

Close your eyes and savour it. But just for a moment.

I need your eyes open to continue down that road. And to know you will not die.

It will not kill you. Not till it is your time. And then, even then, you will breathe- deeply

As you go.

Prose et Poesie

Thursday

She gets off the train and swiftly tucks her gloveless hands in her coat pockets; jamming her right thumb into the clumped up earphone cords connected to her phone that is, also, jammed in her pocket. She walks briskly to the traffic light and waits with head bowed for the light to favour her crossing. Five minutes after she has crossed the slushy mess of a road, she is letting herself into a warm lobby with a fob that is part of the tangled mess of that same right coat pocket. She briefly debates checking her mailbox but doesn’t do it. She, more pressingly, needs to pee. She takes the elevator up to her floor and walks – trots- to her door. She pauses for the briefest of beats outside her door and swings her tote off her shoulder. She lets it hang at her side as she opens the door – it will discourage the cat from dashing outside when she opens the door wide enough to walk in. He is sitting by the door as expected, he is shooed back by the bag he has not yet come to expect after six months of the same… Cats are not known to be exceptionally bright. She closes the door and does a pee-jig by it as she hangs up her coat. It has become more like a pee-shimmy by the time she kicks off her boots and walks sideways to the bathroom. She pees – relief. The cat winds his way around her legs. She wishes that he wouldn’t. He rubs himself on her tights. She tells him to go away. He seems to listen and settles just outside the door. She needs a shower and some dinner – in that order. The shower is warm and necessary. The cat sits just behind the shower curtain and jumps back when she is done and moves the curtains out of the way. She puts some music on and sashays as she lotions. She throws on something comfy then passes through a body spray mist she has created on her way out the bathroom door. She decides a quick stir fry will do and gets out a chopping board. The cat trails her to the kitchen, meowing now in hopes of a cat treat. She picks out a knife to chop some onions, the cat lays it’s upright tail lazily on her legs. She squats, plants her vegetable knife deep in the thorax of the cat in one swift motion, then walks back to the bathroom for another shower. 

Prose et Poesie

Pieces

And as I listened and I read and I thought… I thought

He will break my heart

Beautifully.

And I will let him

To see what he does with the pieces.

Or

If he will find the apex of his artistry in

The breaking.

Prose et Poesie

Gilded Closets

She looked over the curving mahogany railings to the beaming face standing sentry at the base of the stairs. His smile was definitely twinkling in his eyes today. His joy mirrored hers but looking at it blossom in his slightly dilated pupils… Well, everything was worth it for this tiny moment. This blip of happiness. She gathered up her hem so she wouldn’t trip over it as she descended. She could already hear the murmur of their thirty closest family and friends in the great room and it wouldn’t do for their welcome to be a resounding thud from her skull fracturing if she misstepped. Not today, at least; not in this perfect moment. When she got to the last two steps, He stretched out and held her hand gently. She smiled at Him gratefully and twirled on the landing. The dress was, after all, His gift to her and He had yet to see her in it.
“Come, everyone is growing restless,” He smiled but gently tugged her in the direction of the great room. She was eager to follow, breathless to please. Her happiness was His, but much greater as she was the source of His tonight. She seldom was…
They got to the double doors with their intricately carved, brass polished handles and paused for a beat. Francis was going to announce their arrival before they went in. He, too, was smiling at their approach as he turned to open the doors. This moment was almost as much his as theirs. He had been butler and head groundskeeper for as long as she could remember and he had been privy to all their sorrows and disappointments, no matter how hard she had tried to hide them. As soon as she set the tip of her heeled sandals over the great room threshold, a mass of bodies collectively enveloped then swept the rest of her into the room.
“My daaaarling! How are you both feeling?”
Her sister was looking only at her, breaking through the overwhelming haze of hellos, momentarily dispersing them. Her gaze was swaying gently from face to belly back to face- the careful pendulum of love. And for the first time that night but probably the thousandth over the last week, her left hand strayed to her belly. Her right was still firmly cocooned in her husband’s. As was wont to happen, He responded before she got a chance to, “Maman and Baby are doing well, Jas. Where’s the toy?”
The toy was Ethan. And she had begged Him to stop calling Ethan that. For whatever reason, He had adopted Jas as His little sister but would not extend the same courtesy to E. But she said none of this and smiled shyly instead. She kept her mouth and thoughts shut. Everyone expected her to… Or they had come to expect her to because of habit. Those ugly thoughts they mostly shared that she did not spare time to have thoughts in the first place were long established.
Jas winked at Him and nudged her chin ever so slightly to the table weighing the hors d’oeuvres. E was intent on the story he was listening to from Aunt Joan. All three pairs of eyes followed Jas’ chin. In the split attention lapse that followed, Jas took her hand and gave it a squeeze – as one would when shared words of condolence suddenly feel like they are not enough.
But that tiny squeeze spoke other volumes. It spoke of waves of heat and sweat tangled between two lithe bodies in the swimming pool shed on hot summer afternoons. It spoke of goosebumps and steeped nipples, buttons of tension responding to well-experienced thumbs on taut January’s endless nights. Those same thumbs she could feel on the back of her hand now, right below her wedding band. The squeeze spoke in waves but it felt like cascading falls and abandon. Really, it felt like Jas testing their limits of exposure and now was neither the time nor place for it. Not that her husband would be remotely suspicious or concerned. He would probably attribute her flush to nausea or her anticipated response to the crowd’s overwhelming love.
She withdrew her hand slowly but firmly, not wishing to offend Jas but also desiring to not draw attention to what she was definitely making a bigger deal than it probably was. Jas bunched up her face for the tiniest second then relented. She went for His elbow instead and dragged Him further into the room to say hi to “the toy”. She used this spare second to carefully compartmentalise her rushing emotions then glided in to say hi to her parents who had stayed back to give the couple time to wade in and work the room…

Prose et Poesie

Organic Burn

There are things that have begun to burn.

Save those you can while they in any part

remain

We leave what we cannot take. We trusted

What we did not make

After all, and went ahead and claimed it –

Love.

No, we did not make love. We made,

well…

We did. But we did not create it. God did. God

is

Love. So how could the creator become in any part

the created? No.

So when these things that have begun to burn

can not be salvaged

We leave them and run. We haste from the embers that become

We are followed in our turn but the scarring is

localised to a minimum. An infinitesimal organic suicide

Heartbreak.

We labour with the remnants of our burn

To plagiarise and live in reruns.

Tomorrow we make again what we did not create

And trust again what we did not make

Our memory heals enough so we replicate.

Love.

 

Prose et Poesie