Shade

You are the toasted yellow of a duvet beneath an open window on a cold rainy spring night, the sage and earth of a favourite book on a sun-warmed park bench, the indigo and silver of a street dance under a midnight full moon, the red and gold of a fiery kiss, a stolen touch, your skin on mine. This is the spectrum of my world, a secret garden vibrant and light; in every moment, you are my favourite colour.

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Fantasy

A skilled architect without a devoted builder soon abandons grand plans and elaborate designs to settle for whatever shelter can be found. Marble and gold are forfeited for plywood and concrete in the hands of incapable, disinterested craftsmen, and the architect discards the working of his imaginations in order to find a modicum of satisfaction in the buildings he is given.

In a dark foyer, eyes closed and senses dulled, he can remember the thrill of pleasure that danced through his torso, into his heart and onto the page, but he cannot recall the pictures which fed his electricity, and this place, this hovel, this shell of a dream must suffice if he is to survive.

Then there is another builder, a young idealist who sees plaster and imagines tiles of marble with golden grout, who tears through plywood walls to install glass panels. He cannot understand the architect’s astonishment, nor the imaginative artist’s terrifying lack of vision, his acceptance of the utterly mundane. With patience and persistence, neither, soon, does the architect.

Stride

The stars hide beneath the rain whilst we walk, but after the symphony is done, they are out, glistening on the slick ground above us, below us, in us. You jig in the puddles, gleeful where I am uncertain, navigating with ease the slippery places where my hesitation slides, gliding along the wet with wild control and easy abandon, pulling me with your smile into your dance.

Arms around your shoulders for purchase, I follow your lead, close my eyes, throw my head behind me to watch the stars, the world, spin. Everyone sees, but no one watches as the city passes us by.

Monochrome

Numbness in black, veil of ache, cold blanket of a lonely hole drawn over your head. We kneel at the horizon, throwing light into the void, waiting, watching for penetration, saturation, a tear in the fabric that snatched you when you ran too hard, too near. The fearless passion which traps and blinds you is going to be your salvation; every hue of love holds its breath for you.

Sunset

Two cliffs rise on either side of an ocean, Escherian folds bridging, exposing, swallowing the water below. Between them, I dangle, balance, dance in oblivion; exposed, I fall to the abyss, catch myself (or do you catch me?), and I climb again, wearied and aching. How I miss you when you’re gone, when you’ve packed your tent for the night, and abandoned your seat on the eastern cliff, where you watch and applaud dutifully and meaninglessly, and I wonder if you were ever truly there, if this performance ever mattered, because no one has joined, no one has noticed, no one has asked for more. Do I (am I) keep (still) dancing for you, for them?

Russell Edson and “The Tunnel”

I tweeted this earlier this week, but wanted a little more room to stretch my legs on this thought:

Have been recently turned on to the prose poetry of Russell Edson in his collection “The Tunnel.” Savoring this magically challenging work.

Oh, it’s been a long time since I’ve been so stirred by a particular writer or work.

I’ve learned a lot about myself and my reading habits as well as my writing habits this year. I’ve really started trying to be an excited reader again; countless semesters of reading for school instead of pleasure can really take that out of you. But even knowing that I had become a grumpy reader, asking a book to meet me where I was instead of going to it, I still find a lot of the bestseller material to be trite – the same old characters repackaged and settled into the same old towns. Today’s popular literature seems to be all about twists at the end, and it’s hard not to get bored during the setup.

Russell Edson, though… Well, he came out and met me where I was, then said, “hey, let’s keep walking this direction and see what we find.” An enthusiastic reader who wants to see the impossibility of the world, of single moments, of unknowable feelings, that reader will love Russell Edson.

I want desperately to tear through this book, to gobble up every word as quickly as possible. But I can’t, because each piece of prose poetry here should be absorbed slowly, savored, considered on its own. I’ve started reading it almost as I would a devotional: one piece per day. And thus far, just as would be expected from a devotional, I walk away learning something new about the author, about myself, about the world I inhabit and how I walk in it.

Lament

I chose the tequila path early and shaped myself with the glamour of duty filling my vision, driving, pushing me to achieve a perfect flavor – my natural sharp tart blended with secret sweet to forgive the tequila and salt – and perfect body – not so big I can’t easily find the mouth searching for the shot’s grand finale, but not so small I can only play once – all so I could live the stories the shriveled old wedges tell, stories of comforting unbearable heartbreak and of raucous unfettered laughter and of women whose clothes are loosened or lost completely and of the fleshy desperate kisses (oh!) how I longed for a touch of salty lips, for the promise of foreign flavor – tomato or cheese or lust – but on this, my coming out night, my debutante ball, I am freshly sliced, still full of juices, dropped on a stool by clumsy fingers, forgotten and unable to call for attention now this great hunk of meat has descended upon me.