The Songs of Stars

It began when, as a child, you would lie in the grass
smelling the dark green of the night and look up
at the sky
and count the stars and call to them
in their own tongue
and then fall silent and listen hard
listen deep
above the whirring of wings and the many songs of the wind
to hear them as they answer.
“Sister”
they named you
and you felt them inside you
elusive
like a vapor trail
you could follow but not touch.
But it was enough to know that you had stars pouring through your veins
and your heart and your soul
whispering in your ears and shining in your eyes
and the sky taught you the words to join in the aria of blue and green and shimmering life
created in other
far away night skies
before times hands started moving.
The ocean also spoke to you
claimed you in water, blood and salt
and your very skin warmed in recognition
for what is salt but tiny stars
crystals with facets gleaming
refracting and reliving
their lights and their world
and those songs are smaller but the whole universe fits inside
and you feel them overflowing
as the light spills from you
and the flickers of your fingers in the air
call the fireflies to you
for they too
recall and reverence the stars.
©jayetomas2014

 

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Ghost Writing

I dipped my pen and wrote with ink distilled from my marrow 
and the words writhed and smoked upon the page
and where it touched me 
my hand was burned
I wrote from half remembered dreams of childhood and wishes upon long exploded stars
but the ink was watercolor pale and melted away, clinging briefly to the edges and then…
gone. 
My nightmare thoughts made black smears over the paper
 but didn’t spell out the words
 only hinted dreadful things and then changed when I tried to look closer
shifting into another language
and I was exhausted from the work
and the pages were bellowing for me to fill them
so I penned a sigh
and a memory
and they softened and quieted 
and then I wrote your name…
©jayetomas2014

 

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Naming Makes You Real

You kissed me and it hurt 
but I was supposed to smile and thank you
and keep the bruises hidden like they were a defect 
because hurting me was too much entertainment to stop only because of my tender skin
with shameful names assigned at random and words like weapons
like stones thrown at a target who had nowhere to move
it was so easy to convince me I was wrong for doing none of the things you accused me of
 but I found myself guilty 
and sentenced to hard solitary
it was easier to be with the friends who were invisible
because they never asked the hard questions
and when you left with her
it never occurred to me that it wasn’t my fault…
I understand why you have to say your name in AA
it means something when you say who you are
naming  makes you real
the words spoken take shape and draw first breath as they leave yours
I should practice saying my name into the wind
saying it until it fits in my mouth instead of spitting it out awkwardly
I should practice having a conversation without flinching
try not to worry what expression my face should be modeling
and if I can ever let myself care
because it’s so hard to re-learn feeling when
your soft heart has been triple wrapped in brown paper and packed away
and the tears I wouldn’t cry
have hardened like sap into amber
but maybe that’s all that holding the jagged edges together
and my spaces would be so empty without the discarded pieces 
and counterfeit promises 
and the map to the places my mind hid my secret longing 
for something else
something far away,
stuffed like newspapers to stop the drafts in an old house
 the box I just dragged out to the curb with the trash
couldn’t possibly hold it all 
But I know whats real now
and I know my name
and one day soon
I will claim it
@jayetomas2014

 

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Spots On the Sun

I stand in the sun but the warmth moves away 
leaves me in blank spots
I seem to only curl up in the places the light shies away from
and keeping warm is now a phantom
a wishing, a memory
my soul shivers and as my hands touch the mirror 
I watch my pale face frost over
wavery and indistinct
I bundle into all the wool and down I can carry with me
but it soon catches the cold and holds it
damply against my chest and seeping into my feet
the heat promised crawls away
overwhelmed
I press my cheeks against the walls and think
I am like an old stove long emptied of wood or paper which now stands silently
chilled and weeping rust
There are spots on the sun and I live in those
a captive to the shadow
a stunted pale green shoot
curling away from the cold and into myself
and dreaming of the sunshine
of crackling sparks
and bricks made warm in the light…
 jayetomas2014
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Perceptions

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“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”~ Aldous Huxley

The water was endless and she cleaved through it with practiced movements
flipping over to gaze at the dome of the sky
the clouds in their everchanging shapes undulating
dripping their shadows across her damp face
and she lifted a hand in greeting
as if acknowledging a friend
wondering what it felt like to be high and to ride the wind…

The air above the clouds was full of light and the windcurrents of hot and cold
met and danced
and the sky opened back and back
unfolding the heavens
she hung over the side and gazed at the swelling and roll of the waves
squinting against the diamond spray
and wondered what water felt like
as it coated your body and if you bobbed like a cork or sunk like a stone
and she held her hand out before her as the wind split around it
and dreamed about the mysteries of the deep and of conquering the tides…

Deep and silent, dark as sable the tunnel cradled and surrounded her
as she poked her nose upward toward the gleaming tendrils of light
eyes tight shut against the merciless brightness which seeped
down into the cool earth
she stood in the stillness feeling the murmur of soft and growing soil
listening as the tunnellers gathered
to hear and share stories
fables about a place with no ceiling
with nothing to anchor them to ground and a glaring star which nothing on the surface could escape
and she wondered
what it was like to stand upright and alone
with nothing but emptiness stretching around and above her
and what it would be like to
see her own face…

Three separate souls reach out in curiosity and longed-for wonderment
three hearts beating out the same song
the same craving in unison
but each deaf to the rhythm of the others
like echoes bouncing off of distant cliffs
only to fade.

@jayetomas2014

 

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Who Will Help Me Carry Him?

My arms are strong but the sorrow weighs more with each mile
and my heart adds heaviness to every step
the whimpers of the ones I pass by nick me like scalpel flashes
but I dare not slow down
cannot falter
or I will never start again
and risk becoming a pile of shapeless rags blowing weakly on the side of the road
obscured by hot dust the color of mustard
Who will help me carry him?
who will lend their muscles, their hands and feet
their sweat 
and walk down this road
with hands cupped to catch 
not to push away
Who will speak for him?
to lend a voice to the voiceless
to raise the volume until the wax melts from the ears of the 
insulated
the deliberately
persistently
 unaware
he has no name
his only signature the dried blood under his nose
and he will never thank you
but your arms will remember the weight 
and your eyes will reach back and call the color of that blistered sunrise
to mind
and your ribs will catch,
will hitch 
with a memory ache of that bruising 
empty prayers and promises echo like old cans knocked off a tree limb
 tinny and harsh
and flowing prose on clean white paper a lifetime away
 is no currency here
who will help me carry him?
  jayetomas2014
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On A Train

I can’t hear the music but my feet can feel the beat

and though I avoid looking at anyone I know what they all are wearing

and my heart is clacking time with the tracks

and I feel myself getting smaller as the distance grows

being pulled, stretching like taffy

and I listen for the snap

I imagine everyone who is running feels like this

second guesses screaming your name

but the sky is reaching down and I want to hitch that ride

and if the baggage you can’t see is heavier than the faded one I’m carrying

let me pretend I am handling it 

let me pretend all I feel is nonchalantly strong

while I keep my face blank and badass

as the landscape blurs and changes

and I can taste the strangeness in the air

my restless feet stumbling over each other

twitching to get walking

and leave the track behind…

  jayetomas2014
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