The Spaces Where You Aren’t

Chimera Poetry

I knew you would leave.
I wish it could have been when I hated you.
I wish I could go back in time and break my phone
before your first call,
before I learned the texture of your name,
 and how to call it like music,
like lighting a lamp.
I knew you  would leave and my insides knew you would leave,
 but my skin held them all tight inside and wouldn’t let them speak,
while my mouth practiced smiles like tying shoes,
all knots and sloppy loops.
And if I tried too hard for too long
what else could I do?
The devil doesn’t promise to break your heart,
he just shows you a list and every name on it is yours
and that must mean you matter…..
right?
I knew you would leave and the air tastes different
now that I’m not sharing it,
and the sounds you…

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I Will Never Tell You Who I Really Am

Hemingway said it so it must be right;
‘All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.’
 
Here is the truest sentence that I know;
 
I will never tell you who I really am…
and you will never ask.
 
It’s in the places that I am supposed to belong
that I often feel the most alien.
Where I feel the most puzzled,
uneasy,
unsettled,
unwanted,
uncontrolled,
like driving with bald tires down an icy slope,
like the unexpected hem tangletrip on a stairway.
These people,
 who are the life and soul of the party,
the ones everyone likes,
What a great…….
guy
gal
boss
neighbor
sometimes those are the very ones that make me feel like an aging, infirm wolf,
my eyes closed in ragged supplication
and throat turned up.
I’m tired. I’m sad. I surrender.
I can’t relax with them,
and their slickness,
their glib and their easily trotted out patter,
seems so obvious,
seems so painted-on-veneer phony.
Is it only me?
It’s me.
It must be.
Nudged to the edges,
I sometimes fall over,
(sometimes I’m pushed)
Birthdays never noted,
success never acknowledged.
 
‘What’s that? What accomplishment?
Oh…isn’t that…
nice.’
 with an acid lip crimp that says it’s anything but,
and an immediate segue into their Larger! and Better! 
exploits and feats of wonder.
 
Oh that’s just the way they are…
Forgive
forget
get over
get around
let it go
‘Be the bigger person.’
 
I’m not big. 
I have tried big.
 I can’t fill the shape or the shoes or the role.
I’m small, I’m nondescript and I feel closer,
more connected,
 to the corners where I can blend
chameleon like,
the quiet spaces that don’t interrogate 
and force me to wear this greasepaint,
that don’t squeeze me into an ill fitting costume that bites and pinches,
into ersatz interest in a conversation I don’t quite follow…
and only form answers to hours later.
I cringe,
I creep.
I grin ingratiatingly and nod my head like a vapid bobblehead doll,
and I hate myself for it. 
Every time.
 
I will never tell you who I really am…
and you will never ask.
©jayetomas2016
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A Day of Bones

 

A day of bones

a day of bones

and breaking sticks and stones…

A day of lying undetected

under hot sand and bleaching.

A day of being still

and being hungry and hunted

and sorry…

for in the sand you feel the secondhand warmth,

but can’t ever see it golding across your face;

can’t grasp the light that your eyes crave like a drug,

the trembling fall of brightness, tumbling like motes through the sifted air,

is lost in the rasp

and in the motion denied…

Hold

and the bones stay still

in sin and in secret.

Hold,

and the rods and cones run their machinery overtime

to keep the color locked tight within,

and the bones lock

to keep the trembling at bay.

Burrowing in all soft and fat,

you hold,

hold,

for the sand dollaring,

the hardening of your inner and outer self.

While the curtain calls for retribution not redemption in your rerunning dreams.

For in the simplest and most dispassionate of truths

there is no white charger,

the flying monkeys are out of control,

your knights are trembling with you in other, separate burrows,

and the day plods by….

Your cocoon gently strangling as you helplessly watch the sand settle in more tightly around you

and your bones accept this with resignation

and any brief and random thought of emerging

smothers itself in self-preservation.

A day of bones,

a day of bones,

a day of breaking,

of sticks and stones…

 

©jayetomas2015

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Columbina

IMG_2116.JPG

 

Columbine,

Columbina,

dance with me through the streets of beaded windows

and wine washed cobbles.

Tie a string of sorrowful songs into your hair and let them flutter as the wind

washes us with spice and gold spinnings,

catching on the pearls of your mask

and shining like dragonfly wings.

Columbine,

Columbina,

a night of magic and a day of wonder

with jugglers of butter-yellow suns

and a waltz never played before

because, at its merest tone,

the weeping would overrun the rivers.

But still we dance,

my Columbine…

my Columbina and I.

Little dove in the starlit alley with the incense wrapping you like a burnt sugar cocoon.

This carnival,

this pageantry,

a stage for you to shine like the moon,

like the secret chamber of a nautilus shell.

These sinister diamonds

all in velvet laid out like a carpet

of finest Persian to tempt your touch,

to tease your flashing feet,

and we pirouette in the rosy dawn.

We unravel the clouds and weave them into portents to drop like crystal balls in the gypsies’ tent.

I will play for you a mandolin of sighing zephyrs,

dark winds and skies that do not flicker,

do not lighten

but only deepen,

infused in ancient and delicious sin.

Columbine,

Columbina,

My Columbina….

©jayetomas2015

 

*original artwork by the incredible Sorell Matei*

https://www.facebook.com/Sorell.Artist

 

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Lamentation

Lamentation ~

The Box stands glimmering,

electric with dark magic and a wanting that goes beyond reason,

flutters moth like outside the boundaries of explainable and expected,

of …appropriate.

 

I trace my fingers across the carved circles and lines

runic symbols with an edge so finely crafted it swallows the light.

A press, a turn, a recognition of where it wants your finger to go

needs it to go….

I learn the trails and my fingers warm

the air growing louder and the vibrations traveling along the flesh of my hand,

a buzzing as if a hive had opened up under my feet,

which sets the lamentation humming like a wine glass.

But like a priest only I can hear this confession

this dirge

these repulsive glamours spreading like frost

threading into my ears and eyes.

Ignore the screaming nerves and drop your polite expectations

they only slow your motion

like trying to run in a bad dream…

What portal did you envision, what cave of wonders did you think you had gained access to?

I rolled the stone away searching for a key

an invitation

to join with something higher

experience something with a sharper, keener edge

an intensity that would speak to me in ways the sad and worn streets of

Our Town never could.

That search was a medley of frustrating themes replayed in a thousand variations…

At the very end stood an innocuous puzzle box

diamond cut and filled with those arcane mysteries

I was seeking.

It is now left to me to find an interpreter

a guide through this serpentine landscape.

To construct an answer to the humming

to signal my acquiescence

for it is not my hands, dusted with fear and ashes,

that summon the lamenting….

it is desire…

©jayetomas2016

 

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Under The Hanging Tree

I will stand and wait for you

disguised

in the covering dark

and in the simmering silence of the night.

Keep to the unmapped path,

listen for the restless song of the leaves

and of moon drugged bats and

they will lead you through the perils of this old and ever shifting forest.

I will be waiting at the bending

under the hanging tree.

Strange things may happen outside

but in the shade of the tree we can stay

and water the ground with tears of promise,

of borrowed passion,

and a moment stolen like a pearl button,

ripped off and clutched tightly

in a fist damp with desperation.

 

Who knows what may grow from such a spilling,

from ground that’s only used to blood?

Who knows what knowledge may be given to us

if we listen,

ears pressed against the bark,

and translate

 the wind speaking in the branches

sighing in the same pitch as the rope once did,

rubbing in rhythm against the living wood.

 

I will leave you at the bending

discarding the darkness harvested like black tulips.

I can wash away the sap and salt and pry the dirt from under my nails…

But the crying woodsong in my ears will linger

until I can’t ignore it any longer.

And the rope I weave inch by stealthy inch

 will tighten one day

and the wind will count the beat once more

as I twirl

under the hanging tree.

 

©jayetomas2016

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The Paladin

 

You offered to banish my nightmares and be a light to shine in my darkness
to ride boldly in as befits a champion,
a Knight,
with white horse prancing…
To walk me, carefully, into the sunshine
and hand me tulips all golden green with dew and brightness
smiling beatifically as I breathe in the freshness….
But you do not see that I love the dark,
cannot accept that in my world I bloom like night jasmine.
I have made allies of my nightmares, using them to travel to the places
the deeper ones
the quiet ones
I cannot get through to in the cluttered and confused light of day.
There is comfort in the wells of night
and to embrace without seeing is to embrace arms wide with the deepest faith.
To move slowly into the unknown
in silent communion
the invisible veil as close as skin and
let the transforming shadows break around me
secure in this unending eclipse.
You want to save me
to be the hero and depart happily ever after
following a trail of thrown flowers.
But you never asked me what I wanted,
and cannot comprehend
when I shake my head and leave you standing alone in your goldenrod backstory
to watch in disbelief
as the shadows close around
and I leave with the penumbrous Paladin of my own choosing.

©jayetomas2016

 

 

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