he was like the moon,
cold and distant -
but always within reach.
she would watch him
from the bottom of her well.
she often heard laughter
echoing through her chamber.
the stone walls that encircled
glistened with blue light;
she would sometimes sing;
that unsettled him,
shattering his illusions
of a perfect world.
the rope had been cut -
she knew it had been him.
the neglected forest,
wild and overgrown,
kept her a secret -
never to be found.
i look forward to that day
when i bump into you
in a coffee shop or bookstore
and not absorb a drop
of that tiresome anxiety.
the ongoing lament;
another existential crisis.
when the words you say
sound like nails down
a schoolroom chalkboard
and not a chorus of angels singing.
the numerous meals i cooked
were not enough to make me
the centre of your universe.
instead i was a planet
in a vast solar system
that revolved around you.
even as my life shattered,
i finally felt i was coming up for air.
ill at ease.
still a child.
a squandered youth
i still regret.
the absence of
i look back,
think about myself
and feel depressed.
oh to erase the
feelings of ineptitude.
what did i do?
fill page after page
of countless diaries.
i listened to sad music;
i listened to my parents
and did what they asked me.
i'll end up alone,
i would tell myself.
it comes at night.
i love the nocturnal silence.
when it comes to me
and takes hold!
only daylight is my saviour.
i do not mind the bland
paint job on the wall.
or the dull, worn out carpet.
the sepulchral surroundings
comfort and ground me.
i am a daydreamer.
my head whirling with words
that find their proper order
in the starkness of this room.
god knows i suffer in the summer.
the season doesn't invigorate me,
i find it depleting.
the new light disorients me
and fulminating nature overwhelms me.
the hazy air, thick with cut grass
and pollen, like an invisible army
endlessly assaulting my eyes and nose.
it all begins in the spring,
equally as melancholic.
i sweat all day,
but by night i am freezing.
no sweater or shoe seem right
for this temperamental time of year.
every blow of my life
has taken place in warm weather.
the jovial laughter in
chiffon summer dresses
only remind me of the losses,
betrayals and disappointment.
the summertime inertia
of waking up in bleached surroundings
and having the distinct feeling
of being inevitably pushed forward.
but today is the weekend,
i do not have to leave the house.
i can wake up and not get up.
there is nothing better.
i walked the lonely woods at night,
and came across a pixie.
he was so small, his hair was bright,
his appearance rather tricksy.
he flashed a mischievous, sprite like grin,
and beckoned me come forward.
i walked to him, my mind made dim,
and did just as he ordered.
he pointed to a fallen tree,
and asked me to inspect it.
i looked and saw, to my surprise,
it was not as i expected.
the tree was not a tree at all,
but a giant soundly sleeping.
i turned to see the imp was gone,
and this would be my ending.
ivy part II
what was it that you said to me about the moon,
how it had the magnitude to capture our shadows?
were those the exact words that you used?
i can remember the story of the princess,
who became trapped in the moon's reflection
on the surface of the lake.
we each recall the story differently -
you argue that she was a queen;
i do not think that it matters.
we wander into the forest.
the silence was uncomfortable;
i hesitate just for a moment.
you gently take my hand
and guide me from the path.
i will never find my way back.
the air is thick and pungent,
i can taste wet soil;
the stench of damp rot and decay.
'not much further,' you say.
i did not know you had a plan.
we came upon a well,
the crumbling stone;
overgrown with ivy.
i felt the wave of unease.
'look down it,'
i did not hesitate to obey.
it's so deep, is there something down there?
you ask me to imagine falling in.
but that is a game i will not play.
i do not know at what point
you let go of my hand.
it must have been when i turned;
you had already gone.
i built this house
stone by stone.
my fingers bled
from all the work.
i pulled up the drawbridge
but not before letting you in.
i witnessed you plant something,
i allowed it to grow and grow.
now ivy climbs and strangles the walls.
buried deep in the foundations
and lifting my floors.
the windows now completely covered,
i forced those shutters closed.
i locked the basement,
but the flies crawl through the cracks.
i swat them away; more come -
the body you hid down there no doubt.
the yellow wallpaper that i hate;
peeling at the edges and tobacco stained.
i risk a glance outside, is that you?
i know it has been years
since you last climbed that fence.
i must find those shears,
i thought i had them here.
did you take those too?
the near constant drizzle of rain;
oppressive clouds coagulate over me
like voluptuous rolls of fat in the sky.
i shiver against the damp chill,
but the fires cannot be lit.
i imagine you surrounded by light,
bathed in an orange, diaphanous glow
of warm July sunshine.
will you chase away my sorrow,
that haunts me in the night?
the courage i must borrow
to escape misery and strife.
the darkness it covers me
like a blanket of despair.
the weight does suffocate me
as i claw and grasp for air.
the moon gives off no light;
the stars have been blacked out.
the fear does steal my sight
leaving just pain and doubt.
come play me your sweet music
that lulls me back to sleep.
the only thing that calms me,
your lullaby to keep.
rare steaks and raw carrots
my great, great aunt wore canary diamonds
that were said to be the size of gull's eggs.
they decorated her hand like an ostentatious Christmas tree.
she had an antique birdcage carved from ivory
(or was it a doll's house?)
that had been in the family for generations.
she would rise before first light and
be seated for breakfast by five o'clock sharp -
never being late for morning mass.
each day she would descend the grand staircase
in her black silks and fine lace and
float into the mahogany dining room.
the long table was set as though for a banquet
and her seat was at the far end.
they served her bloody rare steak and
grated raw carrots with a squeeze of lemon juice.
these quirks only manifested
after the tragic death of her daughter.
"one of those mysterious fevers,"
my mother would recount.
she had wanted to be a nun but
had been forbidden that life.
the death was God's punishment.
my large family is peppered with eccentric widows of means.
"the widows were the lucky ones in those days,
many of the females had ended in asylums."
discarded by greedy husbands and nefarious uncles.
my mother was made to visit them.
she never talked about it,
aside to say it happened.
before her death, she promised my mother the
hand carved ivory birdcage (or dollhouse).
my mother knew she would never see it.
this always made me quietly outraged,
believing she had suffered a great injustice.
her feelings however, are quite different.
something far more valuable had been gained
in the form stories she could tell to me.