Only Way to Know

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Photo by Valerie Elash on Unsplash

Only Way to Know

“Come and see”
you sternly demand
without speaking
in midnight silence
with icicle eyeliner
a cold glare that incinerates
inhibitions, leaving only
appetite and tongue wandering
to taste where boundaries blend
black and white into
delicious greyscale.
I see your intent
and hesitate,
just a beat;

“Come and see”,
I calmly answer
your unspoken demand
with an in-kind moon-soaked stillness,
and I wait, knowing
intuitively that the
crescent reflected in your scowl
won’t wait for my verbal consent
as my silence screams yes,
in fact, I am indeed
delicious;

come and see
that this cold pale night
is nourished with the
red succulence
she urgently craves;

come and see
if your prey bites back
with carnal-clawing contempt
as you hope he does;

come and see
where the pulse of my
power comes from
by gripping my flesh, my neck,
my third rail,
writhing, thrashing
as my voltage and current
animates and courses through you
and you find yourself
lacking the energy
to release me,

come and see
the ice goddess convulsing,
coalescing upon our blending,
knowing herself sated
and overflowed upon a
worthy vessel,
whose goal was only to answer
her unspoken question coolly,
casually, completely and
comprehensively.

Come and see.
***

Cosmic Shrug

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Photo by Emre Öztürk on Unsplash

Cosmic Shrug

I really can’t say,
but I feel it.

You too, right?

I feel it deep
within my truth,

where the luminous soul
attaches itself to
unremarkable marrow.

Can you do it?
Can you speak power to truth?

Or would you rather
claw at the vision until
your eyes bleed the lies
in rivers and streams in which
you flee to for quick comfort?

There’s no poem for it.
Not till now, anyway.

No pill or salve either,
unless you count
the ones that nullify it,

or the weed and brown liquor
that helps you forget

or briefly removes
the weight of remembering.

I want it as I want all things
eternally unobtainable;

end of the rainbow;
golden horizon;
promise of tomorrow;

comfort of being seen
and embraced by more than this.

I’ve mastered hide-n-seek
in ways where few bother
searching anymore,

though I’d still lie
and tell them I’m fine
had they not already
given up on asking.

But never you mind;
this is just another
melodramatic poem,

not an overwrought
cryptic cry for help.

I really am fine.
***

Then, Again, When

Then, Again, When

Your smile seduced a second look
better reserved for the next crash scene.

The look in my eyes invited conversation
that connected our storms with the serene.

Our conversation skirted the margins of comfort
as hands touched forearms, drawing towards center.

Easy comfort leant us towards assumption;
discorded motives bade us to enter.

Obtuse assumption flies into misunderstanding;
you braced for pleasure, I thrusted for connection.

Ripened misunderstanding decouples you
and me from us; introspection from fixation.

As you are still not who I thought you were,
and I am no longer who you thought I was,

we were bound forever, merged at when
we were whatever we needed again.
***

Proper Care and Cleaning (of Voice)

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Photo by Timon Klauser on Unsplash

Proper Care and Cleaning (of Voice)

What if I unglossed our painting before it dried?

What if my tears smeared our indigo finish?

What if I painted midnight horizons into pastels?

What if each correction lightened and undefined?

What if each stroke unburdened texture of weight?

What if ink flowed from canvas to brush?

What if I dabbed brush into pigment to clean it?

What if our cleaner lines were gobbled-up by my pen?

What if I sketched our imperfect borders into nothing?

What if I created perfection; a blank slate?

What if I swallowed the wrong words instead?

What if I said the right thing and you stayed?
***

My final poem of the year, written for the final Real Toads prompt ever: PLAY IT AGAIN! with REAL TOADS, hosted by  Kerry O’Connor. I chose to write to Kerry’s LET’S FIND OUR POETIC VOICE prompt and then – as a tip of the hat – to erase, clean, or “un-write my voice”, as many of the wonderful prompts here directly contributed to my poetic voice growing and stretching in ways I never imagined possible.

Thank you to everyone at Real Toads – both the hosts and the contributors – for all of your efforts, encouragement, and support. I know this isn’t goodbye, so I’ll see you all out there next year.

In Your Image

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Image source: ESA / Hubble, R. Sahai and NASA

In Your Image

After erasure, starting anew,
I’d begin with you in permanent ink,
and perhaps myself next in shading-pencil,
or even a charcoal, perhaps not
quite that dark or indelible.

You see,
I don’t know
where I’m supposed to be,
but it never really matters
as long as you’re here
with me,
and not necessarily
here with me,
but somewhere
on this massive rock,
daring to exist without meaning,

exchanging meaningful vibrations,
we’d bubble, churn,
and ooze into anvil-clouds,
raining grey slivers onto sunsets.

Because I love you,
and that is true and fine
and completely permissible
even without my understanding;

I say the words, and I feel it,
even as I don’t know exactly
what it means; I mean I chose it,
but even had I not,
I’d have it all the same,
splitting my breastplate,
spitting into my denying eye
as the heart rushes to keep pace
with the words that won’t come,
claims that get caught out-of-sync
like an 80’s high-hat sharp-hit
where a 90’s boom-bap snare-kick
should land as planned.

Nothing went as planned;

I crave order and there is none
and that is perfectly fine
except when it isn’t;

I desire structure and superstructure
even as I chafe at the yoke
holding us together; holding us apart;

I’d shatter the firmament
for your fleeting smile;

with a snap of my fingers,
I’d snuff-out the sun
if it meant that my final moments
were sitting on a rapidly cooling
solitary park bench
next to you,
hips scarcely touching,
in tranquil silence.

I’d ruin the image,
saving your sketched outline;
my greatest work.

How can I possibly remake this world,
the next, or any other?

My own name,
now and beyond,
lacks structure or meaning
unless you write its narrative
with hands that shape its very context,

or unless you call upon it,
breathing its purpose
with your own lips;

which isn’t the same as saying
without you in my life, in some way,
I am nothing,
but it’s oddly similar to
The Commodores without Lionel Richie
in that I struggle to find the point.

But what I do know is this;
I’d begin with you
in permanent ink.
***

Inspired by dVerse Poetics: New Year – New World, hosted by Mish. Other poets contributed to this prompt here.

Sixpence Finalities

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Photo by Ryan Parker on Unsplash

Sixpence Finalities

She lied, striking joy from our journal.
I bore false witness against myself ‘til she shattered.

I whispered to our synching pulses.
Here lives our melody; lyrics lost to history.

Betrayal smelled like him on her lips.
I blew kisses, burning our garden in foreign tongues.

She was of earth and time left behind.
I fold it as fabric, creased at where she and I met.

Displaced by ocean as decades blur,
we leave love notes as moon phases for blue stargazers.

The sky will fall, all voices silenced.
Her name transcends sound, as it is formed from cosmic breath.
***

Inspired by Real Toads May the fire in our hearts keep burning as though there is no end ~, hosted for the final time by the lovely, brilliant Sanaa Rizvi . I’m not gonna cry! I’m not gonna cry!

These six Landay (Couplets of nine and thirteen syllables) may be read as a single poem, but they were created as six separate poems about six separate subjects.

 

Not Like That, But Deeper Still

Pharos

Pharos ~ The Lighthouse
Kerry O’Connor
@skyloverpoetry

Not Like That, But Deeper Still

Your soul pierced the black,
guiding me to your shore;

to you, unmasked,
regardless of
jovial exterior;

your amiable patina,
outshined by
your inner light;

moonbeams divine
whitecap from ocean,
revealing your pain;

inside, you’re lonely like me;
we resonate without words;

wings spread,
I flew to you.

Love-at-first sight? Superficial,
unlike your beckoning lighthouse.
***

Pacifico

Pacifico ~ The Pacific Ocean Kerry O’Connor @skyloverpoetry

Inspired by Real Toads Art FLASH! / 55 in December, hosted by Kerry O’Connor.

Also shared at Poets United Pantry of Poetry and Prose #7.

Last Thing I Hear

Last Thing I Hear

I bzz-buzz his beer
‘cuzz it’s bittersweet.

He shoos me;
irritatedly,

so I bzz-buzz her martini.
She’s staring past me,

through him, past his seat,
to wherezz? Why ask me?

I’m to bzz-busy, you see?
This bzz-sequence is key!

She ignored me! I’m in!
Sweet delectable sin!

Bzzyum yummy-yum,
oh I knew I’d love rum,

now-drowsy, oh no,
the bar scene runs slow;
no one can save the groove,
molasses-mellow,

morass-indigo;

wings heavy with
melancholy
fate and doom
sweet regret swells,
atrophy and ache,
can’t movezzz!

She frownszz,
slow-blink,

he frownszz,
I drink, I drownzz,

I think, unwound;

can we flies think?

Impaired,
the bland bar muzzac
disappearszz
into thin air.

Do flies have earszz?
Meh, I don’t care,

but the last thing that I hearszz,
before it all vanished into ether

he zz-said to her wet eyelids,
with scarcely a whisper,

“I’d have given you kids;
we’d have been good together.”
***

Inspired by dVerse Poetics: Surrealism in Poetry, hosted by Linda Lee Lyberg. Other poets contributed here.

On Grudges and Conservation of Energy

On Grudges and Conservation of Energy

Holding grudges is a young man’s game.

Grasp that lightning if you must;
harvest it, gorge yourself upon it,
repurpose it to power your safe haven,
getaway vehicle, or doomsday device,

whichever you choose;
I’m not qualified to judge.

Ask my mother.
She knows. She knew

way back when I was 16 years old
that I wasn’t shit

and my grudge-fueled quest
to prove her wrong succeeded
at proving her both absolutely wrong
and unequivocally right like an
accidental Schrodinger’s cat experiment.

Inability to forgive
converted my potential into kinetic,
driving my momentum
into achievements I never imagined for myself,

and it also left me lifeless,
dead-eyed,
inside an unremarkable box,
waiting to be discovered by wiser forces.

Forgiveness is for old folks
who no longer have the energy for grudges;

many of whom are gathering
their remaining momentum
in a last-ditch effort of
getting into heaven.

Suddenly
the meaning of The Lord’s Prayer
crystallizes before them,
and they’re angling for a slice of salvation pie.

I don’t know much about forgiveness,
but I do know how it feels to run out of steam,
finding myself alone with regret. Nowadays,

I find both grudges and forgiveness
equally inert.

All that matters now lie within
taking accurate readings
and observing what is.
***

Inspired by Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Forgiveness, hosted by Sumana Roy.

The Art of Ghosting

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Photo by Jesse Bowser on Unsplash

The Art of Ghosting

It requires a deft feel of
space, atmosphere,
my place within it.

Shrinking is the easy part;
few notice my contortions
to accommodate.

Conversations flow in torrents;
my awkward trickle dries,
I silently observe.

By the time anyone pauses
to notice my absence,
I’m long gone.

Disappearing one’s self
from physical social functions
call for skill and patience.

Social media ghosting only requires
resolve to never logon again;
no one looks for you there.

Voiding verbal social contracts
with friends and loved ones
can be a bit trickier.

But total mastery of this art
necessitates majestic dexterity
and stately self-loathing.

It is mastered only when
you never leave your bed
no longer seeking connection,
and no one ever again seeks
comfort within your touch.

Ghosting is easy with practice,
but living with the aftermath,
not so much.

It’s doubtful you even noticed
that I left this poem.
***

Inspired by dVerse Poetics: Your Majesty, hosted by Gospel Isosceles. Other poets contributed to the prompt here.

We were supposed to implement some type of majestic vibe into this prompt, but as you can see, I predictably went the other way with it.