Life on the Shore

These waters are hungry, and I’m hungry

To eat would be to drown

So I thrash in hopes of dry land

It’s hard to see through stinging eyes and I send an arm flailing forth

I gulp the waters hoping for sweetness

But all I taste is the salt

My belly made sick, filled with brackish bile

And I can’t feel it with all this water in my head

A message in a bottle says to let myself sink

So I feed myself and I’m washed to shore

 

Grounded on the earth, life greets me as I am

There are feasts to eat and there is sweet air to breathe

Mountains wait beneath a holy sky and call me to build fires along the way

Rough sands offer grit and a pride that’s earned

But the waves echo with promises to wash me clean

I feel the cold mist of those waters nipping at my throat

And the prickling terror of looking down at what is

Memories of a body submerged numb my skin and beguile me with a fantasy

The water will be warmer this time around

Illusions of beauty entrance me and the waves beckon in the distance

But I don’t follow that siren song

I feed myself and I say a prayer

 

Here on the shore, I let my lungs fill

And slowly I let my belly do the same

Still, the waves follow

I hear them roar in my ears and feel their crashes in my chest

Screaming to fill me up and hide me from the light where I must stand and be seen

But now I can be still and I can listen when God whispers

That those waves are dark, but their waters are shallow

Depth lies here on the land

It’s buried in places I didn’t know to look

Waiting for humble hands and a faith strong enough to dig

And I can see it now

So I feed myself and I begin

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Unexpected Loveliness

I watch your head turn

Delighted to find your hidden shapes and eager to follow your lines

Different than I thought you’d be

And all the better

Eyes full

Of life lived and life left to live

They pull me in so hard I think I left my bones behind

Resplendent in their wholeness

They are sparkling sunshine between their iris leaves

My breath catches and for a moment I fear I’ll burst

But before I turn to blush

I realize they’re holding me softly

And I think maybe I could stay here a while

fetal

The sadist of my mind has been replaced by your voice. Soft, furtive lashings of the tongue and contemptuous glances have crept insidiously into my skin and paralyzed me in a turmoil I cannot escape. This affliction has left me tortured, for while my nature rebels against it, the shame that it brings leaves me spiritless in the prelude of what may be my awakening. I take defiant solace in the hope for music beneath the roar of insult, but the recognition of this hubris leads me further into shame. I have become so mired in the faults of my mind that I cannot enjoy its gifts.

futility

she was your star, and around her we both spun

you as the earth to her fire

and me as the lonely moon, tugging at the waves inside you

when you turned your back to me, I wept in the cold of your shadow

for she alone held your light

now that she’s gone, we stay cold together

fumbling in the dark over wreckage we can’t forget

struggling to find light in the deadness

violent means to a soft place

I don’t mind when it gets to be too much

When it hurts just a bit

I’ve learned to relax around the pain

How good it feels to be taken, to give in

Allow it to hurt

Allow myself to like it

 

And I can’t help myself

 

As maddening as you are, nothing keeps me tethered to this bed like those thick hands around my throat

 

You release, I flinch

Don’t make me beg for it

 

But then you clasp them around me once more

I watch you study me beneath you

Curious to see my struggle

Oh, but I’ve learned not to struggle, and I’m never afraid of you

I’ve learned not to fear

To let breath escape me, just for a time

 

I hear your breath quicken

Excited by my submission, the darkening of my face

I take one last look at you, what you’re doing to me

 

I couldn’t stop you if I tried

 

My body pinned while I escape

Into soft plumes, up, up

You release me again, just when I need you to

A single hand

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