The North Wind

The winds from the north bring me troubling news. There are wars raging in deserts whose names I cannot pronounce. And while these nations are distracted, stoned on blood and fire, the desert itself is on the move. The sentries have abandoned their posts and hot sands on hot winds are creeping in. The scorching air rips bark from trees, skin from bone. Borne along, the sand corrodes, erodes, eats. The wind is howling now, howling for blood, for bone, screaming for earth and flesh. And all the while the desert advances. The existence of forests is only evidenced by bone white twisted skeletons. The statues that once stood proudly and shapely, now shapeless hulks that loom cryptically against the horizon. The vast cities that once circled oases now crumble, bombed out, burned out shells, issuing forth shell shocked, burnt up refugees who don’t know what the next step is.

The gods of natural forces are rebelling. Bone has harden to steel. Blood has thickened to the viscosity of oil. Veins are now laced with iron ore. “Bleed yourselves” say the gods, “to fuel your malcontent empire! We give you eyes of diamond! Rip them from your head to pay for your war machines! Disembowel yourselves in search of precious metals! Only then will you know the price of luxury and apathy!”

Figments

I lived my life in the long cool mornings of fall, and you,

You lived yours in warm and vibrant summer nights

Your air was laden with exotic spices from-

Bombay-Istanbul,

And mine with the cool fresh smell of mint.

You are a wharf rat, and I-

I am the child of farmers.

You lived from harbor to harbor- dock to dock

Working your way around the wild east

I live in the valley, the one you see

From mountains, hidden in fog

I drank the tart cider squeezed from autumn apples and the

Clear water that ran from mountain snowmelt.

You drank wine- spiced wine, warm wine-

Heady wine that coaxed the tendrils

Of your tangled mind

When I lie awake at night, I hear the contemplative call

Of owls, the wild chorus of coyotes

Or perhaps the lonesome

Cry of a fox.

And you, you hear the creak of wood, flap of canvas sail,

Lapping of water, gently hungering for you

Safe in your hammock.

I awake at cock crow, to the coo of mourning dove, and the

Genial shouts of farmhands, the cattle low for their

Breakfast and milking

And you, wherever you are, wake to the strange

Lamentations of a holy man in a tower

Singing in the morning prayer.

In a tavern attic, out of work, you don’t fall back asleep

Or begin your day, just lie-

Lie and listen-

Every sense straining,

For dawn.

Rainy Thoughts

I love the rainy days
I like them for reading with the window open
I like them for walking on sidewalks,
Splishing through puddles.
I like the way people smile at each other
And hold open doors.
It’s like everyone is carrying kittens
Under their raincoats.
Wait, that bulge isn’t a kitten,
It’s a gun!
Holy shit! I’m
Running out of analogies
To explain how the world works.

My First Blood

They told me about the blood.

They said when I bled,

A woman I would become

Woman! Mature, Seductive, Wise!

They did not tell me about the pain,

The twisting in my gut,

The knives in my abdomen,

Stabbing straight through,

To my lower back.

They did not tell me about the smell

Heavy, rotten, cloying,

That follows me

And I glance about,

Worried that someone might smell

My shame.

They did not tell me

About scrubbing stains in the sink

Until my hands were numb

They did not talk about

The sudden

Explosion of pus filled bumps

On my face, my back.

They did not tell me

That I would lie alone

In my bed crying

Without knowing why.

No one told me

That to be a woman, in other’s eyes

Was to be weak

And irrational

To have my words doubted

On the grounds of my

Young hormones.

Is this what it means

To be a woman? Tied

To my bed, bleeding.

Is being a woman

Suffering?

I want to pull myself free of the blood,

But it’s still a part of me.

They will never separate us

So why should I?

Perhaps I should accept the blood

Accept it as my heritage

Rise up a goddess

With blood between my legs.

I am woman watch me bleed.

On the Inside

It’s easy, when your on the outside looking in, to define emotion, label it, and kid ourselves we know what it is. But when it is you tossed in the midst of a storm, it’s hard to put a name to it. It’s hard to describe, but I want to try it, because that is how writer’s get a grasp on things. Besides, I want someone, somewhere to understand what I’m going through.

I call it depression or anxiety. I’ve never been to psychiatrist, I have no idea if there is anything “wrong” with me. It just hits me, bolt out of the blue, a convoluted mixing pot of truly horrible emotions. I feel myself pulsing with a dark energy that I just can’t let it out. I feel the world so deeply, but am unable to express what I feel. I look around at my so called friends and see them all raised on a weak broth of shallow  comedy. They have not an original thought. All that matters to them is the next laugh.

I can’t talk to any one of them. They wouldn’t understand, they might laugh. Or worse, they’d pretend understanding, nod sagely and rattle off some second hand notion. Everything is one big fucking joke. There’s a hatred, a disgust for this shallowness, a hollowness so pervasive it affects even me. Who the fuck am I? I’m brain chemistry and surplus repression. I’m part of this pointless joke.

There’s a yearning for something better. To be who I am, to know who that is. To have someone untainted by the Joke. An artist’s soul, a philosopher’s eye. I long for proximity. My head resting against a neck or a chest, a hand in mine, breathing. And most importantly, someone to talk to.

This is the Way the World Ends (In South Carolina)

“This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper”

I was driving through South Carolina when I learned that the universe was dying. The sun was shining across open expanses of water, turning the spartina into gold. There was an astrophysicist on the radio. They had been watching the stars, watching them die. The fuel that holds stars together, kept them burning, was running out. Energy, energy from the big bang was overcoming gravity. Cold death that is the future. Heraclitus talked of the universe as a fire, with measures of it kindling and measures of it going out. Now, it seems, the kindling has stopped.

The marsh rippled under the setting sun, ribbons of pearl and silk. The profusion of Spanish moss in the oak trees made the whole world run together like a wet painting.

A terrible thought has entered my head. What if the multiverse theory incorrect and we are the only universe? I can’t imagine the horrible nothingness if there is only one universe and it’s dying. As energy overcomes gravity, “there will be no big crunch” to restart the universe. It will keep expanding, growing colder, a fire turning to embers then dead cold ash.

There are shrimp boats in the harbor. The spindles of their masts are dark against the setting sun. The spartina looks like the brindled fur of some strange beast upon whose back we walk. What is it about the upright solidity of pine trees that makes my heart tremble?

The universe will not die in my lifetime. Most like the human race shall not even be a memory when the last stars go out. And yet, I shudder at the idea of so much cold. And yet, I am overcome by this terrifying impermanence. I need to believe that something is definite, something is immortal, but I am nothing if not rational. Some may urge me to turn towards religion, but I cannot overcome my mind.

The tide comes in, the time goes out.

When the universe dies it will be without a fight. In with a bang, out with a whimper. “Don’t go softly into that good night” etc. We will go, peaceful, begging, or bitter, we will have no choice.

“Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice”

I now beg for a fiery demise, though all evidence points to ice. For there is always the story of the bird that dies in fire, only to rise a phoenix. But no, we will not die roaring or burning, but silent and cold. I once believed motion was the key to immortality. Mountains crumble but the sea remains. But now I see that the ever-changing universe too must die.

I have never been this close to a heron before. He must be used to people. His feathers are the gray blue of faded storm clouds, rust creeping up his neck. Every aspect is angular, poised. He is so still, like a painting. I half wonder if he is real. He seems to have grown from the marsh like the spartina. Every aspect of him carries potential for motion; the fluidity of the muscles in his long neck, his stilt-like leg held still in the air. He seems so still, that, despite his poise, I feel as if he must not be able to move. I inhale, and with a fluid movement he sets his foot upon the ground. I exhale, and he flies, his wings unfolding and bursting with silent energy in the light of the setting sun.