The hallway with transom windows, up high, unreachable.
The hallway with doors that stay closed and lights that stay broken.
A smooth walk, uninterrupted movement with no escape and no end.
For the new year I try a stretching motion, wiggling fingertips, strong breathing.
Rib cage expands, leg muscles ache, ankles swell.
I stay silent.
nothing is beyond this hallway, nothing is accompanying.
Darkness is no longer a separate. it is me.
Back from a brief sojourn to the old country...returning to the new country...it is being in a fog of unreality here. It drives me to study the geology of Mars, which is much more engaging and asks many more questions of me.
Uncovered darkness is still darkness, i remind myself, and it is finally time to let it be.
i am returning the granite slabs of sorrow, pulverizing them back into the earth as weed-free paths, compressed and even, their walkable, colorful surface a new place to discover home.
inside the dragon city, festooned with orchids and frangipani blooms, welcomed by evergreen palm fronds and mahogany leaves, i am uncoiled and moving. i create the journey new, i live the magic now.
the past is the past is the past.
forward next, with respect for the old
and a wide open gate for this wild life i live alone.
Twisted coir fibers in the webs between fingers, I let myself down.
there isn't any back to the beginning. this is all different. I asked myself what I really wanted, like the last supper I used to tease myself with, the one with an ostrich steak and no potatoes. these days I only want popcorn and wine, not a fitting final supper, just a careless, lazy sigh of indifference, a sign of what has become of me.
JANUARY - MAY 2020
STRANDED AND LOST
traveling. startled by the sound of a live voice.
moving backward. forgetting. denying.
watching the glow of uncertainty fall from a face
and the strong, dark river of knowing roll forth.
falling in love with smooth tears. staying quiet.
ARE YOU THE SPARROW IN THE COCKPIT OF MY LIFE?
WILL YOU FLUTTER AND SQUEAK AND CAUSE ME TO TURN THIS THING AROUND?
CRONE WORDS COPYRIGHT for ever by the ice qu
SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER 2020
The months of waiting gathered, gritty dust against the sweet warm wax of syrup-filled hexagonal sheaths of micro breaths. Between dawn wanderings and midnight pacing we stopped and finally went out.
The beach was there. The forest. And life without media, messages or myths.
i cannot take the reality of filth
that has become the new now
and i mean human excrement lining the sidewalks, needles on every lawn, the lawless go free, the law abiding are locked behind bars, tears in rivers on furrowed faces
lamenting the loss of all that was
The color of blood, the color of sapphires.
The color of nothing.
The door remains closed, and so I close two others.
They're written off. I am ghosted as I am ghosting, as it is said these days.
Appropriate, given that it is ghost month where I live.
Tomorrow begins another hallway, the long, low ceiling over me like a blanket.
I will walk and walk, perhaps soothed by the length of non-description. At the last, there will be a green-gray release of connection and small, pebble-pocked concrete stepping stones, leading me either to salt water wash or a strong, beautiful rope dangling from a rock face.
The soundtrack for this month would be anything from Slipnot or Marilyn Manson, I'm afraid. Those emotions raise up like a rusty shovel in my hand, the flaying metal cracking down hard across the landscape that is my life, leaving shards of oxidization splayed across a mildewed concrete sidewalk. Shadows of tembusu trees cast long, low brackets of defeat against any threats of sunlight, hope or joy.
I can't even open the curtains anymore...but there are the sounds of koel birds coming through the glass. the sounds awaken me, restore an hour of energy, and the list of chores begins to be attacked. The same shovel tosses mounds of work from one side of the page to the other. I pretend success, and then i don't sleep.
Night pours in without crickets or dogs barking. It arrives with quiet but purposeful footsteps of strangers behind the drapery, beneath the trees. I don't know these people and they do not want to know me.
JULY - AUGUST 2020
Set up again.
Set up and almost taking the bait, except that I didn't this time.
I replayed old memories, traced threads of deceit and recalled how they unraveled anything good or sweet.
I praised the un-doer. I will always praise the un-doer, un-weaver, destroyer of hope. The strength astonishes me, the levels and intricacies of criminal, horrible hate that will keep us apart forever. Praise be, fat devil. You win. You win.
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019
THE OUIJA MESSAGE CROSSED OVER, FINGERS ENTWINED FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, ACROSS AND FORWARD AND BACK. NOTHING TO DECIPHER OR CONCLUDE AS THE CLARITY BLASTED ME INTO HAZY SUNLIGHT. THERE I WAS, CHOKING ON SPLINTERS OF PARTICULATE MATTER, COUGHING BLOOD AND BRAIN ONTO THE CRACKED OCULUS AS IT HIT THE FLOOR, SMEARING A GREASY SWATH THAT FAILED TO STOP ME FROM KNOWING. I HATED THE TRUTH OF IT, EVEN AS I HAD WISHED FOR IT. I WASNT READY. I AM STILL NOT READY.
OLD CHALLENGES REAPPEAR, GERMS IN THE PHLEGM, DIRTY GREEN SLUDGE TRYING TO PERSUADE ME TO STAY SICK. I SCREAM AT MYSELF, LAUNCH A WARM CHEEK AGAINST A COLD, CHALKY WALL, THE EMBRACE OF THE DEAD WRAPPING AROUND ME, CLOSING ME IN. I ALMOST LOSE MYSELF TO THAT COMFORT. I SAY ALMOST, BUT ACTUALLY I DO. I HAVE.
I CLIMB BACK INTO BED, SMILING AT THE WALL. I WILL NOT REALLY BE ALONE AS LONG AS I HAVE THAT WALL.
I do not know how they are doing.
You’d need to ask them directly. Ever since some of us died, we have pretty much been fractured – no – actually I think a more accurate word would be shattered – like a body thrown off an overpass, hitting the pavement, blood everywhere and fragments of bone sticking out from purpled and bruised skin, muscles torn and tendons ripped. Gory description, I know, but it is the reality I live with every day.
Who knew that the lives of the now dead would have been the only glue holding us together?
It was. It really was, and I am so sad about that. The glue is washed away, the bonds are bled out: the connections are now slivers on dirty, sanguine-soaked pavement. Keeping my eyes and heart shielded from this sorrowful situation is a constant hobby.
The only thing I can do is…look forward, and try hard not to look back.
The cancer came back, and it has been pointed out to me that I "let it."
Maybe I did. Invited it in like a vampire at the threshold, guided it past garlic and wolf's bane hanging preemptively from the window frames. I thought it couldn't hurt me anymore. I thought I was stronger, but I am not.
My hair drops out in clumps, sticks to my arms and shackles me to make me remember the danger.
This time there is no wooden stake to drive through those hearts. I have been powerless and I let them bite, becoming one with the undead of their horrible power. I feel destroyed and darker than I have ever felt before. And yet.
There is a treatment and a plan and a way to make this stop. I can change the form of my horror and lock into zombie mode. I can be pulseless and walking, dragging my feet, reviled instead of sought after, flesh hanging from my eyes, new tears of grangrenous fluid coloring my cheeks in chartreuse and burnt applesauce. I will not be sweet.
Time to separate again, a lost, last gone that will remain and remain. buttressed angsana roots will cover me over, and I know they will forget. This time I have a plan to forget too. The chemo and the courage to make this stop. I have to do it. This place is lonely enough without the lies, thievery and murderous bowers they provide.
After enough of it falls out, I will clip down, trim away the jagged edges of my hair, put on those dangling brass volute earrings I have been saving, and wrap my head in a new scarf. I won't look back. I won't speak, but I will be cured. I want to die without this disease, without this sorrow.
There was no summer. Where was the summer. Was there summer. Summer that was.
It was a thrown bobby pin, the kind with tiny, soft vinyl nibs on the ends so that the pin would not scrape the scalp. I had wished it were a hairpin, the old fashioned kind, the one with sharp edges and a large, open mouth to not only rip open a brain but puncture an eye as it swallows whole a dreadful monster in front of me.
but it wasn't that kind of pin, so I cast it away, the damned useless object, and brandished words instead. the words blistered my skin and the skin of that monster. I said them again and again, then and later and now.
the words got stronger on both sides until I couldn't make do with them just being spoken anymore. they had to be on paper, official and done by a licensed word writer. they helped me close the door.
NOT A DAY GOES BY THAT I DON'T GRIEVE,
MOURNING AT TIMES IN HEAVING, LOUD SOBS WITH FISTFULS OF ANGUISH
THROWN AGAINST A TEAR-SODDEN PILLOW -
OUR SHARED MEMORIES EVAPORATE
AGAINST DARKENED CONTRAILS OF BITTERNESS,
THE GLOOMY LINES DISAPPEARING IN A BROAD, SMOOTH SKY,
ACROSS MILES, ACROSS TIME,