Beneath the veneer, below polish, underneath
our waxen, salty denial, Oh fear — !
You who come unbidden with dark or dawn
Crawling wetly with your hunger to devour
The overlay of rational thought.
How alluring your deft poison, when defenses show sluggish
The gris-gris of delirium & alternative exhaustions
machinate abundance in quieting method,
I think of safety, it feels like a celebration for another person’s life
not this chipped bail, not this sweat stained pillow
where lately dreams have possessed me sleepless
& nightmares are memories abounding with Jung’s underskirt.
Many years ago, we sat you & I
in the mouth of my pursuit of normalcy
supping vinegar in place of wine, for our hollowed rosary beheld
flint instead of bead, soot for sinners & those incapable
of donning this fattened falsehood, much beloved by all.
I rose in the morning bread, a naked thing of potential & terror
then, in the hours that believed themselves immortal
we cavorted to our fantasies of being unshackled, even as our
mouths watered at the thought of safety & her tart respite
from your unkind caress, dear human kind.
The underneath is a sinking feeling, drowning mirth & valor
with her heady bouquet of stolen promises
evoking a feeling of lying down in an antique store on a fur rug
stretching against the luxuriate, as you would don a personsuit
unencumbered by anxiety & rule, able to nimbly address
all things, with the somnolent flick of a leisured wrist.
Imagine, imagine, swimming from the serpent who lurks beneath
your childhood bed, tiger at the door, pitted devil
made of wood, who in light, turns back to a wardrobe,
maybe the river will not rise & drown you today
maybe I will not submerge and eat Humiliate’s bon-bon tonight
for we are children of confetti starlight & spectacle
just give us this little rise, tap our shoes, glimmer our eyes
leave a bit of rouge on our cheeks, lasting long enough to evaporate
Shame & her minions, marching over the joy of unspoilt youth
a thousand dreams away from clammy hands and furtive secrets
rebuking loved-ones & those who exist, just to stick pins
in dolls without name or plume.
How resplendent I’d be, lying beneath you without guile
frowning no more at the hideous gilded mask
our limbs mirroring the other like an abseil of emotion
breaks open, raining transformation & bandages
in little plastic bottles marked; Drink Me. Love Me. Only Me.
You were always tender without history
weary of nuzzled fur & lopsided ears, you shaved yourself bare of
trappings & froze at first frost, when all along you
could have lain your heavy bags here on my concave chest
beating her cage of wingless desires &
retreated into my feathering envelop just as I
exist on the periphery of fitting in, a glazed baked thing
not succulent enough for consumption, we might have
joined against the other in eternal epitaph
witnessing the crudeness of outside estrangement, sigh & catch aflame
like plucked girls must lose their breath in running
from the wolf
& dying comes as you hold yourself underneath
your vacant bed watching shadows play wicked on
tilted walls of yellow & regret.
Seamlessly then, we undulate & resort to what we know
an overlooked oasis in the nectar
there it is
there among the shifting, restless desert
taunting with its indefinable
tenacity for endurance
even as it blazes
even as it blisters
so she rises