we will have words

there’s no room in my life

for new men; because the old

 

ones keep creeping in.

at night, they get the lay

 

of the land. still, after all

this time—they inhabit the

 

dreams of both body and

mind. every now and then

 

a new man will arrive on

the scene: in real life.

 

a good man. a man who

makes me feel alive.

 

we will have words;

so help me god.

 

we will have a new life,

a new touch, a clean rain.

 

and i will be reminded:

you are not your pain.

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of what could not

your whole body lied

to me, for years. and

 

now, my whole body

lies in the quiet, lies in

 

the darkness, lies at

dinner parties—especially

 

because it doesn’t go

to dinner parties: it

 

lies alone in the cool

blue din of the tele-

 

vision; thinking of the

sun on the lake, on the

 

rich red paint, of what

could not have been.

snap shot 4

“I’m in trouble.”

She woke with these words in her mind, almost on her tongue. She wasn’t sure if the words were spawned by her feeling of despair upon facing another day with the chronic aches and pains (some inhabiting her body, and others visiting from an unknown place) and still no answers—or if they had been triggered by the random patchwork of dreams from the night: her wedding to an old love, her pregnancy by an ex-husband, her strange reunion with an old friend.

At least she was human in these dreams. And, lately, sometimes Kevin Arnold. She smirked at this, at the knowledge of the television world seeping into her reality—of her growing dependence on nostalgic shows to help escape from what felt like a dying garden. There was still beauty—all around—and some soil, and some water, and a little cold sun, and a few people wandering about; but there was also the nagging feeling of death, of things being slowly starved and shriveled, of other things sprouting oddities and twisting off in the wrong direction.

Lee often tried to be optimistic. Not quite cheerful (that emotion typically surfaced only when buzzed or caught up in a love balloon), but grounded in a larger picture of herself and this life—stabilized by an ever-present, irritating really, knowledge that things would somehow work out, would somehow be okay. She had felt this stoicism from her father, this cautious confidence. But lately she could feel herself slipping, her knowledge fading, her hope becoming heavy under the weight of loneliness, age, teenage cynicism, doubt, and now—injury.

Leonard Cohen knew. And he knew that everyone else knew, too. This life was unbearable, harsh, cruel even. And yet, startling in its beauty and unpredictable kindness. Navigating between these two extremes was a heroic, gymnastic effort which exhausted the trifecta of mind, body, and soul. No wonder she could barely get out of bed some days.

Some of her friends were tired of hearing about it. She didn’t have as many friends because of it, and usually she was relieved by this. It meant less expectation, less energy, less investment. But the reverse was also true: fewer people were invested in her. Less energy was being tossed her way. She knew her readers would also become impatient eventually—especially if she didn’t throw in a love scene soon. At least some suggestive dialogue. She laughed out loud as she struggled to stand.

“Love waits for no man.”

She thought of all the love that was happening all around her—and of her own small doses being exchanged within this house, and without. Within this world, and without. There were so many different types of love, and she would be damned if she was going to let herself get caught up in one or two tiny definitions. And anyway, was it love that waits for no man? Or time? Were they one in the same? She pictured a wild time-love horse charging away into the tide without its rider.

After all this thinking, Lee became tired. Coffee was up next, with a side of berry yogurt to cushion the belly against the delicious acid. What came after that was a new hope in the form of a phone call. There was a treatment for her broken foot, and she had been approved for it. A new path—beginning next week. She would throw everything she had into this hope.

She thought about her fear of surgery, and wondered if it was related to her other fears. She would not name them just yet. She would not give them credence. Instead, she would spend days, weeks—months even—trying on yet another opinion about how her life could be improved.

i used to be

to take the edge off,

at least during the day,

at least during waking, non-

 

working hours; to go about

your routines, together but

alone, talking past each other:

 

slipping out to the ledge just to

see where it could all end; looking

back at where you’ve been because

 

you can’t imagine what hasn’t

happened yet. eye contact is a

commodity;      to hold it      is a luxury.

 

 

multi

every time you visit me

i’m a different person:

 

the levels shift, and i am

three floors up, or two down.

 

sometimes there’s a hidden trap-

door, a cave-like passage-way.

 

you are confused, because it is

the same square footage, but

 

such a foreign place. i am confused

because you keep visiting me.

 

 

 

another lifetime

the heat called your name,

called you in.  you found me

sitting cross-legged in the glint

of candles: naked on the bed, on a

raft, in a teepee. you sat across

from me and became an indian

chief in a field under a moon

wearing a headdress. my fever

opened wide and took you in;

we rode the rush of blood and

animals and skin—past the hurt,

the mundane, the doubt, the every-

day terrain. only toward the end

did you turn into a demon; but by

then i was already there and gone.