(for Shelley Barry and Douglas Reid Skinner)
I have nowhere to go. The nurse had a
mouthful to say. Her tongue got tangled
up in the medication she was giving
to me. Man, we need to talk. We need
to talk this out. So far, you’ve been lovely
about my madness, and needy for this
soul of mine, and exquisitely accepting.
All this lovely bacon-and-gooey-eggs
breakfast, these beans on toast have gone
to waste (I save the leftover toast for later); your
masculine side, the child’s kite, all the
bullets. Whatever I write is enigmatic. Even
all of my prose has gone mad-mad on me.
Regret shines in others. The colour of
my aura is the colour of the sunset. I smell
like expensive perfume. I’m a bird. Walls
are closing in again. My self-worth is
collapsing in on itself. The trees are new
here. I eat darkness like it’s bread, harvest
and seed. I taste euphoria and bleed.
You’re smoke. The paternal folk are grape
juiced-mouthed. Eating thin wafers that
represent the body of Christ. Cruel beast
of a man, man, man you’re as holy as Moses,
the Sabbath. I climb mountains in my spare
time. This is how I want to remember you.
Kind and good. Humble and kind. The mistress
of the sunrise wears a shroud. She remembers
the love of you. The nothing of you. Nothing
of your face, or manly ways. You
were once the love of my life. You were
once friend, until you abandoned me for
another girl foe. Love can fill you up, up, up.
Spit you out, out, out. I’m imperfect. I’m
despair. You can’t touch me. You can’t
inherit me. You can’t catch me. In those
ways, I’m perfect. I’ll take you places where
we can go hiking, where it’s summer, where
there’re tourists, safe cliffs. I’ll take you wherever
you want to go. This was meant to be the
lyrics to a song; instead, it’s turned into a poem.
The picture of you is almost complete now.
You oil death and continue to oil, oil, oil
death, while I endure not being the doomed
wife. I want to remember this dance for all
of my life, for eternity, if it comes to that. Will
you remain complex? Will you stay lover?
The red worm is eating me inside out, out, out.
I had to cut the Valentine’s fire out of you,
remember? Love lurks. Love hovers. Love
is electric-interstellar here. Novocaine for
the soul. It grows like moss. I am through
begging for your love. You’ve left hurting
scars, wounds for life. I do not know if this
was deliberate. Will you remain complicated?
Or will you leave me for once and for all
in the romantic lurch? To love, well, there’s
pleasure to be found there. Now, I test the
limits of love. I finger it. It tastes sweet like
jam. This is how I cope. I taste ingredients.