Broken

It always comes back to this.
The sky falling upward.
The ground beneath my feet
sinking away.

The face of a friend,
burning like a satellite upon reentry,
crashes through my peripheral.
Her coordinates perpendicular to my own,
separated by this line on our horizon,
this equator of meticulous doubt
and hope and love
and hate and sex
and greed
and life.

The nurse looks me in the eyes;
she wants to know why I did what it is I did.
As if my heart
lying here as broken as a femur
is no indication at all.

The Infallible Doctor of 811.6

He tells me
I need to learn to love myself.
He tells me
I need to learn to let people in.
He says
It’s only natural
else I wouldn’t be wrestling with myself.

“Your capacity to love,” he says,
“far exceeds any other trait.”
But
(there’s always a but)
“All this self-hate
is diminishing your light.”

He wants me to agree.
So he says “What do you feel?”

I tell him it was seven years ago
when I mustered all my courage
and suffering
and strain
and built this rickety boat
I’ve been sailing in ever since.

“Is it dark?”
He pauses,
pushing his horned rimmed glasses
further up his nose,
“Out there on the water–
is it dark?”

I lie to him and say,
“It’s pitch.”

“What about her?” he says,
“If you’ve been sailing
on that ocean this whole time,
couldn’t she be your lighthouse
come to call you home?”

Back Monkey

Leftover garbage pail pies.
Boysenberry flies.
Saturday morning imaginary cartoons.
Tree fort farmer tans.
We fought wars. We fought peace.
My unalienable friend.
My ultimate foe.

Rains come torrential.
Forrest flood archipelago.
Broken land ruled by broken boy soul.
Cool water for to quench our thirst.
We swam. We sank.
My buoyant friend.
My anchoring foe.

Then come Suzy Lee.
Pigtailed freckles on pale palette.
Study hung in halls of heart.
We married. We fell apart.
My understanding friend.
My loyal foe.

Black dank decomposition.
Gut rot worm food smorgasbord.
Six feet down.
Be buried deep with me.
My admiring disease.
My contemptuous infection.

The Edge

We crawl and we cry,
we live and die,
and everyone relates
because these are
dog eared hallmark emotions
of the human condition.

Some of us, though,
are far too damaged
to shed a tear.

We lay awake at night
counting sheep and sirens,
breaths and cobwebs
spun from spiders who
dampened our spirit
with soft silken shade.

Sometimes we laugh.
At times, we even inspire.
But it’s not from talent or practice
or anything that could be
perceived as trade or trait.

Those suppressed few of us
have mastered the art
of hiding in plain sight.
Anywhere else just feels
too much like a sorority.

We’ve endured the hazing,
we’ve shouldered the ass-end
of others cruel comedy.
And don’t think, for one second,
that we didn’t notice
how your name calling graduated
from snot-nose to PHD blows.

You listen to the murmur of our hearts
with gold plated stethoscopes,
and label us with names like:
Clinically Depressed,
Bipolar, Cutter,
Suicidal…
Hoping to push us
from the ledge,
with your projected psyche
and Molotov cocktail
of anti-depressants,
but you won’t succeed.
Because we’ve been
standing there,
toes dangling over,
staring at that final dive,
into the unexplored unknown
for so long now,
that we’ve become
the very edge you
so cautiously fear.

Death is a Dirty Houseguest

dansemacabre2

Death mocks my living
by wearing the neglected faces
of all the people
I could never save.
Her many voices
whet with despondency,
have taken up residency in my home.

We share breakfast every morning
while divvying the Times.
She loves lightly toasted Italian Five Grain
with the morning obits.
“Drink your OJ,” she says,
as her forked tongue licks the jelly knife,
“you need your vitamin C.”

Death is a dirty houseguest.
He disrobes in the foyer
upon returning home from work.
A trail of crematory ash follows
as he slinks down the hall.
His bloody scythe, repulsive and mean,
Pollocks the walls of our not-so-humble abode.
I’ve tried to have him evicted,
but Death claims Squatters’ Rights.

She keeps strange company, too.
Just the other day,
Death had Time over for tea,
whereupon they discussed
the morality of Brer Rabbit,
and whether or not
a tar baby would work
on the absent hearted.
And just last month,
she employed ex-pantheon members
in an elaborate pyramid scheme,
designed to trick elderly retirees
into investing in cloud front property.
Death diversifies.

Sometimes, late at night,
after I’ve drowned my sorrows,
Death delivers a cold cloth rag,
and seltzer tablets.
“Still your heart,” he whispers,
“I’m breathless without you.”
His bedside manners
are quite delectable.

We’re familiar strangers,
this Grim Tennant and I.
Spectators to our very own
dance macabre.
We writhe and shake
through empty corridors
where he tickles my fancy
with the beckon of slender finger.
Who am I to deny
Death’s carnal calamity?
I’m his favorite toy.
He spins my crank,
dances to the anxious tune,
but never, does he ever,
pop my jack out of the box.
Death is the ultimate tease.