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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Poetry Book: "Shadows"

 
 
SHADOWS
 

"Shadows"
 
echoes
reflections
 
changlings
 
things we might say in stolen moments-
breathless exultations
in darkened, anonymous booths
 
they are surrogate lovers
half, and half again brothers and sisters
blind couriers of our caged passions
 

they are who we would be,
if we could be
 
they are you and me
 

"Trapped in Glass"
 
Wind whips your hair-
in my dreams.
 
Outside,
the passion is outlawed.
 
Rain sprays-
slides over flushed skin.
Outside it is dry.
 
Inside we are one.
Thunder screams our passion
wind drives us against each other-
 
like thunderheads crashing together.
 
Thick, full clouds-
little flashes of what we will do
together.
The air is alive and tense.
The crackle of electricity-
magical-
once in a lifetime.
 

Storm trapped
in a glass booth
where we can exist-
 

"If We Could"
 
If we could, would we?
should we
can we
 
might we
be together tonight?
 

"Walls"
 
cold sweat on tortured brow
have to get out-
don't know how
 

eyes sting from too many tears
heart broken from too many fears
 
hands a bloodied, broken mass
and still I cannot break this glass
 

"Bolster"
 
At night, we are separated by inches that might as well be
miles.
 
The distance bolsters resistance to separation.
It twitches the fingers that rest at my side.
It teases legs that might just shift enough to touch.
 
The mouth...
closed and so composed...
tempts tempts tempts
to take and taste and live without this damned thing
between us
 
 
 
"Amaranth"
 
Crash of thunder precedes
the flash of lightning.
I kiss you before you scream-
take the storm from outside
and use it to fill the inches between us.
 
Miles disappear.
Days blend with nights.
 
Ante meridiem meets
post meridiem.
Stolen moments last forever.
Seconds become eternity.
Years of passion
in the wink of an eye.
A sigh that teaches
generations how to love.
 
White knuckles throw the watch
 
out the window.
 

"Caress"
 
My heart stretches-
diaphanous tendrils that reach
across the sea
to hold you
when all the children
 
claw and pull and demand
that you have no needs
 

"Game of Angels"
 
Who might I step into to find you tonight?
Where shall I search-
where have you taken my heart?
 

Where the moon reflects in a garden pool
and an angel dips perfect toes
and smiles as I look for her...
 

"Equinox"
 
noon meets midnight
miles become inches
keys become fingers
 
you are here
 

"Flight"
 
I can see in you in the sky...
cirrus clouds-
your hair gently curving, tickling me....
gentle summer breeze-
your breath, hot in my ear....
 

and as my wings spread
and I swim in the glory of the wind all around me,
I am happily entwined in your arms
 

"Dare"
 
When you sleep, I look through the glass...
thinking that if I could just lean close enough...
 
I might just touch your lips with my fingers...
kiss you in your dream.
 
Words that I wrote yesterday-
are they touching you now?
Is my kiss still fresh upon your lips?
Is my shadow mingling with yours?
 
And as I sleep, I feel your fingers on my eyelids.
I dare not open them, to find you not there.
 
When I feel your small hard body crushed against me,
your arms holding me and wandering hungrily,
I dare not stretch my arms to find them empty.
I will not move my lips, to find yours gone.
I dare not wake
to find you again across the glass.
 

"Whisper"
 

Little words tossed out...
quiet brilliance.
A flicker in the darkness that tickles at your senses-
vague lyrical exercises to you,
given casually for public consumption
to be forgotten when the next appears.
 
To me, they are proclamations shouted from the rooftop.
They are vows-
they are promises-
 
they are forbidden futures
 
they are
memories of love shared and passion spent
 
in whispers...
 

"Cloudburst"
 

I am a mountain
with peaks so high
I scratched a cloud
that stretched thousands of miles
to burst over her
and rain tears of joy.
 

"Through the Glass"
 

my fingers shake with anticipation
and distance-
they trace an intimate pattern
on the smoky glass between us
to match the curve of your jaw and glide over
the blush of your cheek.
 
I see you in the distance-
smiling and laughing
and living
 
without me.
 
You are close enough to entrance me
with your pretty perfume.
Close enough to excite me.
 
I know you can't really see me-
but if you could,
would you smile?
Would you look up with bright eyes
 
meant only for me?
Would you know what I am thinking?
What I'm wanting-
 
If I could touch you-
your breath would catch.
A sigh might escape-
a low moan-
 
my breath might disturb stray hairs
 
brushing the back of your neck
 
your hands would shake
with anticipation and distance-
 
if you could feel me through this glass....
 

"Lyrical"
 

Nights that don't end...
to my love I send
 
wings and rings and three kings,
she sings-
 
a vow-
a quest-
gentle rest-
 

I'll find your place
sweet embrace-
 
ecstatic hiss
sweet deep kiss
 
fly above
with you, my love
 
 
 
"Thermal"
 
Faraway sunrise
Wings spread as warmth rises up
Take me home to you
 

"Message in a Bottle"
 
These little words thrown so casually into the sea.
 
How they reach you,
and whether they find you happy or in tears,
I may never know.
 
But when the tide brings your name back
from far-off shores,
your words sing a song
that always gives me a thrill.....
 
 
 
"Dreams are for"
 
Dreams are for loving...
Dreams are for holding close about you on a cold night...
Dreams are for thinking and quietly sharing...
dreams are for her fingers absently tracing a pattern on my
arm...
and a soft kiss on the forehead to soothe a troubled heart
 
Dreams are for taking your heart and mind where your body
dares not go....
 
 
 
"Persistance"
 
Iron bars
Steel plating
Concrete walls
Miles and hours and kings and real life...
do not a prison make
 
 
 
"Hope"
 
Hope is the trickle that patiently becomes an ocean.
Hope is the voice in the darkness that will not be silenced.
Hope is the seed that pushes a sprout through the ice.
 
Hope is the smile in my eyes when I think of you.
 

"Equator"
 

Summer to winter
your voice on the telephone
changes night to day
 

"Solo"
 
What is she doing now
sleeping
 
laughing
crying
living without me
 

"Sleepy Eyes"
 
My mouth is dry
my face is wet
all too soon
 
the sun has set
will she come back tomorrow?
 

"None But You"
 
How many hands have I held
white-knuckled
straining
grasping
 
composing physical poetry?
 
How many hearts have I felt against my chest
heaving and desperate
and fragile as a waking dream
quivering
under my hand
and 'tween my fingertips?
 
How many tongues-
 
capable of such poetry that shadows shine within it-
have I longed to taste?
 
How many have I loved?
 
none but you
and only in my dreams.
 

"Kiss"
 

how much I'd like to move my arms
wrap them around
to brush your hair
and your bare white shoulder...
 
I'm paralyzed,
but for this rare kiss allowed and demanded
just my mouth
all hunger and poetry
 
deciding where to dance first
 

"Snowflake"
 
Crystalline
Pure
gently flutters and twists and dances
through frozen air
of varying density.
 
Unique
perfection
that falls unfettered to a snowblind world
of muffled beauty.
Pretty girl
catch me on your tongue
only before I sway and swing and circle
to within reach
I'm crushed by a boot.
 
 
 
"Have you ever..."
 
Have you ever counted your blessings-
been content with what you have-
have you ever been happy
with a warm house and memories to wrap yourself in-
have you ever been satisfied at the end of the day-
then cried at footsteps in the distance
that might be a lover enroute?
 
 
 
"Immortal Beloved"
 
You who have inspired the notes to spring forth
from my tortured heart in centuries long past...
 
your face, new in life just today-
look upon me with disinterest
because your soul has slept for a thousand years,
 
and you have forgotten
 
while I have waited and walked alone
and sung dissonant and discordant songs-
 
a scream of dispair pierces the night-
 
waiting with the eternal patience of sure and certain love-
and you no longer know me.
My young face lined and aged
 
because I have waited in vain.
 
lips that have given and received such passion-
closed to me now
and forever
sweet delicate ears
once so attuned to my voice
 
promise of forever broken
immortal beloved no more
 
 
 
"Daydreams"
 
Sometimes the best dreams are when you are awake-
real and teasing
and talking about things not impossible
 

"Not Impossible"
 

I am there
in your secret heart,
hidden behind things
you only think about
when he is gone.
 
Push aside what makes sense
and what you think
you should do
 
and what you think will probably happen
 
and dream of things
not impossible.
 

FIRST
 

"The Sweetest Sound"
 

It was as if a bird had flown into the room-
all cluttered with bits of junk that were all I had
when my name was first important to her
and I breathed
as if for the first time
how common it has always seemed to me
and magical it was
the first time she spoke it
 
 
 
"Strangers"
 
I have loved you for many years-
and woken up with you for the first time
we are refreshed and reborn
joined and chaste
shadow and substance
delicate as a rose petal in the ocean
and constant as the northern star
 

Sudden storm-
and we are naked in a downpour
The rain is warmed by a summer sun
sunlight glinting off pure water
Sunlight that filters through
weeping clouds
and makes your skin glow
 
i love you
 
 
 
"Rapture"
 
When light streams in
through windows
to enlighten darkened hearts
 
When laughter breaks
life's fevers
 

Kiss of new love
expression of new-found passion
 
hands that hold
 
a smile across a crowded room
 
time alone, at last
and sweet, pent-up truth!
 

rapture
 

ALL ABOUT YOU
 

"Word Wrap"
 
I wrap myself in your familiarity
 
taste the sweet wine of your words
and fall asleep
in your protective heart...
 

"Bound"
 
I cannot stretch my arm
without touching you
 

I cannot breath
without smelling you
 
I cannot look
without seeing you
 
I do not breath without your breath
or love without your heart
 
 
 
"Butterfly"
 
When the wind whips across the surface of my life,
it doesn't touch me.
It is weak and fleeting and impersonal-
it is powerless.
It may curl and swirl and blow things about-
small patterns that are here and gone-
but it is transitory and unimportant.
 

Not so the sound of your voice
that rewrites my landscape
and redirects the path that my heart follows.
 
But it is your touch-
sometimes so soft as to be thought imaginary-
tiny etchings like the tread of a dancing butterfly
that forever marks me
as yours.
 
 
 
"Inclination"
 
petals stretching
upswept
seeking
lean into the rays
that compel
and persuade
and pull
 
to encompass
and warm
as they take her in.
 

"Upstream"
 
Swimming upstream
through silent screams.
Swimming through tears
 
and all the fears
mother
wife
lover in another life?
You have permission to be weak
I'll carry you up the difficult peak
 
You can be human here
I will carry-
I will steer.
 
You sleep
while I drive
just concentrate
on staying alive
 
Cry and shout
and curse and scream
I will carry us both upstream
 
 
 
"Thank you"
 
How many nights
would I have just
drifted off to sleep quietly.
Pretending that love was not
something I wanted or needed.
 
How many nights would be empty
but blissfully ignorant
 
of just how GOOD it could be...
with you.
 

"Sweet Dreams"
 
Sweet dreams dear girl
are a soft pillow and a warm bed
sweet dreams are a kiss on your forehead
sweet dreams are our bodies
 
side by side in sleep
sweet dreams are my wishes for you
 

"Veil"
 
Forever, it seems,
I have gazed at you through a veil.
Eyes modestly averted.
Feminine shape concealed
 
(nearly revealed)
beneath waves and curves of white.
 
Hands that I have given myself to in my dreams
now pure and chaste
in white gloves of lace...
 
Body-
separated by a gulf of inches...
 

stolen moments
become stolen glimpses...
 
vows on cards
become vows in words
 
and with this ring...
 

"Dorian Gray"
 

The fleeting beauty of a rose
excites me not-
for it begins to whither and fade the instant it is seen
next to you.
The glory of sunrise is golden but for an instant.
Then it is past and washed in the dreary trivialities of
the day.
You, however, are new and unique and bold as when you first
graced my life-
for you are alive and ever-changing-
and I, through you, forever young...
 
 
 
"Give"
 
Look at me, so that I might see
take me in, so I can be free
touch me so that I might feel
love me so that I might heal
hold me, so that I might move
believe in me, so I've nothing to prove
take from me so that I might give
 
feed me so that I might live
 

"Rain"
 
Little moments of time
so many that I cannot count
minutes spent with you...
the uncounted moments of love and friendship
like drops of rain becoming an ocean.
 
 
 
"Liberation"
 
drive
fly
sail
clouds suddenly gone
I laugh at an old joke
that is new to you.
 
The fish aren't biting
my watch has stopped
we fall asleep together
as the tide takes us along...
 

"Aspire"
 
Aspire...
work towards...
 
dream of...
my dear, without your heart I have nothing to aspire to..
without the warmth of promise, my wings cannot fly.
For what am I without love, and what is love without you?
 

"Perchance To Dream"
 
I can almost see you sleeping
as I head off to work.
 
Quietly-
I watch your peaceful face.
Tousled hair.
Idle fingers.
Cold white shoulders.
Gently-
gently
I pull the blankets over you-
lean close to see your chest rise and fall.
Two sighs.
 
Yours in a dream.
Mine in a dream as well.
 
Can you hear me in your sleep?
 

"Renewed"
 
I know that he comes back.
Through the miles he travels each day,
 
he comes home to me.
My heart. My mind. My hands. My body.
Renewed.
Refreshed.
Re-loved every day.
 
Remarried today.
 

"Flat"
 

foreign
different
funny accent
 
we can quiet you down
we can flatten you
 
to the pretty girl
who won't leave my side...
 
thanks.
 

INTIMACY
 

"Intimacy"
 
Nails rake across delicate flesh
Cry
 
Moan
Struggle beneath strength
Sigh
Gasp
Simultaneous shudder
 
leads into morning
 

"Silence"
 

I walked her to her car one morning-
just a night watchman extending a courtesy to a deaf
employee.
But as she sat, illuminated by her car's domelight,
my eyes were drawn to her cream-white thighs.
With a wave and a quick smile, she was gone.
I watched in silence.
 
That same morning, some five hours earlier,
her small figure appeared out of the darkness and stepped
quickly to the
 
cold-frosted glass double doors.
I watched her open the door and walk across the lobby.
The same smile and wave that I had come to look forward to.
I returned the smile and wave.
We said hello-
in silence.
 
Her quick passage through the lobby leaves a gap in my
night.
Heavy, tangible emptiness.
Like the vacuum left after a great wind.
 
Perhaps it was her world of silence that fascinated me.
Made the quick glimpse of flesh more enticing,
yet more forbidden.
Because it was a part of her world.
Another world.
Like the wave and smile.
Communication across a bridge that I doubted I could cross.
In that brief moment, we shared-
something...
in silence.
 
 
 
"Cold"
 
All senses alert
Every nerve on fire
sensitive... super-sensitive
teeth chattering
frosted window,
never-ending winter....
 
thawed by the heat of my kiss
on the back of your neck.
 

"Hot"
 
Sweat glistens.
Cat flat on cool shaded rock.
Thin shirt, bare shoulders-
fan blows your hair....
 

I trace an ice-cube on the back of your neck and watch your
smile appear...
 

"Approach"
 
Your untouched body is as a statue
seated
swaying gently in the water
clothed only in steam
 
that rises to cling to you
as I would
 
the scent of anticipation
in the heavy air
might be just mine...
reflected
 
perspiration-
is it my desire
 
or yours?
 
the tiles are warm beneath my feet
as I step closer to bared shoulders
 
water slides across your flesh-
glitters with candle light,
reflected in my eyes
 
my mouth wonders-
 
are your lips parted?
 
I step forward,
one arm advancing before me
fingers close to you.....
 

"One Hundred Ninety-Seven Point Two Degrees"
 
Heated brandy warms my belly.
 
Fireplace and rug warm my hands and feet.
But it is your body, wrapped in terry-cloth,
next to mine that warms my heart.
 

"Two Backs"
 
Your nails rake
teasing
tempting
 
arousing
minute scratches...
just faint white trails down my back
lines of four
a hint of red
that drives me mad
makes me want to pick you up
and finish it violently
savagely
 

all I see are your legs
tanned and toned as if ready
to hunt me down and take me
 
your hair-
like whips all shiny and wet with the sweat of the afternoon
arms small and hard
steel cables possessed of the need to push and position
and manipulate
teeth bared
 
eyes closed
cheeks flushed with exertion...
It is what makes them,
for a time, a single animal-
unconcerned with time or place.
The joining.
The designed symbiosis.
The wall, hard and unyielding behind her-
 
Him,
 
hungry
and loving and needing-
 
her nerves-
concentrated around him.....
 
her hands-
claws grasping him
squeezing
fleshy softness
 
nails scratching
fighting
never resisting
 
his face-
nuzzled into her neck so tenderly
her teeth bite-
lips sucking
tongue tasting
so much need
 
churning
pressing
slamming
 
her legs wrapped around him
his fingers tease
and squeeze suddenly
he moans
she screams
twin explosions
 
breasts heaving-
a tear rolls across two cheeks...
 

"Breakfast"
 
White sheets rumpled-
Black hair half covering
sleepy eyes
 

A cold glass of milk.
Butter dripping
over three or four biscuits...
Coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice.
Brought to your bed-
with love.
 
The kids are taken care of-
the sky is clear for once.
Nothing is planned
 
except for us.
 
What shall we have for breakfast?
 

"Duet"
 
Hands that can grasp
and hold.
Fingers intertwine.
 
Nails that playfully scratch and tease and tempt.
 
Legs that can search endlessly
for the right shop
and the right gift...
they can finally wrap around
in ecstasy.
 
Arms,
so properly encased in cotton
 
through the day...
now a slight sheen of sweat and passion.
 
Two mouths,
with such a presentable public face...
interlocked
wrestling
wrangling
feeding and sustaining.
 

In love with you.
 

"Kisses"
 
Little teasing pecks
that slowly drive me mad
 

"Breakfast in Bed"
 

Sun filters in through gauzy clouds...
sheets randomly cover you,
drawing my eyes-
 
the world can't come in today.
 
Coffee and toast and eggs
and a newspaper and the dog
and my love...
 
 
 
"Round"
 
Fingers and hands that gently, aimlessly wander across my
back
a mouth that speaks pleasures
and kisses me like a lover when I come home
arms that encircle me and hold me and want to touch me
a body that wants to be held by my tired arms
wine that rolls on to my tongue and pulls me from the day
 
and into the night
 

"Landscape"
 
This is a landscape unfamiliar to me.
Lightly, tantalizingly perfumed
Hard underneath
yet soft and pliable...
quivering and responsive
 
as I nuzzle the nape of your neck
 

"Reciprocity"
 
Take
give
love
live
 

near
miss
touch
kiss
 
talk
lips
dance
hips
 

swoon
sway
don't go
away
 

"Elevations"
 
No peaks...no valleys...no ravines...no elevation, like a
man's chest.
How is it that you can speak so calmly when you do that?
 
tempt...tease...tickle
how your fingers... so anticipated in conversation...
can make me squirm.
 

"Between"
 
Rain woke me early...
You are still there, sleeping, trusting...
Yesterdays concerns haven't yet become todays...
 
The cat warm and serene between us.
 

"Woodpecker"
 
Just words, my dear...
as soft as the rain on the grass outside our window....
as soft as a whisper of wind that stirs your hair....
as soft as a gentle kiss on my forehead as I fall asleep....
as soft as quiet persistence.
 
The woodpecker working on balsa.
 

"Nutshell"
 
In our tiny little nutshell,
I am often struck by the distance between us...
How far you seem when you leave the room to make coffee...
and how close you are when the phone rings for me at work
 
 
 
"Wherever I Go"
 
Love never lost, or left behind.
Tucked carefully under my pillow
wherever I go
 

"Brush"
 

I brushed against you
You touched me silently
that keeps you with me
 

"The Knight's Lament"
 
It is a lady I seek-
lamented the knight.
A lady of grace and beauty.
 
Her love is as a sudden flower in the desert-
all full of majesty and brilliance and pleasant surprise.
Her warmth and love cometh upon me, reaching into my soul-
as deep as the pit from which a lady rescues a knight.
I seek her as a weary man seeks soft bedding at the end of
a day's toil.
Indeed-
this weary knight would require no bedding
for her love doth cushion the hardest ground and protect me
from the
most bitter cold.
Were my heart to stop its thunderous beat, hers would no
doubt sustain
 
me-
it beats for both of us.
 
But alas-
my heart doth beat alone-
for surely this lady cannot exist.
 
But when the weary knight finally slept,
he was awoken to see a sudden sunrise in the west
in the pitch of midnight.
 
'Twas his Lady, on the other side of the world-
and the oceans dried, and the continents joined so that
they could be
together.
 

"Trade Winds"
 
I know that the clouds drifting by me will find you...
the stars that wink at me will find you and pass on my
message of love...
and the bird that sings to me as I walk to work...
 
has learned his song from you....
 

"Hands"
 
They take me in gently-
grasp mine with longing and care
 
the same hands that clean the children
and create so much in the kitchen
 
with so little-
they reach casually to turn off the light
and pull insistently at my clothes...
 

"Good Night"
 
I give my life to thee, though you may not desire it...
Day to day and night to night
what seems best not always right
 
Remember that I'm just a man,
doing the best that I can...
Plans and savings not what we'd hoped...
no children...ever...but we have coped...
So, my dear, another day,
we'll face together, come what may......
 
Taking you by the head, my fingers entwined in your hair, I
pull your lips
tightly to mine. Giving you a long and deep good night
kiss. Crushing you to my
chest, running a hand down your back...
 

Good Night
 

ROAD TO HELL
 

"The Road to Hell"
 
I have floated about
 
touching once or twice those things
which seemed to speak to me-
not intending to change or leave impressions
I have accidentally loved
and unintentionally hurt
I have given and denied-
I have stolen and enjoyed-
I have whispered to shadows.
Put right and made wrong
all within the confine of a sad sad song
 
pledged and vowed and kissed goodnight
left behind wrongdoings
and whispered farewells vanish rudely
without so much as a puff of smoke
and I find myself in a bed of thorns
my road to hell
all paved with good intentions.
 

"Scream of a Rose"
 

A scream so faint
that no one heard it.
But it hurt me.
Ripped into me.
And when its bloodied claws were gone,
I couldn't feel anymore.
Tears that wanted to come out couldn't
because they had so many times before.
 

More tears,
laid upon last weeks,
and last months,
and last years,
would be indistinguishable.
and being unnoticed,
they would be wasted.
like tears in the rain.
A downpour that wouldn't stop,
Started by the hurt in her voice
 
as loud
as the scream of a rose just plucked.
 

"Waves"
 
From cool breeze of autumn
comes rain-
wind whips angrily
stinging icy rain
 
horizontal-
assaulting eyes that look balefully to the past
and hopefully to the future.
 
Tears lost in the rain-
icicles like daggers
directed at white
vulnerable
virginal flesh
 

arms alternately pull in vain at a shadowy lover
and push away deceased aspirations
 
waves that push and pull
and comfort and condemn
and kiss and kill
 
wave goodbye
 
 
 
"The Last Time"
 
Our warm house is marred
by a cold center
and so, clichd, is my heart.
 
Why did he not-
What did he mean by-
What possessed him to-
 

No questions,
since there can't be any answers.
No past since there isn't any future.
 
All there is-
is right now.
Knowing that tomorrow
I'll put him out,
and that I will never feel his gentle,
almost begging hand on my breast...
 

I touch him
pull him to me
hold him as tight as I can-
squeeze him until the old tear
is hidden by the new
and kiss him as if it were
the last time.
 
 
 
"Forgiveness"
 
Can one simply and easily return the spark of life to an
empty shell?
Take back the moment when life was taken.
Go back.
Do over.
Put right what once went wrong...
 
Or is change irreversible?
If history can be rewritten, and all sins forgiven,
 
will there be no difference between what was, and what it
became-
because I changed it, then changed it back?
 
Forgiveness is like divorce.
Agree to put an end to it-
but never go back
to where we were.
No matter our smiles,
the deed is done.
 

Once altered, a thing is never original.
Once sinned, never completely clean.
Once stained, never again white.
Forgive, but not forget.
 

"Words"
 
All I have are words.
That is all.
 
I have nothing else to fight with, or love with, or build
with.
 
Just words.
So what do I do when I run out.
What do I do when any words will do more harm than good.
What to do when the only one who won't forgive me
is me.
 

"Selfish and Impulsive"
 

I have not felt alone since we met.
The sun has not failed to warm my back.
The stars have not failed to shine a light.
My wings have not faltered.
But now, as the sun goes cold
and the stars dim,
my wings fold in on themselves and shred in the gale.
My heart looks in familiar places... and you are not to be
found.
What have I wrought?
 
 
 
"The Voice"
 
The voice that was once so strong
in the silence.
The Lady who moved continents
and rose the sun in the west
cries out-
 
 
 
"Flash"
 
I opened my eyes just for an instant....
I cut through her flesh... and I hurt her...
tears that fall like stones and burn down my cheek.
Laid bare her soul... and hurt her.
Secrets flooded out in a tsunami.... cities wiped out...
habitats destroyed...
thousands displaced...
and I hurt her...
 
 
 
"My Eyes"
 
Some things last forever.
Love never dies-
or does it?
Look into my eyes.
You can travel in time...
I'm no longer certain if it will last forever-
 
or if it died more than a year ago.
All the answers are in my eyes.
And if you look close enough
you'll travel back to where it started...
I wish you could tell me if I killed it then.
if-
if you could even change it somehow.
Then my eyes wouldn't show a trace of happiness,
a year of pain,
and a flicker of hope.
 
I wish I could go back.
Back to happiness.
Before I needed hope.
Before I needed help.
Before I needed you-
to look into my eyes.
 

"The Loneliest Sight in the World"
 

He drove down her street for the last time,
knowing that he was no longer welcome there.
The sight of her house,
lit for a moment by headlights of a car turning the corner,
showed the blue, lace-trimmed curtains on the kitchen window
that they had picked out just a few weeks ago.
 
That sight, glimpsed through a rain-streaked rear window,
while driving away at one-thirty in the morning,
was quite possibly
 
the loneliest sight in the world.
 
He stared at it (for probably too long), until a tear ran
down his cheek
and stung momentarily.
 
She stared at it (for probably too long), until a tear ran
down her cheek
and stung momentarily.
 
It was still visible.
The car that had been so much a part of their happiness.
 
She grabbed a corner of the blue curtains
and wiped absently at a bit of dirt on the window.
The raindrops running down the window
mirrored her tears.
 
Tears that had refused to flow even as everything had
fallen apart.
As the natural abrasiveness
that had always added spark to their relationship had
imploded,
leaving a vacuum in the small house.
 

The small house that would never see him again.
The tears had begun to flow as he pulled away from the curb.
The tears that blurred her sight of his car turning onto
another street.
 
That sight, rain-streaked and tear-streaked,
that brought anger and pain
and self pity,
was quite possibly
the loneliest sight in the world.
 
 
 
"Tossed"
 
Sweet desolation.
Stars just visible behind the clouds.
The moon is a gauzy, ringed ball that spreads pale light
before me.
A soft breeze brings small waves lapping at the hull
while my sails flutter and begin to fill.
My small craft slips into the night.
 

Will the gaze of the moon turn cold
when the wind picks up
and I'm swept along on a wild current?
My sails are torn from the rigging and the deck tips wildly.
My home crashes onto its side.
 
Wood groans painfully
and breaks across my shoulders,
bringing me to my knees.
The sea tries to swallow me.
 
The spray slams into me, blinding me.
Water and noise.
Pain and insanity.
I'm alone.
Bewildered.
Lost in a dark storm.
And I've lost my heart in it somewhere.
 

"The Tree"
 

The tree doesn't care that I loved you.
It doesn't care that you're gone.
But my tears will help it grow.
 

"Final Sigh" 
 
If the echo of a memory
of a whispered secret love
 
died in solitude, with none to hear the plaintive gasp
and final sigh
as life slipp'd away...
 
would it make a difference?
 

FUN
 
 
 
"Cat's Paws Clause"
 
What is the cause
for my cats paws?
To give a place for claws
that know no laws.
No pause, she claws-
cat's paws clause!
 
 
 
"Paradox"
 
What a tangled web we weave
when time travel plots we do conceive.
It is a little hard to believe
critics I cannot deceive
grammarians read through and grieve
at tangled tense- an old pet peeve
But through a plot hole I quickly leave
with a pair o' docs up my sleeve.
 
 
 
"Grammatical Naughtiness"
 
Consider Shakespeare's beast with two backs
as mundane trivialities fall between the cracks
I am we and she is he and I am you and you like me too
not quite the beatles, but like pins and needles
how they prick and tend to stick like some memorable guitar
lick
at midnight far too hot to sleep and through your brain
ideas creep
 
take a grammatical sabbatical from problems symptomatical
try to hide and take a ride way away from the dark side
oceans blue and I love you, these are things I like to do
seems a crime to try to rhyme
your place or mine, that would be fine...
this or them, roses, long stem
is, are, gone too far
now I say, too much play, forgive me while I go away
I've just gone to the potty, miss
too much grammatical naughtiness...
 
 
 
"Out Damn Spot"
 
I'm not playing, you know.
It comes back every day, after He has left... though only
when the sun is shining.
Starts out low, on the floor.
No matter how I attack it, it only runs away.
On to the wall, and I jump as high as I can as it runs up
and across.
Paws and claws...it only runs away.
 
Finally just before He returns, it disappears... but it
will come back
tomorrow.
 
Out damn spot
 

EXPERIMENTAL
 

"Little Friend"
 

Taken from the pack of kittens...
two years past the cute stage.
Leaving three kittens of her own
somewhere else-
forgotten?
 
Mother to me,
as much as four paws and a small body would let her.
So soon-
 
too soon,
taken from home.
Does she know why?
Does she wonder why?
She'll worry more about my tears
than what might be wrong with her...
and my little friend-
what does she now face without me?
 
 
 
"Selective Amnesia"
 
and memory's a lovely thing
that drips honey on stale facts
and makes them sweeter
than they truly are-
so is selective amnesia
to remove the stench of places past
that demand my return
close the blinds on logic and sad assurance
 
and know
that it is better to travel hopefully
than to arrive
 

"You'll Be Me Someday"
 
sarcastic children pass it by in the street
too smart for their own good-
supreme and omniscient in their ignorance
 

a stormy night leaves it scatterbrained-
its once proud and pristine features
now slimy and wracked with undefined ills
 
and somehow it will survive the night-
sunlight will kiss it alive again
 
silent in its survival
a smile of knowing-
 

you'll be me someday
 

"Rose in the Ghetto"
 
Splash of red against the grey
discarded love left vagrant in the alley-
did you once convey a girl to and fro
through old papers and empty days?
 

Were you hopes and dreams and temptation
all wrapped in a pretty package-
only to be added to the rubbish one day?
How close have you been to passion?
How far behind has she left you?
 

"Battered, Bold and Beautiful"
 

A noble enterprise started on humble ground
in forgotten places
climbs on wings of determination
fueled with the blood of long lost heroes
a long road that brought her out
pushing back
the final frontier
to kiss the edge of forever
and now-
far from that humble start
 
fighting for home and hearth
held together by passion
and need
battered, bold and beautiful
 

"WarHorse"
 
Steel
Fusion Drive
 
Torpedoes
Disruptors
 
Leather
Horses
Crossbows
Swords
 
Kings born in nomadic flight.
Bloodlines deposed-
 
cut short
Birthright stolen
 
Empires forged
in steel and struggle.
Expand to survive.
Far flung adventure and conquest
 
Marauders
Hordes
 
Raiders
 
Sharpen their teeth before going into battle.
 

"Thaw"
 
Sunlight on black hair
desire blossoms again
we welcome spring thaw
 
 
 
"Thump, Thump"
 
The beat that calls my fellows
to my side
and takes me from my wife
it guides my vessel straight and true
across unmarked seas
Gives my heart pace to push across unknown fields.
 
and raise my sword alongside a thousand others
into glorious, bloody combat.
The same beat that finally carries me home to Valhalla
 

"Spark of the Gods"
 
After image
Glorious memory
Ode to joy
 

"Freude, schner Gtterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium!"
 
My soul
My heart
has memory
when my ears can no longer hear
When I can feel the passions flying open from my heart
but can no longer hear their song
 
I can order and compose
and try to recall their individual notes
as if they were errant children
or wayward locks of hair in the wind...
 
"Freude, schner Gtterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium!"
 
But will result equal intent?
The answer lies in unborn ears
 
and unborn hands across the years...
 

"I Walk Through Fire"
 
Your scent inflames me every day
and guides my heart every night.
Where are you?
 
The stars fade with sadness.
 
Clouds weep for your absence.
The day is dark
as is my heart.
It's flame has gone into the night.
Where are you?
 
The empty street cries.
Volcanoes go cold and die.
The river of blood ceases it's rush.
The greatest mountains are easily crushed.
 
You are no longer at my side.
 
I walk alone.
No honour
No glory
No love
 
I walk through the fire alone.
 
 
 
"Orion"
 
Crouched.
Tensed.
Hidden and lurking.
Outstretched wings-
fiery tips
 
slips through Orion
hunting packs of three
 
conveys thou and thee
through a cold and vacuumed sea
tigers. dragons. ships.
 
blips on the scope.
vanquished
unclean.
Give them rope
just enough to hang...
we heard the weapons-
 
fire sang.
 
I sang my love for thee
a kiss goodnight.
 
Orion slip'd away
 

"Recitations of a Ghost"
(Farewell, luminous beings)
 

Odd how one becomes accustomed to those things
which at times
can be frustrating or frightening.
 
They built their structure atop my home,
confusing me with their maze
and hurting me with their burning, blinding light.
 
Perhaps it is their life-force
 
which attracted me to them.
The inner light that doesn't harm.
Damn frustrating of them to run in fear
when I tried to get close.
How easily they forget
that I was once one of them.
 
Now I have to wonder if I was responsible for their leaving.
Wonder if they're gone forever,
leaving me alone in this dead structure.
 

Wonder if I'll ever again know
the love that only one of them could offer.
 
Farewell, luminous beings.
 

"Beyond the Farthest Star"
 
The stars disappear behind me like years.
 
Years since I've been 'home'.
Since I've seen the sort of things that so many of you take
for granted.
Lightyears behind me,
I can almost recall a family.
A wife.
Children?
 
Now they're gone.
Scattered among those of you who only know the world of
families.
Wives.
 
Children.
A day that begins with a kiss or maybe a fight.
End up at night making love.
 
My day begins
with the smell and taste of too many cigarettes yesterday.
Hours and lightyears later,
as the cargo that is my livelihood
slips through the darkness,
a freeze-dried steak is my dinner.
 
My goodnight kiss is the last receding star that shines in
my eyes as I fall
asleep.
 
A hundred lightyears from the last stop,
and I forget friends and places.
At a thousand or so
the loved ones are gone
as the last familiar clusters of stars fades into obscurity.
A galaxy that fades into obscurity.
A life that fades into obscurity.
 

As it all recedes
and the moments and memories and feelings
vanish with the stars,
I just barely feel for myself.
And I have to wonder if I'll feel anything
beyond the farthest star.
 

"A Voice in the Darkness"
 

There was no farthest star, it seemed.
No end to the random scatter of lights
that give their transitory comfort.
They appeared infrequently.
Sometimes the distance between them
was so vast that I thought this must be the last one.
Each carried a smile, and a reminder of things past.
Things better.
 

And there is the voice,
crackling through my speaker.
A voice speaking out of loneliness.
Speaking of home.
A voice from home,
that filled the void within me.
A voice of love and friendship.
It is just a voice that I cannot touch or embrace,
but simply talk to.
But there is nothing simple about her.
 
She is what I might be.
Whom I might be with.
 
There is also the subtle and powerful change in space
around my tiny ship.
Or perhaps the change is within me.
The same star has now visited me twice.
I seem to move,
but I've traveled no further from home.
No further from love.
Time, which I had grown to hate, for its feeling of
lingering death (or life)
 
no longer drags me along inexorably.
Time stands still.
The same star smiles upon me.
And the voice-
the woman
still talks to me,
bringing me closer to home.
 

"Another World"
 

Like another world
Waves settle and birds come back
Submerged eyes open
 

"Four Parallel Razor Cuts"
 
Nine days out with a crew of ten,
and noone seems to recall the five
 
who had been found dead upon reaching escape velocity.
Vital components of their personal life support systems
sliced to ribbons.
No clues.
No weapons.
Just four parallel razor cuts.
 
Twelve days out, and two more are forgotten.
Two bloody messes in their sleeping compartments.
No clues.
No weapons.
 
Four parallel razor cuts.
 
Three men left eyeing each other.
The next man was forgotten
as his corpse was towed to the spacecraft.
Helmet visor impossibly, fatally shredded.
No clues.
No weapons.
Four parallel razor cuts.
 

I can't seem to recall what happened to the other.
Was there another man on this mission?
For that matter, what is the mission?
What is my purpose out here?
Nothing more specific
than taking these claws and cutting off this uniform
to get to my skin
and leave four parallel razor cuts.
 
 
 
"Touch Me"
 
Blackness
 
v.o.
"there is nothing
but the sound of your voice
as I crawl slowly from
the womb of sleep"
 

a single red rose petal drops from above, spiralling down.
It is joined by another, and then another. An unending
series of single red rose petals drop, spiralling from
above.
 
v.o.(cont)
"and even as I push through a threatening world"
 
the darkness fades to:
moving through a forest, at superfast speed, we see animals
darting to the left and right, and an arrow comes from
behind us, spinning as it flies into the distance. Then a
horse and rider follow the arrow. The rider is tall, and
nothing but a black cloak and cowl that flaps in the wind.
The black cloak grows, until it is all we see.
 
v.o.(cont)
"and the slings and arrows that we all suffer do their
worst"
 

From the darkness, a white, luminescent figure seems to
struggle and flail helplessly as the shadows of swords fall
upon it, and arrows that are only wisps of black smoke
shooting through the figure
 
Over this scene, we see another petal drop. Our view slowly
swings up to reveal another petal drop directly at us. It
drops through the camera. The camera follows it down, to
show-
 
v.o.(cont)
"all that touches me"
 
Alone in the darkness, a young woman, with shoulder length
red hair, wearing a simple dress, smiling at us as the rose
petals continue to gently drop around her face.
 

v.o. (cont.)
"is you"
 

"Love All Around"
 
We met at work.
The storm broke a week later.
It was a desperate, wonderful summer spent in love.
 

And as summer turned to fall,
we moved in together.
 
Neither of us had been so happy for so long.
To finally be a couple.
In love.
Together.
Exploring life and enjoying the magic of love all around us.
 
Halloween saw the end.
 

A telephone call a few minutes before midnight told me
his motorcycle had been broadsided in an intersection.
 
Perhaps if he had been wearing a helmet...
 
It was a year later when I finally stopped crying into my
pillow.
I was still withdrawn,
and felt no interest in OTHER men,
but the tears had stopped.
 
The sharp pain in my heart was just an aching throb.
 
Seeing the love all around me
didn't hurt so much.
 
And, when I finally believed that I might love again,
it happened.
 
He happened.
 

Crossing railroad tracks on a shortcut to my apartment.
Ten minutes from solitude.
Coming down a gentle grassy slope.
Someone shoved me from behind,
and my life ended.
 
Rough, unfamiliar hands.
My arms pinned underneath me.
Legs shoved apart.
 

And with an animal grunt-
intrusion.
Violation.
And I couldn't stop him.
 
I had no strength.
No will.
No identity.
I was no longer a woman.
Not even a person.
 
Just an animal.
A thing.
And I couldn't stop him.
 
Pushing.
 
Thrusting.
 
Splitting me apart.
 

I couldn't stop him.
 
Five years later,
and I realize now that you never really recover.
Worse for me,
since every day I have to look into the young eyes
of the product of His attack.
 
A child's eyes filled with love,
but the same deep blue
 
that I saw in His.
I can see Him in my baby's eyes.
 
So every glance filled with love terrifies me.
Like a gentle grassy slope that I can never look at.
 
And even the streets that I walked six years ago
when I was in love.
 
And love was all around me.
 
 
 
VAMPIRE OF THE HEART
 
It is difficult to sit down and try to reconcile these
memories with what makes sense. With what one might expect
people to do. With what you might believe. But this is how
it really started. I was stationed in the military, in
Spain, and I met a girl. As it turned out, she was a
married girl. When I found out that she was married, I was
so torn between love for her and determination to not ruin
a marriage that I neglected my duty. Plain and simple.
Marlene.
 
I was ashamed. Not ashamed that I loved her. She was a good
girl to love. I wasn't even ashamed that she was married.
She didn't wear her ring because&  she gave a reason, but it
was honestly lost in the pain of knowing that I loved a
married woman. I wanted her, loved her...  needed her&  and
couldn't have her. It tore me apart. I didn't want to eat
or sleep or do my work. And that had been the end of my Air
Force career. I left her alone. I didn't pursue her. I
didn't try to sleep with her. No, I did okay there. What
shamed me was that I couldn't handle it. I loved her so
much, and was so in love&  and I couldn't have her.
 
But that is past now. I became a civilian. The
uncomfortable silence from family who don't know what
happened, and had the grace to not ask... that has faded.
And when I thought I was past her, and I could pretend that
I hadn't wasted almost ten years of my life- she called.
 

It was a quiet Sunday morning, and I had breakfast and a
newspaper and nothing else. The phone rang, and I was
annoyed because someone was bothering me on a Sunday.
 
A voice from the past. "Kesla. Kesla... we've moved to
Illinois." I honestly do not remember the entire
conversation. I knew that she was still with Daniel. I
thought, behind the excitement... why is she calling me? I
don't need to see her with Daniel. I mean, that almost
killed me once. Why oh why would I want to go under that
knife again?
 
"Just come out for a week."
 
What I found was&  not entirely unexpected. Daniel was away.
Out of town. Marlene was convinced that he was straying. So
I stayed with her, in a small house on the outskirts of
Rantoul. She never made any advances on me. She never
hinted that she was interested in straying herself, and I
would not have had anything to do with that anyway. It
would be just as wrong as it would have been in Spain.
 
But there was her perfume.
 

I don't know precisely what it was called. Jasmine&
something. In truth, the name was not important. But it was
her. It smelled like her. And on those few occasions that
had her out of the house, and I was left to my own devices,
I felt an irresistible compulsion to go to her vanity and
smell the perfume. I felt guilty doing it. I felt like a
voyeur doing it. I felt dirty. But the Jasmine smelled of
love and life and pretty feminine things &  and it smelled
like her. And when time finally ran out on the little week
away from reality, I could still smell the Jasmine. It was
in her jacket... and in her hair.
 
So when she took me to Rantoul's small airport, she wore
the Jasmine, because I had told her what it did to me. We
took time for coffee and sweet rolls before my flight. "I
love you...", I said. Now I look back at the words with
almost hatred. "I have never felt like this& "
 
She was small and pretty and powerful, and I had spent so
much time wanting her that I sometimes felt as if there
never had been a life when I didn't want her. Sitting here
in the airport waiting for the flight back to California,
it was possible to pretend that a string of disasters had
not preceded this lovely spring day.
 
I could forget meeting Marlene in Spain. I might even
forget falling in love with her. Then she smiled that
smile, as the small airport in Rantoul started to wake up
with arriving families, and opening shops, and flight
announcements. That smile that had torn my heart in two
when I found out that she was married. And as she left, I
saw her go back to the little red car that she had always
driven too quickly, with Tom Petty always playing far too
loudly. She yelled out across the tarmac. "I love you!"
 
I felt something then. A twinge. Something was not right. I
was not meant to leave women at airports as they shouted
their love for me. I felt, in fact, self-conscious. I
didn't feel right&  but I had to answer her. "I love you
too!" And I felt foolish. But the Jasmine that I now
smelled on my jacket clouded all of that, and doomed me to
my fate.
 

Six months later, and another Sunday. Another phone call.
Daniel was gone. Gone. And she was there. Alone. Single. It
seemed like a good idea. It really did. I loved her. I
remember thinking that I didn't even need to hope. because
I had her. I had done my share of hoping and wanting. I
could be one of the people who had someone that they could
love, and that loved them back. I thought it was okay. I
really did. So I took the plunge. I packed everything into
the Trans Am and drove two thousand miles to be with her.
 
It all sounds ridiculous now. But at the time, it seemed
like everything had finally fallen into place. I will not
bore you with details of the drive across country. The
Rocky Mountains in November. Snow. The snow continued
through to Illinois. It was very cold, especially if you
are used to California.
 
I arrived in Rantoul at seven at night. Marlene was at this
grocery store she worked at. She came out of the office, to
the right as you walk in the front door. She saw me and ran
to me. She actually jumped over the counter and hugged me.
That was the last thing that happened that I had actually
expected to happen.
 
We drove in that little red car. There was no Tom Petty.
There wasn't even the Jasmine. I was disappointed. But
there was so much more to come.
 
We were meeting a friend at a 'sports bar'. I'd never been
to one before, and I've never been to one since. While
Marlene grabbed a beer, I asked the kid behind the bar for
a martini. He answered 'uh, most folks drink beer here.'
And I had to explain to him how to make a martini.
 

When I finally had my martini, I found Marlene and her
'friend' (his name is Preston, by the way), sitting
together in a booth. They were nearly on top of each other.
It was almost too much to believe. She had asked me to come
out to live with her. The day that I left California, we
had spoken on the phone about our plans. What we were going
to do with the little apartment that she had moved into.
The window that led onto the roof, and the fact that it was
great to bring sandwiches and beers up there, with a
stereo. I didn't know what the hell was going on. So I sat
down, and tried not to stare at them. They were pawing each
other as if- as if I wasn't there. So I lit a cigarette and
tried to shrink back in my seat.
 
Marlene didn't try to explain. At the time, I hated her for
it. I wanted to-. Well, I didn't want to kill her. I am not
that kind of guy. I just didn't understand why she would
ask me to come to her. Two thousand miles, leaving behind a
pretty comfortable life in California just so I could see
her paw her 'friend' in a crowded sports bar. We stayed
there for an uncomfortable hour, and then went back to his
apartment. He disappeared briefly into the bedroom, and
Marlene looked at me. I looked at her, and I wanted to ask
her what the hell was wrong with her. But I couldn't. I
saw, behind her, a yellow refrigerator that was plastered
with magnets and pictures. And from the little kitchen
table, I could see pictures of the two of them together.
Pictures from the summer time. While we had been on the
phone, chatting and romancing and planning for a life
together, she had been sitting in a park with him. Pawing
and flirting and doing just what they had done in front of
me an hour ago.
 
So I didn't ask her. I didn't really think that there was
anything to be said. I let her take me to her apartment,
while she spent the night with Preston.
 
I rarely saw Marlene after that. I stayed in her apartment
as she began to move her things to Preston's. I didn't
understand the timing. Had she kept the old apartment so
I'd have a place to stay? And there was still the big
question. Why had she let me come out? Why not just tell me
to stay in California? Through all of it, I never
understood that.  
 

"Jasmine"
 

It smells of her.
When she is away and all I have are memories...
The echo of her voice is in my ears...
The touch of her hand. so absently tracing a line on my
face as I fell asleep.
The strength of her against me...
the last sigh..
the last shudder..
The last memory of a blessed endless night...
And the hurried morning that leaves me hungry for the next
night.
 
I still have the jasmine that clings to her pillow
And I still have her
 

I lived there for a week while she moved away, and I found
a local publisher. Barnabas Press. LOL. Trashy, but they
bought my romance novels. "Sally Groft's" romance novels,
actually. Anyway, that made it easy to rent Marlene's
apartment.
 
I told myself at the time that I stayed there because I was
there anyway, and I liked the roof access. But the truth
is, she was still in my dreams and poetry.
 

"Bath"
 

The smell of jasmine from somewhere overhead, or just
outside the room...
the reality of you, here, with me-
tickling at my heart
red wine that slowly works at the stresses of the day-
heat from the bath floats up and wraps us in blankets of
intimacy-
 
the serenity is gently held in place by a Moonlight Sonata-
it sighs in my ear...
love and desperation and long sought embrace...
 

a gentle tear squeezed out as the last question is answered-
the last wonder-
the last temptation-
sweet, sweet wonderful surrender...
someday my love
 

It doesn't seem like much, to start drinking. Just a glass
of vodka at night, to celebrate finishing a book. Then, of
course, it was a drink on Friday night after the movie.
Then it was a drink to help start off a new book. Soon it
was there to help me get to sleep.
 

It was a Sunday when things changed again. I had decided it
would be fun to drink espresso and vodka. I dropped two
drops of Tabasco sauce into the vodka to give it kick, and
threw it back. The espresso machine had just finished
steaming, and I poured the soupy coffee into a cup and
threw it back right on top of the vodka. That was a
mistake. I was suddenly very dizzy. Fortunately, I was
close to the bed....
 
I was lying in bed, my forehead dripping wet, madly talking
nonsense&  dreaming&  a nightmare from the past&  the woman
moved to climb over me&  she kissed slowly and languorously
across my chest, moving up to my neck with a hunger that
left me gasping& . "Marie-". I struggled for breath to say
more, but her kisses  weakened me&  I felt little cold
things drop onto my chest and roll to the floor. And
finally I asked "What do you want? I told you I don't want
any sex, I am drunk& "
 
"You are so sad&  longing& " she muttered, between suckling
kisses and labored breaths. "I crave your sadness& "
 
With that, her ravenous mouth abandoned its explorations
and fell upon my mouth. I instinctively responded, but
found myself overwhelmed by her hunger. "I-." Then I felt
the crushing weight of the last six months come crashing
down on me. Oh, God, this woman was feeding off of my
sadness. Her lips were crushing mine.... her tongue pushing
past my teeth to explore my mouth. And I responded. I
pushed back. My tongue engaged hers, and I held her against
me. I wanted to roll, to crush her under my weight and take
her, but I was drunk, and she had weakened me. I felt again
those cold drops rolling down my cheek& all I could do was
push myself against her, and feel her drawing my strength
into her.&  I finally saw that her eyes were glazed. I
raised myself up and rolled her over.
 
Her red hair flowed behind her, spread on the pillow like a
fire.& "Marie" My face sank into her hair, and I  couldn't
breathe anymore.&  I woke up with my face buried in the
pillow. Exhausted. Sober. According to the clock, five
minutes had passed.
 

I didn't know, at the time, if she was real. I felt as if
she were feeding off of- my sadness. I didn't see her the
next day, or the next....  But I also didn't care about
Marlene, or Preston. The pain was gone. By Wednesday, I had
decided that she was a dream of vodka and espresso, and I
went back to writing. Pain was starting to grow within me
again. It was like a creeping ooze inside of me. A cancer
of tar that soaked into my heart. My thoughts drifted back
to Spain, and I wrote a rather dark poem. A suicide poem.
 

"Portrait in Flesh"
 
He created her.
Willed her to stand there motionless
as the car that he created sped down the street that they
both knew.
 
And as the car relentlessly approached him,
 
he stood there in the middle of the street.
(He knew it would look spectacular)
 
The music, which had been building to a deafening
crescendo,
stopped abruptly as the car ran him down.
(Focus on the white shirt turning blood red)
At that instant, everything stopped.
 
The car is now permanently embedded in his midsection.
The pool of blood in the street no longer spreads,
 
and her face is a frozen mask of horror and disbelief.
(Isn't it neat?)
 
The artist sits back to regard his work.
Lights a cigarette and sighs contentedly.
This one would just do.
This latest portrait in flesh.
 

I liked that. I silently thanked Marlene for giving me
writing material and shot it off to Barnabas Press, who put
it in a Goth magazine. A quick fifty bucks. I wonder what
the teenagers would think if they knew they were buying my
vodka for me. By Saturday night, I was ready for Marie. If
she was real. I was also halfway through the vodka, and
thinking about 'the artist'. He couldn't live long. At five
a.m. Sunday, I drank the last of the vodka and killed him
off.
 
 
 
"Vast Death"
 
A corpse running through
the snowy landscape that covers the earth
casts a dead eye skyward.
Winged scavengers stare with glass eyes
that gleam with a lust of blood and hunger.
 

In the endless death that is space,
a steel cocoon bursts violently.
The fragile creature within
is thrust into the vacuum
and lives a lifetime of fear in the next seconds
as his fragile flesh succumbs to the harsh nothingness.
 
Two bodies,
heated with want and lust to burning
wrap themselves around each other
 
and feed off each others souls.
The crack of thunder.
The scurrying of tiny animal feet.
Moans of passion.
 
Then the flash of steel
as one naked arm,
gleaming with a sheen of sweat
produces a blade
and stabs uncounted times into both bodies.
 

A lanky figure,
wrapped in thin and inconsequential rags
steps outside and is immediately struck
by a stabbing, killing, relentless downpour of freezing
rain.
 
Blinding tears,
indistinguishable from the rain
run down the dark face
and onto the already rain-dotted cigarette.
 
A frenzied bid to keep moving.
Click of heels running into the street.
The swish of skidding tires.
A dull thump-
and the forlorn song of a siren arriving too late.
 
The artist arises from a prone position
and looks around at the tiny universe
of an unfamiliar apartment.
 

The darkness of midday floods the room
with seductive and deadly visions
that draw the artist through the window.
The vast death ends with a noiseless scream&
And silence.
 

That was much better. The evil artist had to eventually
succumb to his horrible world. Balance. Justice. Bullshit,
really. If there were real justice, Marlene would have her
heart ripped out. I contemplated this while I slipped out
of my small apartment. There was one place in Rantoul that
sold alcohol on Sunday. Mayday Liquors. A bottle of Stoli's
and a bag of corn chips would do for Sunday dinner.
 
Time disappeared very quickly. I was contemplating writing
more. I read and reread "Vast Death". I think I slept in
front of the T.V. for a few hours. I woke up to the evening
news. And Marie sitting, watching me. "Vengeance?" Her
voice was like a lightning bolt. Thick and Russian, but
somehow- empty. Like an empty bottle. I didn't even
register at the time that she was naked.
 

"Excuse me?"
 
"Forgive me. I know you are sad. But now you want
vengeance?"
 
"Marie." I was coming to grips with the fact that she
wasn't a dream. That sounds stupid, but spending your life
living in a tiny apartment drinking and writing suicide
poems can change your power of perception. And it is just
not normal for naked Russian babes to land in your bed and
make love to you. "Your name is Marie, isn't it?" She
nodded, and that incredible red hair bobbed and seemed to
flicker like a fire. "How do you know about the vengeance?"
 
"I can smell your fear and your sadness. Your hatred. How
do you live with it all the time?" She looked disapproving.
But there was a hunger to her at the same time.
 
"What are you?" That question came out unbidden.
 

You could cut her accent with a knife and spread it on a
piece of toast. "Nosferat'id. Vampire of the Heart." What
that was, she explained, was a vampire that fed on
emotions. She said that she smelled my 'melancholia' from
miles away. It had left her intoxicated for five days.
 
"I don't want to talk about it." Damn. I had been fine for
days. In fact, for five days. Since-. "You took my....
melancholia. My sadness?"
 
"It was so intense. So very passionate."
 
Then I lost the angry edge that kept me from crying. "Can
you take it all? Can you stop it from hurting?"
 
One of her eyes closed quickly, and something bright
dropped to the floor. I could see from where I sat that it
was a diamond. "Kesla, I can do this. I can. But you will
lose your passion. All of it. Your 'artist' will be no
more."
 

A tear squeezed out, and I suddenly hated the passion that
Marie wanted. I hated the salty tear that smeared the dirt
on my face. I hated Marlene, and everyone that I had ever
known. Except for Marie. She was beautiful. She was
incredible. And she could stop the pain forever. "Please."
 
She kissed me. Hard. It was like the first time, except
that I was awake this time. I felt as if- as if she were
feeding on me. I felt like an animal was devouring me. I
felt helpless. And this was just a kiss. Her arms were
around me, like steel bands. Her body was very hard next to
mine. But the fact that she was naked meant nothing. It was
as if it were natural. I imagined a wolf devouring its
prey, but with just a kiss. I must have fallen back on the
bed at some point, and I have vague memories now of making
love to her. Or I think it was actually her making love to
me& . with my passion. When I awoke Monday morning, I was
sober. No hangover. And no sadness.
 
She came back the following Sunday, and the same thing
happened. I noticed that she always left a small pile of
diamonds on the floor by the bed. I felt for one brief,
bitter moment like a prostitute. Take my passion, leave me
a fortune in tears. But in fact, I had asked her to.
 
Seven more Sundays came and went, with seven more visits by
Marie. Seven more kisses. Seven more piles of diamond tears
by the side of the bed. On the eighth Sunday she didn't
show, and I felt myself hungry for her passion. Or anyone's.
 
 
 
"Without Marie"
 
There are pieces of me
elemental fingertips
flames licking ineffectually at the ice that traps me
keeps me wanting in the dark without ever having
needing without ever touching
reaching without ever grasping
living
without ever loving
 
 
 
I decided finally that I couldn't spend the rest of my life
waiting for Marie to come back. Really, she had no reason
to. And for the first time in a month, I left the
apartment. The Artist, indeed. I glanced quickly at the
little window that had teased me for so long, and thought
again about the Artist. Then I was safely in my car. The
Trans Am rumbled out of the small parking lot, then took
two side streets to Seratonin Avenue, which runs the length
of Rantoul. Before I could note the passage of time,
darkness fell like a light switching off, and I was turning
onto Canberra Street. Whatever it was that had pulled me
almost out of town drew me into the rows of identical tract
housing that formed the outskirts of Rantoul. And as I saw
the shape of a '65 Mustang parked on the street, I sensed
something akin to Marie. It smelled, oddly, like fresh
brewed coffee. That was my first real taste of a
Nosferat'id hunger pang. What I sensed, smelled, tasted was
hunger. But the hunger that pulled me, just as Marie would
have been pulled to my melancholia, was another
Nosferat'id. And he (I somehow knew it was a 'he', even at
that point) was after someone in the house at 1248 Canberra.
 
He was dressed in a black on black pinstriped suit, and was
standing at a side window just short of a wooden fence.
Clean fingers scraped at the window, until he noticed me
watching. I expected him to be angry or dangerous... like a
vampire. But he just gave me a dirty look. "Get away. She's
mine," he hissed.
 
I made no effort to be as quiet as he'd been. "What are you
doing to her?"
 
"I'm giving her some fear," he answered. "She's just gone
to sleep. Mom and Dad are out of town. Watch, if that's all
you like to do. But keep quiet."
 

I didn't think he was actually going to hurt her, but I
decided to stop him. And the only way to do that was to
wake her up. So I picked up a rock and threw it at the
window. He responded by hissing at me again, then turning
back to the window "Nicky loves you, Melissa." Then he
smashed the glass in with his elbow and leered into the
room. "Nicky loves you!" Then he turned and brushed past me
as he ran to the front of the house.
 
By the time I got to ny car, the Mustang was roaring down
Canberra towards Seratonin. Fortunately, the Trans Am's
350, V-8 engine had no trouble keeping up with Nick's
Mustang. As we screamed down Seratonin Avenue, I started to
wonder what I'd do if I caught him. I noticed, as I drew to
within a car's length of him, a red light in the center of
the rear window. A third brake light in the shape of a
death's head. I'd seen them before, in the autoparts store
across the street from my apartment. But this one had real
eyes, and glowed with real flame as it stared at me. Nick's
Mustang was definitely a custom job.
 
The chase ended at the very end of Seratonin Avenue, just
before it merged with and became highway 45,  in the
parking lot of "Patty's All-Nite Melts". Nick had somehow
pulled far ahead of me, and was already parked against a
huge plate glass window. I parked next to him, and got out
of my car.
 
"Hey vampire," Nick called cheerfully as I walked into
Patty's. "Have a seat!" He gestured to the bench opposite
him in one of several booths that lined a very long wall in
the diner. He spoke to a young woman who was pouring a cup
of coffee, and she left quickly. "Sit. You caught me. Have
a cup of coffee."
 
I hadn't expected that. Bad as Nick obviously was, he
seemed to enjoy his lot. And he seemed to enjoy having
company. As soon as I sat down, one of Patty's
'neverending' cups of coffee appeared in front of me, and I
sipped it gratefully. I suddenly knew I was finished with
vodka. "What are you?" My thinking was that he was some
kind of pedophile vampire, preying on midwest teenage
girls. I was picturing a Nosferat'id Malcolm McDowell from
"A Clockwork Orange".
 

"I'm not that bad," Nick answered, seeming to read my mind.
"I was just scaring her a little. At least I'm not selling
sick fantasies for vodka."
 
"No," I answered. "You're just soiling young lives." I
suddenly felt very defensive, and found myself wondering
how physically dangerous the wiry and intuitive Nick might
be. "You're painting evil on a blank canvas."
 
Nick grinned lasciviously. "Isn't it neat?" That line,
plucked from 'Portrait in Flesh' was too direct to be
coincidence. "If you want to see something really neat," he
continued, "stick around. There's a girl comes in here
every night..."
 
As his words trailed off, I felt a great desire to leave,
and never spend another second in Nick's company. It was
too much an entertainment to him. The more innocent the
better. But a resounding crash stopped me. A pane of glass
two booths down smashed into the diner, with two people
sprawled in the center of it. One was a middle-aged man
wearing an anonymous white dress shirt, splattered with
more blood than could be explained by the broken glass. On
top of him was a girl, no more than twenty. Her pretty face
was speckled with blood, and her delicate hands clutched a
wicked knife. That would explain all the blood, I thought.
She muttered a curse as the echo of the crash died, and
looked directly at me. Then she dropped the knife and
disappeared through the gaping hole, framed by still
clinging shards of glass.
 
"Go get her!" Nick hissed, but I was already up and running
after her.
 

I was surprised to find the girl leaning heavily against
the side of my Trans Am, as if she'd run a mile, rather
than the dozen steps between my car and the window. But she
was there, blood dripping onto the midnight blue paint, and
fishnet stockings torn and snagged on some bit of body
work. "What happened--?" I asked, even as she seemed to see
me only now. As she raised the knife defensively, I felt a
sudden compulsion to kiss her. Hard.
 
"Don't go." I heard the words behind me, in a woman's
voice, and jumped. I was in a bathroom, completely unlike
mine. The walls were salmon-pink, with all sorts of things
hanging everywhere. Pantyhose. Bras. Underwear. There was a
slight scent in the air, jasmine and lilac, and something
that smelled of rain. "Let's just forget all about him and
stay in." She was pleading. "I'm over it."
 
"You're not over it," I heard myself answer in a woman's
voice. "And neither am I. It'll just be once more, honey.
He trusts me. He won't be expecting me to--"
 
"I don't want you to go!" She pushed the door open, and I
saw her. Roommate. Lover. Rape victim. "You're selling
yourself to that bastard. Touching him, with the same hands
that touch me."
 
"The same hands are gonna kill that son of a bitch," I
said. The knife was sitting in a shelf over the bathroom
sink, and I saw that it was actually more of a letter
opener. Dull silver, with costume jewelry built into the
handle. And then I gazed into the mirror, and saw myself. I
was the girl who would sometime soon stab her lover's
rapist and slam him through the glass at Patty's All-Nite
Melts. The roommate... Cassie was her name, put her hands
around my neck and kissed me as if it were the last time.
 

I fell away from her, as I found myself back in the parking
lot at Patty's Melts. Then I over-balanced, and fell to the
dirt. This seemed to wake her up, and she dropped the
letter-opener that I'd seen just seconds ago in her
bathroom. "Take that with you," I said. "Don't let anyone
find it. Then take Cassie and get the hell away from here."
As she began to move on shaky legs, I moved past her, and
almost fell into the car. My hands found the keys, and
turned the ignition. Fortunately the car started quickly,
and I pulled away from the glass and horror that was
Patty's Melts. And even as I did, I saw and heard a small
pile of perfect diamonds skitter across the hood and get
lost in the dirt.
 
I stayed in the car for days, cherishing the solitude and
security of the steel cocoon around me. But soon the car
seemed to become a prison, and I wandered through now snowy
streets and sidewalks as winter descended on Rantoul.
That's where I met Sandy.
 
She was bundled in what seemed to me at the time to be
perfect and warm and feminine. Soft brown hair peeking out
from under a cute white hat, with just a shadow of what I
would later learn was premature gray hair, That all made a
very pretty picture that reminded me briefly of what I
thought Marlene was going bring into my life. And what had
brought me to this point. She was waiting for a bus and
feeding french fries to squirrels.
 
"I didn't know they liked french fries," I said as an
opening.
 
"This time of year they like just about anything," she
answered cooly. The bus showed up a few minutes later, and
I allowed my curiosity to pull me along behind her.
 

I stayed with her on the bus, and introduced her to a
civilized version of myself. A normal, non-Nosferat'id
version of myself that wrote poetry for a living and was
seeking a soulmate. Not too far off, but lacking certain
deal-breakers. She liked what she heard, and we got to know
each other. And everything went fine. It wasn't completely
honest, and I knew it couldn't last forever. All I was
doing was making her love me so I could smell it, swim in
it, pretend to share it, until one day, I knew it was
almost over. Christmas was getting close, and we were
hauling packages into her house. I had a bag with several
boxes in it, and my foot slipped on a patch of ice. The bag
flew out of my hands, and a snow globe was suddenly out and
flying. It crashed into a rock on the side of the path and
lay there in pieces. She looked at the snowglobe, now
filling with real snow, and at me, as if she'd expected it
to happen. I followed her into the house, feeling numb and
stupid. It was almost over, I knew. Bitter disappointment
hung in the air like incense, and I took it in a kiss...
 

"Lack"
 
He is just this man.
I am just this woman.
 
I kissed him.
Because-
 
there was this lack in his eyes.
Not a vacuum, because a vacuum is empty.
A lack is something missing.
Something that must have been there once.
I could see where something was missing.
 
When I kissed him.
He kissed me. Not with his hands, or his arms or legs or
with his body or with
his passion...
Just his mouth.
 

I felt as if something-
Everything was being taken.
I felt the lack.
 
This great wind as all the passion and life...
as it all left me.
The tears drained.
The tears when Bobby died.
The tears when Russell left.
 
I felt them all leave.
 
The joy of finding the house, and spending our first night.
The joy of love...
 
And little Bobby with the crooked smile.
I swear I saw Bobby look at me as he passed by...
And this man continued to kiss me...
His hands were still, yet I melted.
He didn't speak.
 
There was no electricity to it. No fireworks.
 
He is not my great love, like you read in cheap novels.
He is just a man, and it is just a kiss.
 
And when I see tears form in his eyes, and drop to the
floor like diamonds.
Tears for Bobby and Russell, and that little black dog
Buddy...
I feel the lack in me.
 
 
 
I felt her slip away from me, and the parade of losses that
Sandy had suffered, and maybe why she'd expected nothing
out of me. Finally nothing was all she got, plus a pile of
diamond tears that she wouldn't understand, because I would
now be nothing but a lack to her. I never went by that bus
stop again, and never watched pretty girls who fed french
fries to squirrels. I closed my eyes, and walked into the
darkness. I wasn't expecting to find anyone.
 

"Bittersweet"
 
It seems I walked the same street for a year-
crossing and turning-
retracing my steps.
 
January snow still hid the crosswalk.
 
The smell of a neighbor's barbecue nearly stopped me in July
but an early frost kept me passing by.
 
In the window,
I saw the shadow of two people kissing.
How much I would give to be in that shadow,
and let someone else pass by in the night.
 
But it is enough for a vampire of the heart to be able to
breathe in the scent
of love
 
and pretend that it's mine.
 
It is my good fortune to have you as my friend.
After a year on that street,
I'll spend all eternity looking for you
in a town called bittersweet.
 
And if, after all that time
I only catch a trace of your friendship in the wind,
then eternity will not have been wasted.
 
 
 
She really wasn't my friend anymore. I knew that, but kept
telling myself that since I'd left before a fight, that we
could be. It kept me from thinking that I'd hurt her too
much. That myth... that shadow of a half truth sustained
me. Six months passed. Or six days. Small consideration.
Driving home from a movie one night, and there was a small
figure huddled in the darkness on the side of the highway.
I remember thinking what a foolish thing to do...such a
risk at night...so I did something equally foolish. I
stopped and offered a ride. A woman, at night,
hitch-hiking. "Where are you going?" A small,tough voice
answers back "Urbana." And it was that stretch of highway
45 between the towns when the lights are few and far
between, and the cars just as rare when she turned at a
light and kissed me.
 
What I thought I would get was the sadness and
despair...deep and rich and satisfying if a bit
predictable...there was that, and I wasn't sure if it was
Patsy Cline on the radio or in my head...but there was also
confusion and disarray and a feeling of...displacement.
Like I wasn't where I should have been. Like I was someone
else entirely. Not this small tough girl hitch-hiking in
Rantoul...but someone else, locked in a white room, waiting
while experts hovered around...mumbling about me...
 
Or Susan. Oh, Susan who works in this homeless
shelter...and it was cold. Snow tracked inside by too many
pairs of shoes marched inside a building filled with cots
and bags and hopeless people. Susan who looks at me like a
friend, and asks..."Is that what I am to you? A taste of an
emotion?" Not bitter. Not accusing or angry or
frightened...just... disappointed. "Is that all?" The only
answer came again from Patsy Cline "I knew... you'd love me
as long as you wanted, and then someday you'd leave me for
somebody new."
 

"The Alien"
 

Loneliness becomes a lover.
Solitude a cherished sin.
Never to be touched again...
Is he-
does he-
feel pain?
I almost caught it once-
just a brief flash in his eyes.
And once, in a few terse, self-deprecating words.
 
But were they words,
or lines?
A heart, or a script?
If we could just talk.
But I can't see him for the face he hides behind.
He doesn't even seem human.
No tears.
Clichs of love.
An alien.
 
 
 
Then Susan was gone, and the girl who kissed me at that
light... her face stayed briefly, like an afterimage of
light burnt into the retina. A name presented itself to me.
Marta.
 
Leaving Rantoul was all that I could do. I worried/hoped
briefly that Marie might look for me in that horrible
apartment, or that even Marlene might. But it had been more
than a year since I'd seen either of them. Nick seemed to
have decided that I was too serious to spend time with. So
I packed everything I cared about, (surprisingly little. A
laptop computer, some old books, and some clothes) and left
Rantoul for a warmer climate. Goodbye midwest, hello
Florida panhandle. Fort Walton Beach to be specific. Why
there? Because in my younger, less responsible days, I'd
been stationed at a small air force base there. It was also
fairly quiet. And of course Barnabas Press didn't care
where I lived, just so long as I continued to send them
poetry. And despite Marie's warning, my 'artist' was alive
and well.
 
But of course, the internet was worth more to me than
sending email. I quickly discovered an internet industry
based on 'lovelines'. Lonely hearts for the
cyber-generation. And while I knew I wasn't going to find
love there, (Because Susan had been right. They were just
tastes of emotions.) I was there looking for the strange
anonymous passion that even an email could convey. Soon I
found myself almost addicted to the process of creating a
profile just to see what I could draw in. I even found a
creation of software called a love-bot. An artifical
intelligence program that, given a sufficiently complex
user profile, could simulate a cyber romance. Not exactly a
substitute, I knew, but it was an interesting exercise in
adaptive software manipulation. But even as I tasted the
email passions of real and artificial girls, I found that
every profile I created eventually drew in someone named
Marta. There was even an artificial Marta that responded in
a rather predictable, computerized fashion to every random
whim that I threw at it. Marta was there, and Marta wasn't
leaving.
 
The real Marta's (twelve in all. One for each 'real' Kesla
that I'd created) were just as adaptive and random, but I
knew that they were also reading me, and there was
something powerful to them. Almost as if they were looking
as hard as I was. Finally I gave up the game and left all
but one. With her, I began to bring myself carefully around
to who and what I was. The word 'vampire' never came into
it, nor did 'nosferat'id', and since I had never actually
lied, I didn't have great trouble getting around to
complete truth. I simply peeled away at layers that I
hadn't hinted at before. I was showing the substance that
was responsible for shadows I'd revealed before. And then
she revealed to me, in her poetry, substance that I had
never imagined or hoped for.
 
 
 
"Layers"
 
Just how many layers are there to you?
An hour ago you were getting dressed.
A day ago you were making love.
A year ago you were on the run.
There has been rage
(which tastes sweet)
and love
(which tastes of garlic)
 
and panic
(which tastes like cinnamon)
 
Two hundred years ago
you pushed me away.
Four hundred years past
we were lovers.
A thousand years ago we played on the Russian steppes.
But your face has never changed.
Nor has your kiss.
 
 
 
I fell asleep thinking of making love with a vision of
Marta that was more Marie than anything else. Marie had
left a lack in me, just as I'd left one in Sandy, and
somehow I felt that my hunger would always reflect her.
Everything I ever wanted would always have something of
Marie in it. Like Marlene's haunting jasmine that had cost
me so much. My lack had Marie written all over it. But
dreams were something else altogether.
 
I woke up in a small motel room in Rantoul. It was one that
I'd never been in, but had driven past many times. It was a
Sunday morning, at just about ten. As light streamed into
the small room, illuminating my prone figure, I realized
that Marlene was there. Standing in the light, looking down
at me with more love and care than she'd ever demonstrated
in real life. She didn't speak. There was no apology. No
explanation. No promises of love. All she did was smile and
laugh softly, and reach down to take my hand...
 
I woke up again, in the apartment in Fort Walton Beach, and
immediately wrote what I'd been thinking as Marlene visited
me.
 

"Butterfly Kiss"
 

I am prone...
unmoving
eyes closed
hands at rest
 
jasmine tickles at my senses-
you tickle at my memory.
 
the softest touch-
 
a butterfly's kiss.
fingertips on my eyelid
 
something...
a strawberry in my mouth.
you, here, in the night
 

I sent that to Marta, feeling vaguely as if I'd been
unfaithful. In return, she sent me one that pushed any
lingering thoughts of Marlene even farther away.
 
 
 
"Wisp'er"
 
A thousand years ago
 
flame in the centre of the Gur licked at the cold air...
little wisps of smoke curled up, and concealed your
likeness.
 
Today
 

the fire that marks the decay of the old apartment
produces a murky, black smoke that conceals your likeness.
 
Tomorrow
 
the huge block of flats cannot conceal you
the wisp of smoke from the incense stick cannot conceal
what you made me
a thousand years ago.
 
 
 
The next morning, there was another message waiting for me.
 

"Forbidden"
 
I can almost hear you sigh.
I can see your eyelids flutter
as sleepy morning light
exposes you to the day.
 

Can you feel my kiss
from across the sea?
Can you feel forbidden arms
around you?
Shadowy desire
pushes aside inhibitions
and pulls a tear
that drops like a diamond
to the bare floor.
 
 
 
I stepped away from the computer, suddenly needing coffee
like I had once needed vodka. It seemed unquestionable that
Marta was Marie. Somehow, from somewhere, she was reaching
out, inviting me back. In fact, I knew very little about
her. I didn't know where she was from, or how old she was,
or what she thought she would get from me. I trusted her,
as I had trusted nobody since Marlene so very long ago.
 
Only then did I realize that I would leave the impersonal
apartment. I hadn't been there long, and in fact had rented
it on a monthly basis. Days were spent writing, and nights
were spent communicating with Marta. (And even though I
knew she was really Marie, somehow I didn't equate the
strangely desperate cyberpoet with the almost mournful
Nosferat'id who had taken me so long ago). And when finally
she sent me away so that we could both sleep, I took her,
(in imaginings that came unbidden, as if sent like a
goodnight kiss) by an impossibly cold, almost death-like
cold hand, and pulled her into my dreams. But she ruled
those dreams. Created them. She spoke to me in those dreams
with more clarity than ever in life.
 
As I walked with trepidation from a McDonalds on Moscow's
Zhukov Prospekt to the blank, cheerless block of flats at
number 5448, I found myself walking across frozen tundra,
centuries in the past. A horse appeared before me, perhaps
a hundred yards away with a red-cloaked rider, whom I
guessed was Marie. Seconds later, the horse was upon me,
and Marie dropped from the saddle and launched herself at
me. But she was covered with blood, and fell lifeless to
the frozen ground. As I registered that the horse was
suddenly gone, Marie's body vanished, leaving an angry red
splash on the ground. It reminded me of both birth and
death. I awoke with a start, only to find myself in her
arms. We were in her flat (number 212), and I glanced
quickly out of a bare window. From the second floor vantage
point, I could see snow blowing past the McDonalds, and
suddenly knew that I would never leave.
 
The poem almost wrote itself the next morning as I
clambored to the computer with nothing but shorts, a
t-shirt, and a cup of coffee.
 
 
 
"Tendrils"
 
Tendrils that link and connect me
to a woman a thousand years ago
as if I were there, making love to her-
creating a small fire between us,
to escape from the cold of the steppes.
 
The same tendril, wrapped the other way 'round
links me to murder and madness and revenge
 
just last night-
a lover
a rapist
a knife.
 
Will the same tendril lead me 'cross the sea,
sometime just past tomorrow,
to a bland, windowless security door
and an unfamiliar voice that waits
with the patience of eternity?
 
 
 
I left the apartment in Fort Walton easily and without
regret. Again, my belongings were easy to take with me.
Everything fit into a large duffel bag and a laptop case.
Then a short domestic flight to New York and a non-stop
Aeroflot flight to Moscow.
 
I felt certain that I would dream of Marie on the flight. I
looked forward to it, knowing that my dreams weren't just
wishes, but were somehow promises and entreaties that she
was sending.
 
I was again in a darkened apartment, surrounded by the fear
and desolation that had consumed me in the immediate wake
of Marlene's betrayal. I was not at home, either in
Rantoul, or Fort Walton Beach. I wasn't even in the flat on
Zhukov Prospekt, though I half recognized the apartment, as
if I'd seen it in a movie years ago. A woman who looks like
but isn't Marie is hovering over me, looking flushed, as if
from a great struggle. There is no joy, no love in her
eyes. Covering her bare skin is a sheen of perspiration,
and reflected in that I see flames licking angrily at air.
In the distance, I heard scurrying, either of desperate
animal feet, or of high heels in the distance. It is my
'artist', I knew, and the apartment was his unfamiliar
apartment. His lonely universe. Was he about to plunge to
his death in a noiseless scream? The many-times promised
death of the artist who was my own dark side? "No," the
woman who was but wasn't Marie aswered. "He is the cure."
With sudden tenderness, she cradled my head in her lap and
read to me.
 

"Separated/Together/One"
 

"Separated"
 
Once it was inches-
the heat between us needed to survive the cold.
There was nothing between our hearts.
Hands that rose in mutual defence
could hold and pull and take.
You caressed
and we were somehow closer.
 

Even then-
you were eternal-
dark-
dangerous-
carnal.
 
You made me part of you.
 
That was yesterday-
 
and again, a thousand years ago.
 
It was thousands of miles away-
and again, in my bed.
 
It was you-
and always you.
 
"Together"
 

Yesterday-
and a thousand years ago
Thousands of miles away-
and in my bed
 
No matter the distance-
no matter the time-
the hours peel away
and fall
like rose petals in the wind.
 

The moments blend together
like kisses
in a night of passion
 
The miles shrink
one by one
vanishing beneath me
as my plane slips through the sky
towards you.
 
Until we are together
 
"One"
 
Yesterday-
and a thousand years ago
Thousands of miles away-
and in my bed
 
It was you-
 
and always you.
 
The hours peel away
the moments blend together
the miles shrink one by one
 
until we are together
 
I came upon a stranger on now familiar streets.
You were in her eyes-
 
fear was in her heart.
I took both from her.
 
The bloodied fingerprints were imaginary-
they were the death of the past.
 
A gaze toward the block of flats
wherein your shadow lied.
Buzzing in your ears-
a distinct lack of fears.
 

A thousand years ago
meets yesterday
and settles peacefully
into tomorrow's lap.
An eon of want
ends with a point on a map.
 
Nervous walk up cold stairs
Offered neck-
 
shoulder bared.
 
Stolen moments redeemed-
another life, it seemed.
 
A thousand letters on file-
gathered on the floor in a pile.
 
Shadows we have been-
never could be seen.
 

But now the story's done-
we who were two are one.
 

Then I was away from her, feeling first as if a fire had
gone out in the flat, and then I was back out on Zhukov
Prospekt. A sudden icy wind cut through thin and
inconsequential rags that my 'artist' had once worn. I
pulled myself into a glass telephone booth for protection,
only then imagining that she had spoken to me from this
very booth. That her lips had once been next to the
mouthpiece, as she listened to my words from thousands of
miles away. I picked up the receiver, and dialed her
number. "Kesla!"
 
I awoke to the sound of my name being shouted, and I looked
suddenly around the quiet cabin. There was nothing but the
reluctant, half-asleep assemblage of passports and custom
forms, as the seemingly fragile steel cocoon of the
Aeroflot SU 316 bumped its way down towards Moscow's
Sheremetyevo airport. How close was she? What was she
doing? I worried suddenly that I was doing a stupid thing.
That maybe all of my dreams had in fact been nothing but
dreams, and Marta was someone who wanted nothing more than
to take advantage of me, or think I was foolish. Something
in me wanted to leave without exiting the airport. But I
couldn't. I felt as if already she was watching. Equal
parts fear and need, just as Marie had always been. I was
home.
 
 
 
"Midmorning on Strange Streets"
 
The wind tells me....
Follow the ache...
the need...
 
I'll find you where my heart has led me...
into the warmth of your embrace
 
 
 
I was not surprised to find that taxi drivers in Moscow
speak english, even as I chastised myself for not even
bringing a phrasebook. Fortunately, there was only one
McDonalds on Zhukov Prospekt. The taxi dropped me of in
front of the familiar yet somehow strange golden arches
that as far as I knew were a symbol of American disposable
food in every corner of the globe. Why did I feel the need
to stop and gather my thoughts? Coffee and a hamburger, for
a taste of the familiar? Then there were children streaming
in, as if from school. It could be a crowd on lunch. I
thought very little of it, until someone who must have been
their teacher came in, with her head completely wrapped
against the wind. As she stood, loosening her coat, and
finally uncovering her face, I gasped. It was the familiar
yet unfamiliar face from my dream. Marie, and yet not
Marie. The girl in the flat on Zhukov Prospekt, now only a
short walk away. "Marie?" I asked.
 
As she seemed to recognize me, with a half-puzzled look, as
if she'd dreamt of me, I stood. Then it was her turn to
gasp, and run away. Without considering the consequences, I
followed her out the door. She was running across the
parking lot to a telephone booth atop a grassy knoll, and I
could smell fear and passion and danger in her. Not the
normal fear of someone being chased by a stranger, but a
deeper, more entrenched dread. Somehow, I suddenly knew
without a doubt that it was Marie. But a thousand years
ago. It was as if I'd walked over her grave, and she'd
cried out. It was Marie, before she was Nosferat'id. "Don't
hurt me," she whimpered as she reached the glass booth. I
noticed that, although she didn't hit with much force, an
angry splash of red remained on the glass.
 
"Marie, it's Kesla." I stopped, terrified now of hurting
her or driving her away, even as I prayed that this was
another dream that I would safely walk away from soon. "I
just want to talk."
 
"I don't want to talk anymore," she said with a dead tone
to her voice. A piercing scream from the open doors of the
restaurant forced me to look in that direction. But
amazingly, the woman who I had presumed to be the teacher
was back in the restaurant, happily in the middle of her
students. I was not surprised to find the telephone booth
empty and the glass unbloodied. I didn't go back inside the
McDonalds.
 

"1230: Telephone Booth"
 

Telephone Booth.
I know you've been here.
How many times have we spoken over this phone?
Were you here when you called me on my mobile?
The phone I raise to my lips-
did you raise it to yours,
With tears streaming down your alabaster cheeks?
"Please. please." I can still smell the desperation.
or is it a new perfume?
 
"Come now. Come to me, please-."
 
You'd be expecting me-
I told you I'd be on the morning flight.
Did you call just once more
so that our kiss might be just across hours
rather than miles?
Before there is nothing between us but our hearts.
 
 
 
As she had told me in my dream, 5448 Zhukov Prospekt was a
very short distance from the McDonalds. It was a large,
grey block of an apartment building ('flats', she had
gently corrected me) very close to a barren-looking park.
There was no sign of the school I had guessed was nearby,
but I also would not be surprised if the students and
teacher had suddenly vanished from that McDonalds lobby, as
if they had been put there for my benefit only. No, the
only thing I was sure of was that Marie would be up there
in flat number 212, probably hidden behind the name Marta,
and some identity indistinguishable from either of the two
that I thought I knew. I saw several sets of grey curtains
moving slightly in several windows, and wondered if she was
watching me approach. Perhaps looking out the window as I
had in my dreams. Even then, I thought of running back to
America. I even stopped less than a hundred feet from the
building, but a sudden savage freezing rain (much like the
one that I'd inflicted on my doomed 'artist' a lifetime
ago) hit me, and I ran to the front door.
 
The march upstairs was just as exhilirating as it was
frightening. There could be no more dreams. No more
choices. No more hope or desperation. All that this might
have been, will be in a matter of minutes. I found 212 as
soon as I reached the second floor, and knocked loudly.
 

"Marta"
 
Marta is music that slowly curls in
through a cold window-
brushes against a numb cheek with sudden warmth.
 
Hands and fingers
that stimulate
-love-
that simulates fingers and hands
duality that comforts
in the face of fear
flash of passion
that is frightening-
invigorating-
terrifying
 
dreams of a life so familiar
and so far away
dreams of things not impossible
dreams of questions and answers
the idea of a voice in the barren darkness
imagination roams
across foreign lands
give myself to imagined hands
walk together on ancient sands
and dare to make forbidden plans
 
of two lovers huddled in a booth
sharing love and wine and truth
words and passions never wasted
and Marta is love
never tasted.
 

Some poems turned about to be true. Some were completely
false. Some dreams were prophetic, while others were just
dreams. Marta (her real name, as it turned out), was born
in Mongolia in the year 1162, of unknown but non-oriental
parentage. She had known a lover by the name of Kesla (who
bore no resemblance to me) who had been brutally murdered
by an unidentified killer. As was a custom then, his
remains were placed on the highest reachable peak for birds
of prey to consume, so that his spirit could join with the
sky gods. (I  asked her why she hadn't mentioned this when
she first found me in Rantoul, but she suddenly looked sad
and wouldn't answer. I didn't ask her again.)
 
Marta had never known old age or death, just as she had
never known love after the murder of Kesla. He came to her
in a dream thirteen days later (resembling me, as it turned
out), explaining that he was Nosferat'id, or Vampire of the
Heart, and that his kiss had made her one. He had also
promised to come back to her, and only then could either of
them love again. As it turned out, he was right.
 
 
 
"Nosferat'id"
 
She is not the mother of her race.
Not the first
Not the creator
 
and yet
two thousand years ago
 
she was ancient
with a perspective
so far removed from
mortal
transitory
people
as to be alien
 
At her core is an absence
a vacuum
 
a lack
A memory of
and need for
passion
 
she is compelled
to move in shadows-
driven by the need
pulled along by the lack
of love and hatred
 
and passion and lust.
the ego-
the heart-
the particular odor
of mortal passion
is what her grey, shadowed heart
hungers for
 
A vampire of the heart
who can smell tears from miles away,
 
like a cigarette
lit in the jungle
like a cry in the dark and vast night
She can taste fear and revenge
like chocolate on the tongue
and like champagne,
it tickles her nose.
 
In the past,
where I sometimes visit her in dreams and visions
 
she is ancient and wise
and yet tomorrow
she might be as young as first love
non-linear existence
yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows
blend and dance and intermingle
She is young and old
passionate and cold
Vampire of my heart
Nosferat'id
 

I see in him
Alpha and Omega...
The beginning and the end.
Amaranth-
the mythical eternal flower
He is defined by his loss of innocence
and the treachery of another
A soul dead vast and empty
like the sea at night
 
Undisturbed by ripples of
passion-
of need and satisfaction
a cry and a moan that defines the rest
ups and downs are flat for him
and yet he trails memories of love
like a tail
like small bits of flotsam and jetsom
dragged onto a beach behind driftwood
 

his diamond tears have mortal fears suspended in them
memories of mortality
afterglow of expended passion
that doesn't fade-
it exists faintly
forever
 
but his eyes are pools of eternity
black holes from which no soul
can escape
 

he is the creator
he is the path
and he is the cure
 
Vampire of my Heart
Nosferat'id
 
 
 
 

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