Complex Oedipus

Oh, how she held him in her arms,

tighter than he’d ever hoped.

Secrets pass between their lips, 

press together, parting,

hungry mouths that find each other

in the cloying, empty dark.

There were none closer in love,

unbreakable maternal bond bent,

breaking a social more,

morality, out of the question.

That touch he longed for as a child,

sent far away, and starved for love,

now attainable.

No wonder he shudders as

her fingertips caress his skin,

as she kisses his sweaty brow,

or wraps her arms around him in

such a way, he feels it makes up

for all those years without.

The question was never if he knew,

but whether or not

he wanted to see it.

He did not.

After Reading an E-mail from the Graduate Admissions Office

Sunny skies painted my horizon blue,

much more for rain and clouded

afternoons, in Summer,

until I learned solar waves do 

percolate through my heart, 

beating against

its cage, freeing me from heavy

thoughts, and careless self-imaging.

There were words written to me in

happy tones, congratulating,

like the long hour had passed,

the minute-hand moved toward the zenith

of its arc, and long, dissonant notes,

chiming from a belltower

that often set me with anxiety,

today are liberating.

I have been walking through the pages

of a well-known novel by Salinger,

soaking in the character he presented,

likeably unlikable, deviant in language,

antisocial, and realizing that

I’m never quite so alive as when I hold

a beaten paper-back between my palms,

and thumbs.

My study is writing, and writers

have infatuated me since I was old

enough to concentrate the words

into images, in the basement of

my grandparent’s house. I remember

being disturbed at an image that

King, one of my Grandma’s favorite

thrillers, painted in my mind

like blood upon the lily hand of

Lady MacBeth, unwashable for

all the running water, a spot on my brain.

I still see the cat, a beloved pet,

bringer of mystery, and magic,

strung up against that sign in my head.

I can still hear the words of the

protagonist

 in my head 

as if they were

spoken to me. 

I like the way that books displace me,

force me to interact, even when I am

scared or heartbroken, and stick in

me, like song-lyrics to a normal person.

It is in these moments, my study,

casually flipping the pages of something

well-known, and beloved, that

I feel loved.

Without Water

Be unmoved,
cold,

an angel in a graveyard

of a hamlet.

Don’t breathe emotion,

corrosive empathetic nature,

don’t react,

explosive anger, and outrage,

unacceptable.

Only live in the present moment,

stone.

There is no right and wrong,

scales cast aside

from Judgement’s civil torment,

tore Philosophy’s robes

until the fabric gave way.

Enlightenment,

in form of selfishness,

hedonism,

as a lifestyle:

they will not draw

any lines,

with pens or swords,

immovable hands,

bent arrows.

They seek to absolve guilt

by ignoring it,

but are imperfect

in their practice,

questioning water for its tides

pulled by a heavy moon.

Mersault knocked on the

door of unhappiness

four times,

but they seek to find

a way in,

willing others to

take them there.

Woolf killed her angel,

I seek to do the same.

I will love, and hate,

and suffer,

because it is natural

to me.

Burn

Melting into a windowsill, a candle

stuttered a flame, bowing,

and straightening, casting the room 

in frolicking shadows,

mimicking mischievous shapes,

sinister silhouettes.

He passively watched 

the shadows on the ceiling, 

sprawled in an empty bed:

no will to rouse from his place

to snuff the candle out.

Condolences

 

Thoughtless things that you did and said hurt me,
starting from when you discovered
that I was no longer a child,

assumed what I would do with my legs,

and told me not to marry my love because it
interfered with your beliefs of separation of race.

 

What was most terrifying was the lack of anything to be felt because you had been dead to me for so long already, and all that you could really do after you said that line was to find how unforgiving I am, firsthand.

 

Maybe you thought I had done it intentionally, gotten myself pregnant to spite you, or my parents, or life in general,
but even still, you drove someone who would have been your strongest ally away. You judged me for being unmarried. You belittled everything from my mouth. It is because of you that I truly learned to hate myself for things
I couldn’t have controlled in the first place.

 

And then suddenly I was the bad guy
for running away and shutting you out,
and what choice did I have? You had done so much already, by allowing things to get worse. I told you about the abuse, and how much I needed someone constant, and you told me that you couldn’t, that you’d prefer your space. It was as if you and the whole family conveniently looked away.

 

I don’t blame you for what happened,
but you shouldn’t have blamed me.
I’m not sorry we weren’t closer
because that’s on you too.
And if you truly wanted in my life
you had every opportunity to make
amends, and instead you decided to hold out, because we are both stubborn.

 

Neither of us yielded, and neither of us won.

 

The Lunatic, The Lover, and The Poet

Being a hopeless romantic does not

mean I am constantly disappointed

at unmet expectations; the course of

true love never did run smooth.

Seeing the extraordinary in the mundane,

does not mean we are blind to 

the unremarkable,

but freed from those who are stuck

in the shades of grey.

We see spectrums of unseen;

truths in trees, birds, and stones;

recieve foresight in lakes, sky,

and mirrors, and reflect in them

to understand what others pass

off as common.

One wild-haired visionary

told us two ways to look at life:

either everything is a miracle,

or nothing is.

I keep thinking about philosophy,

how we logically view miracles

as things that are impossible, but 

happen; if repeated, they are not

miracles. Truly?

Utilitarian or not, 

I wonder if apostles saw the 

acts of Christ, performed for them

at a rate I’ve not witnessed, myself,

as miracles each time. 

Do we deaden our sights because

something becomes familiar,

or revel every time that beauty

enters our scope?

I am all three of Theseus’s musings,

treated like a fool to those who

see nothing.

Where they see nothing, 

I see what could be.

Pear Tree

Moon-bathed, and fragrant with Spring

in her branches, she wakes to

find no watchful sun, 

solitary.

This independence, a freedom,

far from those who would

take apart her petaled splendor,

climb her to take an unripe fruit,

or snap her twiggy fingers,

because they have the strength.

Under starry veil, she finds

comfort in the waxing light that

coats her with verdure, and hums

a melody claiming 

solidarity, 

and though she first despairs,

the illuminating wisdom

now permeates 

into her roots,

her blossoms, 

resplendent luminaries.

Processing

I almost don’t dare speak of the

all-consuming darkness, the voice that 

utters “Liz killed herself,” at my lowest.

It remarks as if a taunt, past tense 

to show I have no power over it,

trying to force me into submission,

saying death is my only fate.

I fight this voice with arguments

strong enough to make it slither

back into the shadows where it lurks

another day.

I come from a history of suicides. 

My mother’s father was a boy, waiting

for his mother to come home. 

She called him on a telephone 

from California

where she’d been studying art,

and told him that she was coming for

him. 

This would be the last time

he heard her voice.

He waited on the front-porch

steps, not daring to miss her arrival,

with his little sister, my great aunt,

Anne. Just the image of a small boy

holding to a promise, 

like a melting popsicle, 

waiting all day long

in front of a house 

full of people who did

not want him–his family, my family.

I think about my son, my ginger boy, 

sitting on my porch steps, 

aglow with freckles and 

knock-knock jokes,

bouncing with the excitement he

shows when he sees me,

waiting for me to pull into

the driveway, his sister

bossing him to quit fidgeting.

Any notion of a 

one-way ticket out

is forcefully rejected from my 

thoughts.

I think about my great-grandfather

who only saw one way out of

the treatments for cancer, and

didn’t want to become a burden on

his wife. 

He will never see how

she carried the burden of him taking

his own life in a chair, where she

told him to wait 

so she could get a drink

of water. 

She described the trickle

of blood down the left-side of his face 

to me when I was six.

I think of my friend, whose mother

killed herself when she was a child,

how it darkened her soul, and made

my friend question her own worth.

She had to relive it with

her stepmother, 

who we’d seen, spoken

to, hugged, been comforted by

and cried on, not

two weeks prior to her final act.

It was a shock to know someone,

and realize 

we really didn’t.

I recant these happenings, not to guilt,

but to consider the repercussions

of a single bullet, 

and how fast it undoes everything.

It isn’t selfishness, it’s a battle,

and not everyone will understand.

These accounts keep me alive because

I have a strong sense of duty,

and I learned to use it for myself, against myself.

I know how to stop me.

How do you stop yourself?

Self-invocation

What perpetuates my faith?

Drawing on what is unseen, comforts

like soaking in sun, 

after illness confined

one to bed for a week. 

I put a crown on reason, left

my intuition a pauper, despaired

each time that tiny voice was right,

displaced its wisdom for a condition

parallel with my malady, 

and discouraged it

from speaking to those robbed

of spiritual awakening. 

I included

myself in that 

ignorant group, 

inclined 

to dissuade the fire from burning

into vivid nightmares, 

and mindless daydream,

unsteered by conscious knowing.

I say all of this to remind you:

I don’t know why I do it, myself.

This voice no longer whispers,

but screams above reason’s cutting

claims,  

stirs those small embers, 

such notion un-predisposed, 

univited, by any calculation, 

to assert that chaos

overrides linear judgements.

I have seen my intuition beat medical

opinion, 

faith removed of religious

practice, feigning casualty at

being questioned. 

Piety is unquestioned when 

the matter is self-belief, 

and to that end, 

we risk challenging

modern mindset: we are nothing, can

become nothing, and will be forgotten 

as quickly. This is a lie.

Despite insecure

claims that tell us not to strive

for the impossible,

we are not chained to

fate. If given foresight,

we are to believe it,

learn not to trust logic 

above self-truth.