It might be blood.
It might be madness in the eye.
It might be the buttons on the door.
The windows hide among themselves.
The walls disguise.
The red intensifies.
It might be shades of love.
It might be sorrow in the stone.
It might be claw marks on the floor,
The walls misplace themselves.
The black lines slide.
The red intensifies.
You swore you would stay mysterious,
let the rooms hide you, train the windows
not to see when you looked out of them.
You would retreat into one of the shadows.
You would not answer the disguised voice
with the edge in it.
You would use light for deflection;
silence for absorption,
you would drift out of yourself.
You would adapt to everything,
shed and layer yourself with each evasion.
Your scream would stay in your throat.
Your breath would become shallow
with listening. You would perfect your
surface, practice normalcy for its disguise.
Who would know you like this,
who would want to find you, even now,
for all your antiquated secrets.
You are the rule for which life stands,
your agony of guilty hands,
your lame excuse.
You are the lie you sorely need—
the way a cat loves being treed,
so, what’s the use?
You never are the one you mean
you fight and fight for your esteem—
Next time you shiver my cold spine
like a bitter Valentine,
I’ll look away.
Should someone take you at your word
and offer you a broken bird,
it’s what you pay
for loving death so very much;
hold out your wrist as we discussed
when life was free.
How many scars can one wrist hold?
Your suicides are growing old.
You can’t earn grief,
or give it back to weeping eyes
and hearts that suffer in disguise—
that old relief.
If you’re too relevant for this,
think of all the pain you’ll miss
to be this brief.
THE LOOK IN HER EYE
(After A Few Small Repairs by Shawn Colvin)
You strike a small flame from the red horizon
—hold the matchstick to your doubled eye,
speak of dusk—the slow receding sky
stealing all the light that love relies on.
You say that love is not a promise broken.
The match flame flickers, but does not burn down.
You say this proves the truth that you have spoken
—truth not even tears, or rain, can drown.
The land and sky connect. Your eyes burn red.
The match flares up. Your face absorbs the light.
What will you do with power made of fire?
You speak of Faith—Fire as an awesome thread
—a metaphor for what can re-ignite.
You say all love is made of such desire.
DEATH IN DISGUISE
And it was nothing like life. It was death in disguise.
They were lovers. Their masks were facsimiles of
faces. They did not allow mirrors to haunt them,
only their eloquent eyes that fastened to one another.
They were possessive and possessed, ultimately to
become each other.
Hope comes to me in the guise of a weeping maiden,
stumbling toward me, face bent into her hands,
having lost her way again.
She pretends not to see me,
looking at her through my compassionate mirror,
how I guide her with my eyes: this way… this way…
If ever we are sent to guard the stark,
let’s use a blindfold to enhance the task—
a simple penance mask—
that none may view our features with concern
and we, thus masked, in turn
may never look to pity for disguise,
but resignate our eyes
to beauty that was coveted and lost,
and love’s sad cost,
and only trust the darkness that can hide
all anguishes inside.
The mark on the soul
is butterfly wing
is what and where
the most cherished
part of us
in such a guise