The discarded oak leaves shone
as autumn’s fruits in the evergreen bush.
The rain pointed the way home and we followed,
I, on one end of the leash, and Bobo on the other.
Sometimes I led, sometimes I didn’t – but I was never the master.
The morning sun was sleeping in beneath an army throw.
The falling drops struck the pools that sprouted in the street
as a drunk drummer’s fingers rattling the parchment of a drum,
marking a stuttering rhythm of ungainly progress
for Bobo and I, walking back home under the pouring rain.
Victoria, November 1st of 2010
(view as a story)
Like broken homemade gifts,
meaningful once to us,
while we remembered why,
or the pretty pebbles
we gathered everywhere we went
to remind us of happy times,
shiny while wet from the ocean,
now dry and dull,
all jumbled in a pile, abandoned
with other mixed-up memories
in a long-forgotten drawer,
time took our love story
and crumbled it between its fingers.
It was no more the shiny toy, the pearl
that adorned our night and days
and made life worth the hassle.
It now is an atherosclerotic love
naked, loud, and impossible to ignore,
unavoidably alive and still,
a poor excuse for a dedicated life.
That we cling to it is human
– it is the raft, the ledge, the hand.
That we learn to love through it
is the proof of our commitment.
But at the end, when we are alone,
or better said: when we are aware
as never before of being alone,
is this badge of honor made of gold or paper?
Still, we get in bed together,
as every night, and as every night
my hands depart in search of you
– my hands that have learnt to touch you
with a discernment that only comes
from decades of practice and good will –
and when they find the holy heat
that marks the boundary
between you and the universe
I briefly understand
and I can briefly be
at peace with myself.
She moves swiftly between her true age and my dreams.
Wearing youth in her calves
and worry in her brow.
She is relentless as an ocean
and forgiving as a river’s bed
Tireless as the shadow of a cloud
running over the hills
Sleepy as the afternoon grass
under a tepid sun
She belongs to me, yet no part of her is mine
She gives herself completely,
but remains reticent to the end.
She loves me, and I love her
She is the earliest sunray in the morning
and the last light at the end of the day.
I have false memories of furniture and places
Hopeful attempts at meaningful bookkeeping
I have real ones as well, less vivid and less dear
Faded spines of books shelved in a sunny room
I have anachronistic rooms and homeless times
Square pegs happily settled in their round abodes
Vivid recollections of unborn events
Mismatched situations, casts, and timelines
Stories lived in dreams tug at my heart, nostalgic
Houses I built at night, entire cities, neighbourhoods
calling me from within the deepest folds of my memory,
next to my childhood home, or the old city were I first loved
Side by side, the real and the imagined live like equals,
But there are records, witnesses, photographs
Quarters for the true life to hide and resist
While the dreamed army will turn to ashes as I perish
It’s about what you do, but also what you don’t.
It’s about what you touch, what you smell, what you linger on.
It’s about what you refrain from thinking,
About the nooks and crannies you avoid at home
(The new geography of your home,
filled with countries conquered by the absence,
now inaccessible to you).
It’s about the unwanted small freedoms you inherited from the pain:
Not taking him out when you wake up in the middle of the night,
Leaving the door of the basement open
without the fear of him falling down the stairs,
Leaving the door of the bedroom open – for the same reason,
Leaving the gate open without having him wonder out into the street,
Not cooking for him,
Not cleaning after him,
Not locking the living-room to protect the carpet,
Not having to mind his habit of finding himself tangled between your legs
– or right behind you as you turn,
Not bringing up an extra breakfast every morning,
Not picking him up to go upstairs
on shutting the house for the night.
Such freedoms, I can do without
Most of all it is about the absence
His ubiquitous absence
A thick quicksand of an absence
A pervasive, invasive, all permeating absence
With an ineffable throat I cannot choke
An absence that leaves a bottomless hole
That I nevertheless try to fill
So I remember, I look at pictures and seek his presence,
Just out of the corner of my eye
As the hole gets bigger