the flavour of ouch

June 25, 2011

like- cherries, bruised against the tongue, swollen and burnt on a metal spoon. like- the bruises of apples are the sweetest – a ribcage made of clay, hinged with a live bird beating itself to death against the wire struts. Like snow, damp and thick on the skin to cover over all the defects, smooth over the burnt knots with frozen hope, with postponement. Like the word postponement, the end soft on the tongue.

I breathe in sorrow every day, the colour of it thick in my throat, violet and purple the colours of my being-awake. It is the air I breathe, thick and clouded as velvet, hard on the lungs. It takes labouring, but I can live in it, move in it though the movements are slow.

There is some beauty about this, the harsh softness of sorrow, the rasp of it on my chest and in my lung. My lungs are iron now, made that way to bear this breathing. Somehow I’ve learned to breathe, even though the clouds are purple with dust and heaviness.

how does my rib cage bear it up
how does my body move, puppet-jerked
from day to day across a landscape of snow?

are you my dancing bear, God, are you my limbless one
my  hope, my dissension, the disseminator of this smoke
that chokes me in sepia? am I your dancing bear?
am I your limbless one
do I choke you with my despair, with my endless waking
my desire for sleep? let me rest, father God
do not make me walk again
on these stumps that could be feet, do not make me walk
do not make me get up, take my mat and walk.

I would rather sit here
and rest, and sleep, and rest.

if you open my eyes to the trees that walk
and the man who had his mat rolled up for him
and the hole in the burnt ceiling, the broken tiles
and the careful hands of friends
my heart may not stand the strain
and the dead bird may explode from the cage in a plosion of light
leaving behind no-one left recalling
no-one to recall

only one breath caught up, caught in
ever so securely, saying
where is your gentleness.
where is your kindness, God who stirs the pot
and turns the darkness upwards into steam, God who rains
on both the good and bad, God who gives
and gives and gives and gives the heart out of himself
yet always has more. I have no more.

Faux-child. Unwind your fingers from my string
unbury your washed face from my skirt
unhand me.
Will you tell me this
if I fall on the road
and do not rise again?

oh God of light and love, God who gives without stoppage, without cease
forgive me
give me rest
give me peace.

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