March 28, 2012: Relief/hope. CWE 180

Relief is a clam shell, heavy with ridges, snapping shut like a grandma’s handbag. It was a long season for the clam, cracked open on a rock. Seawater washed salt across its pulpy gray body. Relief is not the clam shell opening. People think that. They’re wrong. When I am anxious, I am always open. I am a constant weeping sore. My pus leaves behind greasy oilslicks on people’s furniture. So I go nowhere but it’s not because I’m a closed shell. It’s because I can’t fucking find my hinges to save my goddamned life so I take up too much room everywhere I go. I carry the acrid smell of brine, and my shell splits like torn cuticles. My flesh pops with ragged blisters under the sun’s heat. I am rotting. And everyone knows what rot looks like. What it smells like.

But when relieved and hopeful, I slip from the grainy rocks into the dark water. My shell eases shut along the buttered hinges and my smell blends with the ocean. Not one thing about me is notable to the sea, but in my shell, I am cool and calm and quiet and my thoughts filter in and out. Funnels of light circle with tiny sealife.

March 27, 2012. Things you decorate. CWE 179

  1. House
  2. Christmas tree
  3. Front door
  4. Nursery
  5. Ears
  6. Face
  7. Envelopes for cards
  8. Cocktails
  9. Storefronts
  10. May Day altar
  11. Church altar for Christmas and Easter
  12. Christmas presents
  13. Parade floats
  14. St. Patrick’s Day parties
  15. Bachelorette parties
  16. Baskets
  17. Head scarves for women fighting cancer
  18. Deck during the summer
  19. Bride’s slippers for reception
  20. Cakes

March 24, 2012: Imagine living underground. What does it feel like? CWE 176

Live with me underground. Let me take you away. We need to get away. From work and family and washing machines and overdue bills and broken screens. I have small pills and when we wake up, we will forget that foolish life above ground. We will have a very tiny dirt castle. Just for you! Just for me! I will plant flowers from the ceiling for you, and they will bloom over our heads. Wildflowers. Blossoms will sweep the hair from my face and this will make me beautiful. My skin will glow. I will smell lovely always! All parts of me! Flowers bloom round and perfect. Their fragrance will never grow heady with decay. Petals will never darken and turn crispy and papery like overcooked bacon. Oh no! Not in the underground world. Flowers will lift and flutter in the air from opening or closing doors. Like curtains by an open window. But there will, obviously, be no open windows or closed windows or windows. Our world will be quite dark. But we won’t know it so we won’t have a word for it. In the way that it doesn’t rain grass above ground so we never comment that it is or isn’t raining grass. In this world of ours where it isn’t dark or not dark, streets and hills and bookshelves and kitchens are made of banked dirt that is a lovely rich brown color and the loamy dirt crumbles sometimes, but we don’t mind. We braid flower stems into brooms and sweep up regularly. It’s what we do, like how we brush our teeth or unload the dishwasher above ground. It’s how we pass days. We sweep often. Also often, we pick armfuls of flowers and fill mattress covers. We press the lengths of our bodies into the flower ticking and we make love on a rustling mattress. Flowers snap their fingers and crack slim knuckles in the air in our underground bedroom and we breathe through the flowers and the pollen dusts our lungs green and glowing and we make love until our bodies begin blooming. We have been seeded in our lungs and our palms itch when the buds break through and our legs lengthen with waxy stems pulling their fibrous bands through us and our skin softens. We are soft everywhere. We are a garden in bloom. Petals fall around us and we breathe them into our lungs and the seedlings pull at our fingers and roots stretch open our legs and our feet flutter above our heads, like flower petals under the sun and wind above ground, for which, remember, we have no words. Our ankles tremble and our feet flutter and we turn warm under the mid afternoon underground sun.

March 22, 2012: Driving to Work in March. CWE 174

Driving to Work in March

A fence was put up years ago.
We didn’t live here then.
We weren’t lonely yet.
Please. We have always been
lonely. When did we start bumping
around the bedroom before we
peeled open our eyes, our hips
knocking against nightstands.

Red brake lights flash along the
white 2x4s that build the fence.
The fence blinks like a string
of holiday lights on a morning
gray like undrained bathwater.
The road is torn down the center
like a vivesection.
Torn open and pinned down
with square houses built from cardboard
and mailboxes hemmed in with broken daffodils.

This is how sadness is. Your tongue is
in your mouth, floating alongside your teeth
like a gray child bobbing facedown in the tub.
Do you feel it? You whittle down the hours.
That fat tongue of yours isn’t yours.
Listen. Listen to me.
This is how we hold ourselves together.
Do not bring me a bouquet of
daffodils. I have nothing to drop
at their centers.