Let me dip my hands into your heart,
And hurt you well with words and verse,
And take you back into my world
You are my lover, my reader,
And my wish is to enslave you
To beat you a million times,
And make you bleed and beg for more
And kiss you gently when you’re wounded,
And whisper laughter into your ears
Come dream with me, sweet beloved,
Of old castles and sparkling streams
Of that great archaic place,
Where our fairy tales are made
When we were little — boy and girl,
I watched your little skirt dance with the wind
And in your eyes, I remember,
The twinkle that made me a prince
How I wished that when we’d get older,
I would build you your own castle,
And feed you berries in the spring,
And keep you safe and warm through winter
I’ve aged like a warrior who has no war,
To bring his mind to solace
Look at you, oh darling sunshine,
You’ve turned grey beneath the sun
There are no castles and no spring,
But just bricks and noisy streets
Filled with lost dreams and broken soldiers,
Who never braved the breezes of tyranny
How we let our hearts go rotting,
Into dreams we never really cared for
How we weep and mourn now in misery,
With heaps of gold in our halls of diamond
Is it too late, my beloved damsel?
To find a better place in this firmament,
This great wilderness of life,
In which we’ve stuck too hard to the past
Do I have enough to bleed?
So that I may find you once again
Of what good is poetry if it heals not my heart?
Of what real purpose is this weak artistry,
If it brings not my life the light that I crave
I can write whatever tale I want,
I can end it in blood and tears,
Or belittle the spring in the fragrant glory,
Of my eternal verses on love and light
But why is it that I lean toward tragedy?
Do I hold a softness for melancholy
Am I made of thorns and sad endings?
Forever lost, my beloved damsel,
Are our dreams of castles and elysian gardens
The cotton touch of your long and tender fingers,
Are but a fainting dream,
In the cemetery of my memories
My years on this earth are but the reflection,
Of a strong inner thirst for beautiful tragedy
I am made of tears and midnight wailing,
I am the heart of sorrow itself.
Be lost, forever, my sweet damsel,
I gave you no castle, and the work of my hands,
Has brought no fruit to your thirsting heart
Let our tears be the testimony to this tragedy of life,
And let our deaths tell no grander tales,
Than those that we lived
When our eyes close gently beneath the moonlight,
Let us not forget that it is us who write our tales
And the brave write the deepest tragedies,
And shed tears that are salted,
With grand cosmic laughter
Marion loves to wear her lips in pink, glossed in a manner of delusional innocence. She walks to her daytime job at the newspaper office every morning and decorates the lies of the world with the whims of her boss. She’s been with men before, but most of them were never lovers. She eats popcorn every evening and gives her dinner the accompaniment of the finest of wines from Southern France. She gets the money from her father, who divorced her mother seven years ago. He loves her well and ensures that she eats her meals on time and has enough to buy her pink gloss. Marion is sad that life never seems to take an exciting turn as the months of her years fly by. Marion is beautiful, but Marion is sad. The cobbled streets of Paris give her no more solace than the wide roads that connect her city to the rest of Europe. While the job at the newspaper office does enough to help Marion hide her mind from herself for eight hours a day, she fills her soul with grimace and hatred for life every night when her cheeks touch her pillow. A Christmas came when the wine didn’t do enough and the broken heart of Marion befriended a rope that hung tightly from a ceiling fan. It was not a tragedy, it was a movement of fate and Marion was gone.
Felix loved his usual doses of LSD by the beach every twice or thrice a year. He believed that the mind needed to be reset every time it got too clouded with the mushy movements of the mundane world. But the last time around, Felix was imprinted. Felix had always believed that his awareness was separate from the objective world and he could dip his hands in the water without getting wet. But the LSD had brought him to believe that everybody shared the same ability. This induced a flame of spiritual jealousy deep inside the materialistic caverns of Felix’s soul. So he turned to DMT to find an explosive way out of the confoundedness that kept him separate from his ecstasy. The DMT worked. It gave him peace. At least it did the first time. The second time, Felix was imprinted again. And this time, he was drawn to strongly feel that the human body was an unfortunate bondage and this vacation to the Earth was an opportunity to free one’s soul from bondage. The wrists of Felix met the sparkling sharpness of an unbranded kitchen knife and left his body lying cold and still in his mother’s kitchen. Felix was beautiful and Felix was free. And now he was gone.
Dr. Kennelly was a victim of Asthma and she had dedicated her life to cancer research. Her everyday contact with tragedy had given her the courage to become an alcoholic. Her everyday interaction with death had given her the wisdom to become loose in speech and careless with her research. When age brought the perception of “fifty years old” into the awareness of Dr. Kennelly, she decided that her lifelong rejection of tobacco smoking was a hoax and she let her resistance slip into the delights of spending $200 a month on tobacco. Her Asthma met several instances of acute torment and left Dr. Kennelly struggling for breath in a twin bed in her lonely bedroom. Her daughter would visit her once a day and kneel beside her, reading poetry from Gibran and Rumi trying to give the old woman a sense of eternity. Dr. Kennelly was beautiful, but she didn’t know that. A morning came when breath had become a matter of perpetual endurance. She was a medical lady. It wasn’t much of an effort to find the pills that would bring her peace. Her daughter read her eulogy and seemed to be the only one that wept at her funeral. Dr. Kennelly’s research was taken up by some other team across the country who eventually made progress. But nobody will remember Dr. Kennelly. Nobody will remember the soul that was spilt because of its contact with the mortality of human dreams.
Bobby Dream was a delightful young poet whose verses dared to explore the darker nature of human existence. He left his heart to the safekeeping of his childhood sweetheart, Emily Karma, who ensured the softness of Bobby’s heart when his talent swam swiftly into the spotlight of concrete human society. Bobby Dream’s verses gave hope to his friends and reminded them that life was no struggle to make it to the throne, but instead a dance to make the grave itself a throne. Bobby’s friends implored him to take his literature to the world in a formal, published manner. Bobby resisted for several years but finally found the plasticity in his mind to reject his rebellious human heart. After nine bestsellers, Bobby decided to go on a romantic date with his hypocrisy. He looked back on his teenage rebellion and touched its innocence again. He admitted that he had failed his purpose. Ms. Karma was now married to a man who worked at the steel factory and she had three children. One winter morning, Bobby Dream saw her walking with her youngest who seemed to hop along as her mother smiled in the sunshine. The smile gave Mr. Dream a heavy remembrance of his carefree heart in the days of his youth. Today had become an endless struggle through sessions of book signings and new contracts with the publisher. All Bobby wanted was to lay in Emily’s lap again and listen to her whistling as the cold breezes of winter would reflect off the warmth of their communion. Mr. Dream would never find such a moment again. As he penned down his last poem, Mr. Dream polished the pistol that seemed so friendly today. Emily Karma shed tears on the mud that would make the grave of Bobby Dream. Bobby was beautiful and forever in love. He took away from himself as much as the world had done. Mr. Dream’s poems live on, but Bobby is gone.
They were all beautiful and now they’re gone. Does that mean that the lives that they lived were any less charming? We move and we move struggling through the resistances of our hearts hoping that eternity would kiss us before we meet our doom. Is it that eternity is a gift only for the few? Is it possible that our mortality is realer than we fear it to be? Is it alright to live our lives in an unforgivable vibration of boredom and hatred chasing dreams that were sold to us by people who were just like us? What are dreams? Why do we dream? Why do we aspire for higher states of human living? Let the sound of the sky’s violins create causeways in our hearts and remind us of our inherent beauty. There is a sense of needlessness that is natural to our hearts and if we dare to touch it again, we might meet the peace that we have craved for ever since we left the warmth of simplicity in our younger years. We are chasing the things that we believe will help us dance, but we never see that this is the only moment in which we can dance. I am a man of poetry, music, and other erotic things. I have touched beauty in the middle of the darkness, with the ability to rejoice even when nobody is watching. It has taught me that my mortality is my liberation; the very foundation of what we can deem beautiful in this immense, miraculous life. If all understandings fail, the only thing that we need to remember is that we are free. And our freedom can never be blemished by the streetlights of space-time that help us dance between what is real and what is not.
“Give me the towel,” she said.
“I think I love you,” I said.
We ate crackers and drank coca cola,
Waited for the power to go out,
And then made love.
And when we were tired enough to stop talking,
I took the whiskey,
Out of my backpack,
And toasted to the delight,
Of her broken spirit.
We ran, didn’t walk, through the autumn rain,
Until our feet were sore,
With cobblestone marks,
And brown, sticky mud.
We were visiting museums,
And making love in airport restrooms,
Stealing DVDs from the bookstore,
And running naked in the snow.
We were breaking laws,
That brought us no trouble.
And visiting churches and temples,
Synagogues, fountains, and theaters.
Leaving no space for meaning,
To come steal the spark,
That helped our hearts escape,
The everyday rot of purpose,
Ambition, and dreams of consummation.
We didn’t speak of marriage,
Or children, or a big house,
With a big TV, and a garage,
With tools and a kitchen with food.
We didn’t speak of retirement,
And a library beside the drawing room.
We didn’t dream of growing old together,
And dying; buried next to each other.
Of Christmas nights with family and friends,
Of our third child, our fourth, and their lives;
We didn’t dream of any of that.
Instead, we chased the autumn rain,
Chilled our feet in the cruel winter snow,
And ate mushrooms in spring.
Drank beer in summer, broke the law,
Didn’t spare a moment to worry for tomorrow
We were young you see, and alive;
We made love under the cold stars,
Inside the dark of the cold woods;
Mourning, screaming, playing, laughing,
We chased the danger that didn’t knock on our doors.
We fought, and broke each other’s bones,
And hated each other for what he had become;
We cut ourselves with our words,
And rode swiftly through the pavements of our anger.
We trampled upon each other’s dreams,
And killed each other’s spirits.
We broke whatever we could find valuable,
In each other;
And then we made love again.
And when the warm soft secure comfort,
Of a world that made better sense than yesterday,
Came fielding us against our love for life;
We left each other, and danced away,
Love is just a word, and we use it like gasoline,
We flaunt and wave it at the world,
To remind ourselves that we can feel.
We were not in love.
We were alive, together.
The autumn rain still comes and goes,
But I don’t want,
To chase it anymore
We can’t have yesterday forever,
Just like how today will never come again
But we can have pain,
And dance with its many forms,
That give us hope beneath the moonlight
And wait till all we have,
Is coffee, old age, and a notebook.
Image: Broken Love
I remember sitting naked by that creaking window. It was almost cracking because of the icy winds blowing outside.
Pulling out the last cigarette from the red box on the floor, I heard Mora snoring beside me with her legs constantly tossing about the bed in the most annoying way possible. The sun got through the window and she finally woke up, “Fuck Steven, I told you I’ve got work at 9. It’s fucking 11.”
I moved across the bed and kissed her half on the lip and half on the cheek. “Get away, asshole.” She slid off the bed, put on her skirt and sped toward the kitchen. In two minutes, I was alone at home.
I moved to the corner of the room that had the only source of electricity in my resourceful castle that I had leased from an old woman who needed a regular source of money for her Cocaine. The old hag once even tried re-negotiating the stupid lease because she ran out too early in the month. I opened my laptop and tried finishing what was left of last night’s poem that wrote half of itself as I sat spitting out righteous nonsense over my last glass of whisky after making love to Mora. There was always a sense of space that sex with Mora created in me. I sometimes wondered if I used Mora so I could write.
“I’m on tonight. I left the packet by your window. Don’t forget to bring it,” Mora’s message picked me off my ass and got me to take a shower. I picked up the packet and headed straight to Outland Soup Bar. We smoked the last joint dangling in the packet and Mora entered the bar and walked straight up to her spot and began. Outland Soup Bar was a strange place that served soup, salad, and sandwiches and had a live piano performer. For the last month, Mora had made a portion of her living performing here. Along with her day job at an Indian restaurant as a waitress.
She had the sweetest voice that tickled any pair of ears, stoned or not. The only reason I wasted two hours not drinking whisky and drinking soup instead was so I could hear that voice. A voice that traversed the entire range of human emotion as it moved from smooth morbid delight before the piano at the soup bar to endless mourns of eye-rolling ecstasy in bed.
We left the soup place and headed straight to Marlon Mushroom’s Omelet House. Marlon was an acid head who owned a bar. He loved sticking mushrooms in omelets and served every whisky imaginable from the Eastern to the Western Hemisphere.
“The usual two June, and dark rum for Mora”. It was always just two whiskeys at a time, but June would always pour them like she cared. That was her job. She didn’t care
“Two for me too, June”. Mora smiled at June and turned back to kiss me on my neck as she suddenly remembered, “How was it today? I wasn’t stoned enough to not give a fuck Steven. I hate playing when I care about the folks listening to me.”
“Not too shabby, darling. Drink up.”
I met Mora six years back when I found her crying alone in a corner at Marlon’s. The reason she was crying, well that’s too long a story and it would take us off track. I remember that evening. It was snowing outside, and the perfume on her neck created a strange woody scent as it met the salt in her tears. I bought her a drink and listened to her whining, for three hours. After I decided I was bored enough, I took her home and gave her some Cocaine. We made love for three days drinking the cheapest whisky in town and watching cartoons on my laptop. We listened to The Doors, Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and as she always loved to proclaim, her favorite artist Wanda Jackson. We finally ran out of Cocaine on the fourth morning. So Mora went home. And as I kissed her on her ears by the staircase outside my door, I knew what she was thinking. She was thinking of coming back that night.
That was a bright time in my life. I worked as an editor at a newspaper that lived on tales from Wall Street. Now, I was just writing poetry on a blog that couldn’t afford the cheapest Google Ad Campaign. I had enough savings to drink and eat with Mora for another year. I’d probably think of a job after I ran out.
We drank for three hours at Marlon’s and headed home. It was cold, icy fucking cold. It was so cold that I could feel my balls freeze as I touched the cold doorknob to open the broken wooden door that led into my house.
You’re probably wondering that this is a tale of love between a man and woman who are too high to understand the hardships of honest romance.
You’re wrong. I was madly in love with Mora. But, for Mora, I was her livelihood. Without me, she wouldn’t eat. She couldn’t eat. She wouldn’t have the money to eat. Her jobs paid her shit. She made enough to buy her weed and get to that important sip of whisky that brought her the little sleep that she found. She was a broken woman. It was hard to say if it was really a man that broke her. Some people, man, woman, child, they are just born to live broken. They wait for a reason to break, and then meet their destiny.
As I cradled Mora that night smoking a long, sweet, sentient cigarette, I heard Mora weep again after six long years.
“We don’t talk enough Steven. When we don’t talk, I begin to remember again. And when I begin to remember, I need to cry. And when there’s no tears left, the madness comes.”
“Let’s talk, darling”, I was bored. I’d heard this hundreds of times. But it had been six years, six years since the tears. So I turned a curious ear to what she had to say.
“What’s there for us? Well, to come? If we have to do the same dam thing every day. Off to Outland, then to Marlon’s, and back home and sleep. What else?”
I wasn’t the best person to solve a woman’s existential crisis. But I did the best I can. “I don’t know. If you try and look back, you’ll see that things keep changing. They just feel like they stay the same.”
“You fucker. You’re as useless as I am”. She smiled. And her yellow teeth displayed the deep honesty that had lured me into her life.
“I guess for people like us, it’s best to fight off our dreams. Our past’s been shabby enough to merit suicide, and our future equals our mediocrity in measures of hopelessness.”
“Ah Steven. You’ve always used fancy words when you don’t have an answer. You bastard.”
We didn’t speak for a few minutes. Poured ourselves another drink as Mora’s tears seemed to resurface. I wonder if she was really remembering again. You see Mora used to know love many years ago. Had a good male partner, a husband, yes, who was quite a nice fellow. He died. She got messed up and her broken heart took her waltzing to Marlon’s every evening and that’s how, as you recall, we met.
Like every good woman would, she missed that nice fellow. He died in some car crash. I remember her describing the event to me several times, but I don’t think I ever cared enough to remember. But yes, sometimes at night, she remembered the nice fellow. And tonight she was crying. I think she still loved him. No, she did still love him! And if he could be resurrected, she’d go back. Give up the piano, the waitress skirt, the whisky. She’d give it all up and go back. But since she couldn’t, she settled for me.
They were married, if I recall, for six months. But it’s been six years. Six years of omelets, whisky, and fucking with a beat poet who left the tales of Wall Street to investigate the horrific condition of the human heart. But she still loved that other guy. The nice guy. Marriage is a strange thing, and it has very little to do with poetry. And that’s why I could never understand it.
“Can you sing to me like he would, Steven?” So I sang for her.
“Could you make those meatballs the same way Steven? Like you did last month? The way I told you.” So I made those meatballs, the way the nice guy used to.
I was crazy for this woman. I stubbed my cigarette and stroked her forehead, knowing that in all her dammed misery, here, for a few moments, there was peace inside her.
“Steven, I want to die”. 3 Am. She was up again. I was still drinking, still trying to finish that supposed masterpiece that I knew was reaching the end of its lifecycle asking to be thrown in the trash.
“It’s alright, Mora.” I poured her another whisky. I never expected her to ask me why I was never bothered with her memories. She never did ask anyway.
“If you or anything in the world could make this go away, I would give you fucking anything. Fucking anything. It’s like a sharp rod, hot, and melting, inside me.”
“Listen Mora, just close your eyes.”
So I did what any man in love would do. No job for a while now. I’d been saving those last two lines of Coke. I took her to the dining table, cut them up for her, and made her snort it and smile. She kissed me and downed her whiskey.
I walked her to bed and we made love again. Half an hour, and she wanted another line. I didn’t have any more. Luckily, she was tired enough and fell asleep.
You’re probably wondering what a terrible bastard I am. You can’t understand. Moments create life. Not stories. This was just another moment. And whether sick, pleasant, or plain fucking ugly, it was another unique stroke on the canvas of existence. As for this story, it’s just another chapter amongst the countless volumes on hurt, work, and romantic things.
“5 Am”. I finally hugged Mora and slept. My left palm gripping her left shoulder reminding myself that I loved this woman.
Woke up a few hours later. Picked up the last cigarette from the red box on the floor. Mora wasn’t snoring much this time and her legs were behaving. The sun got through the window and she finally woke up, “Fuck Steven, I told you I’ve got work at 9. It’s fucking 11.”
Unearth me. Without the salt of words that you borrowed from the people of yesterday, who sold you the poisonous idea of right and wrong. The blood that flows from the fingertips of honest poets is not accounted for by the gatekeeper of flattery. It is neither allowed to flow into the hearts of the wicked to change their ways nor make an entry into the castles of the perfectly positioned to help their eyes see a reality that transcends the sparkle of the gold they have collected from their legal endeavors within the fences of their doubtful morality.
As the final mourn of Handel’s left toe rings through the pink hallways of my manhood, I come to strip apart the falsity of my present envy. My envy for the men clothed in soft leather, with words that sound like milk spilling from the breasts of half-clad goddesses, watering the soil of humanity’s shit-situation and bringing flowers out into a sunlight that does not exist. I envy these men. And my envy is justified by my inability to be dishonest in the light of English Literature’s demise. Let them have their way, these men I envy. Let them suckle at the breasts of these perfect goddesses, and garden their pastures and grow fruit that will feed their hearts to enlightenment. Then what? Boring breasts. Boring fruit. There is more solace in the epilogue of Handel’s madness and the heat of Beethoven’s orgasms that, to my absolute delight, seem to carry no other meaning than their very selves.
I seem to have sold my penchant for strange and distasteful metaphor throughout the evolution of my severed public poetic self through the last few months. I’m unlocked now. Somehow, the real me seems to have found a way through the clouded sunshine of summer to find the foot rug of autumn to sell its apology of an existence to. And to you as well.
Distasteful metaphor is the calculative entity that determines man’s sanity. If all seems to be sunshine and honey, vagina and bunnies, nothing would make sense anymore. We need distaste in this world, don’t you think? A certain sensation of contempt for the erected edifices of human ideality. Such a distaste can only lead us deeper into the mystery of our un-intended existences. I’m not trying tragedy for an avenue of creativity my love. I’m a photographer, who uses words instead of light. Look at my work, won’t you? I might not be your perfect doomsday man, but at least, I seem to capture enough tragedy to give you the best perspective to life.
The last sound of midnight’s violin will tear your skin apart to reveal your raw, tender heart. You haven’t let anyone touch it, have you? Seeking your cowardly shelter beneath the dry-straw roof of yesterday’s broken delights, you’ve shelled your raw aliveness in a steely cage made of cheap pop music, golden dreams of the afterlife, and an endless addiction to the scents of the weekend. Let it out! Your raw heart darling, let it out. It wants to be touched. Nothing can hurt a creature that has never soaked in the slavery of touch before. Let it out.
Your raw heart, let it out. The intensity of hurt is designed to help you wake up to life again. It is like a scissor used to unveil the most delightful present you have waited for your entire life.
Let it out.