my lover courts me with wilting roses and I, in love, with my head full up with hamlet and donne, place them next to my own wilting head. when the moon rises, and dreams start to pervade the air in their creeping, mist-like way, I can watch with damp eyes the petals turn from silk to sad, sweet ashes. she brings me letters in the night, too. waits at my window with fair skin aglow against the stars that falter at her back, wakes me with gentle breeze of breath and murmur of thunder. I’ll look out. her hair is a damp, dark halo about her face. she wears a woollen coat. I think it looks scratchy, it’s coming to shreds in her ungloved fingers- but she won’t let me buy a new one. oh, she’ll come inside, for some tea, just to dry off, to admire my dress, kiss me sweetly, hand me scraps of yellowing parchment and fading ink- but I cannot give her anything in return but my faltering heart. the next day I’ll wake up to a field of frost and shrouded houses and a low, keening silence. my lover courts me with wilting roses, and I court her with tears as bright and white as pearls.
the end of the summer:
yesterday I went mulberry picking for the first time in years. I felt like a child again- tiny against the ancient, high limbs of my stolid tree, reaching upwards, on tippy-toes, grasping at the leaves with my mouth falling open in effort like an impetuous birthday girl, spoiled and eager and demanding. a familiar wild, satisfied glee of old filled me with a subconscious glow as I picked the first berry- it came easily into my palm (that is how you know they are ripe; taken without reluctance) and left my fingers a slick dark red. before, I would run inside and fall into my mother’s arms in the pretence of bearing some great battle wound, or, with a smeared halo of stains about my mouth and neck, turn an odd sort of vampire in my white stained dress and sunlit hair. now, I am alone, and I just stand, with glazed eyes and a faint knowledge in the air that the ghost of a girl from summers ago is dancing about my feet.
and suddenly I couldn’t reach any more mulberries with my toes in the grass- so I climbed. I forgot to put on shoes, so my bare skin ached against the rough bark, that familiar tension as I pulled myself into the tree. I crouched like some pixie or fairy, half-hidden from the world amidst the branches, half-unwittingly plucking the fruit from about my head in the dazed, flushed manner of someone carrying out a ritual they knew by heart. the berries were dark and sultry and sweet, like faery fruit that spoke directly to my blood and conducted my limbs in a half-mad dance that cried ‘more, more’, stretching further, tasting more, wrapping myself up in a feverish desire, along the branch towards the fence, steadying myself now with twigs, trembling underneath me- not remembering that I am not the child of summers ago-
but I did not fall, in the end. I climbed down, and stood in the dirt, and looked up- and seemed, quite strangely, to wake up from some restless dream. I watched the ghost child with her bright, painted face, still high in the embrace of the branches, and felt the world sigh around me.
swimming outside, alone, is a sort of spiritual experience.
you offer yourself up. shoulders first- sharp juts into the wind- and next breath- the grateful rise and surrender- and then, in a heave that denies sacredness, fish-flesh -
and then there is just cold- brief, stark, total. cutting through limbs to the tendons, tautly bound, and the blood, changeling blue. the whole world gasps and shrinks into this space. the water is not kind, but it takes you with little reluctance, and for a little time it is only skin against skin, creature to creator, child to mother.
- but then the rich earthiness of the body ceases and what is left is a consciousness, maybe yours, drifting, calm and melancholic and yearning- oh, a familiar, terrible, sweet ache- as it looks up to the sky, which is endless.
there is nothing but this. liminality; light, and sky, and water.
I breathe and dream of the sea. I will see it tomorrow. it will soothe me, draw me under its black glass waters into a dark, unreal faeryland where my dress lifts in ghostly layers like a moon jellyfish and bright-eyed fish sirens watch me in curiousity. and I will forget language, and literature, and responsibility. I will be a priestess of a vast, unearthly entity, and I will be quite content.
l. she appeared to me swathed in the silk of midnight- soothed my wild cries, collected the star-bright tears of my passion and turned them to gleaming white pearls with a slow, knowing smile. she took my hand gently and spun me; turned me into a dancer, into some proud siren, all naked flesh and warm skin and hard, gleaming eyes. I glowed under her touch, and as my heart and soul rose and blurred, became whole, her form fluttered and slickened as if oiled. she became teasing, mirage-like as I sought her out further. one night I found her as a queen, jewel threaded curls and honeyed robes, the next she knelt and wept fiercely alongside me, finding my body with the soft heartbreak of a friend, a mother. she was wonderful, and fickle, she demanded more each time and yet with each disappointment, every time the thread loosed, slackened, she remained just there, just out of sight, for me to return back to her arms. she was not of love but love itself, and she defied every definition.
ll. I slipped out of love as easily as if it were a bathrobe. what was once my world is now foreign to me, this dense disturbance in my mind that lies beyond my grasp. some twisted irony is entwined- a cruelty sank into my skin and became flecked, mocking, in my blood, turning my veins a changeling blue-green. I loved her less; she loved me more. it was resentment that turned me from her- a pathetic kind of need for her to save me. she couldn’t; she didn’t know how- I didn’t know myself though I accused her with high, breaking tones. I bared my soul and she couldn’t bear to look, so slowly and surely it withered and flaked from the damp of exposure and the scarring of non-words. she had killed me, and yet I still held her, adorned her with sickly praise even as I recoiled. and then, and my blood burns bright, she told me her world revolved around me. once she kissed me, tenderly, on the forehead. many, many times she held my hands and told me she loved me. and I stood, in my slow horror, and could do nothing.
morpheus ♡☁️~ (on dreams and reality)
i. I’m reaching out into the dream-void,
glimpse with a pathos heart
the other self; not mine, as flimsy as
a spider’s web (dew struck- trembling with
the weight). but then my vision weeps
even in the bright light,
so I cannot be true, not real about this.
my flesh is made of a unconscious mind.
ii. disturbance rustles like black silk under
my skin, unknown threat hanging
just there- just behind my eyes
white fish pearls- I see nothing
I know nothing
I just think, with wildness on rose
velvet lips- it is there, it is not
iii. a net of golden thread, o pretty vision,
entangle me- I am cut up and stitched
poorly into something intense but
blurred, confusion reigned in
massy thoughts, lead, blood, tired
ness, longing to
go back, to where I can formless sit and
watch my undoing from (some)where
a silent hymn fills the air, brushes the black earth- / draws unreality from reluctant lips, from these bleeding / pearls, just here, just under my tongue- I know this / white, cold, metal ache. and then there is this terrible, / angry absence, rushing to my cheeks, staining yearning eyes / shades of insane.
she found herself between worlds- invisible, half-dissolved and half newly, slickly free from the grounded sphere of the living. she bid goodbye to her self, watching her eyes turn misty, her limbs languid- etching painstakingly through the air as if each motion was an effort, a cut into fabric. breath turned sacred, precious in deliberation. colour sharpened and then wept, a soft, sad mourning cry, bleeding forest and moss and earth into white canvas sky- washing into slight shadow and an elderly haze as the hills fell into the horizon, mixing tenderly with that blank white steel. a melancholy stole over her skin, a chill of watery fear and unutterable sadness. it clung in a damp film to her spirit even as it lifted into a faint haze about her- heavy with the suggestion of the infinite, the inexplicable of each detail, the quiet of changing textures amplified to all-consuming cries.
I smile at the flowers, and to my surprise they smile back. they are bright eyed, waxy fleshed, soft lipped- they know something I do not, and in their sickly perfumes I am unsettled, unnerved by their quiet understanding. I put my ear to the ground- dirt laces itself over my fingers, seizes my skin- but they shrink away. they do not like us. they do not like us here. we should not be here. their threats hang in the air as thick as their own scent.
I am steeped in loneliness, in a melancholy that clouds my vision, softly seizes my limbs. I am blurred, some half-ghost in a story that is only half-fiction. I am a Romantic, or perhaps I am simply sad, or perhaps I am both, or neither, or nothing at all.
I am fading away into this quiet night, quite alone, quite unreal.
before me stands a young girl- yellow hair, white skin, red cloak, blank eyes. as I step, tentatively, closer, her image tears slightly, like poorly stitched silk caught on barbed wire. I see that her tears are milk and honey, seemingly melted wax that glides over her form and pools on the grass below. I watch; her feet do not burn. she is half made, I think, half grown from bare thought, a little rag heart pierced to her chest that does not beat but lies limply and whispers mournfully a paling bird song, over and over. I take her arm- she turns slightly, parts her lips rosy in blush, blinks dark lashes, a doe, a princess, a young girl, so young, a child, a human, half-so, half a fiction. her existence flutters beneath my fingers.
so what do I do? I give myself to her. my thoughts surrender their colour, staining my skin as they blur in rivulets that pass between our bodies. ink matts my hair. flesh crawls. consciousness lifts, ecstatic, a pearly soul pulling itself from this vessel and dancing in a slight breeze. humanity welds itself, flaming hot, to her brow, to her thighs, to her ankles.
after, we hold each other. we weep. she is warm, now, and I see that her eyes are that of burnished bronze, of autumnal chestnuts. the rest of her features are strange, as if torn and taped back together again; her skin is blemished; she is not beautiful. but she has become of herself.
we find ourselves in a forest. the light speckles the earth a golden hue, the trees silent, understanding. nature closes in on itself as we move, a protection. we are wild, now. there is no true love here. no men. no endings. only them. and us.
we have created ourselves.
Autumn comes quickly and quietly, leaving the white, blurred haze of Summer behind her as she walks. Her fraying woollen skirts rustle about her bare ankles, creating a raw music that lilts to join the mewling cry of the startled winds. The air fills with the sweet, sad scent of misplaced melancholy, pervasive and slightly cloying as it clings to the skin of bleary eyed passers-by and soft mouthed dandelions. The dawn light illuminates fragments of dust that dance hesitantly on the breeze, suspending the scene in an aura of pale, glowing gold- and amidst it all, still she comes, bright eyed and dark haired. A flickering spirit with a tired soul falters at her feet; she gently picks it up, cradles its weeping form in her arms, carries on.
She brings renewal, she brings potential, she brings this strange, slow beauty and above all she takes your trembling hand and brings you too.