Beneath the veneer, below polish, underneath

our waxen, salty denial, Oh fear — !

You who come unbidden with dark or dawn

Crawling wetly with your hunger to devour

The overlay of rational thought.

How alluring your deft poison, when defenses show sluggish

The gris-gris of delirium & alternative exhaustions

machinate abundance in quieting method,

I think of safety, it feels like a celebration for another person’s life

not this chipped bail, not this sweat stained pillow

where lately dreams have possessed me sleepless

& nightmares are memories abounding with Jung’s underskirt.

Many years ago, we sat you & I

in the mouth of my pursuit of normalcy

supping vinegar in place of wine, for our hollowed rosary beheld

flint instead of bead, soot for sinners & those incapable

of donning this fattened falsehood, much beloved by all.

I rose in the morning bread, a naked thing of potential & terror

then, in the hours that believed themselves immortal

we cavorted to our fantasies of being unshackled, even as our

mouths watered at the thought of safety & her tart respite

from your unkind caress, dear human kind.

The underneath is a sinking feeling, drowning mirth & valor

with her heady bouquet of stolen promises

evoking a feeling of lying down in an antique store on a fur rug

stretching against the luxuriate, as you would don a personsuit

unencumbered by anxiety & rule, able to nimbly address

all things, with the somnolent flick of a leisured wrist.

Imagine, imagine, swimming from the serpent who lurks beneath

your childhood bed, tiger at the door, pitted devil

made of wood, who in light, turns back to a wardrobe,

maybe the river will not rise & drown you today

maybe I will not submerge and eat Humiliate’s bon-bon tonight

for we are children of confetti starlight & spectacle

just give us this little rise, tap our shoes, glimmer our eyes

leave a bit of rouge on our cheeks, lasting long enough to evaporate

Shame & her minions, marching over the joy of un-spoilt youth

a thousand dreams away from clammy hands and furtive secrets

rebuking loved-ones & those who exist, just to stick pins

in dolls without name or plume.

How resplendent I’d be, lying beneath you without guile

frowning no more at the hideous gilded mask

our limbs mirroring the other like an abseil of emotion

breaks open, raining transformation & bandages

in little plastic bottles marked; Drink Me. Love Me. Only Me.

You were always tender without history

weary of nuzzled fur & lopsided ears, you shaved yourself bare of

trappings & froze at first frost, when all along you

could have lain your heavy bags here on my concave chest

beating her cage of wingless desires &

retreated into my feathering envelop just as I

exist on the periphery of fitting in, a glazed baked thing

not succulent enough for consumption, we might have

joined against the other in eternal epitaph

witnessing the crudeness of outside estrangement, sigh & catch aflame

like plucked girls must lose their breath in running

from the wolf

& dying comes as you hold yourself underneath

your vacant bed watching shadows play wicked on

tilted walls of yellow & regret.

Seamlessly then, we undulate & resort to what we know

an overlooked oasis in the nectar

there it is

there among the shifting, restless desert

taunting with its indefinable

tenacity for endurance

even as it blazes

even as it blisters

so she rises

redolent

fierce as

your best

attempt.

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