Someday

 

When
my catcher says
“someday
someone will love you”
I weep the
thick, heavy tears
of absolute loss
while searching for
the courage
to hope.

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Lullaby

The tigers came again while I was sleeping and ripped my belly open. The wine didn’t keep them away. I can’t tell anyone about them, and they know, and are laughing. I woke up and hung out my washing while holding my guts in with one hand, wondering if it’s a good thing that at least I’ll have clean underwear for when I can take a breath again. Or if I’m just folding my jacket neatly before stepping in front of the train.
I want to be held, and you are right, your comfort is a poor, weak thing. I’m right too, there’s a universe in your eyes. But I want to be held.
I can’t tell anyone and you are all I have. Sing me to sleep, dear catcher. Sing me to sleep.

Heartbeat

It’s a magical incantation
a vital rhythm
the slowest heartbeat in the world
but the most reliable
one hour
each pulse lasts
once a week
and in that rushing
of life’s blood
we soar.
The iron law
forbids three things
that forbidding like
a pentagram drawn
in salt creates
the space for
everything.

Outside

I am in a chair. I am in a cot. I’m trying to sit up straight. I’m lying on my back, reaching up. You are in front of me on the computer screen. You are leaning over me, about to pick me up and hold me. I’m trying to breathe.  I can hardly see through the tears.

All there is in the world is your face, your beautiful smile, and your soothing voice.

I met you at my front gate, all those months ago, and invited you in. We sat on the porch of the gatehouse and chatted. Difficult stuff, to be sure. On the porch of the gatehouse, serious topics can be discussed.

Over the months that followed I invited you in again and again, further into my world, until we were in my private room in the heart of the citadel.

In that room serious topics can be discussed, and shame, and humiliation, and vulnerability. Things I’d never talked about with anybody. We made many discoveries there, and wrote them on the walls. But always we were in my room, in the citadel of my mind, writing thoughts on the walls.

And then we discovered, you showed me, you let me discover, an inescapable truth. My mind was going to kill me, almost certainly, and there was nowhere left to hide. No deeper sanctuary, no more secure walls, no more elaborate defenses. The enemy was within and always would be. In here is the courtroom where I sentenced myself to death for the transgressions of loss and failure and grief, and in here is the scaffold.

We retraced our steps, out through the keeps and curtain walls, libraries and beautiful gardens, to that monstrously strong gate.

Only in my last and deepest refuge could you have convinced me to come out and step through that gate, and back into my body.

So I’m in a chair, not lying on my couch, sitting up straight, not curled around my pain, breathing deeply, not sipping at air through a clenched throath. I’m so far outside what I have come to know as myself that I can only understand it by going back to a time before the first stone of the fortress was laid.

While my mind is screaming “Disaster!” and promising safety and offering doom, you and I are reciting together this poem and enchantment and unspeakable heresy:

Your mind is wrong. Trust your body.
Your mind is wrong. Trust your body.
Your mind is wrong. Trust your body.

My mind wants to die. My body is hungry and wants to eat and drink. My mind thinks my life is shit. My body knows that this bed is warm, and the skin of my lover feels good against mine. My mind can’t believe anyone could love me. My body smiles back when you smile at me.

Start again. The gates can be open, I can come and go, the citadel doesn’t have to be a trap. I can stop work on that scaffold, and maybe one day use the wood for something more worthwhile.

Catechism

Yesterday a man died. One of many.

He was swept off the rocks and died in the ocean. I wished I was him. Dying in the ocean would be like going home. The only part I didn’t like is that they found his body and tried to revive him. Interrupted his peaceful sinking and the nibbling of the fish. You can’t blame them. But it seems disrespectful.

He didn’t want to die. Well, there is no justice in the world, is there? If it could be arranged that death came for me, and I could spare you the pain of my choosing; well, that could work. Not exactly win-win, but it could work. Tell the angels: spare someone else; take me.

But wait: someone is slamming their fist on the table. “HOLD THAT TELEGRAM!!”.

You, my beautiful catcher, reminding me of your ferocity.

“Live. First because I want you to. Then because you want to. In that order.”

Psychic mirror neurons: you are there each week, so I am there each week; you don’t give up, so I don’t give up. My heartbeat slows to match yours, and the steady rhythm of your breathing becomes mine. And then your anger reminds me that I have fire in me too. Not only rain.

“Is there beauty in the world?
Is there love in your heart?”

Yes. And yes. And so?

“What other reason do you need?”

Catch me

I realised
that all I wanted to say is:
I’m so sad
and I just need to tell someone
and you’re the only person
I can tell
who will have any idea
of why