the dark wild waters of passion and despair
had flushed my soul -
the earthquake of my rites was over.
I woke up in a canoe, gently swaying on the river
and my mourning had changed to Indian white.
sore with a pleasant post-fever ache, I sat up
and inspected the shifted landscape,
the unknown walls on the far bank,
and in the clear distance the canyon opened up
to an uncharted land,
with brand-new mountain ranges
and a sky promising a myriad new weathers.
you were headstrong in life,
you are headstrong even now,
my beloved ghost.
but it is beside me that you travel now.
I picked up the paddles and began to row.
the river sat the sun on me and spat me out again, and yesterday hurts so much today. I wanted to give her my world in my open palms, share all that I know, all that I have, all that I am, but none of it is mine alone (should I add 'yet', as an unlikely flourish of hope? in my dream last night, drunk with passion for her, I reversed the car into a wall. your ghost was furious at the collateral damage.)
today all is silent again, gone her voice lips eyes, and my river flows above the land, in all its untouchable dark glory. so I darken myself to jump into the black sky.
I travel light, I travel with a ghost
on this day today, I performed all the rites in all the places of rituals, to be able to let go of her, and with her my so recently acquired hope, and my daughter’s hopes. it hurts to the bone to relinquish her sheer exquisiteness, and all that we might become.
but you see, the reptile brain is but a blind predator, so I must drink of this black river and my darker tears until the night fills me completely, until the sun can rise in me one day. not now. there is much darkness to drink still.
so I ate from the black berries at the altar of farewells, and stole the only, the sweetest kiss. her smile hid her eyes and she said, I knew. I turned and went away, as all tomorrows faded into a liquid golden shadow against the summer's end sunset and the darkening green hills.
and as I leaned my screaming head against the mossy wall, the village idiot walked past me and said, bon voyage. indeed. both back into our solitudes. back in black with the ghost that I know how to love without my reptilian brain.
I wish there were a ritual
to let the past take flight
so these moments of silence
won't pierce me anymore
let go, the river says
and swim on,
for I can hold all your tears
so my tears become
one with the river
as all that I was
falls far behind
after months in the desert
where your heart turned into a
the river lies before you now.
and in you go, headlong
into the dizzying rapids,
you grow new arms and fins
while cortex learns and
reptile brain craves
one pulling forward to the unseen land across
and the other down to stranger pleasures,
the wetness of willing lips
whether I make it or not,
tomorrow is beginning to look
like a good place to be again
dança delicada, costas com costas
adivinhamos apenas o pulso do parceiro
contra o nosso coração, para
contrariar a crescente força centrífuga
encosto a cabeça na tua
colo a mente à tua
para, cautelosamente, nos
face com face, lábios com lábios
the white-hot air blinds, motionless, and the village is a ghost town. so here I stand in the graveyard, my hands scented with the rich aroma of the thyme that we planted on your grave. below me in the shimmering land, the fog horn bellows a far-away roar as the mist rolls into the Lisbon bay. I like to believe that you are now in the pine tree next to the grave, and as always, I lean my ear to the bark to hear the earth talk from underneath and the wind from above. today there is no wind, so the earth speaks louder, in underground streams, shifting slabs of rock, the faint cracking of crystal and granite.
so what was it like? what is it like?
hiroshima, ground zero. annihilation. the entire skin peels off, until you’re raw flesh. for weeks on end, you are an open wound, exposed to the piercing air and sun, the arrowheads of rain and hail. the pain is constant. and then you’re dropped into a pool of caustic bleach.
you are nothing but pain, and this goes on, unbearably.
but as time progresses, you grow a new skin. your DNA changes. you evolve into your new environment. you become something different, learn to live in this new world that only you inhabit.
this is where I stand, on this alien planet. of lately, my remotes have reported tendrils and shoots growing out of me, presumably probing for life other but myself. and indeed, it is out there. but will what I have become frighten those otherworldly creatures? my reptile skin, my caustic blood?
I have begun to build a suit, for me to step out safely into this new world, or for some creature to wear, should it wish to join me in here.
I lean back against the tree and begin to reconfigure myself.
on my first day of school, there was a girl. I was too young to pay any attention to girls per se, but what mattered was that her name was Monica. as it happens, I had had dreams about being in love with a girl called Monica ever since I was five, so I was certain that this must be her. on the second day of school, I approached her and, blushing violently, offered her my favourite blue and transparent glass elephant (which I thought looked rather stately and well up to the occasion), wrapped in an infantile attempt at a love poem. the girl, taller than me, and surrounded by her girlfriends, unwrapped my beloved treasure, read my scribbled lines, laughed wickedly and flung the elephant onto the schoolyard tarmac. blue and transparent glass shards flew in all directions. while seemingly unimportant, this brief event shaped my approach to the female gender forever.
but back now to what matters.
half a year ago to the day
was the last time
I saw you alive
there was a last time
you ate with delight.
a last time
you laughed at the sun.
a last time
you were on the beach.
a last time
you were in Africa.
a last time
that we danced.
a last time
we made love.
on the 12th of february,
the last thing I said to you
I love you
once upon a time, a sorceress came upon a wounded, old lion lying in the shade of a baobab tree not far from her village. the lion's entire sault had been killed by hunters, and he was the last survivor. in her kindness, the sorceress decided to help the lonely beast, but fearing his nature, she kept at a safe distance, using only her words of magic to try and heal him. as the days and weeks went by, she grew fond of the lion, and used ever more powerful spells to save him, hoping one day they would become best friends. spring and summer came and went, and as the beast was becoming stronger, the sorceress was becoming braver. so one morning in early autumn, she left her village and approached the old tree, her mind set on caressing the lion at last. but the spot under the tree was empty. the lion had moved on to seek someone to caress.
it is changing. I am changing. a weekend's worth of potting flowers, weeding the lawn, recording new music, cooking, reading sophists, and unexpected smiles. the world is becoming mine.
no, this doesn't cover it all, but I'm ready for myself. this house is clean.
I’ve exhausted the words that I
write on your mirror,
and shrivel away into dry brown hide
within my house which is my tomb
under the roaring sun
and the harsh horizons.
when the full moon floods
the barren badlands
I shall retreat at last
into my cold sarcophagus,
in stasis suspended for
another thousand years,
till the water inverts its song
and finds me