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necessary whispers

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Month

August 2016

Silent Asphyxiation

Study for Portrait (Man in a Blue Box)  1949-1.jpg

 

I had a shadow once

Before the lights went out

When rising sun would come and go

Signifying—

Stretching long—

My breath

In and out

Steady and slow.

 

 

When I sat inside

A box of my own making

Mildewed with sweat and

The time it took

To bind my hands behind my back

With words

Dripping and shaking

Down the side of my mouth

Between my fingers

Wet

Melted phrases lingered

In puddles of regret.

 

 

As any dripping is destined to do

It stopped—

The words and the attempts

The lies and the threats and

The twisting what I knew

Into some odious stew

Congealing at my wrists now

Tying tight

Where veins once pumped

With infiltrating light

Despite my neatly buttoned cuffs.

 

 

The moisture in my box of one

Slithered with a life of its own

Not sharing its breeding

With lips from which its seething

Origins had come—

Popping in fits of spasms

My words touched,

Squirmed

Held the necks of those

The ones

Whose orgasms quietly signaled

They had come

And bitterly screamed

A dying sigh in the wake of

The height of life

Only to fall into a gathering pool

Once more—

A swampland of need

Filled with eloquent letters

And with greed for

Passion spent

Magic lent from the mind of one—

Of me—

Who let colloquy

Writhe for too long.

 

 

In my demise

I forgot the soul behind my eyes

And arrogance circled around

My dilated pupils

Making me blind and

I laughed in the absence of perception

Held my tongue out

For others to see

Licked the breasts of the ones

Who fell into my reverie—

My tongue,

That member of the living

That wags when it wants to be heard

And brushes against sacred places

When it wants to taste the hearts

Pulsating within

The living disturbed—

And I laughed

Me

The one who told the stories

Sold them for free

Except for ultimate recompense:

One psyche at a time.

 

 

My box was erected in safety

Constructed to save me

While I pulled the strings

That gave the illusion of

Being free

And all the time I hid

I was hiding

Hiding, not even trying

To truly be seen.

 

 

My time in the box

Was marvelous

Until

I felt the spit loosen and

Roll down my tweed-covered hill—

As I said once before

What used to be

Turned into no more

And I like a man frozen in time

Felt death approach

Cloaked in the air of my

Long-winded crime.

 

 

I opened my mouth

Wide and dark

Tied a noose to my memory

Jumped from hope

Felt the squeeze of life

Shrivel, impart

But I did not die

Would never know why

My shadow slipped through the cracks

Then I was alone with an eternal groan

Stripped of even a whisper—

Only ashes of freedom

No chance to atone.

 

copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

(Photo credit: This poem was inspired by Francis Bacon’s piece entitled, Study for Portrait (Man in a Blue Box), 1949.  http://francis-bacon.com)

 

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All That Was Left Was to Fall

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(Photo credit: This poem was inspired by the work of French artist, Antoine Josse.  https://www.facebook.com/antoinejosse.art/)

 

The skin he was in was thin

He pushed it and pulled

Tried to make it grow

Until he felt a tear

And had to let it go.

 

 

He attempted to cover the spaces

Between rejection and regret—

When he enclosed the part

Where his lungs inflated

He left a draft outside his heart.

 

 

And so it was with his brain

A battle between shielding

The place that ran the machine

Or encasing the tenderness where she

Cut to the bone with her guillotine.

 

 

There were minutes of hours

When he thought he might live

When the edges began to fray

When he imagined the desert would be okay

When he felt a peace in having no more part to play.

 

 

“As these things—

these acrobatics of love

flipped desire like a pancake

flattening sweetness in the wake

of my girl’s talent to take

in the air where I learned my mistake,

I lost sight of the net

I hoped not to fall

but I had already dropped

at the pace of a crawl.”

 

 

He buried his lips in a glass of rocks

Tasted the whiskey

As he waited for the cold to turn hot

And he lingered as his body dried up

While a picture of her stabbed all his thoughts.

 

 

There was no way to protect it all

He knew he would lose some

Like an amateur in a brawl

But he wanted no stitches

So he embraced the bloody fall.

 

 

His skin was thin

Because he gave it away

Piece by piece and

Day by day

It was all his choice

She never tore

But in the bleeding

He could finally feel

His decent and

Her nevermore.

 

copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

Instead—

Migraine.jpg

I tried to avoid the raindrops

Made my body small

Like a child

Or like a Morning Glory at midnight

Then, it began to pour.

 

 

Faced with impending deluge

I shielded my head

With the hood of my coat

Already dripping water

Onto my brown leather shoes.

 

 

Some of the clouds above me

Were pregnant with pain

But they did not cry

Held back their tears

Instead—

Blew cold breath

Through the edges of my hair

And laughed

Just a bit

As they watched my eyes

Blink to stave off the dry.

 

 

Other clouds,

Employed by a different judge,

Spilled first drops

And then faucets full

Atop my head

So much

That I halted my goal

To hide

And stood wide,

Instead.

 

 

A bridge stretched near me

Splashing with cars

And bicycles burdened by

Suits who made no provision

For the storm

Forced waterfalls over the edge

Where an old woman

Wrapped in bags

Tried not to suffocate

Beneath the crinkling plastic.

 

 

I thought twice—

Once to race toward safety

And join the trash bag woman

Huddled below the makeshift

Ceiling

Save myself from this torrent

Under which I was reeling—

Like a knight dropping

Chainmail to replace it with

Loose cotton and sea shells

Sandy with oceanic meanderings

Instead—

I unzipped what was fastened

Felt the weight of my red canvas bag

Drop

Into a puddle beside me

Wrapped my protection

Around my waist and

Stood inside the tick of the moment

Forgot that the tock was coming and

I let the clouds paint the canvas of me

In colors of reciprocity.

 

 

The sky received my vulnerability

Returned it with gentility

In a circle of being alive

A lifting of the head and a

Forehead kiss melting

Invisible dread.

 

 

As the hand on my wrist

Continued on

Like a soldier or

The tide or

The moon and the sun

A memory came and then it

It was gone—

When I remembered him

I also remembered I was wet

My leather leaking

Maniacal raindrops seeping into

The red bag

Filled with weight

An icon of fate in the form of

Lovers meeting.

 

 

Like a pause between words

A rest between notes

I closed my eyes and journeyed

Somewhere far

Through the wheels of my

Imagination

Where the sky was not an

Imposition

But a field rolled wide for

Expeditions dared by those—

By me—

Who wanted to drown but

Instead

Who learned how to fly

Like a moonlit Sparrow who is free.

 

copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

(Photo credit: this poem was inspired by the art of French artist Antoine Josse.  https://www.facebook.com/antoinejosse.art/)

 

My Beating Heart, Regained

lunar.jpg

The stars escape me

And so does the moon

Like a tune that was crooned,

Carried away on a strand of light

Up and folded from sight

Singing on its journey

Into the night.

 

 

Galaxies of reason

Tip-toeing lightly between

Delicacies of analysis and treason

Swirl above my head—

Is that logic or

Is that dread?—

Spinning without anchor.

 

 

I am inflamed with

The corruption I’ve seen,

Grown thick with the voices

And the weeds

Of all that—

All those—

Who spit regurgitated nourishment

Onto the drums of my ears

Some for a moment

Others for years—

A kind of tournament, or duet,

Composed for

Expectoration and spittoon.

 

 

The liquid has drained

Into my brain

Dried and developed

A crusted edge

Like the bristles of a mustache

Or the burnt ends

Of a worm

That lost its will to writhe

Beaten by

The heat of something above

Still alive

Until it was no more—

These roughened edges

Texturing my core.

 

 

I feel a throbbing within

But I cannot hear the rhythm—

Come close

If you dare,

“Can you hear it there?

That is close enough,

back away, if you please.

I don’t wish to tease

but your proximity

conjures unease.”

 

 

Yet still I wonder—

Now alone—

Is the beating

Simply repeating

As an echo

From long ago

When life was more

Than the sum

Of what I know

Or wish to forget, or

Is there a seed

Planted by an invisible divinity

Wrapped in weeds

Yet in pieces

Breaking free?

 

“Wait—

 

What is that I smell

in the midst of

grand lucidity

that brings my knee

to a condescending place

where, like a child,

I search in the dirt

for fragrant ingredients

to add to my culinary treat:

Mud soup,

wherein mud is confusion

and soup is my journey

toward resolving

allusions.”

 

 

A bouquet of petals just beneath

Courageously peeking

Over and through—

Illumination seeking—

From planted depths where

Eyes fail to behold

Recollections collected

Like vermin or like gold,

Where spotted or shining

Composted knowings

Blend and then flourish

Into wisdom’s

Refining,

A fragrance more telling

Than time.

 

 

Boldness emerging—

From groundcover swells

I unbury my eyes

Throw them up toward the sky

Where melodies like aliens fly

Unencumbered by weight

Plucked out on strings and strummed

By the fingers of constellations

Tuned to fate—

Eye

Eye

I

Identify the mechanism behind

The turning tides

A crescent pulling wide and

Pushing back

While trembling grains of sand are

Smoothed—

Crusted edges made soft

Like glass or like frost

On a pane of the moon.

 

 

“Nothing is wasted,”

I say to one

Eye

And receive from another,

“Not even goodbyes.”

A curious note for him to drop

And still another

Eye

Says from atop,

“Looking inward you discover

your story,”

He is interrupted by

a wandering

Eye,

“Only then

can you offer empathy

in the form of allegory”—

I did not want a riddle

Instead

I sought to discern

When a smaller

Eye peered straight through me

With an air of concern,

“You fought with logic

like a sword at your side

but your mind could not

repair

the damage inside—

for that you need

tools from a different shelf:

patience

understanding and

forgiveness of yourself.”

 

 

The stars escaped me

So I leapt into their refrain

With a measure of logic

Tempered by pain

I no longer fight

What cannot not be changed

And change what I can:

Thus,  my beating heart was regained.

 

copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

(Photo Credit: This poem was inspired by American artist John Casey‘s piece entitled, Lunar.  http://www.johncasey.com)

 

 

The Girl Who Could Not Fly

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She lay in the grass

With her eyes toward the sky—

Wide from east to west—

And she why’d,

“What makes me different

from the rest,”

As a cloud floated by

Winking at the girl

Who could not fly.

 

 

Her daydreams fluttered

Like butterflies

And plans she made

Split the air

Likes bees darting

From flowers to trees

Not knowing what will come—

Even so—

Buzzing along.

 

 

As she listened to

The singing wind

Gather and rescind

Its voice

With playful grins

She learned a lesson

About coming close and

Tumbling back

Into the atmosphere

Where life continues

To breathe

Even in the midst—

In the absence of—

The things she thought

Would never leave,

Would always retrieve

Hidden places in her heart

Like brush strokes inside

A piece of art.

 

 

She felt the earth spinning

Like a merry-go-round

Flying from the ground

Into space

Where stars and moon

Recognize each face

As it passes along—

Singing familiar songs

Of the past and

The present and

The times in between

When young lovers hold hands

When old men and women kiss

And

When the choices we make

Change the fate

Of those who tread

Upon the dirt but

Do not touch

What is above the earth.

 

 

She felt her smallness

 

As a ray of sun—

Like hope—

Radiated and caught

The edges of

Glitter inside her skin—

The breathing life within,

And the way

All that made her “I”

Connected to all that

Was not of her

For the moments

In which her dust

Mingled among

The magic of life

And of hate and of love

And of wars and of lust.

 

 

Yesterday she felt a weight

Today a freedom came

Wherein Debussy still lives and

Elvis wiggles his hips

Where languages are many

Ideas are plenty

And the rhythm of

Being alive means

Saying hello and

Saying goodbye—

And still

The orchestra of

Nature and her melodies

Tumble low

Tickle her ear

While the voices of flowers

And of birds

Whisper secrets

Then disappear—

She understands

A marvelous truth:

Love expands our hearts

As hours grow the days

Disappointments are only silence when

Life is a song of praise.

 

copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

(Photo credit: This poem was inspired by the beautiful work of artist, Elicia Edijanto.  http://www.eliciaedijanto.com)

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