metaphorliteral: (typewriter)
It seems like I moved through the world always puzzled,
forever the girl who would pull loose ends of strings
just to see what would happen, sometimes unraveling what was enmeshed,
always seeking sources but rarely finding myself pleased
with what I discovered. It's my curse, perhaps,
or maybe my blessing, this ability to trace but not

a commensurate ability to leave those threads in the knot
holding them in place, to find a shape but never fit the puzzle
pieces together. My blessing, or curse, perhaps,
to myself be a single piece of string
unfrayed by association from those who'd fret or please
me, to hold myself apart from what might ensnare

me past my point to divine myself. What matter, my yearning to entwine,
to create something lovely with another thread by knotting
ourselves into complex beauty? I thought it past my ability to please
anyone well enough, to find someone who matches the edges of my worn puzzle
piece and interlock to form an image, to find a hue of string
which harmonizes well with my own mild blue-- to be matched, perhaps

in complement, or alternately in contrast, perhaps.
So long I've sought one I could embrace,
someone to join me in stitching us close with strings
of conversation, someone who might love me when I think I'm not
worthy of love, the one who'd strive to solve the puzzle
I present, that person who might seek to please

me, and in that pleasure find themself well pleased.
I wasn't sure that I deserved them, had earned them, perhaps
felt that the loss of one proved me forever an unmatched piece of a puzzle,
a letter never sent and doomed to remain unenveloped.
How thrilling, then, to have these fears dispelled, to not
remain in the grip of these tangled dreads, to slice the anxiety-frayed string

with your sharp wit and let you reel me close with love's stronger string.
How long I've waited for the touch that would not panic but please,
for limber arms and legs to catch me in a knot
of adoration and proximity, to find, perhaps,
the perfect one with whom to entangle
both our hearts into one perfectly aligned puzzle.

Bind us together with delicate strings which we may perhaps
find durable enough to please our hearts entwined:
no longer uncomplemented, not to stay an unsolved puzzle.
metaphorliteral: (Default)
You were in my subconsciousness
deep as a fault line,
and with your absence comes a trembling
as the tectonic plates of what I know to be true
slide together uncomfortably
and set my whole mind shaking.

There's been an earthquake in my head
and it looks like the buildings are still standing
but everything's been structurally damaged--
there is no water running, no electricity,
nothing left to connect these disparate broken thoughts,
and the gas lines have all burst,
leaving some of them quite flammable to the smallest spark.

All these beautiful historic buildings,
all the architecture built in place on a foundation of love,
all the open windows looking into trashed rooms,
all the sturdy doorways opening onto rubble,
it'll all have to come down now,
razed to the ground once the aftershocks die down.

The tremors are still happening, though.
I can't do anything to rebuild until the ground quiets.
Perhaps the tectonic plates will settle
without the buffer you made between the jagged edges.
Fault lines don't just disappear,
but if I'm lucky this one will lie quiescent for the rest of my days.

Fidelity

Mar. 20th, 2014 04:46 pm
metaphorliteral: (we bleed the ink of subtle allegory)
Call me pathetic,
maybe it's true--
This unswerving loyalty I hold for you
like a dog waiting for her long-gone master,
instincts drawn to the sound of your voice--
Call me and I'll come.
Call me from anywhere, I'll come.
Only call me, please, call my name
and I'll find you, if I know you want me,
if I'm not kicked to the curb
to roam the night like an unloved stray.
I was wanted, once--
You wanted me, once, kept me close,
said my name fondly, like it was precious to you.
I'm good enough to keep, aren't I?
Someone would take me in
but I'd just steal out and wander the streets
howling for the one I love--
the one who loved me once--
neither leashed nor collared but cherished all the same.
Let me be yours again, I swear I'll be good,
won't bite or growl, won't beg for petting,
just let me curl up at your feet,
let me guard your heart,
give me a place beside you to rest my head.
Put your name on my tag
so everyone can see where I belong,
so they know I'm always heading home.
There's no place I want to be but home--
at your side, at peace: home.
metaphorliteral: (Default)
It comes every year, and here's spring
again, bringing with it my
usual promises to change my ways. I forget
them after a few weeks, thoughts flighty as a bird,
resolutions washed away sooner or later by the rain.
I've got to try harder, that much is clear.

It's coming soon-- the signs are clear--
the warmth, the longer daylight, birdsong, spring.
Once all the snow is melted by the rain
I'll open boxes and reveal my
brighter plumage, dresses gaudy as tropical birds,
shed my winter layers and try to forget

the length of this freezing winter. I've forgotten
what it's like to enjoy a day that's beautiful and clear,
but according to the scolding sound of robins,
soon I can revel in the mild temperatures of spring.
I'll take whatever improvement I can get-- my
boots and umbrella mean I'm well equipped for rain,

and as the saying goes, into each life a little rain
must fall. It seems so easy a thing to forget
on the sunny stretches, but I bring the rain upon my
own head-- I could avoid some of it if I was clear
about whether I'm up or down, but spring
gets me all turned around, silly as a goose,

confused as a nestless bird,
left outside to get soaked by the rain.
I feel more defenseless in the spring,
haunted by memories and feelings I need to forget,
fending off beloved dreams that make it clear
that this is where I want to roost, even though my

brain tells me to fly elsewhere, it's my
instincts that fly me back like a homing pigeon
to the one who always helped to make things clear.
It doesn't have to be this way, but into each life a little rain
must fall, and it won't wash my mind clean or help me forget.
It's the time of year I get nostalgic for a past spring.

To be clear, I don't blame it on spring--
My complete inability to even want to forget
the days billing and cooing like lovebirds, safe from the rain.
metaphorliteral: (Default)
They say you can't love anyone if you don't love yourself.
I stared long and hard into the mirror's surface
and eventually I started to accept the flaws I never
thought of as lovable before I had learned to stand
on my own two feet, even if I could only stand for an hour.
I found myself in a field lit only by stars,

found the single one I would call my star,
found my star every time I couldn't love myself,
coming back night after night to the field that was ours.
I walked by the water and saw myself below the surface,
walked on the ice to make a stand
against this frozen side of me that could never

thaw enough to feel the warmth of flame, never
find the spot of sky that holds my star,
never reach out far enough to take his hand.
If I wanted him, first I had to love myself,
so I pulled my frozen side through the surface
of the ice, held her in my arms for hours,

told her my history, hers, ours,
and slowly melted the ice that had bound her forever.
It felt like holding my breath under the surface
of the shining sea of light, witnessed by my star,
becoming one with this newly loved part of myself,
feeling the chill as my hand touched her hand

and overlapped, as we united, and
it took a year, or maybe an hour,
but at the end I loved my entire self
with a frantic single-mindedness I never
should have turned upon another, but like my star,
he'd been my constant reminder of why I had to look beyond the surface

of my teary eyes, delve beneath the surface
of my shallow thoughts. He was why I loved myself,
and how should I not have loved my lucky star?
I brought him to the dark field I considered ours
and showed him where I'd looked for comfort, ever
finding his brightness to turn me back to myself.

He never had trouble seeing past my surface,
but never saw me as a shining star,
and never told me how he saw himself, for all we talked for hours.

Love Spell

Sep. 7th, 2013 02:50 pm
metaphorliteral: (in the process)
Perhaps my agenda is too overt:
my plan is for me to lead and you to follow,
to finally be your goal, to have you get in your car
and wonder how you ended up at my house. I know
the incantation to initiate this reversal, the words which
will bring me all I ever wanted: you.

I don't care about the ethics. I just need you
to come to me for a change, to drive over
all the miles between us, and knock on my door, which
is always open for you. Come in, and what will follow
will be just between you and me, forever. I have no
need to crow once I've got you under my spell. I care

only for what I know we could have between us. Does it scare
you to think of being in my clutches? What are you
so afraid of? I'd treat you well, cherish you, allow no
sorrow to cloud your eyes, no tear to spill over.
All I want is to make a request and have you follow
my plea. I won't force you-- I may be a witch,

but I'm not evil. I just have a heart which
cries constantly for your love, which is covered in scars,
which could have set its sights on any fellow,
but chose the brightest shining star-- you.
The spell's been said-- soon the longing will be over,
you will be here and finally I will know

your voice soft with words of love, never saying no,
the touch of your refined hands, over which
I've spent so many restless thoughts, the sight of you over
me at long last. Get in your car
and come to me now, I've waited long enough for you.
So I bid, and so you must now follow.

I've left a trail of fairy lights along the route you must follow,
I've marked your way and made a place for you. No
excuses now, no hesitations-- it's time for you
to be mine now. My spell has you bewitched
and in time you will love me in truth, will care
for me above all others. My incantation is over.

A spell for now, but true love will soon follow:
perhaps you hold no love for me as yet, but witches
have power over men, and so I over you.
metaphorliteral: (typewriter)
You knew that you were what I needed,
so when I turned around, you were a ghost.
Any good mistake is worth repeating; every
time I said "I love you," expressed my wants,
did you think my words were just blowing smoke?
You knew my desires and thwarted them. Have

I ever learned my lesson? It seems I have
hit upon the way to never get just what I need--
simply ask you for it. Sitting on the porch exhaling smoke
and dreams, my breath shaped a ghost
out of your name. Come here, I want
to tell you a secret: you were never

just a man to me, not once in memory were you ever
simply physical, and you may never be. You have
a gravity to you, words and glance and gesture. I want
your focus, I wanted for a while to be what you needed
like you were for me. When I'm a ghost
I will haunt your grave with longing and the scent of smoke.

I don't know how to cope besides to smoke.
The stress has been getting to me. Did you ever
think of how I felt, or was I just a ghost
occasionally troubling your thoughts? I have
to know, even if it hurts. I think I need
to trouble you if I can't be what you want.

I wish you would have told me what you want.
No sweet, no liquor, no intoxicating smoke,
and I guess not me, either. Did you ever need
to hold me reverently in your mind or did you never
think to ask yourself what I could be for you? I have
to admit I'd still give you anything-- my breath, my ghost,

my body or my love. I'm haunted by the ghost
of who I could have been for you, if I'd been what you want
even for an hour. Tell me now, what have
you wished for in secret? Did the smoke
of the torch I carry for you never
once bring tears to your eyes? What do you need?

I choke my love with smoke and let the ghost
rise and soar away. You need to know I never
wavered in my devotion: you are what I want, what I need.
metaphorliteral: (we bleed the ink of subtle allegory)
Every night, I dream of love
and every morning wake into a nightmare.
I search for vibrations and frequencies. Will
tuning into the right wavelength bring me your voice
or merely lead me further into the desert?
I look up and see nothing but the glow

of the lights above the Arby's. I look down and see the glow
of your smile for me. What terrifying love
forces cacti to bloom, brings rain to the desert,
dispels for a moment this waking nightmare?
What power in the mouth which shapes the voice
that murmurs in all our ears, that will

hold our town together with force of will
and a private smile lit by the glow
of the "on-air" sign? Your sonorous voice
telling all of Night Vale about your love
for me is sort of a privacy nightmare,
but my romantic life was a barren desert

before I moved to this uncanny desert
town. Did some small part of me will
this impossible place into being-- some forgotten nightmare,
long ago demolished by the nightlight's glow?
Was some corner of my soul so desperate for love
that it conjured up this place and the voice

of my beloved Cecil-- the Voice
of Night Vale-- surrounded on all sides by desert
and monitored by the Sheriff's Secret Police, but willing to love
regardless of all the eyes and ears on us-- the kind of will
to love that makes the sky (mostly void, partially stars) glow
and reassures me with soft words when I have a nightmare.

When I got here, I thought this place was a nightmare.
I never thought that there would be a voice
to murmur my name affectionately, a hand to hold beneath the glow
of mystic lights, a man to walk beside through the desert,
a heart to cherish in the darkness. I will
tune my radio past the static to hear my love.

Somehow my nightmare turned into a dream of the desert.
Will I be forever bewitched by the mysterious glow
or will I find my love by the sound of his voice?
metaphorliteral: (Default)
This isn't good for either of us
but you're not the one being consumed.
You flare bright, shower sparks
and at your slightest touch I burn
and burn, and burn, and can't stop burning
and won't stop until there's nothing left of me
but smoke hanging heavy in the sky
and the burnt-out remains of what held me together.
This isn't good for either of us
but it's too late.
I know your touch.
The fire's already raging through me.
Maybe you'll recover, collect yourself,
maybe you'll delight different eyes,
but there is no after-you for me.
There's only this fire, until I'm burned up,
until you leave me ruined behind you.
metaphorliteral: (play crack the sky)
The last time I sat in a coffee house
--a real one, not Starbucks--
there was a promise hiding under my tongue
just waiting for you to walk through the door.
And it waited.
And waited.
And I drank macchiatos,
smiling awkwardly at the barista after my third,
and the caffeine went straight to my toes
which tap-tap-tapped
uncontrollably.
People came and went and they were not you.
The door opened and it was never you.
The barista started wiping down tables
and side-eyeing this lonely girl
and when I finally left, I left two things:
five dollars on the table
and an unspoken promise dropped on the floor
to be swept up with the rest of the dirt
brought in by shoes that weren't yours.
metaphorliteral: (in the process)
I fall asleep next to you,
sated and weary,
and dream of you reading to me
in a low voice resounding like the sea.

When I wake, facedown, dawn tipping the sky,
you are already awake, your right hand holding mine
and your left moving across my back,
a cool and ticklish point to your pen.

"What are you writing?" I ask you,
still half-asleep and muzzy,
and you smile and keep writing on my skin.
"My secrets," you say, "keep them safe."
metaphorliteral: (play crack the sky)
I think we've got it backwards.
Summer days sweating to slow death
garlanded with roses,
making things grow just to have something to do.

Maybe she spends the summer
lost in her memories of his mouth,
the way he touches her,
the timbre of his voice as he calls her "my queen."

Maybe her mother's overbearing,
her friends don't get it,
other gods come knocking at her door
promising to show her a good time.

Maybe she spends weeks drying flowers
to bring him her scent
to tide him though the next interminable summer,
sleeping with his shirt tucked under her pillow.

Maybe she spends the dog days waiting for that first ripe pomegranate--
swallowing seeds in her haste to taste more
and greeting him at the top of the staircase with lips stained red
and half the fruit still in her left hand.

Maybe she gets the best of it--
strawberries and thunderstorms
and leaves the harvest to other hands
as he leads her into the underworld.

Let Demeter reap corn and shovel snow
while Persephone is benevolent to the dead,
blooming below the earth,
warm in his arms through the all-too-brief winter.

palmistry

Jun. 26th, 2012 04:36 pm
metaphorliteral: (in the process)
I can't predict the future--
not really, for all my playing
with tarot cards and prescient dreams--
and it's silly to think that anyone
can tell what the years may hold
before they come to pass.
That being said, I had my palm read last summer,
and she told me that the person I'm meant to love
was the one I was holding at arm's length.
But I was doing that with both of you--
one in fear of the post-grad breakup I saw as inevitable,
one in fear of rejection that also seemed inevitable.
So I took her advice to heart
and pulled you both closer
hoping against hope that my heart would sort it out.
It's silly to put faith in fortune-telling,
but I've done sillier things for much less reward
and risking it all for heart's desire isn't so silly, is it?

words

Jun. 25th, 2012 10:42 pm
metaphorliteral: (play crack the sky)
One day I'll find the words I need.
The ones I have now are fumbling,
approximations, not quite right.
One day I'll be fluent in the language of love.
Until then, I have these words:
deeply, fully, truly, more than I can say,
passionately, all-encompassingly,
overwhelmingly, obsessively,
very very much, a lot, greatly,
like crazy, painfully, wildly,
for so long, more than there are stars,
more than anything at all.

Soon I won't need the words of missing,
but I'll never stop working on the words of love.

compersion

Jun. 25th, 2012 10:31 pm
metaphorliteral: (typewriter)
I've never been a jealous person,
not when it comes to relationships, anyways.
I like love to be shared, not hoarded,
but I never had that put to the test.
Maybe it'd be different if it had been anyone else,
but I don't know-- I wanted the right ones.
When I got to see my two favorite people
share their first kiss, I wanted to cheer,
knowing that love had just been multiplied--
not to mention it was the sweetest thing to witness.
I love to watch my lovers loving each other,
feeling joy rise within me that we're together,
that I get to share in this glorious mess,
that we'll make this work for the three of us.

Limerence

Jun. 25th, 2012 10:14 pm
metaphorliteral: (in the process)
I don't have to put it in words again.
I spelled it out quite clearly the first time:
I love you more than I know how to bear,
and perhaps I can't-- not gracefully, at least.
How many times did I resort to tears?
(But never in your presence, oh no,
I did my hardest work trying not to manipulate you.)
How many times did I lie awake all night,
failing to put thoughts of you from my mind?
How many times did my opinion of myself fall,
thinking that I should be stronger,
that I should be able to content myself with platonic love?

I wish I'd known this word a year ago,
wish I'd known I could put a name to my feelings.
Would it have helped me to see it defined--
intrusive thinking, need for reciprocation,
fear of rejection paired with hope--
or would it have made no difference at all?

I'll never know, having resolved it before naming it.
I'll never know, and never need to know,
now that you've given me what I needed so badly,
now that you've dispelled my fears.
I'm limerent no longer-- I've become beloved,
and now, perhaps, I'll find I can be graceful,
bearing up under the (much-lightened) burden of love.
metaphorliteral: (typewriter)
I can't get the thought of you out of my head,
the thought of you and I together.

Can't forget the way my breath speeds up
to match each of you in turn
in the moments before sleep.

Can't ignore how my hands ache
to hold yours
anytime they're empty.

Can't stop thinking about the warmth
in the safe place
between you.

Can't stop daydreaming our reunion,
the relief that will flood me
back in a three-sided hug.

I know I have to be patient,
and I'm trying my best,
but these thoughts get the better of me
when I'm missing you already.

The summer's not going to be so long--
I keep telling myself, anyways.
metaphorliteral: (in the process)
Something golden-sweet
tantalizes my tongue.
Did I imagine it?
A taste of honey...

Golden as summer sunlight
and sweet as you, my love,
dripping slowly off the spoon
before I stir it into tea.

Once upon a time, this
was the most sweetness
anyone would ever get:
a taste of honey.

Now we've got cane sugar
and high fructose corn syrup
but this is still the best--
licking one sweet drop from your skin.
metaphorliteral: (we bleed the ink of subtle allegory)
Sirens!

SO many sirens---

a veritable symphony of sirens in alternating tones!

Two fire trucks-- and a third--

an ambulance lagging behind, slow and heavy

and policecarspolicecarspolicecars speeding by in a flock

and finally one single pizza delivery car going silently by
crossing a taxi silently and going on its way.
metaphorliteral: (typewriter)
To run and hide, and curl into yourself,
And cover your bright eyes with shaking paws,
And crouch in a small corner 'neath a shelf,
And dodge the feline's teeth and needled claws--
But also to sleep in a furry pile
Surrounded by your siblings and your friends,
To steal the cheese and bread with skill and guile,
And nibble through what humans later mend--
To have the whiskers, tail, and tiny paws,
To have the ears to warn you of a cat,
The skill to climb and crawl and sneak and gnaw--
How marvelous, the actions of a rat!

This sleek and clever rodent, I confess,
Held in my hands-- I truly love it best.
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