A scaffold is a sturdy place to stand
for those who wish to skirt the law of love
and keep their independent hand
in play, choosing alone the way to move
through life’s illegible trajectory.
There one is free from the heart’s doubt-pendulum
and the guilt that stems from worry,
there no one’s fated to become
far less dependent on the ill-kept State
than on the transient soul & flesh-built verdict
of a willingly chosen mate
whose storm-cast eyes all futures will restrict.
I close my eyes and in one senseless jump
embrace my new found love, the zero ground
of unprotected feet, sumptuous
singular, lonely, flight. The very last sound
I hear is a hum, or ringing, calling me back
from this strange pre-conscious state, I awake
to be gripped by a cardiac
terror, breathless and sweating I try to wake
you, you heavy with your own dark trouble
and regardless, yet not uncaring, of me
here beside you, the cunning double
of a lover who wishes to be free.
But as the trap-door in the scaffold floor
needs the feet of the condemned to swindle
so too do you need me, before
argument and after excess, all unhinged
at the threat that you might withdraw
and leave me, who forsook my liberty
that I might smell your hair, hanging withal.
Answered by silence I refused to be,
though I’m the condemned you’ll answer me—
in verse at least, as my pen, if not my heart,
knows you, and knows that you will say to me:
you’re the door, dear, the condemned is my part.
How few are the events in human life
so needful and so dear that they succeed
in placating the causes of our strife—
the empty ache and slights of worldly need,
the petty battles over bits of earth,
the smalltime mongers dueling for the dung
of each other’s constructions, without breadth
or vision past the day-to-day, the strong
yet cowardly tyrants of our devastated worth.
If tragedy can awake the sleeping clock
of our quotidian compromise, and fear
repeal our surety, and we’ll not talk
of change without them, they’re a measure dear
for they can demolish love—potential,
unrealized, or infirm—which can extend
our possibilities. In records real
love stores worth and stems fears that in the end
the soul’s arrest is threaded to the existential.
Records such as these cannot be destroyed,
they thrive protected in the hearts of those
who live on, and elsewhere, they are employed
in reveries upon waking, as foes
against the psychic harm brought on by false
friends. Fragments of our censored inner life
love files away from further touch—all falls
to matter—where silence lives on as safe
traces of cut desire incised in tissue walls.
Is future fray, a tear that lies in wait
and won’t begin its slow distressing rip
through us until the years can fabricate—
from warp of you, my weft—a partnership
of smooth appearance, so smooth as to conceal
the damage of our labored intertwining.
No, not until we seem to be coeval
to all eyes, and by that seeming undefined
as two, a billowy unity that swells
as if an opaque never ending shroud
under the push of Fate’s weather—fair or ill—
beneath which coupled memory overcrowds
long lost dreams of the separated will.
A solo thread is lost, a minor toll
of Eros (and love’s first degree of blindness)
dwindled down to mere pennies in the pull
of flesh negotiations, that is unless
the flesh is cold. Then Eros has no wager.
Like the sham weaving of Laertes’ shroud
fair Penelope faked to assuage her
fear of widowhood while keeping her crowd
of suitors at bay, we tried our best to keep
from wedlock. Coming to be and coming
undone, we mastered the fine art of sleep-
walking. Then post-twilight, in the gloaming,
we interlocked our arms, our fates, and stepped
into Love’s second degree blindness—
the hidden attrition of its tensile strength
brought on by unsynchronized clocks. We guess
that one direction of the weave at length
will take its leave before the other, leaving
naught but parallel threads with empty air
between them. Love cannot foresee the grieving
effect of this unthreading, nor prepare
us for the fray that will follow death’s pass
through the fabric of two interlaced souls.
Ache unending awaits. Though the mind may last
through this future sadness, suffering holes
in sense-access, the heart won’t keep apace.