May 2019

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The days before the end spiralled and spun with a furious cadence. We watched through broken windows as the world collapsed, telling ourselves it would all be OK tomorrow. Nothing is real anyway. Nothing is real. Nothing is. Nothing.

- - - - -

There's an effervescence about her, a brightness, a luminous sense of potential that hasn't yet been dulled and blunted by experience. If we can change things by observing them, maybe I shouldn't look at her. Maybe I shouldn't be anywhere near her at all.

- - - - -

The silent ideal, demure and compliant, they buy us and sell us and package us neatly. We speak of ourselves only in plural and they see us sacrificing our identity for them. We aren't. We're becoming an army. For us.

- - - - -

Amid the maelstrom of the riots, I locked up the office and walked home alone again. Years later, my knuckles would learn to twitch in crowds and my heart would skip through sudden loud noises. But back then, I was without the luxury of fear.

- - - - -

I don't reminisce about an idyllic childhood or an idealistic youth. Instead, I drift through memories of other people's final breaths, quiet deaths caused and collected in the time before I had someone to hide history from, before I had you.

- - - - -

Their door was always open and they took in more waifs and strays over the years than we ever kept count of. Funny though, how so many arrived but no-one remembers seeing any of them leave, or seeing any of them again at all...

- - - - -

I don't bruise easily and scars form slight and delicate. The visible effects of pain are ephemeral. Part blessing and part curse, I offer this to you as a challenge. Leave me with evidence of our wild abandon. Let me earn a gift that endures.

- - - - -

Love drifts through sweet smiles and warm words, but it grows in lightning strikes and crumbling walls. It lives in truth and tangled limbs. Even at your coldest and your most silent, it holds you.

- - - - -

'Club Zenith. No prisoners, volunteers only. 100% legal'

"Gun or knife?" I ask him.
"Knife, please."
"Any last words?"
"No. Just...thank you."

I open his throat and the name of the place makes sense now. It doesn't get better than this.

- - - - -

It's a fever dream, a surreal transcendence, when your souls click into place with each other and you feel everything, all at once, in every cell in both of your bodies and every strand of both of your DNA.

- - - - -

But you're not really here. I think, "I'm sorry," and I don't know if I said it aloud. I can never be sure anymore. Whatever this is, I'm lost in it, in layers upon layers of you. Your secrets burn my bones hollow and I sleep with one eye open.

- - - - -

The vine began lithe and delicate, winding around the sapling he planted a week before he left.

(Who sets life in motion before walking away?)

It grew, it bloomed, and I should have cut it back, but there was poetry in how the flowers hid the choking.

- - - - -

These memories in stacked cages, chimeras rattling chains and daring me to look them in the eye. They don't know that I've already seen them from every angle. Quietly lighting matches in the corner, these monsters are not my foundations. They are kindling.

- - - - -

And still, by a fluke of currents and the ocean's endless sense of humour, flotsam from the wreck washes up on lonely beaches. Among these small treasures, unopened toys once hidden in a cabin for a birthday that would never come.

- - - - -

Nightfall and petrichor, barefoot in fresh mud and small lakes gather in grateful hands. Gentle possibilities drift from stars to clouds to skin. Morning waits through softly rolling hours as dreams find their way home.

- - - - -

Treading water in myriad lies and broken promises, truth does not reveal itself in the sea bed rising to meet my feet, but in the vast ocean beyond with arms wide open.

- - - - -

I lean over the edge and a familiar frisson ripples from my feet to the back of my throat. It tastes of l'appel du vide, of terminal freedom. My mind knows better though. Up here, it finds calm in the opportunity to let go and the conscious decision not to.

- - - - -

Gossamer strands appear crystalline, dew-drenched architecture. The web holds silk-wrapped prey, a suspended monument to patience and engineering. And we brush away this delicate gallows as if it speaks nothing of nourishment and destruction.

- - - - -

And you start digging vile splinters of baseless shame out of your skin, still talking about yourself in second-person because it feels too complicated to truly connect to the I of it all. There may be open wounds now, but also, there's healing. 

- - - - -

No frenzy here. No wildness in my hands. Machine-cold and sharpened by purpose, I give and give and the end is a prayer. I swallow your last breath in quiet absolution and rest coins on your eyelids to pay someone more worthy than me.

- - - - -

5am light seeps sourceless under doors and I am not my body. I am not muscles or bones or nerves gnarled and knotted. I am not another rising scream, crushed and control-quenched. I am my conscious choices, cold and without need. Again, again, I am silence.

- - - - -

You trade in regret and apologies, weighing disappointment against fear and obligation, balancing the books. With pockets full of acceptance, we walk a path of poverty in your world, paved with gold in ours, sharing possibilities with strangers.

- - - - -

They named him after a constellation, a strong name for stars that grant wishes. Orion reached small hands towards the night sky in the cold hours before Sister Mary Agnes opened the door and found him. The note said only, "Please take care of our son."

- - - - -

The building had a heart until the people moved away and it had eyes until the glass was smashed. Now each dark socket wears a chipboard patch and a spray paint scrawl of 'the end is nigh' answers fortunes that reach far beyond crumbling concrete.

- - - - -

Reverie holds me, a gentle comfort that still doesn't come close to replacing your hands. Imagination, a pale imitation, is all I have. Until tonight.

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