Category Archives: Pallor

A History of Brokenness

She weeps offscreen,
Years of bruises thrive
Breaking open unseen
And she’s so strong to survive

Her brokenness.

I smile a hollow smile,
But the lantern is black
I embrace what I revile
And can never take back

My brokenness.

We survived the rocky womb
Dashed to pieces, but breathing
Hoping for a chance to bloom
Before we finished bleeding out

Our brokenness.

And we can’t stay in the lines
So we suffer the scold
For breaking the confines,
For not doing as we’re told,

For not staying broken.

We’re easy to clasp,
But impossible to keep
Because no one has surpassed
The temptation to reap

Where we’ve been broken.

Love doesn’t plunder the cleft
To feed base appetites,
And I’ve only learned this is theft
From the God who weeps at the sight

Of our brokenness.

A God who swears to fashion it for our good,
To make it better than intact
Who entered our misery and withstood
The same bitter attacks

To be broken for us.

Slowly making all things well,
But this process stings,
So we wait for the healing
Only He can bring:

Our Wounded Healer.


The Longest Hour

Burning months like matchsticks,
Because time is so predictable
As it erupts, and blazes,
And diminishes, and ends
In smoke and ash.

And all my love remains
Never smothered by the smoke
Of burnt seconds sacrificed
While my beloved breathe clean air
In distant spaces

And I light another day
Like she lights cigarettes,
Because time burns
A million different ways
But smolders the same

And I miss the dives,
The homogenous buzz
Of beer, and regret,
As hives of desperation
Produce anonymity

And what nectar could be sweeter,
Or safer,
Or a longer burn?


A Pound of Flesh

Tomorrow I will treat myself
As something lesser than I can be;
I will punish my appearance
For my undesirability,
And I will go about my business
As a wasted commodity.

Tomorrow I’ll agree with you
About my insufficient claim
I’ll stay silent because I know
I’ve no right to change the game;
I’m an unwanted anomaly
In the world of All The Same.

Tomorrow I’ll use what bits I have
To feed the shallow illusion
I will grovel for forgiveness
For being a poor substitution
I will accept my surface
Necessitates my exclusion,

Tomorrow I will crawl about
The rotten crust on which I’m born,
I will discount my existence
For the crime of being shopworn
After you drank my youth,
I learned to swallow my scorn.

And tomorrow I will drink it down,
And tomorrow I will judge my skin,
And tomorrow you will take the blade
Forged every generation
And exact the pound from all of us
Because you’re hungry again

But tonight I’m angry with you
For a lifetime of distraction,
For a woman’s only strength
Being the strength of her attraction-
Because your every passing desire
Is another pound’s extraction

In every passing generation,
Ad nauseam, with no drop of compassion.


Clockmaker

Roll back, roll back, let nimble hands
Mind the gears and spindles-
Roll back, roll back, the time of man
Before the hours dwindle.

Return me to my mother’s home,
Let her kitchen pot, just simmering,
Waft the world that I’ve outgrown
Back into a vivid memory.

Let me see my sister playing
All alone beside the stair,
Braiding and unbraiding
Her dolly’s long blond hair.

Let me again feel the crisp of summer heat
Through my fresh, unspoiled skin or
Crimson fingertips, stained berry sweet
With disregard for dinner.

To see mysterious, repetitious behavior
That used to thrill and frighten
Before I understood human nature,
Before the weight of what enlightens

When insects were still interesting
And maps were of hidden forts-
Let me remember petitioning
In undiluted desire or remorse.

Roll back, roll back just once
To sleep on my childhood bed
Before this clock has chimed
And all these times are dead.


Killing Time

Pushing back time
Holding back his groping hands
Like some drunk frat
Who’s never been
To a gallery or museum,
Who cannot understand
Velvet ropes
Or the damage of a touch.


Under the Bridge

How often I threw myself in tears
On the breast of the Chesapeake bay,
Exchanging my saltwater for fresh
The ever impassioned castaway

But the tide always brought me home again
Even when I had other designs,
Those waters washed me clean again
Time after time after time.

I never showed that side to you;
We always bowed to the other.
You recognized the weak in me:
The perfect mate and mother.

You quoted Kinder, Küche, Kirche,
As you prepared to take my life,
But my docility stood a constructed facade
As I refused to be your wife.

But you came by your oppression honestly
So I never wished you harm.
There was, underneath your tyranny,
Rays of childlike charm.

In what you loved, you showed delight
With a smile spread ear to ear,
And I mostly enjoyed our merry dance
Until you pulled too near.

Alone, I must have found you,
And alone is ever excising
But I’ve heard of all your accomplishments;
Your star seemed ever rising.

You loved our virgin state
For the dignity of her past,
And the grandeur of her beauty.
You were ever holding fast.

You’ve thrown yourself off a bridge,
Dying as every falling star.
I cannot stand in judgment,
Remembering where my own bridges are

And knowing what it takes to stand
On the edge of all you’ve ever known
The courage it takes to make goodbyes
And courage, you’ve always shown.

I will not ask you why, or say you are laid waste,
But I will honor you, old friend.
I only wish you had come home
To make your final end

Where the water flows in kindness,
And may have cradled you to her breast
To lift your head, to wash you clean,
To bring you home to rest.


Ajar

How long you’ve been gone.
Your shadow’s broken vows
Swept aside as I
Played house.

I planted wildflowers in pairs
In the earth by the gate
I trimmed the little table
With a bit of found lace.

I opened the windows
To air out my rooms,
And met gentle breezes
And cheery bird tunes.

You stayed gone.
This trip longer than last,
I grew more brazen
In my care-taking tasks.

I repainted a room.
I heard what you might say
Chattering as though
You had not gone away,

But the color was bright
And covered the stains
That announced you were here
While they remained

I painted over
The great obscenity.
I settled into your absence
Like a deep anonymity.

A jarring sound,
The familiar crack
Of door to frame
Of fist to back

A blacksmith pounding
On my mettle
While I observe
Faded paint and fallen petals.