Flame

Maybe we weren’t meant for each other
(only for those nights)
But I think that’s alright.
You scarred my heart
With your guitar
And covered me in light.
-ijs

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Maybe I Waited

I suppose (maybe) I liked the way
You haunted the halls of my heart
Whispering your cold, dark pain
But maybe there are better places (now)
To find my inspiration.

I think (maybe) I’ve drawn that well dry
Coming back once too often
And it’s possible I kept searching those depths
Because I thought to leave it
Would kill a part of me.

It’s time for you to go
(let me be)
Because you’re already gone
A tortured ghost
Snatched by yesterday’s breeze.
-ijs

Dash

cemetery-3

Tombstones march along the hill
Ranks of the dead forever still
Monsters and angels side by side
Some reprieved, some denied
And the turning leaves leave me restless
My unutterable smallness; the cosmic madness
Wondering how they accepted fate
When their dash turned into a date
And the wind whispers of love’s lost hand
Mingling with the shrieks of the eternal damned.
-ijs

My Offer

IMG_4654

Most nights we’ll glide along the sand
While men sleep
And the gods of the deep
Hold their pale-faced lover
But once in a while
Darling, once in a while
The tides will change
And we’ll reach up with reins
Of fire, and spark an inferno, desires
Born to dance
On the bones of forgotten worlds.
Here’s my hand
And my offer–with me
Lonely sometimes you may be
But alone? Never.
You’ll see
You’ll see clearest in the nights
Dark and free.
Will you come?
-ijs

Fallen Stars

meteor

You came back again
A moth to the flame
And I can’t take the way
You shimmer and dance
Like it was yesterday
I’m telling you it’s better this way
Because there is no chance
No You’ll be fine
They lied saying
The stars will align
Flung by Fate
Predestinated meteors
Irradiating the nameless faces
Stalking our progress
Howling derision and praises
And light years above the throng
We track divergent courses
Fallen stars
Quicksilvering
Into splintering oblivion.
-ijs

*author’s note: written while listening to David Ramirez’s “Rock and a Hard Place”

Fred and Nancy – essay and poem

Elderly Couple

I’m sitting in Starbucks. Of course I am—it’s a Monday and I have to write something, but all I can think about is how I can’t think of anything to write. Face it, some days the poetry comes, and sometimes it doesn’t. Usually after 15 minutes of staring at my screen the thoughts start arranging themselves, marching their little selves out of my subconscious into something resembling a framework that I can work with.

But not today. I’m stuck. I drink some more coffee. Type some words. Delete them.

Ugh.

An elderly couple maneuvers between the overstuffed chairs deciding where to sit. A moment’s conference and the decision is made. The gentleman sets a book down in the chair facing me and his wife takes the chair besides his diagonal to me; she’s got a book and a crossword. “Nancy” is written on her personal mug in a rolling script you’d expect to see in a card from your grandmother. Husband looks like a “Fred.” Yeah, I’ll just call him Fred.

They’re back now and settled in. Coffee for both and Fred just man-handled a scone. Someone missed lunch. Nancy is deep into her crossword, right hand pressed to her forehead shading her reading glasses, left hand scratching away at the paper while Fred is spending just about as much time looking around as he is at his book. I can’t knock him; the folks you find at coffee shops are endlessly interesting. Shoot, I’m writing about them and I didn’t even mean for this to happen.

I’m distracted by the phone conversation the girl beside me is having—something to do with health care, HSA’s, blah blah blah. I turn my Spotify playlist up a little louder.

Fred has a sky-blue t-shirt with the words “Cape May” across the chest. I glance at Nancy. Bingo. Embroidered on the left side of her fleece . . . “Cape May.” I love these people. I imagine my grandparents sitting across from me, sipping coffee, comfortably coordinated, proof that healthy relationships that last decades acquire some undefinable level of we’re-just-fine-with-who-we-are-thank-you-very-much.

Fred’s navy New Balance shoes look really comfortable by the way.

Seriously, is there a chance I could sit in a coffee shop three decades from now with my best friend? I ponder the rabbit hole topics of “true love,” “soul mates,” “the one.” Heaven help me. If I’m going to start thinking about this, I’m gonna need more coffee. Hold on . . .

Blonde roast, hazelnut flavor, cream. Check. Back to the battle.

. . . I miss my grandparents. I wish I had asked them more questions: how did you meet? who kissed whom first? how did you fall in love? what happened when you asked her to marry you? what was it like the first time you found out you were pregnant? what was your first fight about? what was your one hundredth fight about? what do you see when you look at each other—the young person you fell in love with? or the person as they are now? or a mixture of both?

See, I think when you know you’re really in love—when you really know—is when you find someone who will always be there to catch you. Because you’re going to fall down. Boy, how I know it. You’re gonna nosedive into some epic face-plants, but that person who effortlessly slides in at the last minute to hand you some saving grace, that’s the person you love. You may break some bones, but it’ll be an ankle and not your neck. Because they were there. And they will be there. Until one of you takes that last big fall into the sky, but it’ll be okay because whoever goes first will be waiting on the other side.

And they’ll catch you when you get there.

I know you’re there
Waiting to share
Our next dance
Because the years went by
And I’m too tired to fly
So catch me now
I’m coming
Home
And we’ll ignite
The northern lights
And we’ll dance
Oh, how we’ll dance.
-ijs

Black Hole

black hole

Covalent bonds
All based on
The trajectory we were on
You broke them
Ripped them
Stripped them of positives I needed
I pleaded
For
Left me reeling
Searching
For
A spark in the dark
But now beyond
The groaning throng
Of
(light)
Years
Empty space yawns
And calls
An opaque pall
Sucking me back into the void
Promising joy
(lying)
Cataclysmic fruit
Ripe for the taking
Beyond the hearts you’re breaking
Scything wheat
(souls)
Chaff left like bleating sheep
Charnel houses reeking
Of sulphur and flame
Guts flash burned with shame
You’re a black hole
And I don’t know if my soul
Will ever be the same.
-ijs