A SUBTLE ACHE
This is a slow burn and my eyelids are heavy, having fought for so long.. Wounds of ANY variation are, to me, everlasting, gaping, weeping. Each and every avenue seemingly leads me to a dead end; concrete walls and no weapons. So I exist, physically unarmed, trudging along, prayers the only communication in which I engage. I don't cry, I don't scream for reprieve- I don't make so much as a conversational peep anymore. An internal dialogue is all I have, stretching thinly between us. IT'S ENOUGH. Enough to carry me through each day. Enough to protect me through each night. It is MORE than enough. It is the ONLY thing I can trust, unabashed. I am reliant upon a sole person and He doesn't leave me… He doesn't abandon me. He never HAS. He never WILL. And though His love is not contingent upon what I can GIVE Him materialistically, through this life AND eternally, I OWE HIM ALL. All that I was. All that I am. All that I will become. Because in Him, I am a creature, anew. Still, though… Something wicked this way comes, bringing with it a subtle ache.. But He is my anchor against it and I fear no wind nor wave. I AM FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE. And I am not afraid.
Loss is an unnervingly acute and unforgiving, sharp edge that doesn't dull. It slashed me wide and I LEAK, leaving behind long vermilion trails of who I was BEFORE as I trudge with avolition straight by what used to 'matter', through the ticking time, only occupying space.
Because- AND MAKE NO MISTAKE -that's what and very simply ALL I, as a freshly eviscerated structure, am equipped to do now. OCCUPY SPACE. The hopes, wishes, and wants- what was true and had 'matter' - that I had held BEFORE have become fraudulent. They are now the ideas of what happiness, fulfillment, and love mean according to others ENTIRELY, according to WHOMever said WHATever the most eloquently, the most realistically, that I regurgitate with bulemic ease when I'm asked just what precisely ARE the things that I desire. There IS no desire, so I recite dreams stolen from the uncut people. I try to blend in, but my appetites for what once sustained me, what had fueled LIVING, have mutated into inorganic cravings that are only fractionally, if even AT ALL, sated by A) what swims within the deep, heavy, pining dark and B) materials conceived and born after Minds chained to lucidity by a combination of tolerance and boredom marry Visions of neoteric synthesis.
...And they're all cloaked in a pristine white...
Even my RESPIRATION is artificial, unreal in both its soft, steady sound AND its vitalizing purpose. I barely even exist anymore. The WHOLE of actuality- everything that had been REAL and FULL to me -was categorically emptied the very second loss struck and the only things of 'matter' NOW are poisoning what's left of me...
Inside, I am anhedonic in presence, mimicking humanity. I am a flightless mocking bird echoing emotion. I am a counterfeit, illegal personality. I am the aftermath of loss.
… And it was perpetually chilled in that room, like the morgue, come summer OR snow. We- Terry, Joe, and I -were exiled to it during mealtimes or if we had happened to be ‘too much’ that particular day. On one such day, Joe was not himself…
“COME DOWN TO THE LAKE.”, Joe said as Terry drew and I colored.
“What..?” Terry said.
Joe gurgled a response, “COME ON, NOW. TIME’S TICKIN’...”
Terry and I looked down to the lake. The sun told us we still had time, but Joe WAS an adult, after all… He was our collective voice of reason.
Joe was Terry’s twin. No one had seen Joe in the flesh since ’52, since that day he took his last leisurely stroll around Sellers Lake. No one had seen him, no… Not as he had been, then, anyway; an adult mentality stifled within the confines of a child's mind, wrapped in soft, chocolate skin, a little smile curving around the innocent joy of catching that Blue Racer… A kid.
"PLATOONERS STICK TOGETHER…" Joe reminded us, a bubbling scream through water.
"... AND PLATOONERS GET THE JOB DONE, yes.. We're aware. But what's your point..?" asked Terry, his harsh tone a tactic to cover the fear etching down his scalp.. His spine.
I brought my little hands to my tearful eyes, sniffling. I could feel Terry's fear… … I COULD FEEL THAT JOE WAS PRESENT.
"DOWN TO THE LAKE." Joe said, but in two voices; his own wet, waterlogged tone overlaying Mother's always velvet, subdued one.
"Momma!!" I shrieked, pointing down to the lake.
A woman, stunning beyond belief, stood in a long, flowing dress, red lips like two flames burning a careful smile into her face despite being knee deep in freezing water. She was sinking slowly into the mud…
"WE TRIED TO TELL YOU, SHE CALLED." Joe said, simply.
Terry abruptly stood up. I, crying, followed suit. The sliding door to leave the room opened, a small child's handprint made of mud dripping down its glass…
In single file- in order -Terry, Joe, and I walked down to the lake that late afternoon on March 15th.. One, a boy, the other a specter of the boy he once WAS, and a little girl, lost, to honor their mother's call.
"COME TO UUUUSSS… " Mother urged, arms outstretched, hands blue and dripping.
Robotically, against all reason and with no fear, Terry and I were seen stepping ever-deeper into the frigid water of Sellers Lake from the living room window by our Grandparents; both of us with arms reaching for SOMEthing- SOMEONE -unseen.
Pure derangement lurks in the gaze, void of mortal attachment or concern. That's what identifies us...
I still remember my first. Guarded eyes, dark hair, nice teeth.. Perfect hands stuffed deeply into his pockets against the freezing night. I had to HAVE him. I needed his body to be mine and mine alone, so I stalked him through the howling winds and heavy snowfall. He entered an alley illuminated by a singular streetlight, florescent and flickering. The walls on both sides blocked some of the loud gusts making it possible for him to finally hear my approach. He swiftly glanced back at me and from his expression, it was clear that he understood my intentions. Well.. He understood ONE intention, definitely. He broke into a full sprint away from me. I slowed to a leisurely pace, marvelling at how pristine the snow undisturbed by his panicked footprints was, so confident in my ability to make him mine. I rounded the final curve, locking eyes with him- his, frenzied and pleading. Mine, hollow as two bird bones. He didn't feel the same. He didn't want me, but I was his gift. I was pure carnality on two feet with a bow made of virulence knotted around my neck and HE- with the ivory ground beneath our feet now steaming from his leaking red -he was my awakening. Those guarded eyes suspend in formaldehyde and that dark hair retains his scent in a vacuum sealed bag.Those nice teeth clatter within a jar like a makeshift infant's rattle. And those perfect hands... Those perfect, perfect hands... are MINE to hold forever. I'll always remember my first.
SHADOWS LACE: Torment Snatched
And the water just can't get hot enough to burn away metaphysical itch, on the ground words exhaled, writhe and twitch, "You've misbehaved; NOW, CUT THE SWITCH."
Something that looks a lot like love mutated scurries across my face and in the corners of my decaying smile, silhouettes of dead joy and shadows lace
Facets of my emotions are numbing like cauterized nerve endings, becoming as invisible as a child's pretendings, my heart scarred with keloids after all the mendings
And tissue in that condition finds it difficult to absorb anything, be it prayers or hatred or loss's sting, even memories of that song she'd sing
Anything that ever mattered was covered in the blood that spattered, speckles of red like rain pitter pattered and, in that moment, my entire being shattered
A husk, a replica of humanity, boiling to the brim with pure insanity, saliva smells like toxic brutality and pain can't affect my calloused heart, whatever the kind
But Torment constantly licks my mind, lucid thoughts that ran in packs are now impossible to find and against this bottomless stupefaction, my molars clench and grind, I have been snatched
Where my compassion lived and breathed, something wickedly idle and aimless has hatched and in my ears all through the night, delirium rabidly, frantically scratched
My emptiness, insensitivity, and iciness can't be matched and the holes in my emotional syllogism can never, ever be patched
And somehow, I still hunger, even though I am sure I am dead-
Ravenous growls occupy my stomach while finned starvation swims through my head
I gnaw and I consume anything I can acquire, but nothing will stay down, so nothing can ever extinguish the edacious fire
Brittle, brittle skeleton is piercing through my seven layers and this is the product of my old misalignment with devilish, sinful game players
Smoke in and then smoke out, it's carried away along the winter wind, beneath wakeful hours, I have been pinned, I am so tired, my energy's skinned
When something like a soul is swapped for whatever means the most, He sees it instantly from where he sits, from His thundering Heavenly post
He is more than spirit-
Beyond spectral; His Holy Ghost-
When one of His children falls wayward, down His face, golden tears coast
The foul and rotten and ill-begotten may have sliced away her soul, perhaps she crumbled beneath life's toll, driven to Hell like a sin-saturated mole
Or maybe she just walked away from her dear, beloved Father
Whatever the case, she is the flames', another fallen daughter
SICKNESS (The glory is His)
And WHAT precisely am I to even DO when what you ask for is EXACTLY what I give you, when then you turn against ME and perpetually choose YOU and I am left confounded-
Because this is what YOU expressed you wanted, and after all is said and done, I AM THE ONE LEFT HAUNTED, misled, chastised and JUST like before, you sat back, you applauded… You basked once again in my pain
WHAT was or is that you in ANY respect gain…? By leaving me scorned, YOU swallowed the wolf's bane, "I'm sorry(ies)" chased with 'but-' renders your 'apologies' inane and I have grown tired of your little boy, amateur game
Because, my dear love, there's not a THING you could DO, I'll let you 'think' I'm behind, but run circles around you, you'll think you're 'ahead', but, sweetheart, I'm MILES before you and you simply aren't capable of outrunning-
Outwitting or surpassing- dumbing or numbing -and because of those reasons, it's for me you are gunning, like a precious stone, my mind is HARD, it is stunning, a steel trap, it is an expert in blunting, it's cunning
So, even WHEN you 'calculate', even WHEN you 'scheme', all that you imagine is simply a daydream without mean, an attempt through which I have ALREADY blown holes and your arrogances STREAM, my sympathy for you has run dry
"Through sickness and health", I'm bound until I die and though it absolutely SHOULDN'T, my bind to you makes me cry, and in this way, you claim victory yet it's a lie and there's not ONE of us who shouldn't be humbled
I thought I had it together, thought I was in control until I crumbled, my prayers to Him were whispered, they were hastily mumbled, and so through the days, I tumbled, lacking light, I stumbled beCAUSE I turned away
…I struggle to locate a reason to stay…
But, once more, my dear love- if that term of endearment isn't itSELF a lie -YOU ARE NOT MY SAVIOR, you are a power-thirsty, glory-thieving guy, I thank Him daily for walking WITH me, regardless of not understanding WHY- I HEAR HIM AS HE IS MY SAVIOR
So, come on now, take a break, do yourself a favor… Accept you have NO control, realize you are NOT king; you're solely a dominance craver, and I choose to stand BY you, you foolish thing, you misbehaver, and you will NEVER receive my whole being- the very thing you so savor
And the leaves that fall like rain run, orange and burnt, like an autumnal sun, across the path that, through the woods, was spun, the very sound of the hellhounds' scorched footpads
The scent of rusty death on the wind only adds to the foreboding presence of vultures cluttered in pentads, in this cardinal number, the branches cower beneath their scads, drooping with raptor weight
To the left is chained the devil's crate and from within, muffled, is a child's blate, tugging at heartstrings, but don't be fooled, it's just bait, "Pleeeease.. You simply MUST set me freeee…"
He says to you, and he says quietly, that there are six hundred sixty-six reasons why you should agree to his unconfinement, to his liberty, deliverance from his fettering
Into his rotting skin is etched ancient lettering, and from his gaunt shoulders stem wings losing their feathering, futile flight mechanisms dead after decades of his tethering, it's been so long since he last flew
And four is not always the sum of two and two when within their swollen souls is where the passengers grew, pale and writhing, you can try to run from them, too, but you can't ever truly run away from what is dwelling within you
Long gone are the days with skies of crystal clear blue, chemical clouds blanket the air, heavily hanging, puke-yellow in hue, sprint in another direction, there's simply nothing you can do EXCEPT open the door for Him, implore Him to come through
Because Hell is nipping at your heels and you're not fast enough, you need Someone to break your binds, Someone to take your tough-
Times into His capable, reliable, Holy hands, Someone to carry you effortlessly through life's sorrows and its demands
He who pulls us out of the dark, rescues us from sin's badlands and NEVER unless we choose will he EVER let go of our destructive, inferior hands
The Creator who composed us ALL from calloused foot to pituitary gland is the One and Only we should worship and praise, by sheer privilege, NOT command
And that you're lost so presently, doesn't mean that this is your end, but thinking you have any semblance of control is engaging in play, it's PRETEND
He can take what we have broken, He's the physician, He can MEND-
Deny yourself and live for Him…
Don't break before you bend
How very peculiar it is that one animal should adopt the qualities, temperament, and idiosyncrasies of another beast, entirely… I have and APPRECIATE this rat called Timothy, right? Straight up and down, I SWEAR this little creature believes he's canine. Even more peculiarly, he has never in his LIFE had access to ANY dog; under no influence, this boy comes by it naturally. THIS small creature fears NO feline, enjoys dog food in addition to his appropriate feedings, and loves his head and behind his ears scratched adoringly. He loves pats on the back, tussles of his head, and willingly dives headlong into my suffering, remaining BY MY SIDE, as a dog would and DOES, is historically known to do. He runs to me, without hesitation, when I call his name.. If a rat can display LOYALTY, Timothy is he, along my side, curled upon my lap, an emotional vampire, sucking away, absorbing the sadness. I have struggled as of late and engaging with Timothy lessens these seemingly ceaseless blows I sustain. He is a very dear and appreciated FRIEND and I nearly lost him today.. It's no secret, a rat's reputation… Biters, restless and too curious.. Notorious escape artists, carriers of disease. REPUTATIONS OF ONE DO NOT ALWAYS APPLY TO ANOTHER, REGARDLESS OF SPECIES. Rats get a terrible rap and I implore wholeheartedly that others reconsider and just TRY it; GIVE rats a chance… Throw a dog a bone.
FEVER (Happy Birthday)
And it seems to NEVER leave, this internal heat, apparently no reprieve, will I ever get better, NO, I don't believe, blackened and SCORCHED
My outlook on existence is TORCHED, the smile contorting my face is a thing that is forced, feelings of well-being are medicinally coerced, therefore, what you see-
Is not myself, it's not even ME, it is not I, it's NOT A THING to see, it's mutation before the walls that be, it's a craftful pretense, executed carefully
Pinpricks and surgical tape and life has taken a winged shape, dive bombing beneath a frigid gust and no escape-
WITHIN THE WIND, I AM DROWNING
And of those pills I'm daily and nightly downing, they've made me a pharmaceutical monarch, they're bowing, they're crowning me as their sovereign host, parasitical, noses browning, "Oh, sweetheart.. You are EVERYthing we neeeeed…"
But, wait- what IS this..? I thought I needed YOU; oblong, tablet, capsule, white, yellow-brown, red and blue- you all TOLD me that without you, I couldn't do what I HAVE to DO: consume, sleep, INHALE
But even with you, I desire to lift every nail, to drip so everlong my shade adopts the reaper's pale, to make still my ship, to set fire to every sail, to sink and be left ALONE
And I could pick up the phone, express that the demons are attempting to come 'home', TRY to tell him HOW MUCH I MISS HER and that again beneath the bed beasts stir
I WILL NOT INDUCE MY OWN PAIN, though, no, I won't walk down death's row, go lick my wounds solitarily so no one
Like him, I have become cobalt, they say 'baby blues'- I say ALL-ENCOMPASSING ASSAULT, and, no, no, NO- this is NOT his fault..
Tiny one with skin smooth as malt…
I'll take a breath as demanded and I'll take the pills as commanded, I'll keep quiet so we're not reprimanded as 35 heavily looms..
So, when I say, "I love you." I MEAN IT, it doesn't come lightly, I never KNOW, which is why I ALWAYS hug you that tightly, why I keep from you this, my distasteful, MY UNSIGHTLY, yet thank Him for another year
The fever rises, so I hold HIM near, above all else, even you, my dear, my eyes burn against this heat, hunger, this FEAR…
But in Him, I can see, it's clear
That there are reasons for which I'm still HERE
THE MEANING OF TORMENT (Isaac)
And before you could even speak, your conveyal was blue. From the shade of your unsullied skin to your first watery emission, you construed pure BLUE. Cobalt and cold as winter's dead, you matched, initially, the metallic surface upon which you were hastily lain; removed from your OWN birth, inanimate. How violently were you torn from me that even the complete necessity, the URGENCY, of disconnecting your system from mine canNOT compensate for the torment that followed. That FOLLOWS… Because to this day, your femoral artery is occupied not only by hot, red life, but by a 20 gauge IV. The laparoscopic incision still assaults the space just above your navel and, although it heals you, it serves as a permanent recall to the time you endured true TORMENT. YOU- my dearest and only son -brought with you wonderings I was not even aware I would ever conceive: How could this be allowed to occur? Why? Why our baby? Why would these atrocities ever be ALLOWED to happen to ANY baby? Why on His green, green earth would HE do this to my baby…? Just TELL me: What did I do exactly to make my son deserve THIS…? Because NO ONE deserves this. "For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children…" (Deuteronomy 5:9-10) Naturally, murderously angry, hurt, and searching for someone- ANYONE -to blame, I honed in on that particular part of that particular scripture. Where I succeeded is in the fact that I ran to Him, He who is the only One who can do ANYthing in this situation. But where I failed, where I crashed and BURNED, lies in the action of taking His word out of context and distrusting it. My son is not sick as a consequence of mine. My involvement in, cause of, and control over his health and survival are categorically NON-EXISTENT. I DID NOT CAUSE THIS AND I HAVE ZERO DIRECT BEARING. That being said, I must clarify: GOD DID NOT LET ME GIVE BIRTH TO A CRITICALLY SICK BABY TO PUNISH HIM OR MYSELF. His Word promises that the iniquity of the father who hates God falls upon the subsequent generations. I love Jesus Christ with ALL that I am in Him. No one DID this to our son. Though it feels like one, strikingly, THIS IS NOT A PUNISHMENT. No… This is a chance. This is a chance to witness God at work, in all His Glory. I see God shine through each and every time our son smiles up at us. I feel His peace each and every time we hold our son and his pain fades. And I feel God's healing touch flow through my son's tiny hand each and every time he wraps his little fingers around mine, squeezing.. reassuring. I pray to and glorify Jesus Christ unceasingly because as I never even asked for it… Proof of God's absolute existence, pure goodness, and FORGIVENESS is in every unencumbered breath our son draws, in every warm touch He imparts.