Time is a factor that, unrelenting, does not heal me. It sways and I am left ashen, STILL missing China… missing HER. Now my attempts at breath are worrisome. They are ones that equal the culmination of life and love incomplete, pickled and burning. I am a broken thing. Red as Christmas’s bulb I profess, “WITHOUT, I AM NAUGHT!”
Void of all but a shade- “WHY?” Why did YOU go when I wished? When I PRAYED..?
Nothing is to be done now and the winter will blanket like years before. It always has. It always will and I find no comfort in that constant. I find that comfort exists NOWHERE. If you ask him, that’s LIFE. LIFE is discomfort. And time.. it’s the master above the strings. We dance accordingly to minutes that compose hours of hell on Earth, reanimated detestation. Time is the greatest trickster and 'You can't trick a tricksterrr...' she always used to say.. No matter how clever you may think you are. Time is the victor.
And breath doesn't come as it had before, lithe and unencumbered like a dandelion gone to seed, lifted by the wind.. It transpires heavily like what has become just ANOTHER day comprising the deluge of what used to be NEW ones. It exists, muddled and tethered to fictition, a dream of well-being and ease and, oh, how I pine for the prospects sunrise had once proposed.. It's cold, furthermore, yielding as little warmth as the winter's brittle light. No longer a signpost of meaningful living, breath is but a burden. An exercise of futility, each inhale is dusty and numbered. It's difficult to even locate reason to continue what is presently nothing more than mechanical action and I struggle. I struggle to recall a point at which I, myself, felt light. Felt the light. Yes… Breath occurs, but clumsily and without gravity and I– I can't even begin to mind.
And smoke billows, rising from tear-soaked pillows and I SWEAR I can HEAR the willows weep...
But how do I make it through when all I want is to be alone with you, my heart is bruised with black and blue and this night smells like bleach and violence
Circles the shades of Saturn’s rings surrounding my eyes, they have seen The THINGS, forgive me, oh, Lord, for my slurred words with hell’s beings in sinful misalliance
Danger is in full effect, concepts of health and safety, I solemnly reject, take the venom, poke it through, inject, and never return
Flames where my pupils should be burn, I lack care, common courtesy, and concern, when you will come back is difficult to discern but you always DO, I’ve come to learn
Skin glittering with beads of sweat, I’ll always remember the first time I met you-
In all your glory, crystal clear-
You came and lifted me, let a drop of red smear
And in my chest, I felt your rush, I fell in love instantly, for days I could GUSH, across my scalp, tingles down my back and I don’t feel cold anymore
This vein is an open door, I said I’d never taste you, I promised, I SWORE, but because I HAVE, I want you more and MORE and I can’t sleep at night
I could leave you if I put up a fight because you’re not meant for me, letting you in isn’t right, so out of mind and out of sight, but I can still hear you calling my name
Now, I know that I’ll never be the same, this craving for you is impossible to tame, I’m addicted to the romanticism of a chemical love game and I can’t walk straight-
You are an impure manifestation of Hell’s gate, I should have run from you instead of passing through, now it’s far too late, by filling my blood with you, I have sealed my own fate and now there’s nowhere to turn
And inside, I long for your burn, salivating at the thought of your pinpricked return, my head starts to spin, my stomach begins to churn and I shiver
I am but the taker to your giver, into my red and eaten by my liver, and of hope to get out this, there is only a sliver, I am connected to you
And, oh, dear Lord, how I fervently pray every night and throughout every day that you would give me the strength to just turn away from what I almost feel I NEED
To their words of warning, I took no heed, I thought I held the reigns, could control the feed I administered to myself, now I’ll never be freed of this all-consuming WANT
Right down the hall exists a taunt, I shall consume and consume until I’m skeletal and gaunt, the idea of living without is my utter daunt and I don’t know what to do
Last night, there was but a taste of you and that’s not nearly enough to get me through the dark and shaking, lonely sleep of a woman with a medicated addiction to keep
And now you’re nowhere to be found, I would if I could even lick you off the cold ground, a chemical fascination to which I am now tied and bound
When will you, oh, WILL you swing back around?
DISENTANGLED: synthesized lovers
And my air is teeming with electric lust, polluted with sweet nothings, auditory dust, battered and beaten, my feelings concussed and we have disentangled
How can I breathe, after all, I’ve been strangled, slowing the spiral, my storm has been wrangled, blistered and bitten, my heart has been mangled, sharp discomfort in every beat
To survive this would be a phenomenal feat, you left me in Hell to succumb to the heat, a realm where tormented screams play on repeat as eternity trickles away
Shrouded in blackness like the last sunray and you were the predator, I was the prey, stuck in your trap but your own words you betray-
You never really loved me, anyway
And to say this simply hurts would be pale in description, life without you is my mortal affliction, I’m weak, I am nothing, this is my admission as I’m strewn in tatters across the cold, hard ground
It's all I can do to contain the sound; the honed voice of metal finally being found, biting my exterior, warm red unbound, tasting pale yellow, the king has been crowned
But I can do one even better-
Blood across the sand, dripping from the skin-letter, I am the nightside, I AM THE SUN-SETTER, so close your eyes
It's not enough for him to surmise because, outside, I am covered in lies while, within me, another piece dies, quietly screaming
If only I were simply dreaming of the rubicon streams, clotting and gleaming, of the devil constantly scheming, but these two are TRUE
Lost, I don’t know what to do next, I sit idle, my mind deeply perplexed, in the corner, perpetuity flexed, "YOU WILL NEVER WIN.."
And I guess the end is a good place to begin, as good as any, however tinged with his sin, black and red like a net full of Bowfin, bubbling and arching
While down my spine, the chill is marching, my mouth just too dry, it's cracking, it's parching, "I'LL LOVE HIM STILL!! "
OH.. OH, AND STILL-
“I saw Wires again..?” Isaac murmured, mostly to himself.
“...What did you just say to me..?” replied his father, still drunk from the previous evening.
Isaac focused on his hands clasped tightly in his lap, knowing better than to look up as he tearfully whispered, “He was tasting again.. it hurts.”
“You listen to me now, boy. You hear? There IS no “Wires”. The only thing in that damned closet is your momma’s dress and I’ll burn the damned thing if you don’t stop your lies! Now, quit your crying and go comb your hair. It’s sticking up.”
“But there is! Wires is in there, I promise! He comes out to taste!”
“Shut up now, boy! I don’t want to hear it! You do as your daddy says and go comb down your damned hair!”
“... But it hurts.. my head..” Isaac cried.
Isaac’s father had reached his limit with these lies. He propelled himself across the expanse of the small kitchen table, one hand on each side of Isaac’s little head, “BOY! I’LL GIVE YOUR HEAD A REASON TO HURT! YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT PAIN IS, JUST YOU-” and stopped as goosebumps traveled up his arms and neck. He swallowed hard. The back of Isaac’s head, beneath the point at which his hair was disturbed, was warm and it.. it was wet. “What the…?” his father began to question as he pulled his hands swiftly away from Isaac. His right hand was glistening and he vaguely noticed a familiar smell. He stood up and slowly walked behind Isaac. What he saw had an entirely sobering effect and he was horrified. There was an injury to the back left side of his son’s head. The hair had been removed and where there should have been skin, there was an area of exposed skull. It was the edge of the wound that brought the vomit to his mouth.. It looked like someone had taken a large pencil eraser and had effectively erased away a section of Isaac’s scalp, leaving a wide hole with a red, raw edge. No.. No, it was something else.. It looked more like when a predator with a rough tongue just licks and licks its lifeless prey, clear down to the bone. His father went pale as he recalled what Isaac had said just moments earlier; “He was tasting again..” He walked shakily to his son’s room. The nightlight was still on and from inside the closet, he heard the distinct sound of wire hangers scraping along the bar as the door softly closed.
“Daddy..?” came Isaac’s tiny voice from the hall behind him. “Did he taste you, too?”
Thorned feelings skitter across the earth, caked in glitter, hollow words fly, away they flitter; nothing more than sound litter
And, on the tongue, taste lies, bitter, a mind filled with idle chatter, empty chitter, stimulated blood, she'll shake, she'll jitter like a caffeinated bad news transmitter
But somewhere below the surface, balanced upon the edge of truth's precipice, is where trust and insincerity crookedly wed
Tear-soaked pillows and sheets composed of leaves from weeping willows, a burning mattress, vows mispracticed make this marital bed
Distantly plays the violin, off in the shadow of lurking sin, sending chilly shivers dancing atop my skin like winter nymphs skating pond ice, crepe paper thin
Iridescent feelings twist and spin across my face, dripping from my chin, twitching on the dry floor, emotion grows fin: scaled and cold; a coelacanth twin
But oxygen it cannot breathe, pale and aquatic, beginning to teethe upon the things that, beside me, seethe, reaching for their swords, slipping from protective sheath
There is no part that does still believe that to our love I shall continue to cleave when you said you wouldn't, but, regardless, did leave, I'll follow you to the ends; it's my heart I must retrieve
So draw the curtains against the day, I don't want to see the gold of sunray, when imp-like misgivings emerge to play and light and innocence are falsely portrayed
I know that I have reached a line drawn in the sand, I see it, though it's fine, hands behind my back, bound with twine, I step over it into darkness; no illumination to shine
No stars, no moon, no streetlights to see and that means that, here, no one and nothing can see me, in the velvet black, I can finally sleep, away from dastard and bleak blue secrets you keep
And though those tears for you still seep, I refuse to emit sound, I will not utter a peep, I would sooner approach a cliff and from it, blindly leap than feed you my suffering, the pain is too steep
For you to stomach, if you only knew, but, oh, the terrible torment my pining would put you through, the longing has simply melted my heart to cardiac goo and shattered my existence beyond the repair of any philosophical glue
What I felt with you was the most true, until you took an axe to it, splitting pure beauty into two screaming fractures of mutated love and trust turned to ashes rising to the sky above
If this is what happens when push comes to shove, I won't even cover my tracks, won't wear a single glove, when I strangle what's left, snuff our impassioned dove and bury it beneath the cold, dead ground
Sounds and sirens swimming around and moonflowers open on another planetary mound, sparkling clarity is nowhere to be found; we have been convoluted
How was our connection polluted?
Somewhere along love lines, the transmission was muted; bad or good, I wanted it confuted and I guess it was, however transmuted; rewired, misfired, but never rebooted
And in the end, the champagne was fluted, tinted with an emerald oil, jealousy undiluted, my words from before, though transfixed, I've refuted but that we've been broken cannot be disputed
“Well, Hell’s bells… That was a waste.” she said to herself after watching Days Of Our Lives. A waste. I am wasting. Wasting time. What time? Wasting life. No. STOP. I wish I could just smoke…
Jean sat in her chair at the kitchen table, readying herself, steeling herself for the coming emotionality of telling her secret. Am I not in enough pain already…? And can’t I only feel it…?! Why does it have to spread?! WHY DO THE PAIN AND CELLS HAVE TO SPREAD?! Because misery loves company. ‘Misery’. Mm… Good movie. “Joe hates the leg part…” she smiled wistfully, a private smile between herself and a memory of one of her sons. I still remember the way he moved as a child; jerky and quick like he was out of time… Time. I still remember the way his little arms wrapped around me before bed. Little arms and then big, strong arms. How do I tell Joe? My Joe. How could I ever be away from my Joe…? He is just like me. Not like Lisa. Not even like Terry, his twin… Like ME. He would face this, head on. So would Terry. They would fight. For me, they would fight. So, I will fight for them. You have to fight. Maybe you can beat this. Maybe you can beat this before you even have to say anything. Stage four. … No, it’s lonely... And I’m done.
On her way back from the bathroom, Jean stopped at the refrigerator for another beer. “Damn this leg!!” she hissed as she sat back in her chair, phone in hand. 10:01PM. She poured the beer and sprinkled the salt. She swallowed a pill with a long drink and marvelled at the minor discomfort she was currently feeling in her mouth. Ready now. Jean dialed the number she knew by heart from the day she received it. Little pain now…
It rang twice, “Hellooo…?” Jean could hear the smile in her sister’s voice.
L.L. Flores 2021
Nausea had become Jean's constant. Like her heartbeat, it was steady and thick. But not forever. Neither can last forever. Sigh… She walked, second beer in hand with her head swimming in pain and malnourishment, from the refrigerator to her chair by the table and carefully sat. She tapped the top of the can with her broken nail a few times before opening it. Feels wrong to use a broken nail but there's no sense in breaking another one. Nails are not tools. She set the beer down and looked at her outstretched hand. Long, slender… strong, even still. Like I was. Before. Before time and illness took from me. Before they ravaged… me. Jean curled her fingers into a tight ball, her fist shaking with rage. Or was this fear…? Damn it. She picked up the can, angled her glass, and poured the beer, listening to the half-melted ice from earlier crack and tink. She shook just enough salt into it and listened to the sound that made; a quiet fizz was the voice of receding foam. Should eat something. She took a timid taste of her beer and waited for the flames of liquid contact to sting and burn her sore. Just breathe. Just. Breathe. Before you know it, it will barely hurt anymore. All I do is hurt anymore.. Take another drink. Let it numb…
Jean eyed the silver cigarette case on top of the TV Guide. The case was open. It was full. She had, a few years back, switched from cigarettes to little cigars in an attempt to quit smoking altogether. That had been the plan, at least. 'Man makes plans and God laughs.' "True." she thought, solemnly. She reached for a cigar and paused, fingertips hovering but a centimeter above it- Not yet. I can still feel my mouth. It's throbbing. She had taken a solitary puff that morning and had opened a door to a new chamber of torture. Wait. Drink. It will help. … Help. Jean sucked in a quick breath before taking a swig of salted beer and clenched her jaw against the onslaught of a sensation that the word 'pain' could even begin to describe. This… This was beyond pain. This was Hell in cellular form.
And something lurks within me, sharp like broken bulbs from a Christmas tree, bloated with a stinger like the hive’s queen bee and my weather is cast in shadow
Ashes inside instead of falling snowflakes, the monster never gives as much as it takes, bodies are missing, drag the lakes and I barely breathe anymore
Heartbreak gave me talons and six horns, eyes the color of Firethorns, a low and guttural growl that steadily warns and silver feathered wings
Eight inch nails for teeth, nothing but storms in the underneath, my altered humanity, I do bequeath to anyone who might want it
It cracked the moment I tasted flesh, in the forest of pine needle mesh, I couldn’t resist the smell of your blood, so fresh, I had to take you home
Because I’ve been less than human for so long, since the last time I heard my mother’s song, I see the people gathered in a throng and my mouth drips…
I am not like the other daughters, hands forming hearts like coupling otters, holding tightly against the tumultuous waters, I’m my own kind and I stand alone-
Remove the marrow from the bone, freeze it, turn it into a stemcell ice cream cone, howl at the moon, like the wolf, I am lone and the sky is a Soylent Green
And, oh, how I miss the actual snow, to sink into it in a fiery glow, I carry four broken hearts, I know, can you make one of them work…?
And at his cries, my pointed ears perk, I want to pull him to me, just grab his hand and jerk, instead I hide, just behind him, I lurk, because I can’t let him see me like this
Gone is the woman about whom he used to care, replaced with by a teething and dreamless nightmare, I want to capture him, take him, drag him back to my lair, but we can’t connect over a vacant and burnt orange stare
And, oh, how I simply long to hold him within my wings, just a whiff of his skin and my soul screamingly sings, but he loves humans, he doesn’t love THINGS and I am one, I’m a creature in between beings