Mr. Ebenezer Brightside

You watch her walk up the stairs, her hair so much longer than it used to be that you almost don’t recognize her. You wait until she pauses, then walk up to her and clear your throat. She whirls around so fast that her hair is still falling into place around her startled face when her eyes widen in recognition. “You”, she breathes, and holds out her arm – you aren’t sure if it’s to steady herself from the turn or to protect herself from you.

“I need to talk to you”, you say, and nearly cringe at the hoarseness of your voice, but her eyes are darting to the stairway and the elevator just visible in the lobby, as if calculating her chances of escape. You wait patiently as she fiddles with her hair, a different shade from what you remember too, and then sighs, “Alright. But, not here.”

Your relief quickly turns to confusion, yet you keep the expression on your face characteristically blank. “Okay..”

She knows you too well though, and answers the question you did not ask by holding up her hand before her face. It takes you exactly six seconds to notice; if the diamond hadn’t been shining so brightly in the sunlight, you’d probably have taken longer. Her hand trembles and she lowers it slowly, your eyes falling with her fingers as they clench into a fist. You look up to her to notice her looking at your face, waiting for your attention. She won’t say your name. “I have to go now.”, she says, and silences your protest before it has begun, “I’ll meet you tomorrow, by the War Memorial. In the evening, at six.”

Six. Once it was dark. She didn’t wan’t to be seen with you. She turns to leave and starts to walk away, and you can’t help but call out her name. She stops, but does not turn around.

“Who is he?”, you ask.

A strangled noise makes it way from her lips as she whirls around, her eyes wild and hair framing her face like the flames of hell, and you remember her from your days together at the war. She seems to struggle with herself as you stand firmly before her, wondering how things could have gotten to this point, until a cloud passes over the sun, distracting you into breaking eye contact, and by the time you look back, the moment is gone. She is standing tall before you now, the expression on her face eerily serene, and more so in contrast to the anger you could have sworn threatened to consume the both of you just moments before. She gives you a tight-lipped smile, her face pale, but her eyes are bright. “That is none of your business.”

She turns and walks away.

“It used to be.”, you call out to her retreating back. “You remember? When you begged me to help you? It used to be. Until you left.”

She pauses again. “Yes..”, she says, thoughtfully. “It used to be. But it is not anymore.”

And, with that she is gone. And the flowers you brought on your way here are suddenly too heavy and dead in your jacket, And the ring on her hand is now shining in your mind, blinding in its meaning.

You walk out of the complex in a daze and almost don’t see her across the road, swallowed up whole in the too-large jacket she has on. Someone walks up to her and hands her a cup of something warm and steaming, and you see her lift up her head to smile at him in gratitude and loyalty. You recognize the smile because it used to be you she once smiled that way for. And you watch as she adds sugar to both their cups, the wind carrying snatches of conversation towards you amidst this sleepy corner of the city.

She is speaking of Christmas as she hands him his cup of coffee; and the man leans forward and kisses her forehead.

And you turn away, suddenly sick.

Banished

Hands reaching out like vines in a forest.
Always waiting to grab your soul.
Show me a way out, estranged lover,
Show me a way out, before you go..

I remember being washed clean
Before all of this trading of pain
Since then, admittedly, I have fallen
to new depths again and again

From grace,
time and space
While all I recall
is that look upon your face.

My words fall too, yes,
Like broken fragments of glass
Nothing good ever comes from a  journey
Ceaselessly, into the past

Yet, here I stand bewildered
How does it matter which way I choose?
Still, your order of banishment stands dictated
And who am I to refuse?

The End

Sorrow, like an albatross
hangs about my throat
Watching with possessive eyes
as on my own words, I choke.

I have always said I craved to be
at the least, more than free
But freedom is its strongest chain
So much larger than me

Yes, we do what we must
that alone is true
And you don’t love me
But I’ll always love you.

So, I hold you no ill will
No wishes of regret
Just promise me one thing,
that you will never forget..

Songs of light, chains of gold
And flowers of twisted steel
A seashore that weeps and weeps
And things that time can never heal

I know, you did what you had to
so that you could be free
Now, darling, be reasonable
And expect no lesser from me

I have loved you for ages
And never thought I’d find thee
here of all places,
quietly waiting for me

So forgive me for not taking the hint
Forgive me for being unable to flee
Forgive me for bothering you with the truth
But I cannot go, and I will not leave

And as the sun rises on my setting heart
I know this burden is mine alone to bear
How long, how long, will I slide?
I do not know, and you cannot care

Arizona Phoenix

I have spent so long under this hot desert sun, dreaming up cages and sweet releases of rain and thunderstorms, that I somehow stumbled past the realization of no longer being tied to any wire. The freedom I craved was apparently mine to bestow upon myself – for quite a while now. But I had spent so long deceiving myself when it came to my reasons for staying, I had truly come to believe that I was stranded. Abandoned off some highway so distant and untraveled, that my weary wings would never be able to bear me to civilization ever again.

And I lay on the ever hardening, burning Earth, convinced that what I felt was coldness inside. Was it? I don’t know anymore.. Have no way of knowing. At least not immediately. But, fighting pain with more pain is a hatchling habit that should have died a long time ago. Except my obsession with souvenirs includes saving remnants of who I have been. Living ghost memories of parallel personalities that allowed me to sneak past life events before being able to fully comprehend them. Guardians that  may or may not have outlived their purposes, but it doesn’t matter, because I never learned to let go.

And we have sailed, with inappropriate laughter and tears, to this utterly bizarre point in time, all out of sync except when it comes to the burning rage at the core of us all. I think it’s the scintillating fusion of burning rage and the helplessness that comes with being not strong enough that gave birth to most of these ghosts in the first place, not quite unlike every other phoenix. Except since they never die, they are never reborn – simply frozen in time like ghosts that should fade, but never learned how to.

These are the ghosts that bind me. The remnants of a past so distant, I cannot even think of that person – those persons – as myself. And thus my frozen portraits bind me to the present, unable to move forward in time long enough to burn to ashes and be reborn. My sentimental heart longs for one more rain before it will allow me to go. But she is untrustworthy, and no amount of water will ever be enough. She shall always be thirsty.

I remember an old professor now. Back when I was so young that even the dreariest day brought with it abundant hope and the promise of adventure. The World was our’s. And he told us how it worked. How sometimes, it didn’t matter how much effort, time, capital or energy you had invested in a project. Sometimes, you had to realize that there would be no returns. Sometimes, you had to simply cut your losses. Those losses are your “Sunk Costs”, and well, it was an economical serenade to the concept of letting go. Harsh, practical and so true.

Except, I must be bird brained. Because despite knowing that, here I am. Cooking in the middle of a desert where I’m not even wanted, and where I have *never* wanted to be. What for? For years and years of sunk costs, I say. Years and years. And I’ve been putting away my turning to ashes and being reborn by one last thunderstorm and one last volcanic eruption and one last winter and one last smile – but my time has run out.

Change or Die.

That is not the question.

That’s the answer.

Freedom is only a word, but so is Love

Meaningless.
Obsolete.
Stuck in a
memory
Dancing doll,
stop your feet
The song’s long
gone, you see

Irredeemable
Lost in time
A nostalgia
so sublime
Under a red sky
that bled in rhyme
Binding souls
and stopping time

Irrelevant,
it haunts me
in flashes
that taunt me
I am confused
and lonely
The past seems
now so phony

Blitzed sunrises
and stormy nights
In fragments
of darkness and light
They haunt me,
leave me in a fright
And I can’t remember
what you didn’t say that night.

But, devour me
Swallow me whole
Tell me your secrets,
then tell me more
I’ll be your blood
You be my soul
Join me in enlightenment
Free me from this cold

Alas, it’s time
the truth must be set free
I love you, it’s true
But you don’t love me
And love’s only a word
What does it know of how things feel
No, love is overrated
Still, you don’t love me

True Freedom is
its own prison indeed
You’re always a captive
of the things that you need
And wanderers are free too
as long as they have nowhere to be
Ah, perhaps only the lost
can ever truly be free…

It Is What It Is

It is what it is,
and what it is is tragic
To have wasted it all,
squandered all that magic

Yet perhaps this was inevitable
For everything has to end
Maybe they were mere illusions
and, maybe we, never friends

Yes, it is what it is
and what it is is sad
but you can’t lose something
that you never had

Mirages in the dessert
Hallucinations out at sea
But my favorite dream sequence
remains the one of you and me

But, it is what it is
and what it was was all pretense
Well, I give up, you win
And I guess this is how it ends.