Poems of Smoke

Among The Coals

Born in the hazed amber
I was swaddled and charred.
Another faceless giver
In a faceless sea
Waiting to choke

Tarred and Feathered

Inhale, hold, exhale
Self inflicted.
Slowly pluck feathers
spring chickens
Cluck no more
- cough - cough -
Burn one more
Spark up

Smother

Science is unwelcome
It's unholy.
Innovation is unholy
It's unwelcome.
Dunk the witch
She'll float
Burn the witch
She'll choke

Parched

She's gasping again
Under the wildfire.
Mother Earth gasps
Inland on avocado smoke
While you're eating
Avocado on toast

Citrine Dreamer

Originally Written 09/05/2020, Edited 12/05/2021

Bestowed gift of manifestation
As laid by this babe's head,
Bring abundance to this child
With bounds yet to be unknown.
Create from his flesh a conduit
Flowing bountiful in curiosity
And free in unabashed glee.
Fortify his bones against misery
And afford him only adoration.
Grant him true expression of
Boundless and pure creativity
Cascading from his fingertips
Or coursing from his pouting lips.

Hold his tongue from envious spite.
Transform those jealous intentions
Into tangible and fortuitous actions.
Harbour angers, fears and explosions
To free his spirit for fresh pursuits.
Transmute his negative shadows
Into innovative and fertile passions
That may regenerate his being
And unshackle his ambitions.
Produce from this humble bairn
An infant of widened eyes and heart;
An enduring and steadfast being.
Make him true, fair citrine dreamer.

Question Touch

Do you have to scrub your skin too?
Scratch off it’s surface over and over
Until twenty burning layers away
From the tracks of unwanted caress?

Remember as the acid seeps through
And you lose that arrogant composure,
That I am only just beginning to play
With these things that helps me ‘process.’

Have you ever had to show your face
When no-one knows the predator won?
Force a smile, a dead eyed, dull grin,
Hoping when friends hug you don’t flinch.

Centre of the tooth, with nerve in place,
I’ll drill a hole through every single one,
Thread through each a fine steel string
To pull them slow with a hand crank winch.

When you’ve walked passed each other
Have you been filled with complete terror?
Did you grasp tightly at your fabric clothes
As though they’ll protect from the shame?

It’s so gratifying to watch as you suffer.
The chemicals turned your skin to leather
It’s time to cut that wailing tongue into rows
I hope I don’t strike a vein, I like this game.

Does the night bring back all the memories
That weigh you down with its terrifying grip?
Do you hope that by the morning sunrise
Your heart would stop it’s painful beating?

I’d quit the whining, there are no remedies
As I watch you choke behind glued lips.
I can’t stand to be devoured by your eyes
But a pin prick will remove their seeing.

Are your days filled with asking why?
Blaming yourself for being the prey,
Breaking yourself down ‘til you barely exist
Pretending it never hurt you that much.

I’m sure you’re all but ready to die?
But you don’t look like your inner decay!
I’ll let you decompose in your own shit
Because a touch is not just a touch.

Anchored Beacons

Dew swept wind hills of May morning
Captured moments in sprinkled droplets
That begged passers by to be collected.
We knew to wait another hour or two
Before stepping into their damp tracks
Lest we become entranced by their tales.

Humanity bled memories into the valleys.

Tiny beetles feasted in the chaotic morning,
Their shells glittered in the gloss of droplets.
When the night's trouble was collected
They'd disguise themselves in a minute or two
Before the songbirds could recite hunting tracks.
It was finally safe to leave our sacred cover.

Humanity bled memories into the valleys
Through the corpses of their fallen brothers.

The glorious warmth of a sunny morning
Reflected in our eyes like twinkling droplets
Of youthful hope. It was our courage collected,
Shared and displayed between only us two,
That we may complete our pilgrimage together
No matter the troubled ground we may cover.

Humanity bled memories into the valleys
Through the corpses of their fallen brothers.
So few survived when kin killed beloved kin.

A journey of miles, trudged through a morning.
Stepping rhythmic, drenched in sweated droplets
And woefully feigning we were calm and collected.
Fear was painted behind our mission worn mask
As we checked the mapped route together,
Arguing the shorter path as we replaced it's cover.

Humanity bled memories into the valleys
Through the corpses of their fallen brothers.
So few survived when kin killed beloved kin,
Too many were martyred by man's monstrosity.

Legs aching from the endless walking morning,
Bodies craving sustenance, but surviving on droplets
Tipped from the final flask of water, and of hope.
You snatched the final sip, cracking under your mask.
It seemed we'd outlasted our journey together,
Our separateness apparently hidden under cover.

Humanity bled memories into the valleys
Through the corpses of their fallen brothers.
So few survived when kin killed beloved kin,
Too many were martyred by man's monstrosity:
Those who fought for the beauty within us all.

We parted with the last seconds of the morning,
Silently wishing the other would reconsider.
Survival now was only built on an anchor of hope
That outlived the violence and psychological masks.
Hope, that final chant uniting the distant together
In a melody no imposter was able to falsely cover.

For humanity bled memories into the valleys
Through the corpses of their fallen brothers.
So few survived when kin killed beloved kin,
Too many were martyred by man's monstrosity.
Those who fought for the beauty within us all
Are anchored beacons of hope in dirty waters.

Poly-Cotton Shield

Don’t pull the covers away;
I’m not ready to face the world
And all of its sharp edges.
I’m warm under this comfort blanket,
Safe under my safety net,
Hidden from those peering, prying eyes.
I’d rather be smothered in poly-cotton
Than drown in the darkness out there.

Don’t pull the covers away;
I’m not prepared to face the world
And all of its harsh voices.
I’m calm under this comfort blanket,
Safe under my safety net,
Hidden from those intrusive, prying eyes.
I’d rather be veiled in poly-cotton
Than exposed the judgment out there.

Don’t pull the covers away;
I’m not equipped to face the world
I’ll just crumple at its feet.
I’m serene under this comfort blanket,
Safe under my safety net,
Here I cant be vilified for being.
I’d rather be concealed in poly-cotton
Than pretend I want to play this game.

Having ‘That’ Conversation Again

My Dearest Armistead,


Is life a perpetual cycle? 
Because everything seems 
To be happening repeatedly. 
I found myself, again, 
Engaging in 'that' conversation. 

The conversation where 
I hold another person's life. 
The conversation where 
There is only one chance 
To do the right thing. 

I can only hope 
I made the proper choice, 
But I dread that with each cycle 
I am a step closer 
To getting it wrong. 
It seems inevitable that 
I will have blood on my hands 
From being unable 
To do enough 
Or get there quickly.

Every time I have 'that' conversation; 
I am left empty, 
Wishing I could have spoken to him. 
Wishing that I could have soothed him. 
Wishing that he was here, 
And it was all a horrid nightmare.

Why can't someone else 
Accept the burden for a while? 
Why does it have to be me?

Yours,
​Armistead.

You Were Right

My Dearest Armistead,

I hate saying you were right, 
But you were. 

The smile on my face 
Was a temporary mask 
That has been peeling away 
Ever so slowly. 
My insecurity has bled through 
The white linen robes of my naivete 
And caused me to run to dark corners 
To bleach them clean before anyone sees them. 
Perhaps one could blame 
Our re-acquaintance; 
Nonetheless, I fear this feeling, 
It, would be dreadfully lonely without you.

My eyes feel extremely drowsy, 
But they are failing to rest. 
My mind feels heavy and intoxicated 
By the recurring nightmare of emotion, 
It haunts my every waking hour. 
And my heart is too preoccupied 
With its' reminiscing 
Wo live with the rest of me.

Armistead, 
You have trailed us back 
Through every corner of our suffering 
And imagined them feats of ink.
Do you not see these moments 
Are open wounds? 
They are the episodes in our life 
That we wrap up in neat little stories 
To hide the scars they are transcribed with. 
Yet, for some reason, 
I have removed the bandages 
And allowed you to lick and 
To gorge at the fresh lacerations.

That grief you see 
Sat upon my shoulders 
It is ours to share. 
Are you prepared to split the burden? 
Because Armistead, 
It will continue to grow.


Lovingly,
Armistead

Mrs. Delora

Come take a seat with Mrs Delora.
Find the answers to your questions,
Discover your truths,
Explore your future,
And marvel at her talents.
But, beware,
You may find more than you seek,
You may learn more than you need,
And you may leave... Liberated!

I took the man up on his offer,
And sat on a stool inside the tent.
Across the large wooden table
Sat a Fortune teller
Drowning in hemp cloth
And gold charms.

Her face was haggard,
As if she had seen a thousand lifetimes.
Her breath, strained and heavy,
And the smell of stale smoke,
Mixed with burnt herbs choked my lungs.

She placed her hand out on the table,
And coughed, wordlessly
Demanding my hand in hers.
In my open palm she placed a red stone,
And closed my fingers tight.

Are you a whore child?
I gasped, offended,
A whore! How dare she!
I guess you’re just promiscuous,
Don’t be offended,
I’m just teasing, child.

She started laughing,
Throaty and coarse she cackled.
But her humour was fugacious.

You’ll be barren of life,
You’ll just be a stand in,
A temporary.

Her words spun around my head,
As they tightened the garotte
Around my throat,
Pulling burning breaths
And twisting them under my tongue.

Would you like some tea?
It helps with the truth,
Makes it palatable…

I sip the mossy coloured liquid,
It burns my mouth,
But I can breathe again.
I can breathe much slower,
Pulling air deeply 
Into my famished lungs.

Yes child, that’s it,
Breathe.

I nod, and bare my hand,
The red stone in my open palm,
It was tinged with black,
Like a plague was spreading
Tainting its surface.

You won’t have to worry,
You’ll not be left a spinster,
You’ll be left,
Penniless, naked,
Alone in a ditch.

Wha… Wha…
The words slur incomplete.
My breath long but shallow,
My eyes open,
Unblinking.

Just breathe,
Let Mrs Delora liberate you,

Come take a seat with Mrs Delora.
Find the answers to your questions,
Discover your truths,
Explore your future,
And marvel at her talents.
But, beware,
You may find more than you seek,
You may learn more than you need,
And you may leave... Liberated!

You’ve Returned

My Dearest Armistead,
​
What has kept you for all this time?
Has the pen weighed too heavily in your hand?
Did the words seem too fleeting to write?

I hope you were happy.
We shared such dark times before,
Times that only a writer and their mask can share.
Are we picking up where we left off,
Broken and shattered?
Or have some pieces been reassembled?
Let’s hope this glue is stronger.

I see your life is very different now.
You carry more grief upon your shoulders.
I worry Armistead, will those shoulders hold?
And your smile, how long 'til it fades again?
Aren’t you scared?
We tend to bring out the worst in each other,
Focus on the wretchedness of your life,
And rip the last bandages away,
Exposing the emptiest parts of your soul.

Oh how I have missed you.

Now, Armistead,
Let’s get to work again, shall we?

Regards,
Armistead.

Definition Lost

The scissors final snip liberates me of the locks over grown,
And creates a new silhouette around my face,
One that sat similar to a past one, but as a newer rendition.
The colour a combination of fading hues, out grown bleach, and dark roots,
The sides shaven short, and the top left long and loose.
I felt like a renewed me, a different individual,
No longer defined by the frugality of an overgrown home cut,
But shaped by the hands of a professional.
Living as though a person pampered, showered in shallow luxuries.
Looking at my reflection and regaining the power I felt for too long was lost.
But the power was not the item lost to me most,
No, for I have lost my definition.
 
I am at the whims of the family I hold together,
As my equal seems to drown in the life we have found ourselves in,
I hold afloat our raft, and provide for the three of us a sanctuary.
The safety net is spread wide enough to catch them and their baggage,
As my baggage is dragging through the murky waters behind us.
Each case holding a different aspect of me,
A portion hidden away indefinitely, until time allows me to unpack.
My heart cradles a child spawned from a careless woman.
A mother who desired a babe, but couldn’t protect the child,
Whose selfishness took over her instincts in favour of a demon.
 
The child loves me unconditionally, and I love more in return,
Handing over the remaining half of each breath I take,
Giving her each second heartbeat, and most every thought.
I ferry her across the unwelcoming seas, bearing the waves myself,
As she dances blissfully unaware of the storms we pass through.
But motherhood is not my definition, only an inherited title,
One I clench my hands tightly around to keep, but one I fear also.
 
I am spread thinly across each bag that floats along with us,
The literate, the musical, the angry, the calm, the loud, the quiet,
Among some of the guises interchangeably worn, but put back,
Restrained back into their hides, as I try to establish the singular face to wear,
Unknowingly losing any further identity in my search for one.
Writing under a name not given, but chosen, picked like cherries,
And not wanting liberation from anything other than myself.
 
Realizing maybe this is the meaning of grown, or maybe this is the meaning of trapped.