The Two Selves

The Two Selves


Like the crags in the sidewalk concrete that expose a seismic shift

Invisible in her eyes is a feral cat gone astray,

ancient like a knight flailing his weapons in battle

wind seething in the leaves,

in a fight he may lose,

his barbarous sword slashing the wind.


Or a little girl just walking through the sunflowers

holding a worn book she has read over and over.

Singing a song in a rusted D chord that tickles her throat.

A Flesh arpeggio

flushing out of tune.


In this precarious geology of mind and mortal wounds

she possesses two minds,

everything had bled out to.

Discarded skin,

smudged with yellow Houdini eyes,

the aggregate throng of her senses,

the soundness of her psyche,

Her shadow obscuring her in a damp unfolding.


The knight wants to pierce all injuries

When the light falters and the fog rolls in,

and crush out the mystery.

His Poisonous gifts

of murky gutturals

guide him into battle.

The white knife of a smile,

chewing up a mad scene

like a bad actor in a horror movie.

He is a verb refusing to yield,

Aiming words like soft bullets

thinking memories do him no favors.

He rubs off on you like gossip or soot.

Touch him and he will burn you.


The singing girl is softer,

And has a translucent smile you can swim in,

Composed of hope and wishful thinking,

So much silence between the words.

She bites down

on sadness, on hopelessness

as branches unroll their yellow caterpillars,

and a softness like marrow cells

whose language has eaten all others.

will envelop you.

Touch her and she will heal you.


The two selves are like granular pink quartz

A glowing rock formation,

its igneous veins reaching ever forward.

A body full of juicy adjectives.

And grey screams.

that meet in the middle,

Absolute transparency is so opaque after all.

The flowers of crystallizing earth will daze you

while you catch your breath.

Touch her and she will know you.


RM Jan 2019

Family Photo, Then and Now

Family Photo, then and now


The faces of my family look happy and calm

Bending and folding the light,

time curving the wind,

rusting in our tissue paper faces,

our fissures hidden in blown up flesh.


In my memory, there is never one of any of us,

I don’t look back along time but down through it, like water.

Sometimes one thing comes to the surface and sometimes another.

The picture is early evening,

One of those watercolor washes the city comes up with in fall,

Velvety and cool, like the muzzles of dogs.


My mother is very pale, like a body under a bathing suit,

Her touch glows on my shoulder like a burnt out match.

I smell my father, his fuggy leather, underneath smell I used to love,

Tall and avuncular.

My sister looks oddly flat,

like she was squeezed out of one those old fashioned wringers

and pressed like a flower in a book.


I look lighter, as if I am shedding matter,

losing molecules,

leaching calcium from my bones

and cells from my blood.

I flare up in an obliterary silence.

dissolving like a thinning mist into

a vast empty space.

I must have been running away.


We are all as ephemeral as insect wings

Yet stuck with dull weight of being human,

A paradox in the glimmering air,

All our pasts touched by many pasts.


The trick of the light in the past tense

marking time, taut in the protective coating the camera

has lent to all of us,

one that can never last.

This picture colors the air I move in now.

Clouds of breath formed into words,

Smile now.


But we are hiding in the light,

disquise is always easier when we are young.

and slippery forgiveness,

that sideways step out of my own body,

out of time into another time,

has cleaned up all the biographies.


Finally we look like mortality has a hook in all of us,

everything hovering on the verge of becoming real.

Heartbite after heartbite,

feeding on what is missing.

Anything to mummify ourselves,

to stop the drip-drip of time.


After all,

time has stopped,

for just a moment,

and refused to let us go.


RM Jan 2019