Paradise

Following a corridor through
the labyrinthine interior
of dreams waiting for the 
truth to fall from Mnemosyne's
lips, an incorrigible devotee
hiding behind unassailable defenses;
a hall of mirrors reflecting 
back a consummate obsession,
the dark side of heaven's sighs;
a quest for the holy grail, 
a pocket compass, the golden key,
down moss-beaten paths with
unmarked trails leading to 
a door in the back where a
wizard hides holding the
answers to the secret
to life.

There are none,
only this:

a rat in a cage,
an attraction called 
the Muse's maze, one 
way in, no way out, 
ghosts with forgotten names
recalled from the past, ever
reaching, ever striving for
something nobody has ever
seen, held hostage by grace
in paradise.

Love is my Religion

To Fanny Brawne:

I cannot exist without you – I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again – my life seems to stop there – I see no further. You have absorb’d me.

I have a sensation at the present moment as though I were dissolving…I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for religion. I have shudder’d at it – I shudder no more.

I could be martyr’d for my religion – love is my religion – I could die for that – I could die for you. My creed is love and you are its only tenet – you have ravish’d me away by a power I cannot resist.

John Keats

1820

New Love

Saw a pair of shoes
that looked like mine
hanging by their strings
from a power line;
another day, another sign

he found me when I glimmered,
now I shine

he's a ride-or-die
save your life, kill you
with his kryptonite
type of guy

caught him worse than any addiction,
he knows me better than text prediction
could never find someone to trust,
he's the only one, my first love
spending time, a record high,
laughing 'til our sides hurt

first thing in the morning,
he's on my mind, wakes me
up with the sunrise; I've
never been the weak kind,
but when we're alone, I
come undone, fall to pieces
when he's around, rolling with
the blushes when they come

Nothing in the world
like the first time,
like the first one,
a new love.

Wonderland

Butterflies don't stay
in one place for long,
they don't flutter like
pages in the wind so 
much as they run

The beauty of us
is that nothing makes sense;
It's everything all at once,
happens like chains 
of magic
 
I am not what I am 
in Wonderland

Working from memories
painted candy-coated pink;
What holds us together
ties you to me

Every card in the deck
Odds never stacked in our favor
We're not done growing yet
Keep your life and lose your head

I am not what I am 
in Wonderland

Story

How many nights have
we fallen asleep on 
this couch? Finally 
crashing after another 
long night out. From the
first page, we were always 
something strange, every 
story has two sides, the case 
of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; 
your moods and my temperament: 
hell-bent or heaven-sent.

Taking our time,
no end in sight,
always picking up right 
where we left off,
fingers finding middle C 
on piano keys, but our story 
was never so black-and-white.
Without you, I couldn't exist, 
shredded pieces of my heart and
soul held together by a 
single paper clip.

Secrets spilling out as
confessions turning the 
wheels of a new story
invention; waking up to
discover we were the experiment
with undeniable chemistry: 
an exercise in love or trust, 
the possibility of intimacy, 
between you and me.

We were always something strange
from the first page.

We look different in
the light without all
the smoke and mirrors;
I won't travel anywhere
without you by my side--
it's you, you're always
there. Those nights replay
over again in my
mind.

Woke up in a story I've
never read, I didn't write.  

Mirage

All the stars saw us
the night we drove
out of town to get
away from what we
had to face, our lives
mapped along the lines of a 
constellation; we were
laying on a plaid blanket,
your back facing me, I rested
on your cheek when you said
what I can never forget, I'll
never forget.

Left me with a mirage
shimmering in the heat,
a pool of water and palm trees,
an oasis I'll never reach;
ripped the veil from my face,
still begged you to stay,
forever branded your name,
gave more than I could take

The straw that broke
this camel's back, air
too hot to breathe,
dreams pouring through
an hourglass sieve, forced
to watch you leave; now
I'm wandering through
these pathless dunes, dying
of thirst in a desert without you.

Miscellany

Starry nights
midnight drives
blue skies, and
train rides

Shopping carts
in parking lots
New Year's Eve,
the ball drop

Blue jays in the sunshine,
devil's smile in his eyes;
everything green under the trees
from the sunlight

I made a list for you
so you would know
when you're not around
where I go

When I'm right here
right beside you I'm
right where I want to be
for all the wrong reasons
and for all of the same things

Silver bullets,
high speed chases,
golden apples and
hairband bracelets

Tightrope walking,
straight shot down
all these crooked lines
no way out

Airplane trails
across the sky,
daydreaming, music playing
losing track of time

I made a list for you
so you would know
when you're not around
where I go

When I'm right here
right beside you I'm
right where I want to be
for all the wrong reasons
and for all of the same things

Cupid and Psyche

Once upon a time, there was a god and there was a mortal. Cupid is a god, while Psyche is a mortal. Not just any mortal though. She’s turning heads and Venus, a goddess, is not happy. She’s jealous. The attention Psyche gets interferes with Venus’ worship. Nobody actually likes Psyche. Men are content to look and wonder and adore and worship her, but she is passed on for marriage.

If it weren’t for Venus’ jealousy, there would be no story. Venus decides she wants to force Psyche to fall in love with a despicable and vile creature, so she calls in Cupid, and in an unforeseen turn of events, Cupid decides he does want Psyche when he sees her. What he doesn’t want is to tell anyone he likes a mortal, gods-forbid, especially not Venus, whom he has clearly failed.

Psyche’s parents are disturbed, naturally, by their daughter remaining so long unmarried. Her sisters have married well, even though they’re “inexpressibly inferior” to the “all-beautiful” Psyche. Psyche’s dad goes off to beg the god Apollo to do something about the situation, but Cupid beats him to the punch. He tells Apollo the whole story and he’s like “you’ve gotta lie for me, bro.” 

So Apollo does, naturally. Nobody can find out Cupid, a god, likes a mere mortal, especially not one who has been passed over by all the other mortals. Apollo says Psyche has no choice but to marry a “fearful winged serpent.”

Better dead than unmarried.

Dressed for a funeral, Psyche’s family leaves the poor girl to her doom. Psyche is glad the end has come for her at last. It’s unclear whether Psyche knows she’s getting married or thinks she’s going to die, for she knows not what terror comes for her. In another twist of events, Psyche is carried away by a wind and wakes up in a mansion.

A mansion!

And it’s for her! She has servants, music, a whole banquet table to herself with the most delicious food, and the most delightful baths; all the fear leaves Psyche. She’s convinced she’s found the lover and husband she has been waiting for, and that he’s not a monster or shape of terror. 

Of course she’s still unhappy, naturally. Except for the voices she hears, she’s alone. Psyche starts missing her sisters, who think she’s dead. Psyche’s god for a husband doesn’t want her family there, lest they discover his real identity. He gives in to her though, naturally.

Psyche’s family has not improved overnight. Her sisters are more than curious about her new lifestyle and her mysterious husband. Their jealousy evolves into envy: they want the stuff Psyche now has and they want to know who is the man behind it all. Psyche does the best she can to satiate her sisters’ curiosity.

Psyche becomes divided between her family and faceless husband. Her nameless sisters have sowed seeds of doubt, gaslighting her in contemporary terms, and Psyche falls to pieces. She’s uncertain, she’s unsure, and she didn’t listen to Cupid in the first place. She knows the truth about her family, but she doesn’t know the truth about her husband. She’s torn by doubt and distracted.

Cupid gets the whole spiel later and tells Psyche once more that no one can discover who he is because he’s a god, and Psyche is not, and Venus still doesn’t know anything.

The whole scene repeats itself. Psyche is interrogated and gaslighted, until she finally decides this is not how she’s going to live. When Psyche’s sisters hand her a plan for unveiling who her husband is, she runs with it. 

With a death wish in one hand, and a candle in the other, she sneaks into Cupid’s room while he’s sleeping.

Lo and behold! Her husband has the face of a god (literally) and the first thing Psyche wants to do is kill herself. What she actually does is drop hot oil all over him. He wakes up and runs away: “Love cannot live where there is no trust.”

Psyche blames herself, naturally. What do you expect from a mere mortal?

Meanwhile, Cupid is recovering at home from his burn and Psyche gets the bright idea to ask Venus for help, secretly hoping to catch a glimpse of her husband instead. Venus scorns Psyche and puts her on a wild goose chase with a series of impossible tasks. One after another, Psyche wipes them out.

Alas! Nothing she does captures the attention of her husband. Psyche wants to die a second time. Indifference finally overtakes Psyche when she returns from Hell. She’s exhausted.

Cupid decides now is a good time to pop back up the minute Psyche lays down to rest. Turns out watching Psyche go to Hell did something for him. He’s also healed at this time and finally calls the whole assembly of gods together, proposing to make Psyche immortal.

This, of course, completely changed the situation. Venus has nothing further to say and so the two live happily ever after, finally married in front of all.

Moral: Appearances matter.

The End

Ecstasy

I don't know when
I'll see him next
he's a ghost, shadows
on the wall that bend
my mind, throws me in
a trance

mesmerized,
astonishment on my face,
intense delight, no surprise,
no signs leading this way

the more I resist him,
the more he pulls me in

defenses stripped down
weak in the knees
colors blossoming all around
enraptured, held captive, drunk
under the influence of his ecstasy

lightning never strikes twice,
except where he's concerned, can't
help it if I'm nice, every day
something new to learn

amazed,
by all the things he says
heartbeat running faster than
a downtown train

the more I resist him,
the more he pulls me in

defenses stripped down
weak in the knees
colors blossoming all around
enraptured, held captive, drunk
under the influence of his ecstasy


Answered Prayer

Read him like a bible
my daily devotion
caught me when I spiraled
pulled me out drowning
from the ocean

the only home I've ever known
safest harbor in any storm
a lighthouse in the dark
when I was scared
he rolled in with the moon tide
like an answered prayer

When I was sinking
he saved me
I needed the second chance
he gave me

When no one else cared
he was always there
so now I breathe his name
like an answered prayer

The sea levels are rising
(and so am I)
he's standing right beside me
('cause he knows he's mine)
The sky is clearing
(we'll both be fine)

Anchored me near to shore
like an answered prayer.