My Father’s Mouse

Museu do Fado
Amália Rodrigues

—-“Is it her singing that enchants us or is it not rather the solemn stillness enclosing her frail little voice?” -Franz Kafka

I know the place he visits…those melodies. Songs like children that make sure you never forget your heart.

I’ve tangled with them, led others to wrestle with them…let them run lose in streets…bare… with lovers and lost loves, even ones who harm you as they love you so deep that it seems you bleed internally.

For them. You do.

This I know…

Once a song enters you, you’re not responsible for the havoc or desire it creates.

I watch old themes take him.

Not down, not up, but into the sphere the singer knows and she knows this only when she’s singing.

She is Josephine? Amália? Their children?

Yes, but no.

They’re in all of us who have touched hearts…ran with them and away from them.

So, both.

That’s the closest of times… when we’re all singers, runners, damned lovers.

Lucky lovers.

Lucky to have so much damned heart, unrequited to the point of passion…

Then compassion. The heart’s last look at itself.

That child. That melody.

 

 

 

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Alice

She sets a folded towel upon cool sheets, her ass makes a depression on the mattress.

Silence is never a full-proof method of understanding each other, even if hands are involved.

They touch, then they talk. Talking is never a full-proof method of…

His leg dangles off her bed. She gets up, opens the closet door.

There’s a mirror attached to the back of the closet door. She sees my reflection and doesn’t know it’s her. She touches the mirror, thinking, as she always has, that it will lead somewhere.

She leaves fingerprints.

 

 

 

Tough Daylight

Chiado District, Lisbon Portugal, May 2019. (Click on image to enlarge.)

 

 

More images can be found here.

 

Lone

Click on image to enlarge. Lisbon Portugal, May 2019

 

 

(An Elan longread available here.)

Come at a Price

Marquês de Pombal

The amount of alcohol in her drink.

The loudness of her laugh.

Soft shirt sleeves, brushing raw, coded skin.

Tender angst made her…

Makes her

Voice rise

Like dinnertime restaurant dishes.

All she said, forgotten.

All she would have said, remembered.

 

 

 

Words

Sometimes I feel like murdering them, squashing them under my feet, watching letters bleed out, separated from the word they are attached to.

Other times, I place them in an incubator, checking in on them from time to time.

Some go in a special box. I wear the key around my neck.

On occasion, words sting me, knowing just how to punch my buttons, which aren’t that hard to find, since I come equipped with all kinds of buttons, switches, and on and offs.

A few have lost their way, trying to find the morning from the depths of night.

Others become feral. I’ve been told not to feed them, though I’m too sensitive. Now they’re hopelessly dependent upon me.

I’ve broken up with a few. They either get mad, sad, or crazy. A few have broken up with me. I either get mad, sad, or crazy.

Really though, I can’t complain. All in all, they’re pretty solid, clearing things up when communication gets hazy, commanding peoples’ attention when they’re not reading me.

Actually, I think, I kind of like them. I know you do too. (But don’t say it out loud. They have humongous egos.)

 

Ripple

Branches, once a small bridge, lie over missing mud, lose their original meaning. Now, a hard turf sits like a soft concrete, an uneven glaze dried upon them.

The branches are caked, bricks in dirt, an ancient architecture.

I see the trail, in its post-primal state, its age, its meanings, wrinkles in dryness, a rough, hardened dialect.

The early heat plays tricks on the forest, taunts, beats, punishes.

Shadows crawl among dirt and wind, forming in the beams of sunlight, lose themselves, traveling the ripples. I was told never trust a shadow.

Beetles, desperate, walk across the refracting dirt, risk crossing daylight, hoping shadows will fool the birds.

A slug, not so lucky, small glob of goo, stuck ’til the sun takes all.

Trilliums, sluggish, darkened, carry a glint of hope. Their petals a fragile strength.

Nothing but the wind hints at moisture, A jet’s noise pierces the leaves’ puzzle.

And looking up, I lose the trail, falling, letting the camera fly,

then a cramp, my leg won’t move. All movement slowed.

I hear the skid of the camera, see the dry dirt on my knee, palms, elbows.

A cooling sweat enwraps me, dries quickly, my arms like branches, caked, with an uneven glaze.

Lying face up on the trail, like a beetle, a slug, a trillium, a shadow.

I look at the shades of green, of the trees above me, uncommon are the browns and yellows, so early.

Two walking by me, either from here or nowhere, lovers perhaps, offer no assistance…that’s when I know I’m a shadow, a slug, a beetle.

She walks by, wearing only a rust-colored dress, barefoot. Gives me a handkerchief, a sip of water, she does not smile.

That’s when I know I’m human. My leg begins to move.

I move with the ripple, my skin past dust, still arid in the act of movement.

The bare wind hurries us into each other.

 

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