Swing of the Pendulums

Let the pendulum swing,

this moment is only for us.

As much as possible, in the darkness,

I reside in you and you in I.

For now, we become each other

and the becoming is sweet,

as we unbecome ourselves

and seek to take on the guise

of something half you and half I.

Here and nowhere else –

if we can hold now that long –

we taste the sharing that is divinity.

Here and only now,

I don’t have to choose between wholeness and you.

There is something sacred in me stopping

to brush the hair from your face,

there is something sacred in the breaking pain

of knowing this instant can’t last.

There is something sacred in the gentleness

we take, handling each other’s hearts.

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Catching Forever

Forever isn’t always measured

in the length people like to trace,

stretch a yellow line from here to there

and mark the boundaries of a love story.

Sometimes eternity has its roots in our feet

and grows down, down into the centre of this moment.

It bursts like flour in the air,

filling your vision for only seconds,

sinks as particles into your lungs;

and occasionally, years later

you still feel her in deep breaths.

She pledged forever, darling –

I know it hurts to remember.

Your own broken vow stings in tandem,

a memory of what you couldn’t complete.

 

But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t real.

 

In that incandescent bulb of time you shared,

you held a love that stretched outward

and echoed itself through the stars,

bent inward and unwound you

to that shell-pink state of softness,

replicated itself like leaves on a tree,

and just for that moment,

you knew the presence of Forever

in the corner of the room

and saw its unmistakable promise

reflected in her eyes.

Her Half-Willing Heart

The ropes I’d so carefully sewn on a half-willing heart

had been stretching longer than I cared to admit.

They pulled at the flesh too slow to recoil

but gradually dipped me in pain –

till I sank,

till the taste of air

would have been dizzying.

I felt every tug of the string

caught in her beloved discontent,

laboured for the broken thread

of a love I carried alone.

And when she was finally brave enough

to take up the knife

and slice us in two,

I was stung with grief,

and with relief.

Our Love

We’re not painted, thinned out

technicolour prints of what love claims to be.

We’re rolled and dimpled skin,

and the slick rawness of lips

touching for the first time.

We’re the hours that vanish

while you hold your fingers over my skin,

forming circles in my back,

and me letting you.

We’re schoolhouse windows decades old,

broken glass and rusted bars,

but we’ve leaned out through the history,

risked cuts on the windowsills,

and seen how lush the schoolyard is,

how wild the trees have grown.

We’re the ones who make no apologies –

behind closed doors we make love

like it’s our last revolution.

Defeating hate and greed tastes like

your kisses when you’re sweaty, smells like

your hair when you wake up, feels like

the way you look at me when I say I love you.

Our love is no political protest,

but in this clenched fist world,

loving at all is a radical act,

and loving like this

strikes fear into the hearts of men

who don’t know how to lay it bare.

The Truth in Wanting

do you want to?

yes

are you sure?

yes

we don’t have to

no, I want to

 

Your words tasted of metal,

still coated in the sticky birth

of a mouth taught to please.

You lay flat on your back

seeking tunnels in your mind,

a corner to slip around

with the flourish of a cape,

and left me to make love to a hot-blooded corpse.

I played the prince,

recognized love from a picture in a book,

a likeness ancient and fragmented

seen through stained glass.

I combed your body for its image,

shaking love in its hundred-year sleep,

turned bend after bend following whispered sighs

and found emptiness that echoed in the space

I’d hollowed out for you within me.

 

It was a game of hide and seek

I wasn’t supposed to win.

You saw my hunger

and served yourself up,

skin crackling from the flames,

clutched the apple between your teeth.

And while you prayed that was enough,

you unzipped yourself from flesh

too often made for meat,

and locked yourself back in the tower,

threw away the key I didn’t know I was searching for.

And after yet another futile hunt,

I ached to scale the walls again,

because princes find love in red lips

and open corsets,

and princesses haven’t

been taught to teach.

Debutante

She had a baby girl,

eyes like her mama,

smile like her daddy.

She moved the mountains

every mother comes up against,

built muscles of stone for her children.

To the daughter,

she made mothering look easy.

Baby Girl marveled at the way

Mama cooked without measurements,

survived without compliments,

changed for those she loved

without a tear

or a hair out of place.

Baby Girl liked lists and recipes,

tugged at sleeves for begged niceties,

drank gallons of water to replace all

that seeped over her eyelids,

and had a secret

she couldn’t ever change.

She didn’t want to break Mama’s heart.

But one day a door in Baby Girl’s chest

that held back acres and years

– of glossy lingerie ads and

unspoken questions about the

the way hips feel under satin
or the urge to brush long hair
back from a girl’s face –
it cracked down the middle
and every private keepsake
came tumbling out,
out where Mama could see.
And in Mama’s chest
another door burst,
and years of dreams for Baby Girl,
of trimesters and white dresses
and chats with Mama
over tea while Husbands
talked outside,
spilled out over the floor.
And though Mama tried to hide it,
it did break her heart,
and Baby Girl felt the fracture
as if no time had passed
sine they were two hearts
sharing one body.

P.S. If you like, check out my Etsy store and support The Humane League!

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/SoftSpotAccessories?ref=l2-shopheader-name

Growing Out My Hair and Falling in Love

For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamt of having gorgeous, thick, wavy hair down to my butt. Princess hair. Rapunzel hair. I would run my fingers through my wispy blonde bob cut by my mother, and imagine curls cascading behind me, brushing over my shoulders like a blanket, or a superhero cape.

I remember one day I went up to my purple bedroom about a dozen times, got on my knees and prayed for God to give me long hair. My family didn’t go to church so I knew little about God or praying, and treated it as more of a business negotiation.

“God,” I whispered, “if I wake up tomorrow with hair down to my butt, I promise I will go abroad and spend the rest of my life as a missionary.”

I had no idea what a missionary was, but I figured it had something to do with hacking through the jungle. Small price to pay for a fabulous ‘do, anyway. At five or six, the only thing I held in equal regard to long hair was the idea of being in love.

They were both things I assumed would happen one day, and they would be perfect, and when they did I would be complete and happy. When I was old enough. For the time being, my mum still cut my hair, and she kept it short, easy to manage.

I let it grow through junior high past my shoulders and had my first brush with romance. I sat next to him in class, held his hand, even let him kiss me a couple of times. But I was way too shy, too confused, still a baby, and the following year the boy was gone and my hair was back up to my ears.

In high school I tried to grow it out for a while, but I still didn’t really know how to take care of it and there was so much else to worry about and navigate. None of the boys noticed me anyway. At the end of tenth grade, I shaved my head and had a pixie cut until graduation. I told myself I didn’t need to look like the other girls or get the attention they did, and while that was true, I was also full of fear. So scared of rejection that I mentally and emotionally took myself out of the game. My hair became a symbol: can’t tie me down so don’t even try. That way when nobody tried, I could convince myself I’d chosen it. This is not to say that short hair isn’t beautiful. It absolutely is. Authenticity is beautiful. Confidence is beautiful. But a lot of the time, when I had short hair, I wore it like a suit of armour.

I started to grow it again when I went to university, and to my great shock a boy took interest in me. He made me laugh and I liked hanging out with him. But something wasn’t right. I should like him, what’s wrong with me? Someone finally wants me and I’m going to screw it up? I shut down, started ignoring him, he found someone else. Surprise, surprise, next year off came the hair. I was so afraid. Afraid of my femininity and my sexuality. Afraid it wouldn’t attract anyone. Afraid it would and I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Afraid of my own power and all the things that were out of my control.

After university, I was letting it grow again, filled with fresh hope, when one night I was having some drinks with my roommates, and two of us shared a brief kiss. The dam burst instantly. I knew I loved her, and some of my fears started to make a whole lot more sense. We started dating.

She liked my hair short, fun and easy, something she could ruffle like a puppy’s fur, no tangles, no upkeep. And for a while I liked it too, I would have done anything to make her happy. But then I skipped a couple of haircuts, let my pixie get overgrown, and things got more complicated. I was in the awkward growing stage, not really knowing how to style it or take care of it, but willing to learn, willing to wait it out. I was ready for the commitment of longer hair, and I bought leave-in conditioner, elastics and a wooden brush. I wanted to put in the effort even though we were already exhausted. We both missed short, fun, and easy. For our own personal myriad of reasons, we broke up.

Now I’m growing it out again, solo this time, and while of course it doesn’t really matter what my hair looks like, it’s become something of a personal challenge for me. I want to prove to myself I can do the work, that I can see something through to the end, that commitment isn’t just a pipe dream. I want to learn how to manage something I’m not familiar with, instead of defaulting to what I know. I want to accept things even when they don’t look how I’d like and see the beauty in them, to show up and gently tease out the tangles instead of allowing them to become rats’ nests. I want to remind myself every day why I’m growing it longer and be grateful for it, especially now when I’m in the thick of the Shoulder-Length Itch.

I know it might seem superficial, it is just hair after all, but that little time of grooming each day is a marker of the time I must put into my most important relationship: the one with myself. That will always be my most important and grounding commitment, and in learning to love, honour, and forgive myself, I learn how to do the same with others. After all it is winter, and even when my hair’s misbehaving, static, flat or in my way –

it keeps me warm.