white whale

I am wandering, haphazardly at best,

head full of helium and heartbeats running wild

to a hallucinatory rhythm.

History stares sternly at me,

its piercing gaze raising the hairs on

the back of my neck. I’ve

been here. The soles of my shoes

fit perfectly into the craters of footprints

left behind in the dirt. Perhaps I’ve

just walked the entire planet to escape you,

only to return to where I had begun

at the end of my cyclical sojourn.

I wish I could tuck you away

into a password, or a notebook that

collects dust under my mattress,

or a receipt crushed at the bottom of my purse.

But you are my white whale,

an oasis in a desert. Like a drowning fish,

you make me pull my own puppet strings,

even when I’d sworn to cut them short.

I’m drawn to you, hideously and fatuously,

like a wasp is to a beacon.

And on some days, some better ones, the clouds seem to

morph into the contours of your face,

and I laugh from the earth below

at how even the skies

have a little sense of humour.

muse

After writing about herself for so long, she started to realize that her inkpot was running dry.

How very long I must’ve spent dwelling on the woes and glories of my own life,

she thought,

that the waterfall of words that used to roar in great admiration for myself has been reduced to a trickling rivulet!

This wouldn’t do.

She needed a muse.

She needed a muse to write about, to spark a flicker of electricity between her pen and paper.

She needed someone to make the movements of her fingers as smooth as butter when she would write—never stopping, never at a loss for the next word to jot.

She needed something to stir in herself emotions of such great intensity that hurricane after hurricane of joys and tears would be released onto her scripts, in all relentlessness and viciousness.

If it didn’t show up soon, she feared the day she’d much rather deign to unlearn the alphabet than to exhaust the last word she could possibly dedicate to herself.

She waits for her muse with great agony, spinning her pen enough times to cause a tornado somewhere else in the world.

i wrote this because i was sad and afraid

unscripted, this thespian is unshielded and naked.

the curtains, they’re stuck, they won’t fall so

i’m left standing, stricken, in front of an applauding audience

and they don’t stop.

my cheeks stiffen and my lips crack from the sustained smiles,

i bow and bow and bow until my back contorts like a nervously chewed up straw

never realizing that this was a performance.

my vision is bleached from the onslaught of unkind spotlights and

i’m crying but they think my tears are glitter that adorn my eyelids.

the corset’s strangling the breath from my spirit,

but the flowers keep being thrown my way—

bravo bravo encore bravo!

they don’t hear me and speak to me in roses,

so the blood their thorns draw from my fingertips—i take, and smear on my lips

to make sure my lipstick aways remains bold, fierce and pretty.

that’s the only way i can fight

this illusion into the whispers of midnight,

even when the feathery winds curl around and lift

discarded ticket stubs from the pavement

to a place we don’t talk about.

if i can’t make them disappear then let me.