Friday, August 21, 2015

Hesitation marks

"I see you,"
she says in a way I know her 
care is intensive,
is beyond the tangle of blue jeans & t-shirt or the angle
my smile makes, as if I were a Chinese take out box
which come flat /// 100 to carton
& if folded right                      can be filled up
                                                 to be
I use chopsticks,
for nothing else than the illusion of authenticity;
which if you learn on the piano is a step away from "Taps"
&the sound rain makes on the windows,
or pebbles at two o'clock in the morning
I keep mine open /                 / hoping

for something more than status updates.
 The scars on my heart match the ones on my hands
& if I ball up
                       a fist, tell a hiStory
                       greater than the lines on my palms,
                       anything I can write
                       or what's read between them

I have been known, but unseen, as faith is
like the bench, on the sidewalk, ever waiting
for the bus // so those who rest their weight on it,
can be                            leaving
my first bleeding
came at ten / a crimson exodus
assuring there would be no Passover -
un-damming my bloodstream
                                    to river
                                    on the tile floor

It's the hemoglobin that gives it the color, an iron-protein,
we are iron rich, owing our abundance to fusion
in high mass stars & proverbs

Iron sharpens iron,
even if its strength comes only through its impurities

"I see you,"

she says, & I reply

"Sharpen your knife on me
so that when the time comes

                 ~ it will be quick,"

I want someone to open my box,
look at the mess of noodles, sauce, undecipherable meat
& vegetables,
                       and sigh

as the aroma fills the room,
let the rain wait tap-tap-tap-ing in the eaves until dinner
is past --- i'll curl over, bent as a cookie,
kneeling at the altar of your palm.

We are so fragile,
but it is the cracking which releases
the fortune ---

                           don't close your eyes

when you kiss


  1. I see you managed to figure it all out. It comes together so well each step in the process. There are so many parts to this I just don't know where to begin. "I see you" in a way that is care so love deeper...the reference to the chopsticks for authenticity, played on the keys of the heart a duet of sorts. I am sure to open your box would be amazing...filled with the aroma of life's journey.. we are indeed fragile, but I wonder what the fortune cookie would say..
    "to feel whole we must heal holes"...brilliantly written...and the ending perfect...kiss me with your eyes open so that you might "truly" see me.

  2. there's so much in this - love the iron sharpens iron - the keeping the window open, not losing hope and faith... the sense of fragility and how it is just when we make ourselves vulnerable that we find love. it's precious if there are people around that love us for what we are - even if it's sometimes a mess - ha

  3. I imagine you are beside someone you care very much, and she is affirming that she is seeing you ~ While waiting for status update,you hold on to faith and it is very fragile and delicate as these lines:

    kneeling at the altar of your palm.

    We are so fragile,
    but it is the cracking which releases
    the fortune ---

    don't close your eyes

    when you kiss me.

    A very moving snapshot X and I hope the updates are good ~

  4. Though I read three times, plus went back to look at some lines more than that, I admit I don't know really what is happening here. Someone lying in the hospital, but was it a heart attack or....? What is the relationship between the two people? I am trying to figure out what some of the lines refer to. "I want someone to open my box...." I realize the poem is metaphoric, but in this case my mind is spinning in quest of what the message is. I will have to come back later & see if anyone else gives clues that help.

    1. You sould have seen the first version. You really would have been lost. This has been a 2 day birthing process on this poem. Really almost 3 and it will be refined again I am sure.

      It is about being seen. Really seen. Not just known, as many people know us - superficially. More than a name on the scroll of status updates, or even by what we write.

    2. Thanks for being honest, it means I still have work to do.

    3. The irony here is that he's saying he feels like a box of Chinese takeout, you know how all the different ingredients mix together into a pile of heavenly deliciousness? (YUM) ... Anyway, so he's offering himself in that way, to be consumed. The thing is, his brain is totally ADHD. He's a big kid, bouncing all over the place like a maniac. That's what he's presenting here. His natural thought process. And he wants to be understood, really seen. It takes a little extra time to devour all the ingredients, to really savor the cashews and mushrooms. But it's worth it, if it means getting to genuinely know him.

      Oh yeah, back to the irony. The poem is about the fact that he's kind of hard to get, but he wants to be gotten. And maybe it takes a like-minded ADHD brain to see all the trickery "between the lines." To really "taste him."

      That being said, B, yes, the poem isn't as polished as most of your others ... you obviously grappled with this one. But it kind of reinforces your point, you know. That you're not a polished kind of guy. That the dishes inside your head tend to get jumbled up into a messy masterpiece. That's what I see, anyway.

      Love the play on expressions like "the eyes have it" and "the eyes are windows to the soul."

      The only thing I don't get about you is how you can say you only use chopsticks for authenticity! They make my fingers sublimely happy. I can even eat rice that way. :P

      "& if I ball up" ... Hi-larry-us.

      And again, that part about starting your period The egg, sizzling in butter on the hibachi grill.

      "but it is the cracking which releases
      the fortune" ... OMG, isn't that the truth?! And I love the image of a song coming out of the kooky cookie when it's broken.

      Best ending ever:
      "don't close your eyes
      when you kiss

      That reminds me of a movie scene. Gotta go look it up ... isn't Imogen the coolest chick name?!

  5. I heard in a song, I knew you never loved me, because your eyes were opened when I kissed you, so many tales in this one X so much history, yours, hers...the dying much said so little understood, except from the dying....they know

  6. I think sometimes it's seeing someone that really matters.. the sharing can be wordless but caring is what matters. The way you use the image of the (shared?) chinese dinners makes me think about how much we share with those precious few.. a piece that I want to come back and read again...

  7. I wonder what she sees...the person with an "illusion of authenticity" or the inner being?...

  8. I'm having trouble commenting but your poem was too good not to try again. I loved this. Great metaphor and I totally relate! -Patricia

  9. The scars on my heart match the ones on my hands

    I mean wow there are so many powerful metaphors and lines in this and though written like a pro there is a rawness, and edge that it absolutely brilliant


  10. WOW! A truly spectacular write, right from that big deep heart. Every line stretching my mind, and those closing lines - perfection. You are bringing forth some deep poetry these days, my friend. Bravo. I love that fortune cookie image, and "dont close your eyes when you kiss me."

  11. So often we fail to see people for who they really are.. I like the thought of seeing someone.. closely.. as if examining the petals of a rose. Well penned!

    Lots of love,

  12. I think it was Heinlein in STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND that had a male character that kept his eyes open when he kissed, & made love only to the lucky lady, never thought about anybody else, & each woman sensed it. So somewhere in the metaphoric existential romantic miasma of this fine piece, there is a touch of that. I don't know if you need to edit this poem, it is so rich, so strong, so invigorating, so exhausting, it may be fine in its extant form.

  13. "Iron sharpens iron,
    even if its strength comes only through its impurities"

    This won my heart....specially how you talk about blood and the way you thrill me -

  14. We are so fragile....those last lines broke my heart. When my lover left to return to Japan, our last kiss, I said to him, kiss me with your eyes open so you will always see me and remember....being really seen is so very hard and it is frightening. That seeing often does draw blood. But mercifully, it does eventually clot and heal, but it leaves a scar.

  15. Your poem reminds me of a novel - 'Now You See Me' - about a girl who longed to be seen for who she was. She met someone online and ended up being kidnapped by this guy and when everyone was looking for her she felt better when she realized she was missed more than she could imagine. It is sometimes hard to see people for who they are. It requires a lot of honesty on both parts.

  16. Thanks for the explanation, Brian. It makes more sense to me now. There really are FEW people who really see us. Your point in this regard is well made.

  17. So much in the blood that "flows" throughout the poem, infusing its iron and impurities. The Chinese take-out box image is amazing. The depth of this romance, this love, that it speaks to the very blood in the body, the open eyes at the kiss. This poem casts a spell. Amy

  18. But we can see with close eyes....or with open see nothing, being in inner world....thank you for sharing your thoughts/heart, open window to breathe...

  19. Oh, I adore the journey you take us on. The threads you cleverly weave. This was crisp, precise, and delight to read!

  20. Your "As Iron Sharpens Iron" quote really worked nicely in this. A rather intense piece...and yes, we are so very fragile!

  21. Very deep write, x. Meanings underlying the ostensible... Very complicated to unravel. However, as with a lot of your work, I am never sure... and that's what I really love - being able (or unable) to dig deep enough. I often see just what I want/need to see and that's good enough for me. Often I find it difficult to get inside your head. [smiles]

  22. If only i have a dime
    for every time
    i attempt
    to explain
    i am
    all on
    to my wife
    when she says
    no.. just stop..
    i cannot take
    it anymore
    that might
    Y thEre
    are 11 million
    pieces of
    me here
    all over
    the online
    i could sure
    make some
    calls on
    of old..;)

  23. I think of cards - picture cards. I think of a card dealer - a very hestitant, watching card dealer who deals the next image sometimes abruptly, sometimes slowly, sometimes angled, sometimes half hidden by his hand...After all, these cards are his own private deck, to be shared with a select few...For on each is a little piece of all he is...And he tries to stage and gauge his perceived reaction...There is no sequence...The cards fall how the cards fall...But each card holds a mini story, a mini fragment of his spirit..."I see you..." encourages the dealer to keep on sharing... A beautiful piece of writing...

    1. OMG. This is the best comment ever. Tarot cards. Brilliant. Flipping brilliant. What a smart reader of poetry YOU are! A thinker. A breath of fresh air.

    2. Gemma always leaves comments that add to, for sure.

  24. a magician with words! you show us something then when we look again it has morphed into something different. a poem that entices you back again and again.

  25. Every image and nuance perfect in this--have been reading--your poetry is a richness that wealth doesn't describe.

  26. Another great close. Wonderful. k.

  27. Love the transitions in this...the play on double meanings (the rain on the keep yours open for status updates). Brilliant segues.

  28. Such a strong use of metaphors in this, X. And images. The box to be filled up, the bleeding, the good.

  29. tonight I had leftover Thai food. I learned, years ago from an American friend who moved to and married a Thai woman, that 'real' Thai don't use chopsticks - except for soup! (with a spoon). proper etiquette is to eat with a spoon, or, fork,

    I only bring that up because cultural context is somehow not necessary for this pen to be so damned effective. ~

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  30. This image is so striking today:
    "i'll curl over, bent as a cookie,
    kneeling at the altar of your palm"
    So beautiful.

  31. Hesitation marks, interesting. The scars on my heart match those on my hand and if I ball up a fist, tell a history.... Very nice.