domestic(ated) bliss

i.

is domestic bliss just a state of

brain-spun confusion?

a mindset in which we’ve convinced ourselves

there is a paradigm of false perfection

we’ve domesticated our minds

roped them in to those everyday tasks

that the bliss is just a stupor

down to the cellular level

happiness is found in a tear storm

inducing mundanity

 

ii.

you infuriate me with your love of

the brilliant boredom of bliss

you sound so contented and i want you to be restless

i want you to be like me

to be messy on the inside

i want to share those secret disappointments with you

but you smile through your saccharine words

the one-liner that reveals nothing

the photo that is so preternaturally perfect that

i must send a twinning one of my own

the smile doesn’t reach my eyes

i imagine that yours is the same

 

iii.

never thought my domestic life would be

like an old hollywood musical

a lot less sparkle, a lot more dusty-dingy

not entirely devoid of self-made melodrama

i find myself strangely breaking into song

a fugue state in which i dance an 8-beat phrase

to the pop-hits of the day

to fill the space between loads of laundry

and emptying the dishwasher

reorganizing props for the millionth time

setting the stage for cereal box reality

 

 

(written 13 april/8 may 2018)

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no. 108

buried under the sun

the sun glinted off the pit of their souls

blinding them to their own horrific

imperfections

genuflections

they made to deities whose homes

were found in temples

made of skin and bones

they saw them in the mirrors

stroking plumped plumage

gilding their own lilies

edging away from

discovery

recovery

they saw themselves in mirrors

and were pleased with the reflections

content with their

insatiability

culpability

no insurrection

where is their rage?

at the bottom

buried under the sun

(written 26 november 2018)

leaving the castle by the lake

Equating home with family had always made sense to her before she had lived anywhere but this boreal country.  She knew with certainty that she was out of place here:  From her brash American-ness to her multi-ethnic appearance, no one could mistake that she was not of this land and never would be.  Curly black hair wild under her attempt at a hand-knit beanie, children still stared at her in unabashed wonder of her origin.  She had come here for her own children, but even though they could sponsor her residency, they could not make her any more acceptable in this place.

Nevertheless, she found a strange sense of peace in her bubble of otherness.  She was largely left alone, only spoken to when absolutely necessary, able to bask in her own thoughts during the quiet school days and nights when the children were asleep.  She filled the silence with songs and soliloquies or the quiet tapping of her fingers on the keyboard.  Soul food was different here, but nevertheless filled her belly with its bland richness.  Taking up a national hobby, she brushed off her needles and knit with abandon as if her creations would inspire admiration from anyone but herself.  One morning, she realized that she had dreamed in a language not her own, and thought:  Am I finally one of them?

She imagined what it would be like to go back from whence they came.  Things had changed:  Her homeland was a foreign country, more foreign than this place.  Her house had been renovated while she was gone.  Old landmarks and routines were no longer familiar.  Her driver’s license had expired long ago.  She could hardly remember street names or locations even though she had lived there for twelve years.  Shocking what absence could do.  For some, homesickness made the imprint of memories stronger.  She had never been homesick–her brand of sentimentality never allowed it.  All she had done was waved goodbye, let go, faced forward, and jumped head-first into a singular adventure of her own making.

Now in the kitchen, she peered through the blinds.  Much of her time here had been spent looking, staring, observing with intention.  She searched the evergreens in the distance, eyes stopping only once they lit upon her favorite building in the town.  In the summertime it was not visible; the foliage of cottonwood trees lining the back fence of the parking lot obscured the view.  But now, during the winter, the bare bones of the trees framed the castle with their phalanges.  It was tiny at this distance, even though she could reach it in fifteen minutes on foot if she left the apartment right now.  Its cone roof, slate grey against the sky.  Although she could not see it, she knew the lake, its face undisturbed, provided the perfect backdrop.  At night it was obsidian, reflecting the lights of the town.  In the long summer days it was wreathed with her favorite lupines in purple, pink and white.  The flowers and the lake were etched into her arm by a tattoo artist named Sanni.  The short-lived pain of carrying this special spot with her seemed a small price to pay.

She would miss this place. She felt a sadness that enveloped her entire being.  It was so powerful that she had to hold her breath to push it down.  She no longer knew where she belonged; too removed from her previous life, not enough invested in this one to plant herself firmly in a land of strangers who welcomed her as a curiosity.  There was no place that felt like home.  She wondered if there ever would be, and who she would have to become to find it.

(written 12 january 2018)

no. 107

did you think that i had disappeared?

oh my dearest,

in the off-chance you wondered at my absence

i am still here

somewhere between up and down, right and left

suspended in thought, preoccupied in stillness

but happily here, nonetheless

as you see,

my feet have come to light upon the ground

finally

i will try not to depart too soon

for our mutual liking, hoping that

you are still here

maybe returned from your own journey?

were you not dallying in the clouds?

making friends with the moon and stars?

seeking audience with the sun?

no, you say,

you were just waiting patiently for

my return.

written 5 november 2018

no. 105

friendship

when the universe was building its frame

knotting its warp, choosing its weft

amongst the threads i imagine

there were two, side by side

it split them apart, chuckling

these ones are too similar for the same path

and so they were placed in different piles

 

but somehow

while the universe was busy weaving

fate entered with its whimsy

the two threads were so long, variegated

these are compatible,  said fate, and twined them

foiling the universe’s plans to keep them parallel

they twisted and turned, and finally crossed

 

the universe did not notice

so that silken weave remained uninterrupted

even as the meeting of those errant threads charged an explosion

which rendered the cloth more intricately, infinitely beautiful

the stealthy secret that fate planted came to fruition

when we met on that preordained day and time

and became friends forever

(written 11 june 2018)

no. 104

i miss you already

it’s cliché, but i miss you already, even though I’ve not yet left

your eyes, blue skies, with their cloudy cataracts of nostalgia

the music of your voice, its alveolar trill and sibilance render me bereft

i have begun, preemptively, to pull away, embrace melancholia

 

the deep lakes of emotion that reside within your border

they fill my heart with longing though i may still bathe in their waves

i cannot escape this sadness hemming me inside of your wild order

the birches and tar pines of your arms afford me the embrace i crave

 

please console me, tell me i do not have to go so far away

that i mustn’t strip you from my soul in order to survive the pain of leaving

tell me you’ll always be here, unchanged, so that someday

i can return to your forests, your lakes, your streets, without grieving

 

but i know this is not possible and that is why my cheeks are wet

you’ll change and grow, you’ll move beyond me as you do

and so i’ll gaze upon your face glad i must not leave just yet

when i return i know my face will be unfamiliar to you too

 

more than 1000 nights i have slept in your cocoon

does that mean that you’ve become a part of my very essence

a scent that never leaves my skin

or will you slowly drift away, slip like silk from my memory

fade in the sunlight and misty rain of my new abode?

(written 3 june 2018)

it feels like an eon…

…dear readers, since i have posted anything here.

i have been bathed in a solitude among many

the quiet outside became a fertile garden for thoughts to sprout

at first, i was surprised to find the rootlets of positivity

and creativity taking hold, cognition watering them,

the sunshine of the mind warming them

and then i became accustomed to them,

realizing that the algae bloom of negativity

only thrives when outside voices become the

inner mantra of despair.

when does that begin?

left to nothing else but its own devices,

will a babe suckle at the teat of self-hatred

or choose the sweet milk of self-love?

take refuge in the quiet, i say

do not chant “om,” do not paint a garden’s image

let the mind wander at will to its own

ends, and eventually

(for some sooner than others)

the barren and scorched earth of depression

will give way to the oasis of optimism

all that is required is persistence

(written 8 august 2018)