Filter the impulse,
pulse a hummingbird
flickering paper wings beneath
thin papyrus skin–
a battle of breaths
you can’t hope to win
when hearts crack like drywall
and dry veins cave in
to old habits.
Resist the dreaming,
a scheming resolution
absolving no one–
the deep dark
seeds and breeds jealous,
an ulcer of want-tos but never-cans
broiling, roiling, coiling like chains
to choke you up and drag you down.
Skip over the moment
you bend, give in–
there’s a life sentence found
in debating fail safes and stalemates,
a stagnant soul mating
the ghosts of burned bridges
like an impasse is over an in instant.
In this moment,
your heart is sparking
and the flames are catching fast.
–Copyright Elizabeth Mathis, February 2016–
this story could be about divorce,
but you are not a ghost, not yet.
you asked me what poets were–
it is the middle of the night
and there is a cheap hotel room
i cannot fathom myself into.
i smoked my first cigarette
the first time i saw you naked,
your lonely colors carved into arcs;
now, my hands are brittle
and your back is an expanse
i will write about
a year from here
where it wears thin
because poetry is for the birds
and i am not made to lead revolutions.
twenty one and imprinted,
i have learned to grovel.
—copyright Elizabeth Mathis, September 2014—
—This is a first line poem originally posted on my deviantart: http://betwixtthepages.deviantart.com/art/blackbird-poets-481211390 —
(for Mel — hopeburnsblue )
Hope, burning, blew
like driftwood across white beaches
as sunrise breached
the distant horizon line.
Life driftwood on white beaches,
sand sullied calm dreams.
The distant horizon line,
turbulent, wailed a mourning.
Sand sullied calm dreams
like a burden we couldn’t shake.
Turbulent, wailing a mourning,
we loosed wishes to the sea.
Like a burden we couldn’t shake,
sunrise breached as
we loosed wishes to the sea:
hope burning blue.
–Copyright Elizabeth Mathis ; Nov 2015–
a red velvet champagne
when we wake naked
beneath caramel sheets
haunted by bad habits
her kiss is secret-heavy,
an iron hope lingering
as morning salts
over the ghosts of porcelain remembers,
((fool-ferocious and fevered))
slip joy out the window
and return to her embrace
–Copyright Elizabeth Mathis, October 2015–
the ocean is quilted with goodbyes,
a patchwork trove of heart death
breathless and beat lost
lungs rip in the breakwater,
breaks creak in the cracked masts
of stair stepper spines
because the strength you siphoned
from dead haunts and graveyard poets
left warped handholds
and treachery in the falling:
a host of hesitant admittances
you refuse to put your name to
instead, you bask in anonymity
Lucky Laura from Classic Lit
will take the strappy heels you slipped
beneath the fringe of two-ply sheets
home with her, leaving antique heart rust flakes
tucked like treasure payment
into half-empty Advil bottles
it was a swap and shift, a bliss inconsistent
in its reverent impotence–
years from this moment,
you’ll lick your lips after champagne
and swallow the whispers of his name
he was never more than saltwater
in all your open wounds
you’ll never break the same