It is not the same as being limited
by loneliness, these feelings of broken fidelity,
abandonment. It is not enough to germinate
in this grief, pleading for a picture
of better times, appealing to
memory, sentiment, knowing
I could be wrong.
Those days, married
to your insatiable outpourings, ecstasy
just to listen, to share our minds - walking
on streetcar tracks at 4 a.m. and never sleeping.
I carried you like a book, wilting always in life, but never
when mingled with your stature. Between us,
nothing was spoiled, not soft either.
I was delivered by your high forehead and
by your crazed emotions. I was celebrating.
If it was only
paper flowers, a painted-on sunrise or
imagined completeness, in that time, I was
devoured by my own individuality, stripped
of my conditioning, a person to reckon with, lean on -
whole. I was so much better than I am here, as I am
salvaging a heartbeat from habit, marked by a used-up destiny,
just me with these crippled hands, bare feet, no mentor
to merge with, nothing
One small awakening to accept
acceptance - a lethargic arm on my shoulder
weighing down. Air that is security has never been my ocean.
I have never been able to trigger kinships in a field of sunlight. No light
has more volume.
I am content in places where my imagination can reign,
where definition is arbitrary, redundant, and not very useful.
I tried to love you, dive into your trachea, show
you the substance that enriches my cells. But we have
different vocations: I make windows. And you stand outside
with your scales of distraction, participating, socially at ease.
You have grown tall, wedded as you are
to the world’s expectations.
What once was lean, marvelously eccentric,
has become typical, robust
as an animated ideal.
You gave up your awkward insecurities, replaced them
with suave affection and loveless sex. You are not warm,
though you feign warmth. You know how to act -
teeth set in alignment, and your apparel - clean of cat hairs,
with the appropriate amount of ingenuity,
just enough to generate interest but not alarm.
Old people are getting older and dying,
they can hardly believe
it has come down to this. They lose their lovers,
have appendages aching with weakness - fingers
that cannot move on cue to stroke a cheek,
fingers that want to flesh out, plump up,
become tantalizing again.
I have taken you with my fingers,
awakening the soft space between
your naval and groin. I have laid across,
massaged every ounce of need
into the vulnerable region separating your hipbones.
And I would go further.
But you have no natural shade,
and it is too exhausting to keep toting around your wares.
You supplied me with inspiration. The postage is paid.
I must move closer to the edge of the road for you.
I must make room,
walk past, surpass, enter
my Rosewood red front door, without.
You Would Not Have Me
I would have taken the whole of you
in one hand, guiding you
through the pressured caverns of
a multi-layered release, and not let go
until your anguish was exposed and then relieved.
But you would not have me,
immune to my inferno and my skin
electrified with desire
for you to hold me, tuning out a rhythm on
my clustered nerves. You would not have me,
not slice such intensity with your tongue, not offer ease,
just a little ease, to my rising frenzy. And you,
stoically contained, flirting with a superficial smile
and with those blind to your tall form. I could have
freed you into the depths
where ugly things wake to a surprising beauty,
glowing with rapture, like a last breath
before surrender. You could have
Allison Grayhurst is a full member of the League of Canadian Poets. She has over 370 poems published in more than 190 international journals and anthologies. Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers in 1995. Since then she has published ten other books of poetry and four collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing. Prior to the publication of Somewhere Falling she had a poetry book published, Common Dream, and four chapbooks published by The Plowman. Her poetry chapbook The River is Blind was published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press December 2012. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com