Waking

I wake alone in foggy lands,
untouched anew by lonely hands,
and whisper into earless nights
the secrets of my fitful geist–

(and speaking now with wand’ring tongues
from unfamiliar depths have sprung
these fathomless and foreign springs
that breathe their mists o’er ev’rything)

–and back they hiss in slyer tones,
to sleep and not to wish for home,
for home is but a distant Waking–
an upheaval of thund’rous shaking–
and lonesomeness, like starry skies,
is full to bursting with goodbyes.

Heady silence strangles thoughts
and twists my dreams all into knots
but when dawn breaks I shield my head
from the shattering of words unsaid–

(spiderwebs burdened with morning’s tears–
but mornings catch whispers and expose them as fears)

–and steel myself for the Waking hour
when silence holds a different power.

 

©K Paige Medina 09 October 2017

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Medusa in a Mirror

Female anger sanitized by a male expression
The undulating danger of the monstrous made feminine,
Medusa in a mirror,
The gorgon in the blood,
The nefarious banal,
The shimmering echo of the demon in the throat,
Choked once more into sobriety
By Adam—
Giver of Names,
Arbiter of Shame,
Blameless Judas,
Are you still the only one who can tame
The witch in the woman,
Bottle the marid,
Set fire to the madwoman’s ghost,
And tell her to sit still?

That lick of insolence when you take a woman’s anger into your mouth –
Speaking a spell you don’t believe in –
Boy of flesh,
You have never understood the femininity of ragnarok
But I have.

Beneath the half-lit gas lamps of living in your world,
I, Woman, have bound myself to what is true,
Learning to distrust the light,
I have welcomed only stars, only moon,

Only the way my own eyes glint in mirrors,
When, once again,
You have come for my head.

 

©K Paige Medina 15 September 2017

Glass

Could once it have been perfect,
a moment yet to spend,
astride a sleeping, peaceful hill,
unfamiliar still with ends?
Is ignorance so peaceful,
that storms must stay so far away
that even unperturbed tranquility
should these flimsy hearts assay?

I have not long been walking here,
though fond yet have I found
the world of pain and calumny,
and hearts too often flayed and ground.
Is it blissful then to sit alone,
untouched by loss or love,
and still to breathe, though fearfully,
lest one from this gentle perch be shoved,

And tumble down to rougher scapes, where fire and fury find
as plentiful a purchase as in calmer, simpler minds.

 

©K Paige Medina 26 August 2017

Tío

for Uncle Jorden 

I never thought I feared death.
But I feel its presence in the way I can feel the soles of my feet
rise up into my stomach
when I look at the scaffolding outside my window;
the pain I can feel churning my insides into typhoon seas
when I see bloodied fingertips,
cuticles cracking,
skinned knees.

I always thought death would be
like a large room full of empty rooms,
the hollowness of wooden floors,
large and cavernous doorways beckoning slow movements,
a wandering, bare foot —
a place where billowing things were kept,
a place that, the closer it came to night, the more oppressive the emptiness became —
all the rooms suffocating in the staunchness of their silence,
unwhispered secrets stealing the whimsy out of curtains,
dipping white sheets into starch,

eternity kept like a madwoman in the attic.

I pictured it quiet that way,
but I forgot about the fire that kind of silence threatens.
Perhaps death cannot be so silent.

Perhaps it must be let out,

consuming air like water, like earth, like
the oblivion of city nights in the summertime.

Perhaps death is like August,
when empty rooms still trap heat in their ceilings,
when memories become cacophonous,
rattling their unwelcome spirits through the narrowing corridors,
never to be let out.

Will you tell me
when I see you again
if I was right?

 

Perhaps it is not right to ask,
when the silence of many years stretches still between us,
but I have only ever asked things from you
when it was too late to ask,
and you have only ever given me
the sunbleached memories of
tumbleweeds
and turtles,

the tenuous and safe way a child remembers
stories she heard from happy relatives who,
drunk and falling asleep beneath the warmth of Christmas lights,
could only laugh,
only clutch with their sleepy lungs
at air that would eventually calcify into
the fondness of imperfect memory.

I wish I knew you since.

I wish I could hear your voice now,
telling me perhaps not to be so sentimental.
Telling me perhaps that I was right —
that death is not so frightening as living.

Don’t say to me that

the reason I didn’t fear death was because
I didn’t expect it to come for someone else.

 

©K Paige Medina 04 August 2017

Stone

I dreamed once of a little child
Whose name was that of stone,
And for all I’ve ever felt alive
That child has felt alone.
We’ve wandered long, two specters twinned
Up to the gates of hell,
But for all our silent, ghostly looks,
I could never really tell
If that child followed in my wake,
A lonely phantom saint,
Or whether it was I who trailed,
Sullen, bruised,
likely to faint.

I get the feeling he has walked
Much farther yet than I,
Yet wander on I know he must —
Little longing yet to die.
So let us go then he and I
Into that depth of place
That stops as suddenly as a fall
In his ghastly childish face.

©K Paige Medina 28 June 2017

Oil

I want to be the man who rescues the dogs of the desert,
but I am not.
I am the desert, rustling drily beneath an unforgiving sun,
that I also am,
punisher of cracked seeds, the beating heat of a purgatory
I cultivated for myself.
But I am also the dogs, running, tumbling,
children trapped in the spiny grasp of an unkind world,
but the world is me
and I am dry
and I am sweat
and I am asphyxiating on the calcified fossils of unsaid words
dipped, acidic, into poisons I feed myself,
where the roots of my soul cling desperately to
aquifers full of toxic, molten, gangrene sunlight.
Tarantino sunlight.
The sunlight that brings death in a bride–
a poached kind of brightness that
bleaches in nuclear fallout the bones of dogs
unrescued.
I want to be that beautiful savior,
but I am the unsaved and the desert,
bearing yellow teeth,
oozing with the oil slick hatred that grows,
abundant
in the dry, buzzard air.

©K Paige Medina 25 May 2017

Cursed

I am cursed.

A doomed and unbeautiful creature, eyes and heart perpetually skyward, I have the curse of poets, the disease of Romanticism, seeing beauty in the ugliness and awkwardness and messiness of life.

Oh, do not say it is a curse.

The curse, then, of the unskilled poet – the off-key bard thrumming unwelcome odes to the sound of an incomplete melody,

A sawed-off kind of poetry,

A flea market poetry,

The poetry of gnats and electronics,

 

That which, once heard, cannot be silenced.

 

©K Paige Medina 10 May 2017

Poesy

Mosaic world,
Thief of my temperance,
Drifting sorcerer of the windswept
Places of my heart,
Return your cobbled, lighted being
Once more to my side.
Fill again these intimate cracks,
The fingers unruly around glass bottles,
Grasping like a child
In that uncareful way
At the delicate truths which live,
Which die,
In the small spaces of a morning.

Gilded mystery,
Breathe anew the unlit stories
Of the thousand whispered words you have
So generously,
So cruelly,
Bequeathed me.

Am I so different from
Those wiser poets, eyes of stars,
Mouths agape in the moment of ecstasy,
When time breached through the cool water of night
Another sunsplit morning?
Have I not the same breathless spirit encountered,
When, happening to look up from weary life,
I have been struck by a momentary lapse of presence
And been transported back
Back
Through sublimity, to that moment when all things
All poets
Speak the same language?

©K Paige Medina 09 May 2017

Unsnuffed

There is an element of sparkle
In the sputtering of flames;
In the moment of extinguishing
Fire yet spits forth her names,
Affirming in the moments when
Ceasing seems most true
The lightness of her being before
Life’s final adieu.
And I guess that’s how it feels
In the company of night
When I’m drowning in my failure
And something deep within me lights
And burns an angry rebel spark
That glitters into being
The forgotten words of truth that
Send my fears and regrets fleeing,
And for a moment yet I’m strong
And whole and ready for one more,
Alit within with stubborn sparks still
Glowing in my core.

©K Paige Medina 25 April 2017

Before Rain

What is it about cloudy springtimes that prophesy some
tenuous complicity,
some unpardoned infliction?
Perhaps it is the flowers,
blooming silently in their waxy delicacy,
peering with expectation
at the watery gray delight of sky-borne promises.
Is it rather crows,
roaming the spaces between sky and earth,
calling primal, undignified,
the ugliness of their songs
like water filling porous rocks–
an erosion of sound,
an inkblot on the wind?

Is it trees, leafy, burdened with
green and bustling purpose,
fluttering noisily in northern breezes
and then, just before dusk,
are ominously,
expectantly,
silent?

 

Is it the nearness of faces,
awash in the crispness of gray light and thunder
yet unspoken,
bundled to eyes in black clothes,
walking hurriedly,
conspicuous eyes made of a curious haste,
darting every so often
toward the clouds?

©K Paige Medina 19 April 2017