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

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

Spider

Spider,
you tried to keep me afraid
but I met Ananse in Africa, and was

baptized in the silk of his tricks.
I learned to sweat out my anger
and not to kill what I feared;

your small spinner’s legs
are breakable too,
and I am no longer afraid of you.

©K Paige Medina 2 April 2017

A Time to Rest

I think it’s time I put to bed
the crawling things inside my head–
the tigers prowling in the night,
that gurgle waiting for a fight;
the dragons hissing in the seas
that spew half-truths sinisterly;
my poisoned sirens singing hate,
who love to drown and loathe to wait.
I’m made of monsters seething low
who strangle hope and cannot go
alone into their wicked nights,
so I must with them fly or fight.
A cursed gift to me they’ve been
weighty in their depths of sin;
yet mine alone to carry are
these monstrous, heavy, broken scars.

Yet light still shines its fragile beams
through unfilled cracks and weathered seams.
I cannot let these monsters go,
but may find peace in light’s halo
while sleep o’ertakes these devils mine
as daybreak crests its stubborn shine.

Not over yet, this fight I face,
but quieter in dawn’s embrace,
I too must rest from bitter pain
To wake, and then to fight again.

©K Paige Medina 31 March 2017


Watch the Video

Witch Children

In the dark you can see them,
smoldering in the muted light,
their elbows smudged in ashes from
too many close calls.
They are evasive like smugglers,
eyes somehow always upturned,
as if waiting for rain
or perhaps a rapture
which only they expect.

I have known them,
these demons,
these churlish half-goblins;
they have come to me bearing
the night of their presence.

I thought for a while they were
witch-children, scared as they were
of quiet and stillness,
carrying their thrumming wariness
in their clenched, bony hands.

We do not speak to each other in words,
but we know
there are things in the world which
all feel,
all hear,
but only some must see.

Our eyes have met, and
these spindly wolflings have
left me to return to the yellow
wallpaper of their invisibility.

But I wonder
if the words they don’t speak
are mere questions–
if they are not born of witches,
but rather of the fearful mediocre,
myself and others.
We left them alone,
to grow feral and hard,
so when they come they bring only
the wildness of longing
as gifts for their forebears.

They are not visitors,
rather masters;
could we have lived peacefully
had I just learned to love them?

©K Paige Medina 7 March 2017

The Last Few Days

Did I give up love
For this arranged marriage,
This stranger,
Cackling,
Broken,
Embracing me with her fear?
What, then, is love
If in the midnight throes of this
Strange body’s upset,
I suddenly feel myself discovered,
Bound up in a mistress
Who is myself
And my wife,
Who is not any of us?
This dark thing,
A creature of my own design,
Brought to life by the echo
Of my own discontent.
Villain of my own heart,
Harpy with my voice,
Must I love you?
Claw out my eyes and make me profess your beauty.
For I am but a soul adrift
In the vastness of your witchery and theft,
Beckoned, drowning,
Down
Into the hell of your heart.

The golden light of longing
In the dark of discontent
Has led my feet too many times
From the path for which they’re meant.
The call of something better
From beyond a wayward turn
Sets my heart to promises
And my restless feet to burn.
It’s the strange impossibility
Of hope beyond defeat
That keeps me walking forward
Towards mirages in the street.
You called yourself a prophet
But the harder task is still
To calm my heart to silence
Through sheer force of will.

Romantic though the thought may be
To wander on forever,
There never was a lonelier road
Than this, stretched, ending never.

It’s the fire knowing it is not the smoke.
It’s like all the yeses in the world saying no.
It’s being all alone at night
And saying this is still alright,
That’s called home.

We’re just shadows of ourselves, darling.
We sit and stare at the beginnings of ourselves.
And when we look into the sky
And we’re only asking why
When we’re waiting for the answers
Then we’re home.

It’s like watching the rain
And seeing oceans.
It’s like when we laugh and all we hear are tears.
All the patience that we’ve given,
All the faults that we’ve forgiven,
Are we moving toward the end
Or are we home?

Don’t tell yourself you’ve never been in love.
Don’t wait because it’s never been enough.
When you’re wishing for a dream
That never asks for being seen,
If you’re looking for yourself,
You look for home.

©7/15/2016 K Paige Medina

A Heart of Water

I hold a heart of water
In the caverns of my chest,
Whose beating waves keep lapping;
Who never stops to rest.
Its coolness tells a story of
Both depth and bitter pain;
Of sinking into passions that
One heart cannot maintain.
This heart I hold is far too wet
To stand all on its own,
But far too changeful, regrettably,
To be another’s home.
It moves in tides and shimmers still,
A lovely siren’s heart,
That sings through night tides wistfully,
“Oh, let us never part.”
But in the morning it is plain
This heart is now too shallow,
For love cannot find purchase here;
The pools are all too fallow.
The lover, disappointed, leaves,
Feeling restless and betrayed,
Impatient for a calmer heart,
Whose songs are quieter played.

But this heart of water bears the pain
Of each unfettered guest
And each new song sings more deeply
Of regret than all the rest.
So if you find yourself adrift
In this heart’s stormy seas,
Merely listen to the songs of love
And do not fear the breeze.

©K Paige Medina 7/10/2016

Poison

It’s the poison smell of morning
In the hinterland of night
When my eyes are shot with spears
By the promise of daylight.
Will I ever dream of winter
Without feeling so alone?
Can I brave the heights of mountains
Without thinking once of home?

It’s the sharpened chill of wood
Edging deep into my heart
Like the words chained to my spirit,
“Let us never be apart.”

©Kaitlyn Medina [6/22/16]