Friday, July 15, 2011

the math of us (stages of grief)

the math of us (stages of grief)

Two hands clap and there is a sound. What is the sound of one hand?

eager sprites stole these flints
chiseled into pomes to sing and dance
with tambourines, banjos, and castanets

weaving through the forests
beyond the sight and ears
of humans dull and distracted


me plus you equals too much for you
spent and hardened like a diamond
marionette unstuffed and clipped free

us minus you equals a tongue silenced and tasteless
eyes blinded and crossed
fingertips scalded by your lips

i cannot hear myself think inside
the din of this empty room

i find myself circling stores at the mall looking
for a perfume counter and golden bottles of Chanel

i can barely carry these recollections
that have propagated against my skull

minus equals multiplication


i am not an artist
although i created this

the absence where you are not
driven to emptiness and gone

my paint-by-numbers disaster
razing Cain against the possibility of us

and no matter how i figure against this
it simply does not add up


we watched Bubba Ho-Tep
because you had watched it alone

together the watching was not adding me
us there together watching was exponential

you lay with your head in my lap
tired from a day of work

and for just a moment your hand
found my knee and rubbed the cap gently

and this comes rushing back to me
day after day after day after day

the memory piling one on the same
each time recalled and re-lived

wide-eyed and heavy i stare at each day
looking for something to remember

something i can count on


was it lies
the hiding
the masks
and dodging

that killed us
that killed it
for you at last
pent up inside?

or was the lie
the hidden
the masking
and dodging

that we (i trusted)
that it (i believed)
was never there
at all for you?

and now this awful
question builds inside
me cast aside remainder
outlier parenthetical

embarrassed doubting
fearing your eyes
and answers hidden
like papier-mâché


i scroll through pictures of you
and realize you are never looking

at me

someone else behind the camera
your eyes turned down or looking away

or pictures from you
there behind the camera

this beach where you live
with footprints and a gray-blue ocean


i never calculated on this

you i did not anticipate
you i did not recognize

peace and happiness could not blossom
under the shadow of my burdensome love

addition by subtraction

a formula i cannot handle
fingers stiff against such cross tabulations



a house of stone
with marble countertops
and granite tile

rock gardens shaped like talismans
to conjure faeries heavy as bricks
crunching like gravel as you drive away



my lips pressed inhaling
against the inside of your wrist

your pulse there
metronome of my heart


i am now calculating
how to trace this paradox

drawing thick black lines
around the outer edge

contradictions added together
the sum of us in negative silhouette



solving proofs
of marriage soulmates
and star-crossed lovers


the irony of trying to express nothing
the space where that who once was is no longer

a word there to say she can no longer
the goodbye she never uttered

like feeling the rain in the air
after the storm has passed


this ring around the finger gone

these human tales
become faerie songs

because my hubris
is a wicked thing

among the disasters i am
the common denominator

trust me
i have done the math

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