Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cold Comfort

I had a lit jar
and I told the Winter, lying through my teeth,
that the incandescence was your heart--
or, at least, the spirit, or true intent, of your heart--
and that you had taken on a glass body
so that your biographer
could fingerprint your lovers
and make them, one day, over pastries in the afternoon,
admit their love
or their indifference.

What a fool the Winter was,
with a cardboard suitcase
and a phrase book that had been meddled with.
Smooth and obsequious as a maitre'd,
I ushered it into my jar
which held light, not from the desire of your heart,
or even the leavings, or the still-warm slag from your heart,
but from fire
and so many moths in their yellow-gold tunics--
temporary, and
deceivingly bright.

Now, here you are,
not the way you were--
not the way I imagined you--
but giddy
and cavalier,
lacking only one tiny strand of a particular brand of devotion;

I cannot deny you--
my arm outstretched like a caution bar at The Holy Railroad Crossing,
I offer you the Winter.
I have it in my palm, cheek by jowl with a long green stem,
sleekly thorny,
which might have ended in a rose.
_________

13 comments:

hedgewitch said...

I've read this three times, and each time something different leaps up from the mosaic, some phrasing, some twilight image glowing like the moon wrapped in fog.The complex weft of descriptions of the Other, the knowledge that is scraped from the raw edges of the heart, is almost too intense to bear, if not for the sad sweetness of the closing...no, "not the way you were--
not the way I imagined you..."

somehow they never are. Beautiful, authentic work, Shay, and...real poetry.

Grandmother said...

This is astounding, Shay, a primer on writing poetry while not trying to be. The things we do in love, lying to ourselves and others about our lover, then disdaining them when fooled. I love the description of fireflies as moths in their yellow-gold tunics. They've never been described that way before. Also,your line your arm outstretched like a caution bar at the Holy Railroad Crossing with its faint religious hints that nails the experience of what we do. You offer winter in your palm. You offer us your light and we understand more about this tricky love thing. Extraordinary. Gorgeous.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

"Lacking only one tiny strand of a particular brand of devotion".....what a remarkable poem this is, it speaks straight to the reader's heart. And it ends the way love so often does - "which might have ended in a rose". Wow.

HermanTurnip said...

Very nice!

Reminds me of the time when I was a child and I caught spider in a jar. As far as spiders go, it was quite beautiful; pure white body with a nice pattern of back dots on it's abdomen. I had never seen one before or since. After a couple of days I let it go.

Geez...it's funny what sticks with you...

jasmine said...

This is really heartbreaking. It must have gutted you to write this. It drips of your rawest pain, ache, and longing.

So here's how I read it: Winter is the deepest part of yourself, the part of your soul that is the very truest you at its core. But it's also the part that feels pain the deepest, the part that is broken and inconsolably hurting. The girl you're speaking to has broken your heart---your "Winter" pieces. And you're trying to convince yourself, explain to yourself the "truth" of the matter---make it all feel okay, heal yourself to some degree. But the Winter part of your isn't believing, isn't able to be consoled. So she has to go inside, deep inside you (inside the glass candle jar) to hide, to warm up, and to heal. You are your outer self wrapping around your inner self to protect her.

And this girl you love, she loves you, she gives to you, but not in a committed enough way, not every single strand of her being---physical, spiritual, emotional, mental. Something is held back---the strand you want more than anything in the world. That is what you cannot have. And it's killing you. But you cannot walk away from her. You must have her in any capacity possible, even if it destroys you for all of eternity. So while you stretch out your arms, you are both reaching for her and trying to protect yourself from her.

The ending is the most painful to read. You know exactly how beautiful the blooming could be if you could only have that last "strand" of her, the water, the sunlight, the soil---if you could both fully nurture your relationship, the rose would be unmatched by any other. But you cannot, and so you are left holding your broken, shivering self in your own hands---a stem with no petals.

jasmine said...

I had a lit jar" I like that this could also be a "literature" jar.

I love this section:
"you had taken on a glass body
so that your biographer
could fingerprint your lovers
and make them, one day, over pastries in the afternoon,
admit their love
or their indifference"

And this:
"What a fool the Winter was,
with a cardboard suitcase
and a phrase book that had been meddled with"

And this:
"lacking only one tiny strand of a particular brand of devotion" It makes me think of a strand of hair as well---I'm picturing you plucking out that last hair needed in order to cast a spell on her. ;) But I'm probably just still on voodoo from the other day.

"I offer you the Winter" The poem hinges on this. That after everything that's happen, you still have only one option---to offer her everything. Every strand of yourself, even if she can't/won't do the same. And even though you know that rose isn't coming, you can't help but hope it may.

That ending is killer. Just gorgeous and dripping with thorn-pricked fingers' blood.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Sigh-- That is incredible. Beautiful, heart-felt writing.
I'm blown away.
xo jj

myheartslovesongs.com said...

this is my new favorite of yours, SP!

{must've been wearing that damn cowgirl hat... when do you go back to work? tomorrow? Friday?}

Lolamouse said...

"my arm outstretched like a caution bar at The Holy Railroad Crossing," -What a fantastically descriptive and symbolic image! If I didn't love you so much, I'd hate you for being so good!

As for Catblossom, how about I wrap the fish around my big, stinky poem?!

Shadow said...

...from the heart, i'd guess.

nene said...

Oh, mi amiga, if but just for a moment you would let me hold this jar filled with fireflies, I would cherish the memory.

When will you open the lid to let them out and fly free again?

Kerry O'Connor said...

...could fingerprint your lovers
and make them...
admit their love
or their indifference.

I want to learn how to do this.

I also want to learn how to write with ice and fire in words to score the heart as you do...

Mama Zen said...

Oh, that closing line!