7.10.13

Beginnings

Beginnings


Memory’s child, forced to hopeless obliviation long before
a chance for clarity, sense of agency,
for a self to determine.
Undermined.
Violation, violent broken boundaries;
a monster fearsome,
because grotesque beyond comfort.
A twisted face to pin on evil tales, to
spit out sobbing poisons, paint  in shades
concealing
lies that harden into revelations,
legends, the stuff of nightmares
and deflected shame.
A child wants the safety of hearth and tribe,
of happy fairytales, everybody well fed and
tucked to bed, caressed in love that hugs away
the slavering beast.
A child wants, a busy mother wants,
a charming serpent, cowering servant, honest merchant
wants. Voice of sympathy, soothing harmony,
innocent pleasure.

Sing for your supper; patrons toss coins to amuse,
rapacious, their cultured appetites.
A darkened Church (candles saved for opulent ritual
-- none may steal this God’s fire), blood bond, sacrifice.
Taste of copper and iron.
We are of the Earth, Her mighty Sun, of
tides and moonbeams and molten seas.
Not love --
chemistry, explosions, immortal fire.

I have wandered, blundered forth as a leaf in the wind,
as a pebble scoured by erratic waves, as
a child of Man loosened from mortality.
If there are stories I could tell my mind
to feel safety in dreaming, to feel
a possibility of home,
I have yet to find them.
Still, I listen for a voice to believe, for a song
that might feel like hope,
or finality.

Lore

Lore


Before he grew bored with me, abandoned me to the street, my sire often enjoyed
imparting useful lore.  He warned me, in grave detail, of sunlight, wooden stakes,
decapitation and fire.  He bragged, repeatedly and with dramatic demonstration,
of the wonders of strength, teleportation, imperviousness to weather, immortality.
He took me around, taught me to kill so delicately, surreptitiously,
cleaning up my crime meticulously – always considerate of a society that
did not want or need to know that other worlds than what they agree to
go on with theirs, on these common streets and wilderness.
I have no reason to doubt my education.  I continue it, learning
from experience in how to get on.
In a world where so many brazenly demand attention,
I am aware to refrain from encouraging observation.
I have nothing not to hide.

Disposal


Disposal


I know the world of whores, tired and dreary, though far from my dreadful habitation.
Prowling men, hunters of prey for a different hunger, a fantasy of the loins
that consumes some like a kind of desperation, or so they seem.
They mistake me for prey.
Something in my stature, fa├žade of innocence, aloneness, attracts.
There are warm, dark, furtive rooms in the offing, cash, an easy mark in privacy.
We are safely locked inside his hideaway.
So simple to jump and take hold, my legs around his waist, my arms holding him close,
to give a little love bite of anticipation.  Small, sharp, needlelike, I penetrate.
He falls into a swoon, into unknowing sleep.
Perhaps we are both satisfied, for now.
But before sunrise I must attend to disposal.
Burning would evidence too much stench, as would leaving the remains to rot.
He has a strong, sharp knife for defense on a leg-sheathe.
Obviously, he had believed no need to be readily armed against me, fooled by
my slight form, unaware of supernatural strength.
That strength, his knife, operating in his bathroom tub to contain bloodless gore.
I wrap the hunks in random paper, rags torn from his clothing.
Before I can rest, relax in this subterfuge won temporary sanctuary, I dispose of the trash.
I find an appropriate travel bag among his belongings.
I find his key and cash.
Fed and flush, I go out to the emptiness of darkest before dawn to distribute free meals.
I scatter fresh flesh bounty in places I have found favored by nature’s scavengers while
hidden to the human eye.
Back to claim my prize, inside before sunlight, I feel a kind of freedom.  The kind that
haunted creatures feel alone with our ghosts.
I don’t sleep; but I curl beneath the bedclothes and indulge my dreams.

Name

Name


So almost prophetic that my (once) legal initials, spelled
appropriately to their sound, make a common name
that also boldly proclaims:
“The lie”.
But, who is lying?
Does keeping silent to hide an undesirable truth
equate to a lie?
A lie to whom?
No one listens.  They assume.
If their assumptions are untrue,
most likely they will viciously attack a messenger
who disagrees with their practiced views.
Who is lying to whom?
We are comrades in untruths.
Why spoil a beautiful equation
with uncomfortable proofs?

Trade

Trade


A young man approaches.  He is different from the others, more alive, more alert, aware.
He offers that he has seen me, been watching, desires a closer acquaintance.
He has taken an interest, become taken with an inspiration, an intuition
that we may share intimacies, may have a joining of paths to negotiate.

We walk along the river, out of public eye in the darkness.
He proposes a business partnership, pimp and prostitute with a twist.
He will provide a discreet address, a living space and place of trade
where he can bring customers who will not be missed.
We will share in what valuables these clients provide.
I will have privacy, daylight seclusion, certainty of living blood.
He will be the face that public sees for financial arrangements.

One last, most essential term of contract, he insists.
“Not now, not for a very long time, but when the time comes,
you will turn me.  You will promise me immortality; and
I will be your loyal friend for life.”

We do not sign a legal bond in ink nor blood.  We vow,
each aware of how easily the other could betray and
destroy us.

Peter

Peter


Fox-like face, hard brown eyes with a sparkle like gemstones, this young man barely past adolescence, designated Peter, he tells me.
A rock eroded and chipped in various encounters.  Born of stones crashing together through stormy nights.
He flings out random stories, volumes, as if my presence is promise of attentive audience.
I am at least a captive audience while daylight is my prison guard.
In truth, his entertainment is not unwelcome.
A cold and haughty wind blows outside.  I hear it’s rumble against our richly draped windows.
Peter’s voice is harsh, not cold.  Too raspy to carry strong emotion.  Minimalist images pour from his lips.
Long past capacity for shock, I am not bored but surprised by the thoughts that stream along with his stories
in my mind.  Human tragi-comedies.  Why so cruel?  Why so dismal?  Why is violence so desirable?
Is life so driven by death that homicide is the ultimate sacrament?
Or is that merely one expression of a rite of suffering, of gratuitous pain shared out?
That dark glint of well-banked suffering suffuses his gemstone eyes as he brags, as he blusters.
“They knew who I was.  They knew to be afraid.”
He has forgotten his audience.  He is playing to the crowd of his memories.
In this darkened theater, I listen to boy and wind against the backdrop of all those other days.

Stone

Stone


Smart to know what matters is
how you look to those around you.
The way to get by is to appear to be strong.
Belligerence is just part of the make-up
‘Til you don’t wake up from what’s gone wrong.


He accepted the command to obey, even as it was destroying him.
He believed he owed an oath of fealty to those who enjoyed
to those whom employed him.
Mother said:
“Your father? He is dead.”
Those men in her bed
were only a means to an end.
No one to defend him.
He must mend his ruly ways.
He must pretend to be
unruly and unfazed
absolutely unafraid.
What rage so gestates over years?
Weakened age outpaces death
among his fears.
If fate would just be a dear
she might relinquish him from either.
Laugh devilishly.
Fate is not kind.  She is a jokester.
Some folks well deserve their joke.
Some just come along
for the ride.

Hunger

Hunger


Not like this, raw compulsion,
this pit of growling lust.
Feral, the smell, copper and iron,
medicinal charge to heal the wounds
of eternal damnation.
Red stains. No rule or discipline can cage
unending need for living blood.

So gleefully he warmed, promised flowing,
an existential thrill well beyond what paltry
passion could indulge.
Far too late to protest or argue,
here where existence is throes of sick
insistence.  Far beyond reach of a
coherent self to control or resist.
Hunger
unformed
unadorned
Instinct.
A passion play, my Lords and Ladies
vicariously feast, aglow in rapture of greed,
the raucous laughter of power.
A salacious toy for hideous sport.

What matters, all that is real, is night
blood and sacrifice to gods of cruel command.
Unbound by penance or shame.
Hot energy flows.
My only ability is to feed.

Mirror

Mirror


I go to her window.

I have seen her on the street,
much later than is proper for a child.
She is lonely.
She plays at imaginary friends
with prowling cats who enjoy a momentary acquaintance,
with solemn structures
of stone and brick sporting colorful postings that promise excitement.
Often she hums bright little tunes;
her body gracefully accentuates.
She is beauty of a fading kind.
Soon she will understand
the world she yearns to find beyond these squalid barriers
cannot be found.
I want to save her that.

I want such a beautiful companion.
She is lonely.
I have become loneliness itself.
This is a different kind of yearning need.

It’s not sex.
I have no such desire.
That possibility was cut out of me so long ago,
never to be known.

It is a need to give, to be part of, to have a reason to respond,
a reason to feel other than bad.
So how can I take her?
How can I offer my suffering, my damnation
as a gift of friendship?

She will grow into a common whore, bitter and sweet,
creature of the street and the night.

Perhaps we’ll find each other there in time,
for the briefest time,
a moment.

Churches

Churches


These myths about crosses, holy water, Christian artifacts, are in some sense amusing.
Such short-sighted arrogance these Christians expose.
Our kind greatly predate The Christ.
I have been told that some still walk who worshipped at the feet of our dark Lord’s bride.
Persephone, when she toured this world would take succor from such acolytes
in Her secret night rites.
Children of e God of Death and Transformation, we are born in intimate blood ritual.
We are damned with immortality to experience Hades on Earth.

Addiction

Addiction


I have learned to be self-sufficient.
Nothing is reliable, not even fate.
The world changes, and changes again.
Don’t expect.  Take what comes.
All the pleasures?
All the unexpected gifts?
The hard part is getting through the time, the days,
but also the nights.
I read, and think about different kinds of lives,
how it might be if, if, if ...
Very well, if you know that it’s a story, played out for fun.
What great fun, fantasies hidden from day life,
alone because I am too different to blend.
What entertainment could thrill enough,
capture this old, toughened heart?
Fun I neither seek nor enjoy.
I look for some way to make it all go away,
to escape, to imagine.
In that image, to dance on a pin of light,
soft green light.
Music is the air.  Building in and out of crescendo,
taking flight like a falcon, carrying imagined me.
I am free in the only real sense of freedom.
I have no boundaries.
I am what the mystics call Bliss.
This is so rare, so much a blessing,
it most certainly cannot be relied upon,
can not be expected.
Mostly, I stink, am bruised and sore.
Mostly the air is filled with disease
that can’t kill me, but does not mean me well.
Mostly my thoughts are dark, self-loathing,
but not nearly as much as I loathe this world,
even as it changes.
The changes rarely seem to be for the better
of anyone, not for long.
The long view is mostly full of rot, mildew,
the stench of age and illness.
The will to go on becomes more of a habit,
an addiction.
The only cure for addiction is something better
to believe in.

Discretion

Discretion


He knows to be discreet.
It is his main stock in trade, and probably why he has not yet been killed.
I am not considered a risk, considering my own stake in secrecy.
Peter brags he is finding a good share of our clients by offering
a pest removal (no questions asked) service.
His finds are not only men who will not be missed,
but men whose absence is desired enough to pay well.
I am concerned that our home may become associated with foul play.
He assures me.
He knows to be discreet.
No one will be privy to our location who will be in any position to tell.
Considering how I have lived, how I continue to live,
I have no room to make moral judgments.
The law of life is that we become predator or prey to other life.
Hunger is what forces us to reach out into the world.
Peter hungers for money, for the security he believes it represents,
and for the thrill of the hunt.
I feel no thrill in hunting, in killing.
My hunger is for the basic energy that I require
to hunt, to kill,  feed, to feel the blood reinvigorate.
It is simple, this life, thought not easy.
If life were meant to be easy, we would not need.

Travel

Travel


There’s always the chink in the armor, the catch in the plan.
From his garbled mid-flight explanation, some business associate
with legal complications settled an old score and got leverage
by suggesting a better target, who turned out to be Peter.
Sophisticated surveillance has brought jeopardy to our home.
We must flee.
Peter has appropriated a car.  He lifts me into the trunk
along with a valise full of cash and a garment bag
full of personal belongings – his, not mine.
I travel as I am.
But why am I traveling now, in this mobile container?
I am carried, not by my own power, into a new life.
Though this anonymous road is not the river of the dead,
I am ferried into novelty, unknown territory, a kind of transformation.
And why should Peter carry me?
I am his ace in the hole to immortality.
Perhaps he also feels that we are in this adventure together,
a team of convenience but also camaraderie.
Or maybe, like the cash and belongings, I am something
of value he has acquired.
Of course I can leave at my volition.
I can leave his intentions when I’ve somewhere to go.

Identity

Identity


I am capable of giving what is denied to me –
easy death and sexual pleasure.
Perhaps I am no predator or monster, but an existential altruist.
I give release without mutuality.
Of course, I take my price.
Today I have been released into an underground parking garage.
I wander beyond the ill-gotten car, on concrete empty of footfalls.
Peter has left me here in darkened safety while he finds lodging
and scopes out the town where we have harbored.
I had fed recently and well before our mad escape.
I have no need of company.
I do not wonder what I will find outside at nightfall.
I will find what awaits me.
Listening to be sure there are none close
to wonder about my presence here,
I consider my identity.
If I am always me to me, do actions matter?
Do differences in place, in those around,
in what I tell myself I am, matter?
I feel the call of darkness, of twilight’s fade,
even here, underground.

Time

Time


A park where homeless people sleep, even in this damp cold.
Late hour bars, groggy patrons stumbling home, often alone.
Some carry guns for protection; but who would think
a need to shoot me? What would they gain if they did?
Other creatures of the night, junkies, pros, prowlers,
kids no one wants.
Deep night is my poacher’s forest.
I am in some senses exhilaratingly free,
in so many senses bound,
to instinct, to torment, to destiny.
I do what I do. I am what I am.
Where? When?
Sometimes I pretend it matters.
There really are endless possibilities.
I like the dank, rainy nights.
Blurred lights, the insistent sound of wetness
like street blues.
I like to find my way to open water, to look,
entranced, into blackness, mesmerized by
the rippling, the rhythm, the waves,
caressed by the wind.
Many mortal lives are sadder than mine.
All the drivel goes on and on, but then
moments appear.
They appear, hold me so closely that their
perfume becomes my soul.
And then the moment goes, forever,
like every other, each beautiful and unique.
Mostly I don’t think about the vast grey
everyday, or what might occur, or what is occurring.
Time washes over while I imagine little capsules
of perfect beauty, or self-loathe
into a frenzy of empty rage.
In all this time, I suppose I might have
made myself better, taken a long-term interest
that paid off or at least made me cultured
and debonair.
Where does all that time go?
When I look to remember, my mental resistance
insists it knows best.
Memories arise in bite-size reveries that
quietly dissipate as tangential thought takes hold.
To look at it all, to even contemplate that ride,
is repellent.
I have important skulking and hiding to attend to.

Trial

Trial


It was said, everyone knew, some whispered in my presence,
that I was born a bastard of rape.
My mother, a pious maiden, in penance gave me
into servitude to the Brotherhood.
Thus she was allowed to return to her Sisterhood’s
life of humble ministration.
I never knew her, or have no memory
of such an early time in my life.
I knew nothing of the treasured childhood that comes with family.
I was a low thing, circumscribed by duty.
I was educated, taught to read, write, do sums,
memorize long passages of scripture, sing in the Holy Choir,
take my part in ceremonies, taught for useful service.
I was taught to please my masters as my only worth.
Any modification to please their plans was my sacred duty to undergo.
Any master. Any metamorphosis. Any mutilation. Accept.
When he bit me, as the fast-acting soporific emitted from his fangs
entered my artery, I hoped this was my end.
It wasn’t.  He did not drain me, but woke me to force his blood
into my sagging mouth to remake me in his image:
immortal, powerful, supernatural, outside of the laws of man.
I learn to create my own sacred place, free of duty, free of the yoke of belief.
I am my own silent sanctuary beyond the touch, the reach of their world.
What good am I, have I, what good does it do me to have a conscious me
apart from my puppet role, plaything of powerful forces and men?
Perhaps after all the trials of my journey, it is enough to have a
consciousness that knows me so well and feels a kind of comforting love.
Perhaps the kind of love a mother feels for a child she never wanted,
who is yet of her, a companion to her trials.

Conversation

Conversation


I am making a habit of hiding through the day on the floor
of Peter’s car, covered by coats of my victims carefully
shorn of identifications.
Peter has not returned while I am here, or left evidence
of his presence while I am away.
Fending for myself has never been an issue.
I do wonder if he will reappear, under what circumstances.
Relationships with mortals don’t last long.
Usually their mortality is not what parts us.
I am not easy to know.
I don’t make light. I don’t make fun.
I watch, listen, rarely comment.
I am not social.
I was not raised to social grace.
I was taught to serve.
Serving only myself I employ no social skills
other than unobtrusive observation.
I respond, clearly, succinctly, when that opportunity
is offered.
Peter welcomed my silence as invitation to fill
our conversational space.
I welcome solitary silence as a refuge.
Knowing what to say, how to cleverly manipulate
with word associations, skills not encouraged in
lowly servants expected to be discreet and not heard.
A stealthy night hunter uses less humanizing weapons
to hold prey than conversation.
Physically, I am too relentlessly cold to be of comfort.
There is more than enough darkness, tragic trajectory,
hellish anecdote, in the human world.
I spin insulated stories for ample companionship,
hidden from the days.
There are days I suppose a desire to walk out
into a burst of hellfire agony, of flaming glory.
A force I would not have believed could so
strongly control from within me denies such action.
I am content to hide.
That is my will, free to accept fate.



Child

Child


Back in my mortal days, when they did they would say
I was a sweet-looking child, so very many years ago.
I don’t appear in mirrors now;
I wouldn’t know if that sweetness persists.
If you saw me, a scrawny child of indeterminate gender,
unkempt, ill-clothed, filthy like a refugee,
would you wish me gone, wish me well, feel terror?
You see such children on the streets.  I do.
Refugees from domestic wars are a secret no one keeps.
When I take one, I feel a kind of blessing, a kindred irony.
I don’t turn them.
Damnation is not for me a means of making friends.
I feel them, smell them, make an altar of my senses.
A sacred feast of sacrificial lamb’s blood
ought to require deep honor, respect.
I do befriend them, to give them that last memory
of innocent love.
We walk together to some secret place, a shared adventure.
If it is their place, they enjoy the ritual of inviting me in
to their sanctum.
I listen to woes and dreams that I honestly bond with.
I give what I am able, take what little treasure they possess.
There are too many people this world regrets.
Too many extras that won’t be missed, whose destruction
was never in doubt.
My kind can only cull a few.
People, though, you are clever.
You find ways, devise games
to destroy and self-destruct at all gradations of cruelty.
Is the monster in the demon or the man set free
of mortal restraint?
Or, does mortality constrain?
How large a body count can one mortal lifespan support?
Can we include those who are not directly killed,
but slow poisoned by soul-burning hatred?

Order

Order


It’s all about moving through.
The days in hiding, the nights out in the world, skulking, hunting, moving.
There can be no real relationships, no legitimate job.
There is no blending in to play the game,
not for a homeless child who will never grow older.
The local system, institutions, they’d be forced to see what I am.
And what I am does not exist.
What could they do with me?
My existence is a serious secret.
I am always learning to hide as conditions change,
as progress increases surveillance.
Nobody’s business is less reliably our own.
So far, there are always people low enough,
places of disarray and desperation where those of real power
have no interest.
The power of the street – the fist, the knife, the gun, the gang
-- not my problem.
Light of day or public discovery I must avoid.
Moving through the backstreets, private realms of common space,
part of what wants never to be seen, noticed,
enslaved to official inquiry.
At least the cameras can’t betray me,
unless a living witness is open in eyes and mind enough
to realize that I was there and not recorded.
Their willful ignorance can’t always be counted on.
It’s not a paranoid delusion if it’s true that my identity
is forbidden.
It is good that no one wants to know me,
for what is here to know?
A phantom moving through shadow to shadow,
avoiding contact or explanation.
My job is death.
I have no business with people who deal in
ordinary, orderly exchange.
Fantasy is about creating a place for what
you can’t have where you are.
In fantasy I can be bound in prosaic harmony
of work and love.
In reality, well, you know,
I don’t exist.

Home

Home


While the whole world is out and about,
pursuing tips and victories,
I make sorry nest in my makeshift cave of the day.
While prowling in the night
I find abandoned basement lairs.
I can get in through a window, then cover it
with fabric at hand.
Usually old remnants come with the place.
Sometimes mildewed books – all too often
historical romance potboilers with overwrought plots,
impossible dialog, little to no accurate history,
yet colorful enough prose to hold a reader’s eye.
My night hunter’s eyes optimize in low light.
They take what they get, enjoy the colors.
I can teleport line of sight, or through a route
I know so well I can follow accurately in my mind.
I like a place I can reliably access before dawn.
A place generally unappealing, unthought about.
I need no working amenities, no wires or cables,
no links to outside.
I am content with walls, windows covered,
to abide quietly.
I use what contents lie about for amusement.
Even old telephone books, pages frail from
compromising weather, tell stories, prompt
imaginings of relationships between names,
smiles over unintended puns, games with
numerologies.
Minds look for patterns.
We want our world to make sense.
We want stories with happy endings,
or justified ironies.
We want cause and effect, clearly demarcated,
posted warnings we can ignore at our own risk.
But even when we risk with abandon, we expect
saving, at least by Jesus or Love.
We want.  But we so seldom get what we want
that we make up stories to explain our own
shortcomings rather than want something more
obtainable, or find joy in making do.
If I really wanted something better, in all
this time wouldn’t I have found it, or
given it a name?
I like quiet.
It lets me hear, notice, the little changes,
when the big winds aren’t obscuring.
I like my own company.
After all these years of such companionship,
shared private humor, calming tricks,
sustaining fantasies – even though we know
they aren’t true.

Anger

Anger


When I feel safe enough to allow indulgence,
I luxuriate in the anger, the boiling energy,
ecstasy of self-elevation into scenarios of revenge,
retribution, redistribution of pain.
Invisible, passive, placid to surface gaze,
not because I am unfeeling.
I feel intensely, ungated flood that overwhelms
cogent thought, effective action.
Emotion is an indulgence to satisfy in private
containment.
I am no avenging demon, no champion,
no rebel, not even a pawn for a cause.
Vermin, just a scrawny scavenger,
a very little cause or consequence.
The only feeling that drives my action is
abject hunger, the force of brutal survival,
energy with which to move forward to
suck out more energy to continue.
Elongated sadness, pointless rage,
cycles and seasons and hunger
without remission.
This is not suffering.
This is life everlasting.
This is raw laughter
in the face of eternity’s smug sneer,
self-indulgence, the freedom of mindless rage,
unfocused, impotent, mine.

Autumn

Autumn


She is brave.
I am not.
When first I am aware of her,
she is in frenzied battle against
monstrosity of momentarily feral
young men intent on feeding
gang lust.
Her energy ignites me.
I feel forced to act in her behalf.
There are too many for me to drain.
At my size despite gorging capacity, '
I could take maybe the two smallest.
I can leap, grab, suck quickly on each,
turn off their power with
my bite’s gifted vacation to oblivion.
I embrace her, hold close, escape through the ether.
We emerge on a secluded walk of river beach
I frequent, a memorized retreat.
She is shaken from the attack, shivering,
unable to clearly speak.
It is clear she has no fear of me, no trepidation
or awe or confusion about my role in this adventure.
She looks to be a bit older than I do, at that awkward
interval of rounding into womanhood unevenly.
She is very young.
Still, there is an ancient aspect to her countenance.
Perhaps it is shock, a distancing from emotional trauma.
But I feel her basic strength, a will made for
resiliency.
She makes eye contact, clings to my eyes with hers
for comfort, for a locus of calm.
She makes grateful introduction, offers her name.
She is called Autumn, season of my Lady’s fall
into Her fate.
I feel this Autumn’s presence, essence, so strongly.
How is this mortal child meant to intersect
with my destiny?

Love

Love


I wasn’t raised with love.
It is not a sentiment I am familiar with.
Unless you mean a synonym for sex,
making love, what does that mean?
Noble emotion that might involve
self-sacrifice, or even beautiful adoration,
smiling eyes of grateful awe for that beloved,
these are acts of fiction, lying artists
creating with smoke and splendor.
I have felt attractions, not physical
in the common sense, not love in the sense
of lust, but an essence pulled out from me,
an existential urge to touch, not in the
common physical sense.
I feel an importance of that person,
a lingering in my thoughts,
a presence beyond their immediate form
before me.
It is not that I want them to notice me,
or that I even want to notice them.
It is not this love I read of or hear cried
over in popular songs.
It is more like curiosity, a desire
to know more.
It is harmless.  Just one more temporary
amusement, idle reflection to pass time.
It passes.
They pass.
People pass from view, from time, into
the vast enormity of then.
It is good not to be attached to a phantom
emotion, dependent on fragile ephemerality.
I read somewhere, and was impressed enough
to remember, that real Love, not the euphemism,
or the phantom longing, is made up of
attraction, attachment, and attunement.
All those ats.
I like the stories where true love heals all,
breaks all curses.  Who wouldn’t?
That’s why stories sell.
Love will never bring me alive.
Not by any definition.
I like to think that somewhere there are children
who are loved, really loved – all the ats --
just for being in the lives brought alive
by their being together, lives brought alive
in a place of loving regard.
That’s why fantasy sells.

Service

Service


Abjectly caught up in escape to greater power,
was I compliant, emboldened to succumb
to my deadly ascension?
Did I dare to believe eternal damnation
a better salvation than what I knew
of religious life?
No.
I was but as always supplicant servant
to my master, whatever master sought
whatever service.
There was no trade in compliance.
If silently I questioned assignments
based on strangeness, such wonderings
would have long ceased to entertain.
This master desired blood ritual.
He chose to intoxicate with drug injection
delivered in personal intimacy.
I, as always, did as bidden.
I did not expect the power.
I did not fear the damnation.
I expected, hoped to die, quietly.
I had not agreed, nor desired, to be reborn
as a monster.
I did not understand what I had become.
My sire teased me.
He wanted an acolyte, a minion, a fawning
admirer of his wit, charm, depravity.
I listened to his boasting stories unmoved.
When the hunger hit with such brutal clarity,
slavering instinct, he rejoiced with callous stabs
at camaraderie.  He expected we would bond
in the hunt, guru and chela.
I had tasted blood in rituals, piously shared
from a common cup the spoils of sacrifice.
Almost zombie-like, bound servant, my consciousness
separate from my acts, I did as I had been
meticulously taught.  I served, without luxury
of opinion, without context in which to question.
Appreciation, admiration, obsequious adoration
had not been among that curriculum.  Perhaps those
inculcations would have come later, if I were so
to be groomed.
The vampire who captured me had not thought beyond
the ease of acquisition.  Perhaps it was my passivity
that attracted him; yet his desire was for more active
participation in his fantasy.
I accepted his lead out of habit, stealthily into the night.
We approached a tipsy companionship of two young men
passing an alley as they headed out from partying.
Certainly they expected robbery, and defense from their
trusty revolvers.
I was as surprised as they appeared when their bullets
passed through me without comment.
I think they were more surprised when we bodily attacked,
took more precious fare than cash.
Invigorated with fresh blood, devastated by rumination,
the implications of what I had done, become, reeling
between feeling so much better and so much worse,
I began to imagine options.  I began to approach understanding
that I might become free of abject servitude to powerful masters,
from that definition.

Tryst

Tryst

Autumn’s stories sooth me,
though they are not of good deeds
nor merriment.
Her voice is calm, deeply clear,
etched with a fragility of presence.
Her mannerisms, bold or fluttery,
graceful as dance, she fascinates
my attention.
We have nothing, no things, but
our self-created stories to make
a party, celebration.
She has returned to walk and muse
along the river beach, where I had
carried her in rescue. I had left
her to find her way home as she
promised, disappeared from
the approach of dawn.
This solitary place of association
aligns with merging time as place
of meeting.  We are both immediately
pleased, a merry fortune.  Valence fits.
Energy flows.
Yet, this time is brief.
Though early in my night’s outing,
Autumn must soon be in her mother’s
sight, in their apartment, in her fixed routine.
To carry our tryst into tomorrow, I suggest
she walk me to my settlement, so she might
find me fixed in daylight hours.  She shows
no disquiet at sight of my habitat, happy
to anticipate familiarity.  We complete
the map, walk and talk like old chums to
her door.
As she departs from my world of night,
I feel high in transition.
I do not dare to preminisce.
Forcefully, I send my imaginings to mix
with memories that faithfully disturb,
chastise, punish with horror.
I know I must scourge myself, immerse
in Hell’s flame.
Pleasure must take its balance in pain.
I have assimilated this lesson over eons
of roaring ironies.  Self-anointed thrashing
may hold the Gods’ at bay.  There is no
escape from reminders of nature’s price.
Perhaps Autumn, on night’s reflection,
will save us both from further association.
Anticipation will dissipate; reason, repellence,
will set in, dispel fantasy of treasured friendship.
Or, perhaps, there is more to this story.

Shame

Shame


Trained to menial service in the Name of
a sacred Lord too often taken in sacrilege,
how do I possess a moral core?
What instinct for revulsion guides my
internal tally? How does a child of sin
define evil,
or good?
Is it okay if I have no choice?
Does compulsion render me blameless?
The hunger corrupts me, invades my skin
and sinew. My tongue craves succulent
intoxication. My sense glands seek prey.
I am nothing, only all-consuming need.
Yet, I can choose.
I can become the hunger, submit to crippling misery.
No hope of death as pain worsens, debilitates,
worsens, debilitates more. Forests burn, seethe
through every nerve; sewers burst their rot to putrefy
throughout my consciousness; evil imps brutally sting
like angry wasps. Suppurating
beyond pain, wordless whimper.
No end, ever exceeding so there is no break of forgetting.
I choose again, what seems a lesser sentence.
I choose to feed on the next vessel of blood
I see. A homeless man sleeps against a building
near my entrance from my erstwhile hellhole
onto the street. I hope his dreams were of beauty.
I hope he floats buoyant dreams forever.
He forever haunts what I try to cast as dreams.
My sire had drilled in the importance of clean up.
We who don’t exist can leave no evidence.
No longer a self-organizing being, this fresh meat
is a fitting gift to feral scavengers, fellow creatures
of the night, fulfillment of nature’s wasteless cycles.
Unlike such feral beasts, I am not natural.  My cycles
have no natural conclusion.  Death after violent death,
never my own.  Always mine.
Nightmares of falling endlessness, engraving of trauma,
what I know of eternity. Freedom’s illusion cast forward,
a conscience ever branded, bathed in fresh blood,
an endless pit of murder.
I tell myself silly stories. I maniacally laugh
at the sky, at the waves, at lively weather.
The elementals understand.

Reason

Reason


There is so much that I don’t remember,
both before and after.
Perhaps memory understands what is best
deleted, edits boring bits and, if kind,
the unbearable.
I remember how I felt when I first understood
that I don’t matter.   I was very young.
It was not so much revelation as
mathematical truth, practical praxis.
It has been a useful meditation,
a disinclination to connect.  Better to contain
conception of my prey out of context,
disentangled from emotion, in a place of
dismissal.
Though it is not as if humanity generally
strikes me as worth consideration.
An unwholesome lot, all of us, despite
individual heritage or mewling excuse.
It’s all about who eats who, who gets to
stomp on top and call the tune.
I have never had the luxury of stature, or
charisma.  Apparently the role bequeathed me
is long void.
Over so little time the landscape changes,
fashions, technologies, populations, beliefs.
Without changing, I adjust.
There are always natural victims, natural
bullies, a surfeit of people never missed
to feed on.
Is this part of Nature’s plan?  Are there
sharp and hearty spawn that rise, that prosper,
while the rest struggle for every breath
in the common pit?
It’s not my world.
Neither feral instinct nor moral rectitude
are my masters. I am but another prisoner
of gravity.
There is too much time, duration;
simplicity gets tangled for effect.
I perceive signs, patterns, messages in gestures
or unexpected sensations that evoke memories.
Who I am is unimportant.
What I do is negligible.
I am my own reason for being.
How can we miss what we have never had?
What is there to know that can’t be known?
Why both with conundrum, koan or poetry?
Something has to fill the time.

Practice

Practice


It can be exhilarating.  The strength, the freedom from man’s rules,
the night can be glorious, a field of play.
I can, like any child, enjoy fantasy adventure.
Second senses weave bright glints and glitter through
soot and streetlights, waste and litter, make a collage of
hidden felonies, fake gaiety, the smell of fear drugged by
violence, random sex, puke and cologne.
People saunter more after dark.  Relaxed by
anonymity, they fall into more primal roles.
Artificial light only adds garish color to the scene.
No actor is fooled into day’s dialog.
Hipsters, tricksters, dying stars so young,
take charge as if they create the world, as if
it were theirs alone.
I can pretend, be anything, anyone.
I am imperious, a creature apart.
Without shame, I feast on human vermin, a crusader.
But then, that tainted food repulses, even as it enlivens
with red warmth.
I lose interest in the game.  It goes on too long
for sustained adoration.
Nothing pleases.  Renewed energy jangles.
I have no drug to bring relief or oblivion.
I have no dear friend to call past midnight, happy to
be wakened to my voice, to be a source of love and
tethering against an abysmal brink.
What I have is the demon that I am eternally on call,
mocking.
Why should any of them care or understand or notice?
I am not meant to exist.
At best I am a joke, laughter so close to whistling at
archetypal phantom graveyards outlined in ether.
What living mind could befriend such as me?
What could I give such a friend but shame, or
perhaps callous revenge, a pet killer to vanquish
enemies, obviate fear.
I have no room to judge.
Morality has no place for me.
That beribboned box is so far away, a decorative
blip on barren landscape.
I am all I have of certain companionship, to befriend
this endless child that no one else has motive to accept
or comfort.
I am practiced at this.

Friend

Friend


Autumn visits after school, rewarding unpleasantries
of our days.
I walk her home in the evening,
part to go about our separate business.
We learn in time together to be silly,
serious, unburdened.
Years of unshared ruminations, pretty
flights of thought, silent ideations,
troubled dreams, become presents.
No longer in held burdens, prized secrets
tumble from our lips to hungry ears.
Bubbles of lingual manna bounce freely where
shame can’t burst, break up the party.
She knows me, what I am.  She is happy,
eager, to know who I am, to befriend.
I am able to be a friend with this beautiful,
lonely child.  I perceive myself differently
through this unaccustomed role, through
those magical eyes that actually shine to see me.
I know not to expect.  I know, I do, that any day
could not bring her ever again.  I am well
versed in understanding that there is always
so much more that could go wrong than right.
She opens windows of welcome for me to see
into her bleak experience, stalwart response to
cover stigmatic confusion, stories that haunt her
and those she tells herself to create a balance
of self-made reward.  So long this solitary wait has been,
she is visibly relieved to give physical voice, enjoy
safe, embracing reflection, a place of free expression,
a confidante, acceptance.
Why does this world embrace so much vileness,
leave beautiful, sad outsiders to incremental
burial in the shame of aloneness?
This is not my world.  I have no ready answer.
I too have haunted stories.  For my part, I rehearse
to myself, arrange words to soften, to distance
harshness.  I want to let her in gently.  My gifts are
dark.  They need not be delivered in a manner
too heavy to absorb.
I tell her I know I am a monster.
She does not move to stop me.
She offers clear, caring, encouragement of simple
acceptance.
I tell her what she lets me understand, that I am
a child, like her, making what I can of circumstance.
When the time demands, I walk her home,
return to night and murder.
It is what I do.
Now, though, I have new stories to carry for
companionship, to focus musing on a different voice.
Autumn’s stories, fresh, flowing with scent of raw emotional
blood, awake a forgotten hunger, suppressed longings
of a frightened child.
I am eternally a monster.
That doesn’t mean I can’t be more.
I can be a giggly, giddy kid happy to anticipate
time to spend with my friend.

Sacrament

Sacrament


It’s not like a meal, sustenance, mere reward
of stemming hunger.  Blood lust, full-on sensual
feast, a kind of timeless ecstasy, like that other
lust I know only by stories heard or read.
Death can be escape.  I don’t know about souls,
reincarnations, gods’ kingdoms in other realms.
Those were not my afterdeath experience.
For my kind death is merely prologue.
Feeding is escape, if only for miniscule
duration in the long scheme,
for that thrilling moment there is nothing else.
No memories, fears or even a feeling of now.
I am all senses, overwhelmed, holy as any
transubstantiation.  I am not reason or even
consciousness in such state of instinct
necessity.  Hot, pumping pleasure, mystical
bliss as raw energy feeds into me.
I become as if new, as if cleansed and free.
While the spell, trance, religious experience
endures, I am existence pure without value
or judgment.  Merging of nature and supernature
fill my small vessel as if I were worthy of grace.
No guilt, no loathing, abject apology silently
screamed into the consciousness that always
returns can mitigate, speak in my favor, absolve
my crimes.  I always deserve worse pain,
punishment; no suffering can suffice.
Yet, no good outcome balances as result of
such retribution.  No victim is compensated.
No death is undone.  No sweet rush, pitiful
victory of insane joy in conquest is nullified
or prevented.
There are those of my kind who revel in their
superiority, immortal evil, gay dance of night.
It seems easy enough a trick to learn, to love
only oneself with complete acceptance and
entitlement.  Who am I to judge what fate
has made?  I have heard it said that happiness
is gratitude for what we have.
I have heard that salvation begins with true
repentance, with allowing a higher power
to rule one’s actions.
These mortal sayings seem to have no
relevance to my experience.
There is no salvation without some kind
of death.  Does that mean I have been saved
by and for evil?
Am I an alternate angel, dark and wingless?
Can I take any comfort in the smallness of
my violence in light of mortal wars?
No, I am not soldier trained by sophisticated
propaganda.  A solitary practitioner without
pressure of peers or superiors, I have only myself
to blame.

Princess

Princess


Autumn has lost any structure for judgment based on moral precepts.
Her life lessons have been about chaos, not order.
“I am a warrior princess hero.  But what am I fighting for?
Who is my adversary?  What are my weapons?
I am a wee bean in a burning forest.  Likely I’ll
be flamed into oblivion, or maybe eaten by a passing
bird once the fire’s roared through.”
She speaks in metaphor, paints with words.
Her native beauty imbues sordid history.
A toy stuffed bear had heard her early childhood
fancies and confusions those years before
her home was cast asunder.  A day-bound vampire
gives better audience, different experiential
perspective for response; if not warm, more
kinetic welcoming.
“He would touch me, tell me to touch him, our
special secret ritual that no one could be told,
because I was his beautiful princess and he was
my adoring king who would protect me always.”
She barely whispers, giving voice to deep regret,
betrayal.
“Years into our ritual, in a fit of superiority, I
threw it in my mom’s face, and saw a very
different side of her.  She turned lioness,
charged into his study ablaze.  Really, amazing.
It was nothing to him.  Strong arms, precise intent,
he increased pain beyond our submission, then
went out to solidify his alibi.
In the morning he could with commanding performance
scold.  ‘Beth, I don’t know what your voices are saying
today.  We all know that last night I was entertaining
important clients on the town.  You were asleep by the
time I got in.  Look at Alice, she’s fine.  Though I have
been thinking that therapy might be helpful with this
habit of lying she seems to be picking up from you.
I know just the doctor.  He seems to be doing wonderful
things with aversion therapies.  Isn’t it marvelous what
we are learning about the functions of the brain.’”
No threats, genteel conversation.  This man is practiced in
the art of deception, knows to inflict punishment
leaving no telltale bruises, only terror.  He knows the value
of charm, authority, decisive action dressed in admired fashion.
He has turned it into all that money, all those trappings of
a happy home.
After their escape, they changed their names as part of
the plan to avoid recapture.  Mother Beth became
Kathy.  She advised young Alice to take a name with
personal meaning, so she could call upon herself for
support.  Kathy knew what young Beth had not.
Royalty is not about fairytale romance and happy
ends; it is about control, the power to destroy.

Karma

Karma


I don’t remember dying.
I remember close caress without hot breath,
the sudden sharp pain, swooning numbness,
taste of unsought blood, synaptic flashes.
Back in the days before, I’d had fantasies
about the experience of dying.
People die all the time.  It is expected,
normal, for death to take regular sacrifice.
What final thoughts, sensations, might be
fitting on such grim occasion?
I don’t recall thinking, more like hoping
for quick release.
Too simple in my ignorance to realize
release of my old existence into this new,
undead, would not be the end my hope
desired.  All that I understood then was a
transfer of allegiance.
Over so many walks through past scenes,
I find awareness.  I am no slave, no dependent.
I continue neither alive nor dead.  No wonder
I remember no grand transition.
Existential limbo is only half a death, neither
here nor there.
It has been a very long time now since I
encountered others of my kind.
Perhaps we are truly dying out as a class of
undead creature.  More likely it is that I do not
seek such company, don’t curry or expect their
appearance.  We who do not exist are not obvious.
There were times, decades, when I thought I might
belong with those others like myself.  I told myself it must
be that among similar monsters I would feel at home.
We are not similar, beyond the obvious stigmata.
Like any deviant subgroup, we are each monsters
in our own fashion, diverse hideous idiosyncrasies.
Yes, some travel in packs or pairs or tribes.
I tried.  I find no natural allies for long.
Perhaps gods are meddling,
taking peculiar interest, claiming my destiny.
They are jealous gods.  They want me unencumbered,
that they may have free reign over my affections.
Perhaps loneliness is the ultimate labor, curriculum
of stoic purity.  Perhaps only pure self confrontation
pleases these gods, prepares their slaves for
eternal service, what will come.
I think too much, feel too much, with no acceptable
escape.  It doesn’t matter that no one could possibly
deserve the karma dealt me.  Such theories don’t
impress my gods.

Resilience

Resilience


While in our time together, I feast on
Autumn’s presence, a more wholesome
and unfamiliar pleasure than my custom.
“That night, when you rescued me, when we met,
I had to tell Kathy something, why I was out
past dawn.  I told her me and another girl
from school had been stalked and waylaid
by a gang of bullies.  We had to evade them,
and wound up at her place because it was
closest.  Her mom wanted to call the cops.
We were scared and didn’t want a confrontation.
I said I would call and tell you where I was.
In all the confusion, that didn’t happen.  Sorry.
We are all, you know, upset, keyed up, talked
it out all night like old friends, comforting, you know,
too focused to think beyond, to be considerate of
what you must have been worrying.
I told her this story.  Of course she bought it.
She is so defeated, so empty, I think, used up by
the life she never had but had believed in,
a reality too sad and way too heavy to move beyond.
But, you know, I included enough truth to make it
believable, real.  I told her, bright silver lining,
I thought I had finally found a real friend.
She likes that hope, a sliver of happy thought
to lift her day.”
Autumn calls her mother Kathy.  It is unclear
which role she assumes in their dyad of
mother and child.  She speaks of feeling
guilty for their life on the run, away from their
once fine home.  She resents the dreary limbo
that life has become.  She is thirteen, an awkward
age, uprooted and aware of the crumbling foundation
of danger.  I, strangely, can be a strength of
stability, a dependable constant.  Strange
realization, I am not broken and defeated like
Kathy, Autumn’s long abused, irrevocably scarred,
single parent.  Maybe because I have endured so
many more years, because I never had better
expectations, because I have supernatural powers
and so much practice in invisibility, and remorse?
Is this resilience?
Autumn is fierce.  She throws herself full force
into defense against all self-appointed enemies.
She exudes readiness for battle like a repelling
perfume.  Fingernails enameled green and glittered,
she files into sharp weapons.  She protects herself
in reputation as too crazy to mess with among her
daily peers.  Intelligence learned to guile, she
presents to teachers as an adequate student, quiet,
shy, unobtrusive, unremarkable.
I alone have the privilege to know her better.  

Dark

Dark


It is easy to become absorbed in routine,
habitual places and behaviors.  Small variances
feel like treats.  Little pings of awareness that
different choices are possible, even minor ones,
are welcome diversions.  To be strongly here and now
allows respite from that liquid fire of unwanted
memories, worse, contemplation of unrelenting
continuation.
Night creatures are skittish, unwilling to be seen.
Our stories are not for friendly campfires.
Our songs are silent, not of valor nor love,
simple cadences to drown out less pleasant sounds.
Night is more constrained in cities coldly lit
by technologies serving commerce than in
the ever more theoretical wild.  Still, artificial
light reaches only where it is paid for.
People of means know the value of judicious darkness.
The dark is an element, as strong a force as water,
fire, wind, chthonic earth.  Even when, where,
we can see the starry firmament, those distant suns
are but shining points in vast darkness.
What is more fitting to believe in?  Those who
worship light are doomed to disappointments.
Perhaps I would be less constrained, more wild
and free, even healing my constant wounds,
in what is left of more natural terrains.
Can the dead heal?
I have dwelt so long, for all my endless years,
among these low lifes of man, in these urban
jungles of guns, knives, desperation.
This is how I know to be.
With eternity to contemplate, it might make sense
to experience that natural world while it still
exists.
Strangely, I am neither tempted nor compelled
by reason.  What I am is not comfortable,
not secure, not rational.  I am accepting this
existence by instinct.  I move through, day by
night, an inevitability.  I am caught in the force
of darkness, tumbled, shaped, made whole.

Imagination

Imagination


Saturdays Autumn does her and Kathy’s laundry, buys their
weekly groceries and household items in a better
neighborhood several bus stops away.
She plays at mysterious stranger, strolling the main fair,
window-shops, browses, loses herself in displayed art,
secondhand books, street performances, circus of
the shopping district.
She tells of her adventures, at first self-deprecating,
wry half-smile, hands out as if to hold off ridicule,
though she knows that is not my style.
As she speaks, falls into story, defense disappears.
I can feel with her secret mix of magic and sadness.
Kathy works excruciating hours for little pay, jobs she
can get without questions, references, resume.
She leaves early, while Autumn is readying for school,
returns well after dark, exhausted, carrying her
nightly bottle in its local liquor store bag.
“She says the drinking helps her sleep.
She doesn’t talk about the nightmares.
It can’t be that she doesn’t want to frighten me,
or remind me.  I think she is ashamed of her own fear.
She tells me she is so sorry, so tired.  She needs
to sleep; the drinking soothes her, a ritual
against her demons, her demon lover who scarred
her dreams.
I don’t mind nightmares, violent vivid movies that
grip me in sleep.  Fragmented horror scenes
can’t hurt me.  They are a safe place to practice,
work out strategies for facing horrors.
We never know how we will react, act against
those shocking surprises, unexpected loss,
brutal confrontation, even the occasional triumph.
I guess that’s how we find out who we are.
You would think, you know, that wouldn’t be
a mystery.  I mean, here I am, all the time,
wherever I go, me.  I’m not like them, the people
who made me.  Maybe in some ways, colorations,
attitudes I don’t know I have.  That’s the point.
It’s not like I’m in charge, creating the present me
to make my life easier or what I want it to be.
I get to watch, experience, figure out who I am and
what this world is that I react to.
Me, me, me.  Ellie, you let me go on and on, like
all this bs matters.”
What could matter more?
My silly issues with eternity, situational morality,
so old, flavor chewed out of them.
Autumn is so achingly brief, so damaged and yet
young enough to absorb and grow beyond
temporary limitation.
Children grow entrapped in the world of their keepers.
Kathy once believed in thrilling possibilities, in
out distancing her familial restraints, admonitions,
religion’s curse.
I don’t know her, only secondhand in vari-colored
glimpses.  I think about her, though, who she might
have been, who life has made her, what unconscious
legacy she wills forward.
Autumn is becoming my obsession, a complex
bittersweet journey out of my own self-conscious misery.
Whatever of her I can carry with me makes me more,
gives me vicarious mortality.

Silence

Silence


These men who think they prey on me,
who desire to defile childhood,
who become mine for their brief transition
into lifeless eternity, what is their compelling
story?
They too are hunters, are monsters.
Perhaps, they too were made such without
consent.
Why would a sexually motivated male who
could pay for willing receptacle or even play mate
take on the shame, the venality of demanding
satisfaction from bodies not yet ready for
that trade?
Perhaps it is the power thing again.  Patriarchs,
fearless fathers herding familial flocks,
facing wolves and bandits.  All’s right through
the dangerous night because I am between
thee and them.
Daddy deserves some sugar, a sweet taste of
my little dependent.  Daddy is big and strong and
throbbing.  Daddy has an itch, an irritation needing
tending.  Daddy wants.  There is no practical reason
not to have.  We who are strong take from the flock
as we will.  We rely on their weakness, keep them
enslaved in ignorance, keep them alive at our pleasure.
It is simple, while the illusion is maintained.
Or so I imagine in this spin into historic scenario.
I have not experienced the pressures, motivations,
imperatives biological or psychological, that inhabit
mortal men.  I will never be one, only a monster in
a child’s body, with only the mortal experience of
a servant child.  I felt the glorious defilement
offered by my mortal masters as pain.  I was not
grateful for their attention. I did not feel honored
to be their momentary reward for all their
self-appointed responsibilities.  I understood my
place because it was self-evident.  I did not
understand why it should be mine.
Children are given no choice, no social contract.
The adults who grow through their initiations,
ritual scars, climb into manhood, womanhood,
know only a temporal ladder to ordered positions,
attitudes; what contract did they sign?
Of course there is personal responsibility, payment
for choices.  But who sets the price?  Who really pays?
We all know that game of selling the price forward,
like a hot potato.  Those who accept the ultimate
price are so often the poorest.  Nothing to pay but
pounds of misery that please no one.
So, yes, I am guilty.  I steal life to feed my
unnatural death.  I am by definition perversion
itself.  I have no excuse.  I have no socially useful
reason for being.  I can not compare my case to
human waste and expect acquittal or lenient
judgment.
I can wonder why designated victims don’t rise up,
demand the power of self-sovereignty.
No, I understand, too self-involved, cut off from
solidarity, cut off from realizing the possibility of
self-determination or the energy of purposeful
fusion.  Dark, furtive, shamed by unavoidable
sin, the voiceless stay silent.

Fear

Fear


Outrage kept at screeching pitch becomes
just another background drone.  Enough practice
can habituate us to any substance, any shadow,
any persuasion.
Drowsing through the days, energy on hold;
hiding, hyper alert, in the night, striking, aroused
to the kill, absolutely enthralled.  Every moment
is itself, unique, irreproducible.  Moments gathered,
sewing circles of gossips repeating their comedic roles,
sloppily, slatternly, as time rolls by.
Time has been escalating around me.  Faster changes,
denser crowds, extremes in expressive array.
Cycles of human behavior seem more like tightening
spirals.  Perhaps the accustomed order is cracking toward
disintegration as self-proclaimed prophets shout,
as advocates of revolution hope, as beaten curbside
dreamers plead.
Adjustments to population pressure, but that doesn’t
mean those adjustments won’t be harsh, or devastating
in large, small, unknown ways.  I am apart; but I am
affected by new arrangements, amplified emotions.
My natural habitat is encroached upon, much like any
wild creatures’.  It becomes more difficult to not be seen,
targeted, vilified; what is looked for regulated by fear,
adrenalin excitement.
What is seen is the target, not the potential friend or
complicated enriching story.
Not my story.  Or maybe every story, no matter how
impoverished it may be to the teller.  Maybe every story
has its natural audience, its complement of listeners
twisted by life’s experiences that leave trails so
beautifully fitting like custom locks to the tale’s key.
Kind gods would do that.  Kind auxiliary gods who could
sneak in at night, bountifully play with the day gods’
creations.
I walk along my habitual river beach, enjoy rippling
deepness of water, earnest city lights beyond.
Light does not yet encroach on my private darkness
here, now, this elongated finite moment.  Any day
the growing ranks of homeless, the endlessly grasping
developers, the flash alarm of the body politic, could
change my habit, opportunities.
Fortune favors the adaptable.
The moment favors the truly present, senses connected,
each scent a symphony, each sight aglow in layers
of data.
My habit is to wander.  Yet, I am ever wary, ever worried
and cognizant.  What I fear, guard against so intensely,
is not death or pain, but discovery by those who can’t
possibly understand or accept, and what that might mean.

Experience

Experience


"There ought to be sorting out places,
like, when it all comes crashing down, or, you know, gets too confusing
like it might for anyone in the wrong circumstances.
They ought to have this public service station
where people are trained to help you sort it out.
They tried to do that at the shelters, group and private therapies,
counseling.
So, your life you thought you knew is over;
where are you going to go from here?
Because you can’t stay sheltered for very long.
We don’t have the resources.
We have to figure out what you can do, where you can go,
how you can make a new life.
So, they were motivated, I guess. But shouldn’t everyone be motivated,
to have that kind of sorting out place. You never know
when it might be what you need to get on, or what kind
of horrible downward mess vortex could be prevented.”
Autumn, awhirl in energy, pontificates while drawing arcane
shapes on found fabrics.
She cuts them free, sews in quick, sharp stitches onto
larger found fabric of other texture.  She is decorating,
making this space part of her larger fabric, taking us
into her imagination’s sphere.
“I learned to figure out how to recreate myself, you know,
took on skills, from people sheltered like we were,
working out their own transitions.
There was this woman, Kate, kept to herself in a corner she claimed,
cut out patches for her worn through clothes that made her
into her own work of art.
You know, I always liked drawing, collaging with glued on
pictures from magazines painted through with dripping words and symbols.
The school my dad chose for me included regular classes in art,
dance, poetry, to bring out our creativity, make us well-rounded
for elite social intercourse.  Dad liked to brag about my talent,
show off to those associates who visited his home.  He was
proud of me.”
She trails off, eyes less bright, voice small and inward.
Her inner eyes relive less savory fatherly remnants.
“All those dramas, all the unexpected inflictions, all I get to live through,
life experience, like layered collage, building the background, the base
of received knowledge.  That’s the structure where all the information
coming in, everything I see, feel, think gets processed.
At least I am moving forward, working through the confusion,
using that structure and information to make myself stronger.”
Kathy, Autumn’s passive mother, still not so far along in natural
lifespan, is old, used up.  Her overbearing suffering, defeating sorrow,
is more disillusion than painful daily hardship which she merely
accepts.  She suffers so relentlessly that pain no longer registers,
is expected norm.  Always exhausted, dragged down, every moment
a dark zen koan of futility.
Constant pressure is normal pressure, is the minituae
of carbon’s metamorphosis toward rough, dense stone.
Kathy’s truncated awareness refuses to admit her daughter’s
plight.  Their flight from sadistic terror has taken them to
terror’s shadow streets built up of shame, violence,
dead ends.
Once so bright, lovely, lively, a child of graceful delight,
ready to embrace a fairy-tale life, little Kathy had no inkling
that fairies can be deadly fiends, their tales dark, relentless.
Autumn does know this.  Hope for happy childhood cut from
her early, she eschews illusion.  Strong, brave, self-aware,
brilliantly adaptive, resiliently imaginative, even wise,
she understands that every day is a war to survive.
We enjoy another world here, this temporary bubble
of fantasy a deux.  Autumn transforms my squalid cell
into her artist’s vision with cast out scraps of trash.
Dirty scuz of walls transform with magic curtains offering
cosmic contemplations.  She furnishes our sanctuary with
sumptuous rag-stuffed pillows, mimicking arcane carpets
of myth, crafted for indulgence.  She transforms enclosed
space to reflect long-accomplished whimsy, makes it hers.
So willingly I join this world, accept terms of enchantment.
Within our precious bubble, beyond conventions of ordinary
time, I am redefined.  I am childhood friendship, untouched
by adult conceptions.  I am a foundling of Neverland,
born of adventure.  Partner by my own choosing
to this witchcraft,  I am a blessed being.
As always, we part in darkness, return to separate
destinies.  Yet, the magic lingers, wraps us
protectively, in anticipation of next meeting.
Is this the love I have been trying to figure out,
mutual lifting into wonder of out of time reality?
Is this happiness, fleet soaring bird of paradise taking
me into its wings?
I understand this can not last.  For the first time eternity
acquires a different image in my mind.

Connection

Connection


Without a reference point, pain is just sensation.
Is that the case with love as well?
Do we fixate on a concrete beloved to make
love real?  Without the reference point, is it
just another inchoate emotion, free-floating
profundity shooting through like meteor light?
I have known those brief flashes of metaphoric
warmth, imagined connections based on empathy.
Street kids that tugged at my silent heart, I believed
I knew their pain, their reference point.
Alone over decades more than a century, I tell myself
stories about those I see, even briefly meet.  Love is
a beautiful story to tell a frightened child.
I am a nightmare, an evil fantasy.  Is love not
supposed to be my solemn foe on myth’s battle field?
I hear music on the air from a jazz club beneath this
doorway as I walk in shadow.  Romance sounds,
an eerie backdrop, perhaps pealing laughter of my
jesting gods.  It’s not that they do me ill maliciously,
I think.  They are amused by irony.
I no longer prey on the children I had convinced myself
I was saving.  I don’t know why I bought that lie.
I wanted to be close to them, to feel connection, or at
least enough of an illusion that I could believe a
pretty story.
I prey on their predators, abused kids once removed into
their metamorphosed mature stage.  Or maybe sociopaths
by birth, born to be bad?  Wasn’t I once born to be bad?
Have I not over-achieved that destiny?
Is malevolence born into humankind, always ready to
present and destroy?
The great love stories seem bent on destruction.  Is love
more about death than life?  Or is life about death
regardless of what is lived?  Mortals defined by
mortality, by that inevitability?
Yet, mortality is not inevitable, as I know.
I have been so much longer undead than alive as
defined by mortality.  And I could be spreading my
undeadly disease, creating endless macabre progeny.
My kind seems strangely reluctant to reproduce to capacity.
A minion here, a lover there, maybe some experiments or
amusements that soon pall.  I have not succumbed to
such.  The idea, if I follow its narrative, horrifies.
Do potential mothers, pregnant with potential children
who have no interest in being born, disfigured or
precognizant of earthly depredations, do they as
sympathetic hosts feel this horror of gestation’s
consequences?  Are these unborn the true instigators
of abortive maternal acts?  If their mothers are not able,
or sufficiently sympathetic, to comply, is suicide a
rectification, a severly late-term abortion?
What was my mother’s motivation in carrying and
birthing me, so much an abomination?  How long would
I have suffered my life had fate not intervened?
Children do suicide, younger than I when I died and
resurrected by another’s will.  And there are so horribly
many who live in service to death, possibilities of love
scorned, soothed by violence.
All of life feeds.  The gods must love that irony.
Life as ouroboros, ever feeding on itself.

Competition

Competition


It becomes clear to me, the Earth, this whole planet, is a dynamic ecosystem
striving for unobtainable balance.  If true balance could
be stabilized, there would be no push toward change,
adaptations, to move beyond a well entrenched sphere.
Without a strong push, a screaming need, disequilibrium
to the point of severe discomfort, life would be stuck in
stagnation.  We change because we have no choice.
It’s not even change or die, because death is change.
Death creates space for a new beginning, a repurposing
of indestructible energy.
Is all just rippling adaptation until the game ends when
the planet destructs from within or without?
Occasional brilliant displays, adept strategies, may
offer illusion of point,  meaningful calculation.
Each player gets caught up, enchanted in will to believe
we have real skin in a game, real points to be won
that bestow advantage.
Yet, if the goal is homeostatic satisfaction, of what
benefit is advantage, stacking up points that tip the scale?
My existence is simple, but not without events, angsts,
hungers propelling me forward.  If I could, would I stop,
in perfect balance, forever unchanging?  Would that be
different from death, the kind when energy has dissipated
to unbound chaos, unable to coalesce into a coherent whole?
My energy comes from the blood of organized life abandoned
to randomness of city streets, seeking individual balancings,
relief from hungers, emptinesses reaching for fulfillment,
to be whole.
If my wishes could muster power I would not wish them ill,
these fellow strangers, night travelers upon common roads.
I would wish us all better roads to a higher level of
disequilibrium.  Still strivers, but easier in our skins, enjoying
the view we move through, without malice.  Or would ease
leave us too dulled, too comfortable to endure violence
of Earth’s necessities of adjustment?
Elemental energies can be playful.  Their games are not
limited by pious rules of fairness.  They know no safe word,
respect no retreat or white flag.
We are born to the game.
The points are never tallied.
No one wins.

Meaning

Meaning


She comes alive with me.  I know you ironic gods
must love that.
Autumn’s natural grace, dramatic exuberance, sparkle
and charm are secrets she can expose in our safe chamber.
In public, the streets, the school rooms, buses, markets,
she hides.  It takes conscious effort to close in, slump,
avoid eye contact, appear both wary and aloof.
Then it becomes habit, like appropriate attire.
Here she is the vibrant child escaped, free of
expectations of lustful predation.  I am her shadow
sibling, uncomplicated confidante.  She is my
amazing, unexpected gift from the living world.
She crafts us glorious gypsy dancewear, sings sly
lyrics on strong rhythm for our dancing pleasure.
I forget for hours, believe a fantasy of child’s joy.
Can it matter that she does this for me, creates magic
that enchants a creature who can not, ought not exist?
Is it enough for her to have secret respite?  Does this
sanctuary supply ample resuscitation to help her stay
alive?  There is no normality here to bind.  We occupy
a temporary world of our own making.
“Why can’t they just let me be?  All those leering eyes,
lewd mouths, stupid meanness, why?  Just because they can?
Why am I, is anyone, fair game just for existing where we
can be seen, spit at, told ‘Missy, this is your place at the bottom
of our power base ‘cause we say so.’  All these assholes think
it’s their right and obligation to lay down the shit and enjoy
the squirming.  Why don’t I think that?  Why don’t I get to be
the terrorizing presence?  Why do I get to pretend I don’t mind
unless I’m prepared to fight against unbalanced odds?”
She rants, but not for long.  She shakes out sad indignation,
a brief release of tears.
Safely tucked away from such daily torment, she wisely flies
into fantasies so much more filling and thrilling than revenge.
We are wastrels from a marvelous storm, lost in a mysterious
alien wilderness.  We avidly share discoveries, suppose answers
to shared wonderings, honestly engage.
They are hero stories and metaphors, these layered games we
spin to amuse.  We each become more, better learn our own
desires, capabilities, through association.  Are we more able to
devise who we want to be, ideally, when not confronted by
demands of accommodation?  Does admiring adoration, call forth
unacknowledged courage, obscured strength?  Does love make us
lovelier to our ever chattering inner critics?
I am feeling strangely lighter while more securely solid.
I feel more real, more alive, than ever in my very long memory.
Days have taken on a different hue, meaning that breathes,
that matters.
I am aware of a feeling unlike pain.

Acceptance

Acceptance


Her hair efficiently braided, long thick tail
of dark luxury, even darker than her eyes so deep
and brown like rich earth.  She stands lithely
athletic, not noticeably tall; taller than I enough
to play protective older sister, instigator of
mischievous games.  Her coloring is soothing,
her form made for dancing.  My mind makes these
sketches.  It collates, memorizes with clear
emotion, etched impressions.  I will not take
from our time together with worry over what life
might make of her.
“I look more like dad.  He would say if he were a
beautiful, charming young lady.  He is good looking,
movie star handsome, attractive in that self-assured
top of the world mystique he assumes.  Their woman
friends, social acquaintances really, liked to make it
clear in their faux subtleties that my mom had it
far too good.
Back then she out-classed them in looks, smarts,
natural gracefulness not bought from stylists or tutors.
She is still pretty, under all the sad fatigue, like those
beautiful corpses in horror shows.  Maybe you could
see her sometime, look into our window.  She sits there,
on the couch she sleeps on, drinking into the night until
she gets to unconscious release, not really sleep.
I stay out of her way mostly, read, draw, sew, write in
my journal, get through my homework, in our one
bedroom.  I don’t want to deal with zombie mom.
I know, I seem pretty heartless, like I don’t care about
her.  The problem is I care so much, with nothing I can
do to reach her, shake her out of it.  She wants to be
that close to not living.  She would probably happily,
or at least effortlessly, drink herself to death if she
didn’t feel the pressure to pay the bills, keep us going,
for me.”
Autumn is quiet, pensive.  I see the film of almost tears,
the slight quiver, her facial features setting into
determination to stoicism.
“It’s not your fault,” I say.  I hold her warm hands in
my cold, smaller hands.  I am not experienced in
comforting.  How am I to know about bonds,
responsibilities, between mother and child?
Soon Autumn will be back in contentious reality.
What can I offer to carry her, to protect her from
ravages of that love, that responsibility?  I can not
guard her days out in the horrid world.  I can not calm
or rectify her nights imbedded in her mother’s sad
defeat.  I can be but imaginary playmate, solid
companion in our private world for the hours we share.
I can offer brief safe passage through the moments of
menacing night between here and her unhappy home.
For now I listen in intense empathy.  My eyes, my words,
my hands, offer what comfort she can take from them,
can accept.

Monster

 Monster


“Maybe he does love us.  Maybe it’s a kind of love that’s about ownership.
You know, you own what you can destroy.  Maybe the base idea,
underlying truth, is about securing what you love with total control,
power over, complete dependency.  I guess it may be that he gets a thrill
from an intimacy of pain, giving what is his to give, taking satisfaction
from that intensity of power.”
Autumn speaks of her father, the monster who in a sense devoured
her life.  He is part of her creation, an overarching part.  He is the
beast who devoured, destroyed her mother’s beauty and innocence,
and will to live, belief in anything like love or security or pleasure.
The need to escape his violence sent them on the run, landed them
in this dismal place.  Yet Autumn loves her father, in a simple, complex
wishful desire for belonging, for family myths of entangled love.
Perhaps her primal, formative experience in monster love allows her
to feel safe with me.  I am certainly dangerous to those strangers I
prey upon who seem quite at home in monstrous desire.
Perhaps I could subsist without draining, killing, could take just
enough to weaken unconscious drunks or junkies, derelicts who
would never be believed if they did remember me.  Would that make
me less a monster?  What if I fed on lesser animals, rats, coyotes,
feral dogs?  Would that look like penance for my crimes against nature,
my unnatural afterlife?
I do as I do, among all that I can do, what feels natural to me.
Monster nature, without assured end, its own retribution, punishment,
enduring burn of caustic guilt.
No, the shame did not lessen on my experimental diets of nonhuman
vermin or hits of drug infused blood.  I have walked undead long
enough to try it all, discover my vampire nature, with all of eternity
yet before me.
It’s not the loneliness, though I have often told myself, private pity
party cried that lie.
I do enjoy this amazing interval of fantasy, hours with Autumn away
from relentless confrontation with my truth.  There is no real escape,
relief from the story I inhabit.  I have no hope of welcoming home.
I died so very long ago.  The monster who makes appointed rounds,
hides from day, becomes shadow through the night, knows this is
no way to live.  There is no better future in my neverending sentence
without possibility of meaningful change, meaningful connection
with any kind of interactive social world.  I fill my days with fantasy,
nights with necessity.  Long since dead, mine is a parody life,
perhaps a homage to the archetypal monster vying for control.

Theater

Theater


I appear innocent, young, without power, easy to
overwhelm with meager will.  I appear in night shadows,
almost a ghost, empty of context, a slight form covered
in fascination.
There is truth to that lore, the ability to cloud and hypnotize
weak minds.  They see a prize unattached to strings or
consequence.  These streets are not a home to me, not
refuge of familiarity.  They are hunting grounds, but also
theater.
Here I walk my thoughts and come upon the plays, fraught
scenes of combat, cruelty, commerce, romance.
Deep night tragedy and drama acted out by frantic
spirits unable to be held inside to recover and prepare
for day’s obligations.  So many have no safe homes,
no walls and doors to shelter, muffle their rage, passion,
howls and terrified jabs of defense.
The street does not welcome.  It is a trial of last resort.
It is the ground below which the only fall is to death.
Even jails have walls, extrinsic rules.  Law of the street,
as nature, simplifies to do what you will until stopped.
To spite that freedom, habits take control, roles, spheres
of conduct.  I return each night, watch plots twist to work
kinks out of productions, eavesdrop on rewrites of dialog
and motivation.
Old drinking partners loudly disagree about a story they
tell each other.  The pain of betrayal strikes through their
long layered bond.  Asunder, each wandering this lonely dark
as if the experience were new, an unexpected grief.
A shabby man hits away the crying woman running after him
demanding money, demanding he look at her.  He strikes
her down, walks away.  She cries where she lays, then
quickly stands, aware that she is alone but not unseen.
A jeering boy offers her a dollar in jest.  She gestures
what he can do with his trash talk.  I am hungry.
I turn my attention to the hunt.  My senses are alert for
the solitary stranger who won’t be missed.  I ignore the
cuddled lovers taking comfort in the scant privacy of
building vestibules.
Soon someone is dying, intimately in my grasp.
If the audience could but applaud and go home.
If we could all go home to safe comfort, families,
friends, a warm bed, pleasant dreams.
This is not that kind of theater.
Here we have no luxury of sets, no safety of stagecraft.

Dream

Dream


No dream haunts my afterlife.  I awakened, am awake to
disappointment of consciousness, continuance of pain,
shame.  What they who do not rise, who die properly,
experience may be worse, better, Hell or Paradise.
Words, metaphors and names for referents unknown
to me.
People move about on solid planes, firm expectations.
I take in the moment.  Each moment is its own answer to
eternity’s “What now?”  These days with Autumn give me
wider perspective, more textures in my weaving mind.
Precious moments hidden from ordinary view.
Free of history and common law, Autumn’s warrior princess
dream can grow and play.
“Look at me, Ellie.  I am strong, fierce, indomitable, even in
my secret identity as illusive little girl.  Besides, someday
I’ll be grown and strong and fierce.  Meanwhile, you know,
the magic keeps getting more awesome.  Pretty soon I’ll
have the power to bend their minds to mine.  They’ll have
no idea.  Well, they’ll have my ideas as to how to behave.
Not that I’ll be mean.  With real power, why bother with petty
revenge, right?  I’ll make them better.  Mine will be a
benevolent reign.  All hail Queen Autumn the magnificent,
magnanimous monarch.
And we can build a huge underground playroom where you
can have whatever amusements you choose for your days.
You’ll be my special royal knight and wizard inspiring glorious
legends and the people’s adoration.  No one will touch us
unless we deem them worthy.
My mom can be dowager Queen, most noble and revered.
Kind, loving subjects will cater to her every whim.  She can
remember how to be happy.
It’s not just a fantasy.  I know the monarch thing is a metaphor.
I will figure it out, how to make them mine, how to win, to
create that power of will.  I know you believe in me.  Look how
special we already are, you and me, how improbable.
I never could have dreamed such an amazing friend.  See,
incredible things happen, to me.  Not just horrible, crippling
stuff no one would want to believe, but, you know, amazing
incredible.  Like I am blessed by you.  I know you think you
are a monster, but don’t you see – you are so much more
than that gargoyle vision you show yourself, thick with sin.
You’ll see.  We have an amazing destiny to fulfill, my friend.
Stick with me, kid.  This will be a wild and magical ride.”
She hugs me.  She actually hugs me, with love, attraction,
attachment, attunement, affection.  If I could dream, this
would be the best of dreams imaginable.

Apparition

Apparition


All these years, psychological time still does not accelerate.
My hours are as long as any child’s, caged or free.
These rainy nights, street life loses charm, denizens sparse,
hidden.  Pickings thin, I quell my hunger in wait of the
right opportunity, because I can.  I obey no clock but my
own eternity.
My mind is practiced in self-distraction.  I luxuriate in
falling water, the cleanness it imparts.  Soft impressionist
romance of streetlight glow through wet insistence let’s
me believe I am walking through a fantasy.  Any potent image
could appear.  I might find, realize myself to be in any era of
my history, transported by a dark elemental spell.
Of course time does not play these fancy tricks for me.
Only my impossible mind transports through memories,
subliminal hallucinations.  I have been playing these games
for so long they become like friendly ghosts, itinerant
companions.
Urban birds reiterate their forest songs, perhaps discussing
weather and food.  I teleport to a high building top and own
the city below.
Stench of wet garbage, caked soot, fowl excrement, does not
negate freshness of open sky, drenching condensation.
Strangely, from way up here, I feel the call of despair so
strongly I am drawn to a window several stories down.
Peering in I surprise a middle-aged man contemplating
a revolver.  As he stares at this sudden apparition, as I
must appear to him, I simply ask that he invite me in.
Whether my hypnotic suggestion or shocked compliance,
he accepts my offer with quizzical invitation.
Though I drip a small puddle onto the floor on which
I stand, I did not bring in the water that streams from
his eyes.  Or perhaps my surreal presence has triggered
permission for this release.
I see no reason we can not be of mutual aid.  It is far late
into this night.  I am still unfed and aware of hunger.
He tries to explain that his life is cruelly over, while time
unreasonably continues.  I am considerate; I do not laugh.
Perhaps he believes me a symptom of his lapse beyond sanity.
I have over an hour until dawn’s boundary.  With sincere
sympathy, I give him all the time he needs for explanation,
to rationalize away his resistance.  I listen.  I do not advise
or sway.  I do at last suggest our secret trade, the end to
his pain, the continuance of my shameful trail.
Perhaps he told himself that none of this was real, that
he would awaken with new options.
Perhaps he simply released into acceptance, a last pleasure,
a peaceful end to unwanted time.

Kathy

Kathy


Autumn’s words rush like storm wind.
“She was so strong, focused, unstoppable, deeply
impressive to me, like a transformation into superdom.
For most of my life she’d just been, you know, Mom.
I mean, she was cool about doing the mom things,
reading stories to, then with me, teaching me how to do
those everyday rituals, you know, like washing, dressing,
brushing my hair, what to say to be polite, how to feel
better when plans go wrong.  She was easy to be with
mostly, though often, you know, not quite there, mulling
over or tidying up thoughts I ought not see.
After she made that clear decision, after we ran off on a
sunny afternoon, out of the lives we knew, she was all
exactly there.  She had a plan with layered contingencies,
always rewriting, pulling in data and strategies from the
other runners we would meet in the shelters and on the
streets.  Alert to possible dangers, opportunities, she kept
us safe, moving, swift and sane, kept me calm and ready.
Changing places, changing our names, adapting to ever
different conditions, she was my hero.  I was proud to believe
I could be as strong, as real, alive, magnificently resilient
now that I had learned the terror she had secretly endured
all those years I dismissed her as decorative and weak.
But now, now that we seem to have landed, leveled out,
taken long-term shelter, when I look at her she is
essentially gone.  It’s like she was running on a hot-burning
fuel that’s been burned out.
I know she loves me.  I feel that yearning anxiety flicker
through her when she looks at me, the unrequited desire
for the power of ability to give me more, to make it all better.
She talks to me, those times after her long horrible days,
when we’re home together, before she is too drunk to make
sense, as if we’re just typical mom and daughter enjoying our
normal life.  I guess this is our normal, now.”
Autumn tumbles through her complex of feelings, confusions,
guilts, complaints, loyalty, love, her mom junk as she on occasion
dismisses, apologizes, tries to keep it from engulfing.
Kathy dissipates, from drink, from lack of thought to give
herself.  Her desire is to be numb, to get through the litany of
doing without notice, to drift away leaving a programmed
automaton to do without her conscious consent.  She wants
better for Autumn.  Feeling lost and spent beyond redemption,
entrenched in failure, in revealed lies confronted too late, in
shambles overwhelming any possibility of reconstruction, she
feels no ability to give, to offer.
What does my understanding of, even empathy for, that
battered soul offer?
I hold shaking Autumn close to my cold exterior, feel her
cry, feel the fear she doesn’t speak.
There are so many ways life can go wrong.
Maybe there is no point in such calculation.  Ideas,
valuations, are so subjective, based in ephemeral cultural
prescriptions.
“Remember, Autumn, when she knew what had to be done she
was magnificent.  Remember how that feels.”