Charlotte E. Wilde

Identities constructed on the linguistic champ de bataille | Words, like little foot soldiers, march out in the armies of my poetic failures

Paper Cuts, the dangers of a loose leaf

I folded the page and then I folded it again. Something about all that blank space felt daunting, impossible. You’ll work up to it, I thought, one day you’ll stare at that expanse of  paper and all you’ll see is possibility.

Today isn’t that day, but who knows how I’ll feel about tomorrow. Today I need something manageable, a tighter frame for my mistakes.

I folded the page one more time for good measure, licked the crease and cut my mind down to size.

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Orbuculum Lies [it’s our favorite song]

Gypsy king with a red Gibson, complete with vibrato purrs and perfectly shined Zorzettos, you lie like you were born reading minds. Can’t tell if it’s the stage or the throne I put you on that has the added benefit of a panoramic view. Either way, it’s not surprising ’cause I’ve always been attracted to the flip of chance and I guess, if nothing else, our double-faced love keeps me on my toes.

Let’s consider the weight of the game: when even pennies are predisposed to falling face down, two out of three isn’t great odds. Maybe you weren’t chasing tail, but with a little chance you’re still getting head[s].

I’m not blind. The only thing you love more than me is the thrill of the chase. Idol worship and a national desire. You’re a festival, a one man band of beating lashes and broken [heart] strings. You want them all; why have one [micro] when you could have two? What luck, sound-checking hip swings and paid in cachets to fill all those [shopping] [h]arts with pipe-dreams. You say you’re in it for the music, not the glory, but alcohol whispers you alive and want-to-come-up’s start to sound like fringe benefits to a [lie] worth living.

And why not? I’m asleep but you’re busy making history. Inédit. Interdit. Another story gone to ground.

Imagine this, midnight mind: She’s whispering “we can’t.” Negative lips but positive eyes and you’re probably picturing both wrapped around your cock… which should repel me, but somehow just makes me wonder if the lamp’s on or off, the color of the bedspread, and does she leave her clothes on the floor like I do?

You used to tell me it was all in my head but I remember how it felt the first time you looked at my skin. I remember how your alleyways left marks on my breasts and your lips curled back over teeth that bit harder than hearts.  I remember, and still, like a shit song, I can’t seem to get this out of my head.

In the end, I’m the one who’s been playing us on repeat, skipping to the good parts, stringing myself along. It isn’t clairvoyance but certainly you’ve never been what you seemed; what you said.

Recognition comes slowly– surprising, like a cat’s kiss. This time, I’m the fortune teller; gypsy queen with a resophonic heart.

Hands {redacted}

I’m not sure when we started sleeping with your hand looped up and around, right palm to left breast.

Before you left you laughed about it, saying it would be hard to sleep without something to hold.

Breast, you said.

Heart, I thought.

Overwrite my mind [You know nothing of Hiroshima]

Tu me tues.
Tu me fais du bien.
-Hiroshima mon amour

The trudging of my thoughts keeps me up until I Nyquil them down because being sick legitimizes pillow-talk lies and goddamnit if I haven’t been saving you for a rainy day. My headboard is a hostage cell, tiny tickmarks remember each night spent shaking memories out of my ear like pool-water headaches. It had, of course, occurred to me that maybe this floor and this room would always remind me of midnight imaginations run to ground, but in the end I decided it was easier to blame it all on December.

Two days in and a three hour drive from anything resembling civilization– if you’d think that would account for a little peace of mind you’d be wrong.  I’d quickly figured out that unlike everything else around here, memories don’t stop for snow-days.

I hate interims, it’s too hard to run from things when time slows down. 48 hours and counting– a so-called vacation. 2880 minutes hitting the bottom of my stomach like pennies in an empty wishing-well. 172,800 seconds, strung along like christmas lights. The neighbors are trying to out-do each other but we’re all just spectacles of wasted energy, little orbs of dissipating heat.  Each second splits like an atom and I consider that my isotope must still contain particles of us– a love at critical mass, fission failure.

Or maybe my memory picks and chooses what it wants to remember. I heard once that the average human heart beats 100,000 times per day but anxiety’s an overachiever. My EKG speaks in morse code:  You can’t go back there, it says, but hard habits die old.

I closed the curtains on January, but it’s still out there, looming like a bible belt horizon, greenish gold and slippery around the edges. This was no time for stalling. I need to be new, bleach my mind. Eternal sunshine. Spotless hatred. Given enough time I can turn anyone’s touch inside out. Given enough heartbeats I can short circuit a feeling, activate radioactive decay process.

And sure enough, like a quarter in a gum-ball machine, the thought of losing you, of watching the skin slough off the bones of our memories, bought me a handful of sleep.

Biding [y]our frozen time

My role is preordained perhaps, the dupe or the damsel.

I never mean to wait up for you to come home but somehow I do anyway. ‘Breathing is easy,’ I try to remind myself, wishing my hands would warm and the icy cold of my feet didn’t betray my racing mind when you slide into bed next to me.

I’ve been counting again so I know it’s quarter past 3am. Eyes closed to the obvious, I’m thankful that sleep sounds the same in any  language.

I think our love turned off its read receipts some six months ago, but at the time it had seemed best to pretend not to notice. So I did.  Now, back to backs turned, binding un-cracked, I bide my time and yours. Warm heart, cold feet; with each inhale I imagine surrealist landscapes and wonder if you’ve seen how ice crystals splay dentelle secrets when you sing them a song. I take mental note to stop drinking so much water in hopes of re-gaining some control over my kaleidoscope mind.

In moments like these I wish you knew that I can’t help but wonder about her…about you. Does the thrill of the chase get you hard, does her lust make you feel alive? I mull over the thought that maybe I’m a masochist, a voyeur, because I find myself wanting to hide in your mind, to experience the burn of this new desire on your skin. Does it taste the same as mine?

But your breath whispers that you’re already asleep and between inhales I’m reminded once again how my analogies never add up in time for my my brain and my tongue to coordinate some sort of response. Metaphor’s imaginations mapping tongues like minefields; save it for another sigh, Charlotte, another night.

If you’d only ask me, I’d tell you I’ve been trying to forget, but freezer burnt feelings just don’t taste the same.

If you’d asked me, I’d tell you everything. But when the cigarettes you don’t smoke tiptoe onto my pillow it’s always been easier for both of us to pretend I’m asleep.

If you’d ask me, I’d warn you; nothing keeps forever, not even here in the cold.

Cashing in my mental phantom load

I’ve been thinking about the phantom load of a memory, the lagging feeling of a thought you can’t shake. I get snagged on these mental preoccupations that exist like a song I can’t get out of my head. And I can’t help but wonder : where does this wasted energy go?

At night it’s phantom loads that keep me up. That sound I hear– is it feet trudging through snow, blood pounding in my temples or electricity pulsing through my mind from connections I forgot to un-plug?

Today I’m thinking about human connection. And sometimes I get sea-sick when I swim in the immensity of the thought of the quantity of people with whom you could have fallen in love, with whom you still might.

Love is like a job, perhaps.  We’re all just biding our time until something better falls into our lap. As we get older, we’re perhaps less willing to take the risk of dropping what we’ve got for an unknown, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t jump at the chance if the right opportunity came along, the right benefits. Does this mean we should always hedge our heart’s bets? Keep our options open? What is “love” in any form but mere convenience? Don’t give up the ship, but how can a realization like this coexist with the romantic ideal we’ve held for so long?

The cultural used-car salesman who sold us this idea of love was actually just trying to make a quick buck.

I wonder about phantom loads, I wonder if I’ll get the bill soon for the things I’ve been thinking about in the night. I wonder if you have them too, and if you’ve been keeping back burners on just in case this pot is slow boil.

Cripple and the midnight slink (I’m your private entertainment, a one man band)

Happiness is almost certainly given too much credit, but never for its stealth. It comes and goes, a bending continuum of frozen blades, crooked and shimmering. Tundra, as far as the eye can see.

We’re all lost here. Monotony, sprouting futures on the windowsill like seeds that just wont take. A green thumb, an eskimo queen who greets you naked with a melting smile.

I catch myself picturing the things I want to do to your skin but tuck them back away. I put myself on pause, a Sunday afternoon spent in bed when we’re counting the hours by like last night’s bruises painted on my neck and thighs.

I collect your compliments in a jar on the mantle. When you’re gone I take them down and spread them around me, crosslegged on the floor. I snap them up two at a time before the ball bounces twice, until I’ve captured them all. Keep on playing, practice makes perfect; I’ll train my fingers to fly.

We’re the performance of a lifetime ; two inimitable artists up-staged only by reality, in a Broadway-worthy comédie musicale.  Imagine us heaving, wet eyed and shaking, standing naked on this stage where we’ve just given our all. We’re brilliant, baby, breathless, and we know the reviews will be written with no regard, that commitment is  key. Acting is our allocated lie.

 

So here I am. I’m still waiting. Writing, I’m writing again with these crooked fingers. The backlogs to my memories kept on ice, I guess I’m back to biding [our] melting time.

Really, what it amounts to is, I’ve been looking hard for the words to tell you

I know I’m your default darling, but you’ve never been mine.