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

Metaphor is madness (you’ve been here before)

I always feel strange in the fall, disconnected, like a glass panel separates me from the world and I’m looking in– a tourist drunk on cheap souvenirs meant to commemorate that which is already slipping away.  I’ve reduced this feeling to a happy-hour cocktail that you didn’t want but ordered it anyway, a mixture of being and nothingness with a cock-eyed umbrella but ice so clear you could see your reflection. You could but you don’t.  You’re too busy starring in a re-run drama of intimate geometry– legs crossed and uncrossed, leaves slip with rot and you find that you’re Vāta, dry, cold, light, minute, and movement– but you’re fading fast. A lêche vitrine queen with weeks to live and an impossibly long list of things to ruin before the inevitable.

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Everyday tragedies of ordinary people

You’re different and it doesn’t go unnoticed. The billowing excess that colors outside your lines is visible and I begin to think that maybe eyes really are the windows to the soul, after all.

Somewhere in the middle of my musing it occurs to me that I know you. You sat in the volumes of my father’s shelves– Oedipus, Neitzsche, Hamlet– everything that’s wrong with everybody’s inner dialogue that they don’t care to admit but they’re thinking it anyway in the middle of the night.

We’ve met before; I’ll often forget a name but never a face. You’re that slippery feeling that something’s not right lurking in the shadows of an ill-advised ally-way shortcut. You’re the slanting memories following me into every 1AM, a bloodhound hot on the trail of a midnight mistake. You’re the usual suspects, the hope-we-get-caughts, religious guilt, adolescent desire, and midnight snacks. You’re those train-wreck thoughts [can’t look away], off somehow, but all rolled up in skin that goes down smoother than a double-dipped spoonful of dulce de regret (quick, nobody’s looking).

I know you too because I’ve felt you. For those of us with seething, by-water brains, curiosity has always been a defacto drug. And I wonder if perhaps noncompliance is catching, like cigarettes, or sticky, like jealousy, my own sugar-laced fly-paper trap. Or maybe, after all, the rules were only made to floodlight the ones who don’t quite fit.

I see you and I don’t look away because we’re both sinking. Siamese sinners, living the everyday tragedy of [extra]ordinary people– [ab]normality.

Here we are, and we know each other’s faces
because we’re lepers, all of us, witches at the steak.

It’s dark. Don’t go alone

My body unties itself
and my mind floats off
into the waves of my unconscious.
Tetherless, I’m drifting on our imaginary;
breathless, I find you waiting.

You trace my steps,
adjust your stride until you fit perfectly
into the curve of my thoughts,
my mind’s imprints
where synapses slip
like breadcrumbs.

And one by one,
you follow
this sloping honey hoax home.

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, arm under my elbow, right palm spanning my sternum, my back to to your chest.

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.

Let me explain…no, it’s too long. Let me sum up. The math of it is simple: 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–no use in neighbors trying to out-do each other, 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, fantasy 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, it says, when we both know hard habits die old.

I’d closed the curtains on January, but it’s still out there, looming like a bible belt horizon, greenish gold and slippery around the edges. Sure as quicksand, this is 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.