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

Category: memories

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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Violent imperfections

  I hover again on another 3AM where this time I’m discovering how the lights of my unwanted skyline lend themselves to new memories like so many Russian dolls. Moments are as fickle as anything else, I suppose. Or maybe when my minds blades have processed and blended a person or an experience enough times over it just trickles away.

My fingers are so cold they forget to hold on to the determinism I’ve been keeping in my pocket next to my agency or regret. I suppose I’m dangerous because I  intermittently want everything and nothing and simultaneously all at once. Stretched truths are things I avoid with ardor, but what of the lies we tell ourselves?

I wonder if my insides aren’t smooth and white like the cereal milk in magazine photos. Inedibly appetizing and thick with the slickness of a grippingly convincing imaginary.

I wonder if I’m even human sometimes.

Don’t slow down (you’ll catch up with you)

Driving is a good way to run from things but it’s always been a bad way to get caught. There’s something about staring down a highway, that man-made stripe that cuts through hillsides in rural Kentucky or Tennessee or nowhere-city Kansas, that reminds us that no matter how far we drive, we can’t escape the road. Let’s not give this town a real name, lets pretend it’s make-believe, let’s say this town and its spider-web of roads belongs to everyone. It snakes across our minefields and connects the dots between the lives we’ve left scattered behind us along the way. All those humans– the girl with the red hair who smiled at me like we had a secret, the man with the wedding band he twists as he waits for his coffee, the sorry-eyed stranger standing, smoking, that I could have sworn was a remnant of my past but for coincidence and cruelty couldn’t have been. And why? What does a human constellation etched on my ribcage amount to, a splayed hand of would-be loves or brushes of a shoulder that buzzed with importance I was desperate to allot if only to bring some future to the trudging weeks ahead? We’re all desperate for our 7 touches a day, and deficiency drives hallucinations and decisions as bad as espresso cheesecake at 11am.

But here I am alone again and I’m beginning to think we all have the same name, the same face, the same initial that was written in the same way with the same significance and it has ceased to surprise that I might be so easily replaced. Aren’t we all, after all?

Love is a lie we tell ourselves to give a little hope to rolling over on a Melrose morning-after when all we want is the reassurance that we taste sweeter, feel smoother, get wetter than anyone who has ever existed before us or ever will again. We have no future here. The couch knows it, the silence whispers it, the sheets on the bed have always curled away from our feet as if to say “remember when this was easier said than done?” But now, easier done than said for those four letters have revealed themselves to be a bit of a highway themselves. Let me trace the happiness brought by an L, the picture-framed-reality of our O, the V that reminded me what want was, and the E for “Ever” that was anything but.

In no particular order I woke up. I cut my hair.  I payed a man to draw time on my left side, the one with no broken parts, and he said I lied as still as anyone he’d ever seen.  I asked a girl with a sneer to give me something to concentrate on instead of my face and she said she didn’t recommend it but did it anyway. In no particular order I have re-arranged my body. I left him. In no particular order, I have been looking for myself.

I’m still trying to figure out what parts are me and what parts are the ones I made up over time to fill in the spaces between the L, the O, the V, and the E that never really fit together like the fairytales said they might.

But what’s a fairytale if not a lesson learnt about good and evil and the wicked way that heads or tails dont matter in the end? This year has been one of glass houses with glass ceilings and glass slippers left on the looking-glass stares as we all just try to remember how many hours we have left until midnight.

Final count: less than we think, more than we probably want, but let’s chock up our half-way hesitations to a necessary lie. What’s better than a fine layer of glittering ignorance, fairy dust, that lends a little meaning to what our fingers search for blindly in the dark?

Let’s have a drink. I’ll cross my legs, I’ll smile. The name we give it– a noun, a verb– it’s all just a fancy way to say let’s play pretend.

 

 

 

Burning Letters, An Effigy to Obscurification

“[I]f you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”   Friedrich Neitzsche

Some bodies seethe tension, radiating worry as distorting heat waves from summer pavement in the sun.  And I, I am scalding like a thought, flickering orangey-red in the corners, the translucent places of eyes or elbows reveal the molten heat beneath. But skin is merely a container for my esoteric contents, nothing more–so when sleep jerks away as a hand from the stove I know I must burn to the touch.

At night I think I am some unnatural furnace or natural disaster where the ash of so many incinerated thoughts hide tiny glowing embers, ready to re-light past fires for warming future fears. Clicking hollow, dull like a November radiator, I come roaring to life in the dark–- fingers trembling with combustion to slowly melt down bone and being into a voiceless liquid mass. Sleepless, simmer.

And so I eat nothing, only smoldering macabre thoughts and incandescent fears, but flames lick my sticky fingers clean so I travel fast. The greatest consumer consumed, I fly sure-footed and nimble-fingered over every well-known memory or moment, mind glowing in the shadows of another 3AM.

Here, finally, where I can neither speak nor think because I am devouring myself. And so it must be that if you are what you eat

I am, in fact, infinite.