Underguard. Crumbled tissue in my mouth.
A crazy way to run – hands in pockets.
Forward without, undeterred by reality.
Plywood I am keeping for emergencies,
for days when putting on the brakes just won’t suffice.
Speeding, retreating, torsos twisting beautifully in anticipation.
I used to make mortar by hand, no machine to ease
my impossible labor – brick carrying and scaffolding climbing
and voices that ceased for a while in my head, visions
foiled by exhaustion – overused and folding.
Injuries are bypassed for much larger connections.
Double-winged, it is all that counts, to be counted
like lightening, glazed like tile
and ancient bones kept as keep-sakes,
never a participant in trivial bickering or
watered-downed by petty grievances and
Sometimes I think of dying.
I think of the unread newspaper that stays folded,
wrapped in an elastic band.
I think of a broken bird making broken bird sounds,
too broken to be saved, treated by most
as a mild inconvenience
to be walked around and grimaced at.
Except by the man with the warm dark eyes, soft
furrowed brow, and a child who will not forget those mangled
wings or the hard lesson of helplessness, the inability to heal
or to be a vessel for a miracle.
It is hard to love me. I am hard, uncompromising
and never still. I am needing intimacy at every turn,
needing space to brood and build my solitary house.
I miss no one I’ve lost except the dead – a parent,
many animals that once shared my life. I am not easy, not
easygoing – bloodletting, bloodtesting, phone calls
avoided, coiled, almost mad and never understanding.
Sex and perfect reciprocation. Hands that know more
than words, keeping in the margins, layering synergy energy
into peaks and mounds, like mountains and fractal heartbeats,
fearless of falling, or of clouds. You and I,
it has to be our reward for not selling out, not
building cages of adult-overload, for constantly
clearing room for any divine equation no matter
how it threatens our already-precarious security.
We love our children, but not like others love.
We are less of this place, more reliant on grace
than our own worldly ingenuity to keep food
on the table, the bathroom fixed and cleaned.
are you still mine, and I, yours? It is a lot to take in, decades and
mouldy walls. I am afraid of going off track,
of being dead and seeing there is no more I can do. That
it is done and inerasable. I am afraid of not feeling
the warmth of your hand when I walk, because
you are always holding my hand and I love you
with a personal love like Kierkegaard did –
his hunchback, a deformity that kept him pure.
And the loneliness.
Knowing you, but never any other.
I am not that alone, but I remember
space, lightyears of carved-out quiet. It enters me often
and I cannot get out of it. Breathing becomes separation,
a tool I must remind myself to use.
Remind me again, demand
my unwavering loyalty, trust, and all.
Copyright © by Allison Grayhurst 2014
First published in “The Muse – An International Journal of Poetry” Volume 4, Number 1, June Issue 2014
You can listen to the poem below:
In response to the poem – Walkways:
“This is brilliant! Brilliant. Reminds me of when I first read Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”. And I wanted to stand up on the city bus and exclaim aloud: “Listen to this!” A comprehensive capturing of human earthly experience in all its dimensions without missing a beat – beyond the conscious mind – dancing with the levels of our knowing and sensing – that we feel but do not always recognize, and rarely, oh so rarely articulate. Clearly, Grayhurst’s poetic journey has taken her to the mountain top,” Taylor Jane Green, registered holistic talk therapist and author.