The Letting Go
Blast your devil’s heart,
make it into paper confetti,
take it into outer space
and leave it there.
You stood on my shoes as I was
wearing them, dug your heels in
and spat in my eyes.
Cruel corpse rising from a muddy grave,
you are weak and monstrous, always claiming
to be the victim of someone else’s scheme.
You are madness, the sharp ridged knife
of madness flaying in chaotic whiplash
at the sky, the birds, and all manner of trees.
Take back your darkness, swallow it whole,
let it stew in your innards, ruminate, reuniting
with the depravity already there.
You will never lie to me again,
pretending you wanted love when all you wanted
was to spread your malignancy, vengeance
for an imagined wrong, to give a landing slap
with the full force of violent resentment and envy.
Slither away, your bite left no mark, ineffectual
as your attempts to love. Judas, Brutus, master
of deep, un-emerge-able hell. Go home. Blast away
your caked-on body filth, reductive stench, spoiling
all you claimed to hold sacred.
Give yourself over
to the burn on your back,
the sordid array of demons
counselling your thoughts.
Let loose the bell string,
pull hard and hard again.
Find yourself a ditch to
fall into, scream out of,
wailing at the stars.
Ruin a good morning with
your sticky filth, throwing blame
to deflect from the wounds of
your own weakness.
I add you up – here, here and here.
I will not play along
with your parlour-tricks, your mayhem
of pointing-the-finger lies
when what I gave was love
– not perfect – but love nonetheless.
Coil up in your bitterness, resentments you wear
like a special pair of shoes,
walking around, leaving prints over prints
of your relentless pointless pacing.
I am not who you think I am, not willing
to hold guilt for your depravity, for a crime never my own.
I will say it again – I loved – I gave you love
the best I knew how, and I showed kindness.
Give yourself over to the intercourse
of false justifications and accusations and
see how it feels to be alone, here,
with what is left –
broken dollar-store jewelry, dandruff flakes.
Give yourself over and
out of my thoughts
out into the isolated frozen-dead terrain
of your own sick making.
Surrender to restore
the gifted strength, bruised
by curses, but otherwise unharmed.
Lay down the cloak of justice,
Achilles’ revenge. Shout fire!
and let it burn.
What I did was falter,
overspeak with heart-felt enthusiasm,
that is all – thinking it was to a friend,
when in fact it was a snake, no, a worm,
without backbone, fangs or face.
Pour salt on it, watch it dissolve
into its true slime-form, formless
as the excuses of Brutus who cared nothing
for Rome, for Caesar, had only his own
power-grab in mind, wounded
that he was not chosen, pride-puffed,
feigning altruism to self-justify
his ruthless deed.
Appear to me, then pass like a bad smell
when a window is opened, or lavender calm is sprayed.
I was fooled when I should have honoured
the signs before, left, when I first witnessed
your shadow-flood self-pity play. Then
I should have hung up the phone and never
called back. But I kept on, over that hurdle, ignoring
its truth, always wondering, waiting for the monster
to unmask again. When it did, it was worse than before.
The wolves of hell have you now, surrounded
on all dimensional sides. Your vicious tongue,
still twisting and twirling, angered at the glare of the sun.
Promise me never to return. I promise you
I have walked by you, looked, then walked
further up the devil’s back, out
of the inverted pit of your doing, never to look again.
Know I have no good memories of you,
they have all been eradicated by this hideous calamity.
Your words of love ring like lies,
hiding a hostile, grudge-madness,
a decade of trust mutilated by spiritual sickness.
Know your hydra head is now exposed,
sliced off, cauterised, nullified at the core, illusion blown –
your sweet-honey-poison dried up, disposed.
Diminished in love
by excessive self-pity, locked
in anguish, in anger, in the burn-machine
lake layer of hell
as the long sword of your insanity
is wielded, intending to split
my skull in two.
I felt it breeze past, just missing its mark.
I felt the shock as I swerved, as you
suckled on the teat of your unfounded
resentments, brewing for months, draped
in pretty fabric, niceties and endearments.
How long had your soul gone foul,
and I never noticed?
No discussion, just your rigid arthritic finger
pointing, your creased forehead further creasing,
corpse-like and rising like a poltergeist
from the boiling mire.
Poor soul. Poor you as all of your
bold spiritual proclamations are reduced to naught.
Take care old woman. You cannot create
or be uplifted tied to this abhorrent deformity
of deluded self-righteousness.
You can feel good for a second, lift your sword,
and be exhilarated. You can rub your hands together,
feel the power of cruelty, demolishing
a friendship with one swift cut.
You can and you did, and it is now done –
The cancer I never knew was there is removed,
every cell radiated and eradicated.
I proclaim gratitude for getting me out,
for releasing me from the leach tethered to my underbelly,
masquerading as a trusted alley.
I see you, your collected violent distortions, the rage
you assume, your sword in its ruthless downward assault,
swing, strike past, dark mass amputated, and I am set free.
The burn was received, betrayal
like a thousand strikes
on the same spot – ripping off
first my skin, then sinews.
A burn like a confession of hate,
masquerading for years as love.
That side has now descended, into the hollow,
along with all that burns and whose heat
cannot be tamed or reconciled.
I put a steel sheet over that hollow,
cover it for good and breathe easy in my escape,
tie my hair back and sing loudly with
my joy and intellect intact – with my trust in
God unharmed, my language rejuvenated.
Layers of arsenal fumes, rising,
I see you below in that hollow
hunched over, lamenting
a sickly self-pitying cry.
Already your hands and arms, up to your elbows,
buried like stakes deep in the unforgiving ground.
You cannot move. You cannot hope
for better days.
Your hissing is useless, and the venom from your lips
dissipates into nothing as it leaves your gaping mouth.
You, stuck in a frozen mire, cut off
from the current, condensed, calcified, and stalled,
with only your conceit, your woe-is-me!
to give you voice, some
semblance of rudimentary comfort.
Copyright © 2021 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “Lothlorien Poetry Journal and anthology Volume 2”, March 2021, August 2021
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