vulnerable uninvited unaware surprised unprepared strange
it was a moment, brief –
a second, split second
a saintly time a split sanctification
one moment of awareness
; this one time
once I saw everything you came uninvited you surprised me
I remember this where I see everything
hear heard I heard you I can hear you
found you found me
for once not afraid not afraid
(and) strangely calm calm it was so peaceful
my answer, your answer
a shooting star (out of) those calm stars
distinct how distinct
secret bridge secret garden secret waterfall
time left time dispersed
dwelled I dwelled we dwelled
beneath it all
only you and I know only we know
escape escaped I escaped we escaped
, our defense
my shelter quickly, shelter brief shelter
in this place
the only moment we were alone a moment of silence for once silence
take a breath when I breathed I could breathe I can breathe
we were breathing we breathed one breath
inhale inhale, exhale //
this moment that one moment
when we were alone a breath alone my lungs work
: I am oxygen I am air
I am the rush (I am) the flood
flooding everything flooding
— you see?
I see everything, I see nothing I hear everything, I hear nothing
I feel everything, I feel nothing
(for) I am timeless
Needles against my skin.
I’ll never be silk again.
Hurricanes and explosions, that is how you pump.
I can’t hear my heart, can you feel my chaos?
Can you feel, my chaos?
Blood transfusion is soiled.
And your beat is a black plague.
She asked, Can you stitch me up, darling?
I can’t hear my heart.
Can you stitch me up?
Sutures sunder wide, he severs
Beneath this sound, the
***a collaboration with my friend and fellow writer Jace Darcangelo, influenced by Dr. Glancy’s Advanced Creative Writing class and The Chariot (of course)
When I worked for my father at his office,
I noticed his shorthand for “Change” was a triangle.
“△ Michelle’s salary to __”
When you brought me a necklace made of leather string
Tied through a single sliver of deer antler
with a triangle cut out in the center–
I knew there would be no northern lights
Or flowers for me to hang from the ceiling–
Your shorthand by drill bit was clear.
Chapter II. ευδαιμονια
And I speak of this φιλια, that is my sacrament. What I hope to become, to engage, to embrace; inextricably We. Not only regard, but hold out my hands aware with faithfulness, empathy. Keeper of virtue so that between You and I comes We. That I would speak, write letters out of my head, call out of my shell, and make my bed there under the sky. Doors wide, arms unfolded, ears open. So we shall sit in hours of bright, in hours of dark; in watery eyes, in full, in empty. Carrying our bones. Together, in stasis, in motion; to Pass That, whatever it is. To reject Reciprocity, aim for such καλοσ. This is true Justice, my δικη. And so maybe I can speak of this φιλια, my sacrament. And perhaps I can speak of this φιλια, my ευδαιμονια.
ευδαιμονια–The flourishing life
iv. A Third Interlude
But Samuel told me a story, of two brothers whose souls were knit together.* And Jonathan loved him as his own soul, he said. Dear Jonathan, the way your David tore his clothes at the news,** remembering when he last saw you, and your last words to him; before he ran for his life, remember? And wept with one another, David weeping the most. Then he said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’*** Samuel finished, sat back in his chair, a bit distant now. How extraordinary, he said, eyes misting over.
*1 Samuel 18:1
** 2 Samuel 1:26
***1 Samuel 20:41-42
A Catalogue of Things Regarded Important
for the Remaining Engagement with φιλια
Chapter I. Sacrament
I speak of this φιλια, that is my sacrament. A pursuit. But maybe I should speak, that my throat is often weary. That there are letters I’ve never sent, unstamped, written in my head. This I know, that I am born, but still I wonder Who am I when I am in my shell and the crust is thick. When what goes on inside of me is not always the same as what I do. This, my confession: utility and pleasure, they seduce me. This surrounded by a shell of lip-licking self absorption, and the crust is thick. My pride negates the iron bar I’ve driven through my neck, compounded by the effort that I constantly regret. My eyes focus nearsighted. Yet with moments of clarity, I beseech my eyes to see. This I know, that I am born, and hope to break my shell. To love my partners in crime, my wolf brothers, my glowing sisters. Mea culpa, dear ones. If you still want to love me, it won’t come without a cost; the fight to be much better is a fight I’ve often lost.*
Mea culpa–“through my fault”
*Showbread, “The Prison Comes Undone”
The Unfolding Present Engagement with φιλια
We band together and they determine to become my new family. My full circle of restoration. Barely acquainted, yet I am surrounded by smiling arms. The wise Owl speaks over us, People are more important than stuff, dammit. Eyes kind, hands so strong. We take a night trip to the lake and bare our bodies to the element. The water stark as trust, but the view of stars matchless, aiming at the heart. He could have sent the blow, the fierce wind to beat against my ramparts; instead, gentle sunlight allowed, and so my tears are shed to the sky. Trust, tell me now that I have engaged your soul. We talk about God. Getting lost together never so reassuring. It seems I am remembered. It seems I am born. When we kayak out onto the lake, the water invites, we speak to one another, and we race back to shore, cabin lights like planets fixed in the trees. Our forest home, we share together, and so I fall asleep next to you, wake up next to you. Single beds, empty rooms a fading lonely memory. We take up learning, becoming holy together with dirt smeared on our faces. Engage συνηθως. We give each other seats at the table, intertwine our nerves, reuniting ourselves when the day is done. Family is not a biological term. We commune, we eat bread and slowly become unveiled. Trust, I tell you, I am scared, I tell you, but I want to be known. Share my gaze, share my aches, share my mirth uninhibited. Our holy hymn, massaging sore wings, breathing in our scents, as we step to each other’s beats. Peace following me to sleep. And when I howl at the moon tonight, you all will join me, and the twilight world will ring with our dissonance and harmony complete.
συνηθως–A word to describe the bond of those who have walked trails together
Chapter V. (cont.)
And near the end, Hector my brother as well. You wolverine Jack Black, dark angel with a wingspan of heavens. We built ourselves on concrete, the fashion of electric guitars. You would tell me with a grin to stay, find a place, and consume, because you are ξενία. Sharing forks, burritos. And you are not afraid, not afraid of love, my brother. We slung broken chairs around on the asphalt, between the trees, and made it our wild night. Consolation for losing your Andromache. And you found me a sweatshirt, walked me home. Our communication, a wild peace, beckoning each other with howls vibrating in our throats. You told me my voice was golden, and I smiled again. My world tends to explode when I see you. Truthfully that is how things are, we take up shields and charge the trees, together wolf brother and wolf sister.
Chapter V. Another Awakening
When I woke up the morning after the red night. First seeing Hector and Aeneas, I could not speak. Second seeing Poseidon and Diomedes, feeling myself cracking a smile and leaving. When I turned to see her standing at my doorstep–the end. The fissures gave way to the breaking and there I stood in the midst of the crowd with water and salt on my face–my hands holding on to her spine, in her horsehair as if to keep me from falling farther into the dark. With a toss of her mane, she carried me away, prayed, opened her cabin door to a roaring fire, for me, that I might find refuge from the winter. That my blood might begin to thaw. Winter–it will not steal your substance, she said. And for what are beds made but to give friends a place to lay down their heads? A smile as strong as her lion heart. And you are not alone in this, she said. As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand…*
*Mumford & Sons, “Timshel”