What You See – Sanctuary

black room photo on deviantart

photo via  black room photo on Deviant Art.

I am as you see me
Potent.
Venom brimming
And spilling over in angry tears,
Leaving scorches as tear tracks
Down my face.
I am delicate.
A flower,
Once lovely,
But now worn out and trampled upon,
My petals have faded and my head droops.

I am as you see me.
I don’t come with explanation,
It’s written upon my heart,
Which I wear on my sleeve.

I am damaged and lost
Wondering about like a wraith.
My screams from the past
Are silent
You only hear them with the beating of my heart.

But with me,
What you see is what you get.
Potent, fragile, delicate.

But with you.

What was, is not what is.
The dirt on my heart
From loves before this,
Is wiped clean
And restored to brand new
When I am beside you
I believe in nothing
But the infinitesimal space between us
I don’t believe in the turning
Of the world,
Because I get lost in the galaxies in your eyes
I don’t believe in death
Because you give me life.

I believe in us.
And the journey we will take.
With you,
Every tear has been spun
Into diamonds,
The evidence of the riches
Our legacy will leave behind.

I don’t believe in time,
The hands that tick on the clock on the wall
In the hallway,
But I believe in forever,
When our feet dance on paths
That will be everlasting
On the sands of an eternity.

I am as you see me.
Damaged and fragile,
But you are putting me back together.

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Pompeii – Sanctuary

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Can you hear that?
It’s the sound of a dancing heart.

Can you hear that?
It’s the walls that are tumbling down,
Crashing into dust,
Pulling away
All the doubt
And casting away fear.

Do you feel it?
This heart, beating against your rib cage,
These hands
Holding onto yours,
The gravitational pull
When I look into your eyes
And get lost
In an endearing sea
Of affection.

Our love is a quiet love,
It lights up worlds in the dark
And runs to places
That only hearts can feel.

Our love is not explosive,
It implodes;
Creates earthquakes and tremors
Deep within me,
Deep within us.
It lights me up
From the inside out
Sets fire to the rain,
Gasoline and an ever so ready flame.

Aspirin and pain,
If I was cocaine
You’d be the shot,
Travelling up the tube,
And we dance
Frenzied,
Alive,
A running spark.
A running spark
Setting my emotions ablaze
Creating waves in vast oceans of our beings

Do you see me
Do you see the scars I bear?
Do you see the healing power ?

You have restored a heart,
That got to used to bleeding.
Happiness is me, coursing through my being
Running through my veins like blood
I feel my love spill over like a tsunami
I feel the hurricane of your love as you draw me closer
Tugging me so gently
Whispering all the words
That I needed to hear

Like a feather
I feel your embrace
Ever so light, ever so calm,
Be my guide
On a starry night
Constellations are the patterns of our love
And you are my true north.

Survivor’s Guilt – Sanctuary

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 I’ll tell you the truth,
Its okay to call me selfish
But I am drowning
In this sea of tears
We cried together.
I was the first to pull on the lifeline
And I shouldn’t have survivor’s guilt
But I don’t want to leave you behind.

My heart is happier than its ever been.
But once before I saw no sunlight
I should be able to hand you a torch
But I’m using the light
To shine into the corners
Of my own heart
And sweep away the cobwebs.

I should throw you a rope,
But I’m using all my string
To hang up decorations,
I’d have sent you a box of matches
But I’ve used them all
To light the candles on my cake.

I don’t want to go back.
I don’t want to risk my first chance
At peace.
It might just be the last.

But I can’t leave you behind
And call it good faith.
I didn’t love you less,
I just loved me more.
And that’s selfish.

I don’t wanna sit in the dark.
But right now I haven’t got light
To spare.

I’m sorry. I didn’t want to be this person.
But when the worst comes to push and play,
How do I choose between me and you?
People are temporary and things change,
Nothing is static.

So who do I choose?
I’ll be truthful, I am being selfish this time.

My Ivory Tower is My #Sanctuary

rapunzel tower via pinterest

photo via Pinterest. 

You thought you could climb to the top
Of my ivory tower?
Oh honey,
Loving me
Is like the careful unwrapping of an onion
It consists of both
Equal parts
Patience and frustration
And if you’re not strong enough
You may end up tears.
Oh honey.

Did you think I was Rapunzel?
That I’d let my hair down,
And allow you to encroach
Into my private space
And set up camp?
Oh dear.

I am sitting in the middle of my sanctuary
But someone has left the door open,
And a cool breeze steals in.

Where there was warmth
And security
Even in solitude
Is now replaced
By the fear
Of pursuing something new.
You see, honey,
I was safe and secure,
I called the shots
And you took the bullets,
But now it’s time
That I hang my armour up

And fight without a shield.

The battlefield, this battlefield
Is not a plane
On which heroes fight and die,
It’s the narrow
Corridors and walkways
Of my mind.

Did you think I’d let you climb up
My ivory tower?

Oh honey, it seems we have a problem there.

The Dream Collector: A Dance With Ghosts

 

flickr canoe

My head was as heavy as the bag I toted on my back, as I rowed upstream into the dazzling golden sunset.
The past hour still seemed surreal to me. It was almost unreal, when the shaman and the Oracle passed a blessing over my head and handed me a very small bag, that could fit in the palm my hand. They gave me the instructions clearly; go to every hut, pick up the dream catchers and say the simple blessings “may the good come true and the evil turn to dust.”
No dream catcher should be left untouched
Emptying the dream catchers was nothing short of frightening. Dreams manifested in front of my eyes, monsters baring their teeth, ready to rip me apart. I also witnessed broken hearts,Dreams dashed on hopeless conditions or parents’ careless words. I saw the good and bad of our lives, as reflected through the thoughts of the my people. We were all yearning for something, we just don’t know what. We all needed something more and didn’t realise the cry of our hearts. How do you begin to say you want more, when you don’t know what more is.
I wasn’t disappointed to find hot tears streaming down my face, as I rowed into the amber light of the sunset.

Rowing upstream wasn’t easy. My arms grew weary against the strong current of the river, as I pushed myself forward, weighed down by the hopes of so many people. I watched the sun make its steady descent into the horizon, casting first an amber glow, then a ruby red and finally the settling in of indigo, as shadows spread across the land. I had been instructed to row, until the moon was high in the sky, providing a different type of light. Despite the pain in my arms and the growing discomfort in my chest, I continued to push, allowing the black night to envelope me.

Before long, the moon rose, casting a silver touch to the night. I looked ahead of me, and all I saw was the clear water. Despite the pain in my arms and the growing discomfort in my chest, I continued to push, allowing the black night to envelope me.

Before long, the moon rose. Casting a silver touch to the night. I looked ahead of me, and all I saw was the water, looking like black glass, shattered only by the periodic splash of my oars.
The air around me was silent and heavy. There was no sound of any animals and yet I felt like I was being watched. The more I rowed, the more tires I became. My arms were heavy, and my breathing came in short gasps.
I knew this feeling very well; my illness had come back to haunt me.
With all the effort I could muster, I steered the canoe to the closest bank, struggling against the current. Maybe it was luck on my side or I was stronger than I knew but after a long time, I felt the crunch of river rocks on the bottom of the boat.
I was covered in a sheen of sweat and I had begun to cough feebly. I dragged myself out the boat and settled in the mud.
This was the end. No heroic ending. No lesson to be learnt. Just an ill fated vessel for the plans of the Oracle. I pulled the bag of dreams close to me. I mayn’t have died a hero, but at least I could be a dream. Floating in the air and settling in people’s heads as a distant memory; someone that they used to know.

Enfin – the Mercury Tapes

cuddles

photo via Pinterest.

Please don’t make me say I’m in love
Don’t pin me down
And make me look
Into your eyes
Because in them
I find a vast and lush
Garden.

I can stop,
Let the atmosphere surround me
Fill me up
From the inside out
And purge myself of
Guilt and hurt.

I can reclaim my innocence
And offer it to you
Continuously.

I can take off my shoes
And allow you to see me,
I can hide behind a glass
And be a nobody.

I need this sanctuary,
Watered and cultivated
By the fibre of our beings

I find myself

Stripping off my clothes,
And laying bare and free
I put on freedom instead,
And let it encompass my body

I turn away from the rage
Of this broken world

And step into the tranquility
Of our personal shell.
Just you and I
Our bodies
Our auras
Intertwined and intermingling,
Creating a storm
In the middle of my being
And erupting in
Rosy pleasure.

Painting this once blank canvas
Floral hues
patterns of rainbows
And motifs of flowers.

My world has reduced
To this place
And we’ll explore
Every inch of it
Touch corners of our souls
That we didn’t know could exist
Breath air into lungs
That were before now
Dead.
Caress and awaken
A carnal desire,
A deeper knowledge
A fuller taste
A better understanding of ourselves.
Of you and me
And us,
Dancing together
On these clay floors
Being separate
And yet being one

I allow myself to rest,
Deep in your garden.
My sanctuary

The Dream Collector: Beyond The Night

adventure-art-beautiful-black-Favim.com-2651696

For the first time in my life, I woke up without feeling any pain. To my surprise, I could even stand up. And I walked into the outer room of the hut. The sunlight streamed through the windows, flooding the small house with warmth. Unsurprisingly, The Oracle was already at home. My mother sat coldly on the other side of the room, and interestingly enough, my father was around. He looked at me, with eyes filled with a plethora of emotion. Half pride, half a deep sadness.
“My son,” he said, coming forward. He held in his arms, and for a moment I was the little boy that used to play on the banks of the river, before everything changed.
The moment passed briefly, and I was back to being the perpetually sick young man. I sighed audibly. The Oracle stood up and signaled for me to follow me. I grasped my father’s hands and looked him solemnly in the eye.
He opened his mouth to say something, but stopped halfway, leaving the moment thick with suspense and unsaid words.
I followed the Oracle, who walked really fast for someone of his age. He swooped through the village, striking the ground with his staff to shoo young children out the way. Most of the older kids would scurry away fearfully, trying to avoid the wrath of the oldest man in the village. Before long, we had reached the end of the village. There were two large huts and one incredibly tiny one. The Shaman stood in front of the small hut, his long robes billowing gently in the wind.
“Welcome son,” he said brightly. The Oracle scoffed and disappeared into one of the larger huts.
“There’s a cleansing ritual you need to go through.” The Shaman explained, gesturing towards the small hut. “The Last Day of The Year falls in two days, so it’s imperative that this is done.”
“What happens if I don’t?” I asked curiously.
“The weight of your own dreams will be too heavy for you to bear, how will you carry the hopes and fears of others?”
I thought back to all the nightmares I had before, fearing that each of the monsters in my head would manifest physically.

Out of nowhere, the Oracle loomed behind me and pushed me violently into the tiny dark hut. I tumbled headlong into the confined space and took a few minutes to sort out my bearings.
When I’d finally distinguished up from down, I sat. The first thing I thought of was home. It made me sad to realize that the only thing I knew about home was my bed by the little window, watching the villagers go past, living lives in which they were fully independent. The next thing I thought of was my father. I was somewhat amazed to find that we were the same height. My legs didn’t work the way they should have, but they reached the length they were supposed to. Perhaps they would become even longer. I couldn’t tell. I remembered the calloused grip of my father’s hands. Hands that never taught me anything, but to cover my mouth when I cough and to clap my gratitude for small kindnesses. My father nurtured my mind though. He helped me stretch my imagination far beyond my legs that didn’t work and out of the small window. My imagination stretched further than the river and far beyond the mountains. I often dreamt of a country, where of course I was fully well, that I roamed and called my own. I wasn’t a fisher man however, I was a farmer. Or maybe even a scribe or a student of law. I could anything.

As time drew on, I became accustomed to the dark. The time seemed to stretch forever, and I was beginning to wonder of the Last Day of The Year had come at all.

After a very long time, a sliver of light shine through a small gap in the darkness. I squinted at it, as I watched it grow larger before it was momentarily blocked by a small figure. I felt a wizened hand grab mine in the half dark and I realized it was the Oracle.

“Do you want me to follow you?” I asked the Oracle. The Oracle scoffed softly and I realized with embarrassment that he couldn’t talk. “I.. I’m sorry, I..I didn’t think.” I stammered hurriedly.
“As a matter of fact,” the Oracle said, ” I do want you to follow me. Just not right now.”

“wait,” I was awestruck. “You can talk?”
This time the Oracle laughed. It was a deep laugh.
“Of course I can, I just choose not to.” His voice was gravelly and his breath laboured. He spoke slowly as if each word was precious, and he had to weigh them all out.
“You’ve done well, my son.” He said. Even in the half dark, I could hear the earnestness in his voice
“All I did was sit the dark,” I chuckled.
“For two days, alone with all your thoughts. Many wouldn’t have lasted.”
“It’s the Last Day of the Year?” I felt my heart fall. A very small part of me had hoped it was all a joke but a stronger part of me knew it was as real as life itself.
“We must go now.” The Oracle said. The hut was plunged momentarily into darkness once more and then flooded with glorious sunshine.

I crawled out the hut and stepped out into the light. Judging by the weak rays of the sun, it was still early morning. The town was already decorated with bright streamers on the huts. The women set out all their lanterns and were polishing and shining them one last time, before they put their festive candles in. The young girls were all in the midst of cooking one thing or another, the air was thick with the aroma of baking cakes and frying chickens. The young men did not go fishing on this day, they instead mended their nets and roasted the fish they had caught the day before. But all these were just a backdrop. For me, the dream catchers stood out starkly. Fluttering unassumingly on the porches of homes, heavy and weighed down by the dreams and hopes of all the town.

The Shaman strode out to meet me. He wore a huge smile on his face, and clapped my back heartily. “Get ready, the festival will begin soon,” he smiled at me, before steering me in the direction of their bathroom. Two days in a hot hut can make you smell quite funky.

After cleaning myself up, the Shaman and Oracle led me to where the festivities were being held. before everyone cleared off into their houses to close off the year, the whole village came together in the village square. food was passed around, the young ladies danced and for the afternoon, the village was happy. Eyes passed over me unassumingly. It was the first festival I had attended in years. Most people did not even recognize me. Presently, the Shaman stood up. Silence settled unevenly over the crowd. Finally as the last baby was cooed gently to quietude, the Shaman begun to tell stories. He weaved worlds with his words, constructed dreams and restructured nightmares. He spoke into existence our history and it almost seemed as if the characters in his accounts were alive and walking amongst us. Then he went silent. A chilly wind rippled through the crowd, and a sombre silence, as dense and heavy as death.

“We must go now.” the Shaman said shakily. He cleared his throat and said in a stronger voice. ” Hang out your dream catchers, for we can not move forward with the weight of the past holding us back. We remember, but we do not dwell.”

Perhaps my eyes were playing tricks on me, but suddenly the sky seemed a bit darker. Mothers scooped their infants up and scolded the ones that lagged behind. Fathers held onto their daughters hands and guided the steps of their wives. In no time, the village square was empty once more. The winds picked up speed and the temperatures dropped.

The Oracle turned towards me and put his wizened hands on my shoulder. “Your hour has come.”

DEATH SPEAKS IN CAPITAL LETTERS

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Death is passing by,
On a journey
That had a destination
Unknown to us

But death does not walk alone

Death must have a travelling companion.

Death talks in capital letters
And death specifically calls my name.

Her voice is sweet
And seductive
She’s offers a solution.
To problems I feel
I do not have
But the pain is more than alive
Taunting death,
Looking her straight in the eye

Death beckons with
A beautiful hand
Holding it out to me
Calmly but impatiently

She speaks in capital letters

Too Quiet and Way Too Far Away – The Mercury Tapes

annie-spratt-277561

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I want love.
That explosions in your tummy
Love.
That burn your house down after we argue love
And make out in
Lonely parking lots.
I wanna light fires with you
Scream curses at the lightning
In the midst of the storm.
I want to unchain myself
Run free and tumble
Down hills.
I want explosions in my brain,
Sparks in my heart.
I want raw love

I’m just kidding.

I want the kind of love
Where I can hold your hand
And know that
My life is falling into place love
I want the kind of love where
I can trust you without fear
And lose my shell
Completely.

I want the love that
Takes a sledgehammer
And smashes down the concrete wall
I’d systematically
Put up around my heart
And around my brain

I want love where
You’re pulling me
Out of the rain
And helping me get dry.

But I am still standing in the rain.

Lighting flashes before my eyes
Illuminates
The sadness that I am.

My heart is still cold,
And ashes are scattered
In the fire place,

I want that love.

The Dream Collector

ella-jardim-274186

Photo by Ella Jardim on Unsplash

Our tiny village sits at the edge of a long meandering river. If you stand outside your hut, you can watch the sun set, as the fishermen row downstream, coming back from the day’s catch. And if you stand outside the hut early morning, you will see the fishermen carry their canoes up the river. You will never see the fishermen row upstream, only down at sunset. Except on the last day of the year, then The Dream Collector rows against the river, into the sunset and disappears forever. We were never allowed to see him off, because we never knew what was awaiting us, in the aftermath. On the last day of the year, one of the young men of the village was selected in the Shaman’s ritual, to empty the dream catchers that hung perennially on the rafters of our river bank homes. No one knew what they saw, save for the Oracle, and he was duty bound to never say a word.

Every father would sit his son down at the age of 14, and explain the little he knew of the ritual, as every mother would pray fervently, hoping that her son would be spared.

My 18th birthday passed with little excitement. We all knew I was too ill to be chosen, and thus, as I lay in bed on the last day of the year, I watched the shadows steal across my window as a young man rowed upstream. As soon as the sun made its descent, and every door was firmly locked, a pitiful scream rent the air. One more mother wept the loss of her son. My own mother sat next to me, and thanked the gods for the strange illness I had. The next two birthdays passed uneventfully.

By the time I was turning 21, I could barely walk. My life was bound to loneliness and staring out the window, watching the young men carry their catch for the day, joking and wooing sweethearts and maybe even wives. I had long put away all jealousy and bitterness.

I was simply lonely.

“Do you ever wish to travel the river?” The shaman asked, cutting across my thoughts.
I smiled wistfully. “I can barely feed myself, oh man of wisdom.”
“Hold on to hope if you’ve got it.” The shaman said. He looked into the sunset and I watched his face harden as the Oracle approached him. The Oracle was older than anyone could remember. His long white beard was braided skillfully and tucked into the waistband of his robe. His brown eyes flashed with a fierce passion as he roamed the tiny village, occupied by thoughts only known to him.
He approached the Shaman and I watched their exchange with interest.

“Is it necessary?” The Shaman sounded pained. The Oracle merely shifted his stance and gave the Shaman a steely stare.
“There has to be a better way.” The shaman said bitterly, avoiding the piercing eyes of the Oracle. The Oracle’s lips tightened and he struck his staff into the ground thrice. The Shaman bowed his head and with a swish of his cloak disappeared into the twilight.

Shortly before the Last Day of The Year, I had another bout of sickness. As my life slipped away, it took my will to live with it. The little fight I had within me, had died, I was waiting for my body to follow.

I could tell that my family was getting used to life without me. They had all but bought the coffin.

Days and nights felt exactly the same to me, and time was a nebulous concept. I had fully accepted that my time was up. And oddly, I was okay with it.

The custom in our village, was to have the shaman pray over you, a final rite before you made the passage into the land of the dead. I was not disconcerted to see the shaman cast a shadow in my doorway. From behind him, I could hear my mother screaming, almost hysterically.
“He isn’t well, please!” She wailed. She stumbled hurriedly into the room, clutching at the helm of his long black robes. “Please. If he is to die, let him die my arms. He’s my only boy. My baby.”

Suddenly, the temperature in the room dropped. I heard a staff strike the floor thrice; the Oracle was visiting too.
I forced myself to sit up, and peered at my three bedside visitors.
The Oracle struck the floor once more and pointed a long wizened finger at me. His keen eyes looked at me searchingly, as he beckoned simply at me. The Shaman looked at me expressionlessly and declared,
“Seed of Asher. It is not right to love this temporal life more than you value the calling of the gods. It is for this reason, that you will become the Dream Collector.”
I sank back into the pillows and felt oddly…happy. my whole life had been spent with no real purpose. I could feel the three sets of eyes on me. My mother sniffed desolately, the Oracle continued to stare impassively and The Shaman showed his first sign of real emotion, remorse.

“I accept” I said, feeling myself smile. The Oracle gave me a grim smile, and walked out the room. I heard my mom scream, allowing her voice to penetrate the air, as she cried uncontrollably. The Shaman walked towards the bed, and held my hand. I could tell he was shocked by how limp and cold it was. “I’m proud of you.” He said softly. He rummaged in his rucksack and pulled out an elixir. He pushed it to my mouth and forced me to drink.
The drink warmed me up, spreading form my core right to the ends of my fingers. The shaman pushed my head gently back onto the pillows and whispered, “rest. Many trials await you”

to be continued

canoe

Across The Air – The Mercury Tapes

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Across the air.

I giggle and somehow, your hand is in mine.

And the tone is set.

I can’t dance; I have two left feet!

So, I look at you.

And you’re more than looking at me,

You’re looking through me.

I follow your steps,

I allow you to guide me,

I let you carry me through

And own this dance.

And yet we stop.

Because you want to know

When I will claim this dance

As my own,

But the truth is

I am wholly afraid of falling

It doesn’t overshadow

My love for you,

But they are two entities,

Side by side

Stealing from each other

And feeding each other.

And now you’ve let go.

I am standing awkwardly,

My hands intertwining patterns

With my fingers.

Don’t let them see me cry.

Floodgates hold back

An avalanche of everything.

Through the hazy mist,

I see you hold out your hand

You smile and say

Lets try.

 

The Longest Three Minutes

“Hello…?” He says uncertainly, almost as if he was sure I wouldn’t pick up.

He sighs relieved that I answer, happily.

“I…I miss you.” I hear myself begin to say, but I catch myself in time. “I haven’t heard from you in a while.”

From the other end of the line I hear a click-scratch. He’s lit a cigarette. He’s nervous. I listen to him inhale, and remember the many times he’d inhale as I lay next to him, our fingers intertwining. The line goes quiet for some time. I almost think he’s hung up. Eventually he exhales loudly.

“I found your notebook.” He says quietly.

I find myself wiping tears from my eyes and forcing my mouth into a macabre smile. “Which one?” I try sound nonchalant. But I know which one.

“I think it was a diary” he admits. He read, I’m sure of it.

“Oh.” My voice is flat. “That one.”

“I’m sorry”. He says. I know he isn’t sorry for reading the notebook. He’s sorry because of what he read. Emotions overwhelm me and I feel myself all choked up.

” I have to go now” I say, my voice is strangled and hoarse. I fumble with my phone, blinded by tears. As I hang up, I hear him whisper, “What will I do without​ you?”