Somewhere in this poem is all the things I’ve been trying (and failing) to say (thank you K for sharing it with me):
Portraits of Despair
Her eyes are grey
Her hair is straggly and wet
Her fingers are stubby
The nails are chewed and broken
Her teeth are crooked, jagged things
There is a vacancy in her gaze,
a feeling of absence when you
are near her that is impossible
to put into words
Her sigil is the hooked ring.
One day her hook will catch your heart
Describing her, we articulate what she is
and why she is:
when hope is past, she is there
She is in thousand thousand waiting rooms
and empty streets, in grey concrete buildings
and anonymous hotels
She is on the other side of every mirror
When the eyes that look back at you know you too well,
and no longer care for what they see, they are her eyes
She stands and waits, and in her posture the pain no longer tells you to live
and in her presence joy is unimaginable.
She decides to make a list of the things that make her happy.
She writes ‘plum-blossom’ at the top of a piece of paper
Then she stares at the paper, unable to think of anything else.
Eventually it begins to get dark.
It is a peculiar, flat memory,
in which things become bleak and bounded by the dark
There is joy in there, of course,
and love, and touching.
The presence that makes the
present absence unbearable.
her work would be for nothing
Her kiss is the deep ocean.
Her kiss is not the deep ocean.
Her kiss is the grey sky.
Her kiss is a blind alley.
Her kiss is her touch,
is her breath,
is her fingers,
is what remains
after the laughing is over.
Her kiss is the blackness
Her kiss in not the blackness.
Her kiss is the black dog that
follows you in the darkness.
There is a black dog beneath the grey sky,
by the blind alley, beside the deep ocean.
It is not her kiss. Come closer…
And people ask,
does Despair despair,
does Dream dream,
does Desire desire?
It is simpler than that.
He is dream.
It is desire.
She is despair.
Take away the despair and there is nothing left.
Nothing but an empty room
and a hook of the perfect shape
and size for snagging your heart.
It is a writer, with nothing left that knows how to say.
It is an artist, and fingers that will never catch the vision.
To be Despair. It is a portrait.
Only close your eyes and feel.