If these walls could talk, they’d say: “Quiet down!
And use another phrase, don’t bother us.”
Candy apple hurricane
As if some frenzied wall-ophile kissed every inch of their white faces
With sultry lipstick on.
Red pumped a little faster through me when,
One night, interrogation light above,
I asked you what your favorite color was.
And judging by the nature of this verse
Three letters served to nurture your response.
At Christmas, from a Las Vegas motel bed,
I stepped into my head:
Searched through my coat pockets until I found a rusty key,
Its tacky gold coating invaded
By little copper freckles.
After a resounding KNOCK
Which keys make when a lock
Is heavier than it ought to be, I leaned against the door of my skull, which,
Having forgotten how to open, from lack of use,
Fell from its hinges like a tired old tennis player
Who had just discovered his old racquet and tried again to play
Like young remembered days.
It clanged, thunder lumbering its way along the corners,
Then dashing back to sniff at something passed, for thunder-smells,
Tiring out its legs, slowed to a walk,
Then a crawl, then curling up, silently snoozed.
I had shut my eyes as if it stoppered up my ears
But eyes and ears are separate, I’ve learnt with all my years.
I pulled the drawstring on my shutter eyes
Looked once, then twice, around the dusty room
Its cubist walls with battered shelves were lined,
Containing yellowed books stacked stiff, entombed.
A rustle caught me,
And I started like a guilty thing surprised,
looked back to check my exit, and wandered further in.
The gloom of the complex into which I had traversed
Was melted into the rouged light of the thirty dollar motel
Light which snuck slowly along the walls through the open door-frame,
Like melting molasses.
I approached the rustle, following my shadow that, like a thirsty alice,
Shrunk and shrunk until the molasses-light consumed him.
There, where the rustle had been,
Came a breath, the kind which only comes
When traveling affections are brought home.
Accompanying this breath were:
1. Two sweet eyes, of brown and green, filling up her countenance like sunshine through the trees. Eyes that filled me with words, words words.
2. Two legs, longer than a marathon, that made my heart beat as fast as if I were running one.
3. Golden hair which sat in waves around her face, recalling some half-remembered memory of a summer dawn above the frost-capped mountains.
4. A body, a frame, which encased a golden spirit, the kind that seeps through the cracks and fills up everyone she meets.
You stood, you stretched, you stepped across to me
Till eyes had filled me up with forestry
Burying your nose in my neck
And wrapping yourself around my waist,
Steeped in molasses-light,
Listening to each other’s breathing.