Icewater

The pale braches of winters past
Draw shadowy cracks on barren ground
Littered with yellowed promises
Of journeys to the stars

These tired pages creased with time
Are heavy with scars of fading ink
And the watermark of separation
Runs through every line

Return to these walls once more
And melt the frost on the panes
Let it flow and then run dry
In my crevices and folds

Waiting.

Pick me out of a crowd of painted faces and read into my sleep-drunk eyes and tangled hair a passionate wildness that does not exist.

Drown in my shallow depths as I string together convoluted sentences that mean nothing, words that I use to shade our days with the sepia tones of yesterdays being deliberately created for tomorrow.

Lie with me in the halo of our entwined arms and breathe as our country falls to pieces around us.

Give me something more than these stubborn, silent distances caked with dust. Give me something more- promises that splinter with a whisper, delicate threads of melted sugar.

Sheets

It is dark, intensely so. With their lights off, the houses on the right are nothing more than large, geometric shadows. Down below, on the left, the stream murmurs, whispers, shifts over the rocks- ceaseless white noise. The moon is smothered by clouds, and the wet, rain-washed road before me glistens dimly in its weak gleam. Leaves are scattered in my path, green and brown, damp and leathery, like a frog’s skin. My flashlight casts a grey-white antiseptic halo on the road. Everything beyond that circle of light disappears.

I walk down this deserted street barefoot, in my nightclothes, a white sheet wrapped around my shoulders.

I’m scared. My skin prickles and jumps; something, somewhere in the wet, clogged cotton wool of my mind, tells me that this is unusual. I live on this street, and I do not usually feel afraid outdoors, not even on a cloudy, moonless night. All the night sounds- crickets chirping, leaves rustling, the odd hiss from the bushes- are expected and familiar. There are no rattling windows, creaking doors or bedposts to collide with. Outside, there are less sharp corners and oddly shaped shadows, and I feel safe.

But I feel afraid now. Afraid that somebody, anybody, will materialize out of the dark and walk into me – me in my nightclothes, wrapped in a sheet.

I gasp quietly, and my feet freeze, my sore, bare heels smarting. One of the shiny leaves slithers and glides into the grass fringing the road. I watch it disappear, then walk on.

The gate to my house finally appears out of the grey-black gloom. It is bolted from outside. I slide the bolt noiselessly. The spaces between my toes feel gritty as I step into the garage.

For a few seconds I can’t find my feet and the world is aflame as the fluorescent sun glares off my glasses. My vision returns to find me peeking between the bars of the garden gate. There is a river in the garden, and a man swimming in it, his arms breaking the water rhythmically as he slides against the current. I shudder at the grotesque bulkiness of his muscular shoulders.

My feet slip and slide over the slick marble as I mount the steps to the house. The cat slips in from between my legs as I open the front door to go inside. It whizzes about, a brown blur. I bolt after it, flying up and down staircases, taking the steps two at a time. I finally catch it, burying my fingers in its fur, and carry it towards the back door.

Approaching the kitchen, I glance down at the furry ball I carry. A young girl, at least five years old, but frail and angular, rests in my arms instead.

She reaches up with a small, white hand. A cold, horrified quiver chills my veins as she runs a thin finger along my jaw line. Her voice is soft, and oddly clear.

“You look different from this close.”

I wake up.

Distractible

My thoughts drift, spring, float, jump. Slippery tendrils wrap around one idea, only to slide off and voraciously grasp another, soon giving that up and tickling another, more colourful mental image. Sometimes I have the attention span of an octopus with ADHD and a hundred tentacles. My brain is a hundred-pus. It doesn’t matter if such a thing exists or not. It doesn’t matter if unicorns exist or not. Maybe they did, at one time. Perhaps instead of following the more evolutionarily acceptable path from water to land, they decided to go the opposite way and become narwhals.

On the Overratedness and Ubiquity of Profundity

When all of those around you are constantly lobbing their innermost feelings at you, the choice to not feel so intensely is almost a luxury. To not pretend to be deep when you’re out of your depth. To not mask the mundane and the hackneyed with meaningless, fabricated profundity.

I can be deep, yes. Everyone can. When I’m wallowing in the famed depths of despair, I become a poet, a writer, a philosopher. I drown in my own depth. I exult in my ability to articulate my twisted emotions in twisted sentences.  I believe it possible that I’m one of the greatest thinkers in existence.

I am shallow, too. I can’t, for the life of me, be bothered enough to relate the most beautifully captured photograph with the lyrics of the most beautiful song. A picture of me smiling is the same as another picture of me smiling. I smiled for the camera. Nothing profound there.

I admire sarcasm more than I do profundity. Profundity can be annoying. As can be pointing out way-too-obvious lapses in morality. As can be lyrical reflections on the ups and downs of life.

I can be shallow. It’s quite a relief to know that, really.