Vortex of Madness
Whirling, swirling, swiftly
Madness stranger creeps in
planting subliminal messages
of insanity into my mind
the voices, the voices
mindless masked intruder
digging graves of no meaning
finger hooked into my wall
in insane dots of fractured thought.
Whirling, swirling, swiftly
Stranger absorbs me, takes me away
caterwauling rhymes of madness
ebony rocks striking my face
unpredictable fire - sweet and sour
elevator erupting up but never stopping
dressing me with mad sparkled wreaths
blinks of delusion smite my eyes
spinning, spinning out of control.
Whirling, swirling, swiftly
Nonsense words scar my festering soul
moonlight falls out of loveless sky
collapsing into sunken eyes of mine.
dried up barren well, I lick my lips
feeling nothing, locked in darkness
heartbeat freezes, I don’t breathe
craziness prevails as I sigh softly
we are not so different at all.
Whirling, Swirling, Swiftly
Insanity is earth, twisted and fractured
marigolds marching, invading, closing ranks
madness is genius, kicking and screaming
bones jabbed with pain, without release
cemented feeling encasing my blackness
obsessed with death, don’t know where I am.
blooms of craziness hurled by stranger
infiltration of fogginess, flowing madness
mind wanderer lost in struggle evermore
out, out damned spot, blood on my hands.
A part of me thinks that if I was braver I would end up in a place like this,
the street corner on a Sunday afternoon,
“pick a topic get a poem” scrawled in black ink before me,
bedsheet tablecloths and broken typewriters,
wondering if this is one of those places you read about
where artists go to die,
a shrine of cigarette smoke and sunshine,
alcohol as inspiration.
and as much as I’ll never admit it,
something in me envies them,
envies their willingness to become a poem unto themselves,
even if it is one with ugly edges and a bittersweet end.
I know somehow, in the deeper, darker parts of my brain, that I didn't actually know this girl. Though I spent the whole night and much of the rest of the week trying to place her in my reality. But she didn't fit. Not from school, not from the neighborhood, not from a foggy childhood memory. But it's been almost a decade now and I can still see her.
This smokey pool hall was a fixture in my life toward the end of my high school experience. It was a watering hole for people my age but much, much cooler than me. I'm really not sure how I managed to come and go so casually, stacking quarters on the cracked wood veneer counter top in exchange for a set of pool balls and a chewed up bit of chalk. I couldn't play pool, either. A proper poser in my flannel, hiding next to my best friend with her cigarette balanced delicately between her fingers. She loved anywhere she could smoke inside. It was that kind of place.
We went almost every weekend but this girl - I had never seen her before and I never saw her after. Maybe she was with one of the college-aged guys who ran the place? Maybe she'd just wandered in from the cold. I have no idea. She lingered near the back, by the snack bar and cash register. The first thing I noticed was her size, or rather lack thereof. She was thin not from any sort of dedicated workout routine or healthy lifestyle. Honestly, she had the appearance of someone who'd been through some shit. She perched cross-legged on the bar in her high-top converse and shredded blue jeans. A black hoodie zipped halfway up obscured most of her form and she looked as though at any moment, she could be swallowed up by the thing. I'm not so sure she wasn't trying to do just that. For a while she kept the hood up, darkening her narrow face. Without even realizing it, I was staring quite frequently in her direction. I wanted to talk to her so badly. I can still feel the ache, the sensation that I was being pulled in to some gravitational force surrounding this girl. She had something important to say. Or maybe I did. But I was not that bold. I'm still not that bold.
Finally, she pulled the hood back and out tumbled a mess of blonde, unbrushed hair. As if she could feel my curiosity, she turned in my direction and our eyes collided, only for a second. She smiled ever so slightly. Her deep-set eyes were a striking color, like the downy feathers on the ears of a blue jay. She was beautiful and for some strange reason, I felt like crying for her.
I choked down my fluttering breath and looked away from my friends, laughing to conceal the sudden flooding of my eyes. We left not long after and I rode home quietly, deep in thought about who she was and where she'd come from. Wondering where she was going.
Why, I wonder? How does a perfect stranger stick in the mind like that? I shared a room with her for maybe ten minutes and I don't know her name. A perfectly imperfect stranger caught at a glance from across a stodgy pool room when I was 17. I wonder how different my memory would be now if words had gotten involved. Maybe it's for the best that they did not.
The stranger who touched my heart.
I had heard about the Amish stores where fruit was so large and the taste of them was to be more than I ever could possibly imagine. In my head I pictured Willy Wonka with his crazy hair yelling excitedly "Oranges that taste so much better than oranges can taste!" I had great expectations.
On my way through the door I picked up a basket for fruit and walked over to where the fruit was. I slowed down as I saw grapefruit that were the size of melons. I picked one up to smell it and shut my eyes enjoying the incredible smell of the grapefruit.
When I opened my eyes there was a man standing directly in front of me, smiling just watching me. I could feel my heart beating wildly. He was tanned and had long wavy damp hair, he was dressed in an unbuttoned camp shirt, shorts and flip flops. He looked like he had just gotten out of the water. Which water I wondered, the ocean, the pool? He didn't smell like chlorine, the ocean I decided, he smelled salty.
He smiled exposing his perfectly white teeth then laughed at me with my grapefruit. "You look like you're enjoying that grapefruit!" "I am! It smells amazing, but I want oranges first."
We were talking to each other like we had known each other our entire lives. He grabbed my hand and we walked over to where all the oranges were, there were so many different ones. So many to choose from how would I pick seven? I always chose seven, it was more than six, yet less than 12, and for some reason to me that made sense.
I felt completely weightless with him as if we were spirits mixing, it was such an incredible feeling. I didn't know his name, he didn't know mine it was if it were just meant to be.
He turned to look at me and said " I like you, you have great energy." I wouldn't have said something like that, but I had to agree with the same thing with him. I felt like my body wasn't holding me back, there was no awkwardness, no stumbling over words just great sensations.
"Do you know how to find the best oranges?" He watched me, waiting, noone had ever cared about what I had to say or what I thought and here he was looking like a puppy with his head slightly cocked waiting for an answer. "Darker orange?" He shook his head no and picked up two oranges. Put your hands in front of you, palms up then shut your eyes, I won't hurt you. I felt as if everyone else in the store were no longer there, that it was just us. This stranger who was starting to make my heart come alive for the first time in five years. " I'm going to put an orange in each of your hands, tell me which is heavier." He very gently placed them in my hands, I could smell the scent of the oranges and the smell of him and the ocean all combined. I picked out the seven oranges that were heaviest and he put them in my basket. He asked me why I chose the heavy ones, I just didn't know. He said quietly, "Silly, because those are the ones that are full of juice!" That made perfect sense to me. He picked out some oranges for himself as I watched him figuring which were heaviest, then we walked through the rest of the store hand in hand. I noticed all the women turning to look at him, he smiled at me the whole time and me at him, I was amazed, I didn't know any man would only pay attention to only the woman he was with.
We had such a pleasant shopping adventure together, I felt like me, but then again I felt nothing like me, so being in the present-not feeling the heavy lead blanket of depression of the past I always wore around me.
I liked this girl of being so in the present. He broke through my thoughts as we were leaving the store. "Your car?" He was asking. "On the right, towards the rear. " "Same as mine" he said. We walked together towards our cars still holding hands. I thanked him for teaching me about fruit,he insisted the pleasure was all his.
We arrived at my car, he laughed and pointed at his parked right next to mine, we both laughed.
We gave each other hugs as we parted he said he loved my long red hair, freckles and sunburned skin and he asked me to never close my heart down, I promised.
I told him I loved him from the inside out, he has such a good heart, I hope he never gets hurt.
I never knew his name, he never knew mine. That day we were two souls connecting, and I think back to it with much fondness. When I think of oranges I think of him and how that day I allowed him, this stranger to touch my heart and I smile.