Lala The Poet

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” ― Anaïs Nin

Month: August, 2014

Gorgeous, What Are You?

What are you?

Your cheekbones cut me and I bleed. I laugh, and I wonder, what are you? You are a human being amongst other human beings, jostled about in an ocean of greedy flesh, everything a mess, everything a bore. You are like an angel invisible, a beautiful thing overlooked. But as the veil slipped, it was I who saw you.

Never have I met a person with a soul so close to their skin. I can see it pulsing beneath, I can hear your heartbeat through your clothes. My love, you are barely sewn shut. You bulge under my fingertips, I must be gentle with you lest you burst.

You are of the world, dead to the light, but for all this chaos, I can taste your innocence. Your eyes are huge, you look at me as if I am a new creature; if I gaze too long I will fall inside and become trapped in this terrible ecstasy. But what I tell you is not young; it is only that others do not understand. No one has held your spirit close as I do now, it has never occurred to them that you could be full of such riches.

Do you believe what I say? Come here and let me look down your throat – what lies have you been feasting on, my love? You have been made to feel as a puddle on the crust of this earth but in truth you are deeper than the deepest ocean. Your mind is not soft as you believe it to be, you are not slow, you are not a clone of your brothers, you are not empty. Throw off these things!

Take my hand, and I shall show you who made you. Oh, what sweet mercies you have yet to sample. Don’t take my word for it, look up, up, there you go. Such unabashed passionate love your Creator bears for you! Do you feel it? So warm, so strong. I kiss you and I am not ashamed. Your tongue is a delicacy inside my mouth, your lips tenderness in true form. Do you trust me? Come, let me show you all that I know.

lovers.jpg

Christ In My Eyes

I know it’s late, but I have to tell you this.

I met Jesus.

He was not a vision, not a dream, but actually before me. There were thousands of us in that place but all at once it was just him and I. He held out his hands, palms up, and I took them in mine. Without dropping my gaze, I very gently drove my thumbs into his wounds. My vision was quickly drowned as I began to cry. I felt my insides trembling, pebbles in a gale, but my body did not shake. I was entranced.

Somehow, as if by mere thought, I drew closer to him and rested my damp face against his neck. Reader, let me assure you, Jesus is not a stone god: he is so soft and warm, just like any other man, a real human being. I felt his pulse against my mouth; the melody of his heart beat past my lips, notes that thumped and spoke to me.

I drew back and studied him. I looked upon his beauty but I did not die! He was ablaze with glory, his face a map of compassion. His love is not sickly or pathetic in its devotion as some may believe. His love is boundless, scorching, supreme. It is absolutely devastating. He held me in his gaze, and he knew everything. My pretenses and sticky shadows were familiar to him, as were the good deeds done in secret, and the tiny individual vibration of every cell that makes up my body. I reached out and touched his throat. I withdrew my hand and frowned at my crimson fingers. I rubbed my thumb against my fingertips and began to wonder…

He spoke.
My blood is your blood.

I froze. Your blood is my blood? … My eyes fell shut in understanding, and I wept. Your blood is my blood, your sacrifice is my salvation. And then I was in his arms. His body against mine was solid, flesh and bone, a real person! My skin swelled in the heat of his fire. Oh Lord, you ate death for me! You are a real creature with a heart that beats, who can feel pain and joy.

In that moment I conceived that Christ is not just an idea, or an old prophet on a throne – he is a man, he is God, and he is my closest friend.

jesus

“A Rainbow of Sorrows” – A Short Story.

He did not ring me often. When he did, it was because alcohol had numbed his skull, or because a fevered idea had possessed him that he needed to share. I loved him in a way that I find difficult to describe. It was akin to a sibling amore in the sense that no war that raged between us could ever mutilate our bond. But there was passion too: a curious attraction that twinkled in its shyness.  

The night he called me was cool and starless. I know this because I was outside in the garden. Wrapped in an old shawl, I was sat on the bench just outside the front door, trying to write a poem that had been haunting me all week. The golden light from the open door illuminated my notepad just enough so I could see. 

When the phone rang, I jumped. It was 1am; silence had been my only companion for hours. I almost didn’t answer it. The moody poet within resented any sort of interruption, especially at this time of night. I sighed and walked into the house, feeling instantly stifled by the close air inside. When I saw his name on the screen, my heart trembled in my throat.  

“Hello?”

There was a static pause. “Emily? Oh thank God it’s you.”

“Of course it’s me,” I said, and tried to laugh, but it never made it out.

Sobbing. He was sobbing. He never cried. I gripped the phone hard to my ear. 

“Emily,” he choked, “I think I’m in trouble.” It was bizarre to hear tears inside his deep voice. It was like soggy chocolate, dark and ruined. 

“It’s alright,” I said, without even knowing if it was. “It’s alright, come on now, tell me what’s happened.” 

I heard him take a long, shaky breath. “Nothing’s happened,” he said slowly. He sniffed. “I just… I mean, I think I need to talk to someone. Not anyone. You. But I’m so scared. Oh, Em, I’m so scared. You will hate me. Oh God, you are going to hate me.” 

For some reason I sat down. “I could never hate you.” I wasn’t sure if it was a lie.

“You will.” Another pause. Then I heard a stange sound. Tic-tic-tic.  

“Where are you?” I asked. My voice was like stone. “Tell me where you are.” 

“I’m at home,” he replied, the little sobs disfiguring his words.

“I’m coming over,” I said. Without giving him a chance to reply, I hung up the phone, grabbed my keys, and ran out of the house. I didn’t even turn off the lights or shut the door behind me. I flew down the garden path, clutching my shawl tight about my shoulders against the unknown.

II

I burst into his house, my heart pounding. I shouted his name, I shrieked his name. I felt utterly mad with panic. I strained my ears against the pressing quiet. The place was dark, the only lights tiny green pinpricks from the tv. Suddenly I saw him. He was just stood in the corner, watching me. He wore the shadows like a coat. 

“Stay there,” he said. Something slithered down my spine. His voice was no longer soggy; it was bleak and hollow, like old bones. 

“Stop hiding,” I snapped, shocked at my own boldness. “Stop hiding and face me.”

“I can’t, Em.”

“Then I shall come to you.” I took a step forward. He didn’t move, so I took another, and another, until I was two feet away. We stood face to face in the darkness. He stroked my cheek softly with the back of his hand. He was trembling. 

“I’ve been hiding,” he whispered, almost to himself. “I am evil itself.”

I switched on the lamp, bathing us in a cheap yellow glow. I offered him a weak smile; he looked awful. He dropped his head in shame. I lead him to the sofa and we sat down side by side.

“Tell me everything,” I said, holding his hands in mine.

I let him collect himself for a moment. Then he let out a mad little laugh, more of a bark. “It’s funny,” he said, “because you’re the one I need to tell, but you’re the one I’m most afraid of.”

That hurt me, but I did not show it. I squeezed his hand. “Go on.” 

“I went to church tonight,” he said, “St Michael’s, you know, on the corner.” I nodded. “They have evening mass on Mondays, so I thought I’d give it a go, see what they were about. It was alright I guess, and afterwards I got talking to one of the guys that had spoken up front. We talked for hours; everything inside of me just came out and I couldn’t stop. I told him everything. A complete stranger! I’ve never felt more exposed, but it felt good, you know? And then… and then something I had been hiding for so long – for so long – sort of… slipped out.” 

He stopped. He pulled his hands out of mine and crossed his arms. I watched him shrink into himself. After a moment he looked up at me, right into me. “Emily,” he said, “I’m gay.”

I blinked.

“OK.” That was what I said. OK.
And then it sunk in. Bile rose in my throat. I felt sick. Not because of what he had told me, but because he had kept it from me for so long. He had been afraid of what I would say, of how I would react! He forfeited truth for torture.  

He stood up. “I thought the man at church would understand, I thought he would be kind. But you should have seen his face, Em. It was like I’d told him I’d raped someone or something. It was pure repulsion. He spat at me. He fucking spat in my face!” He paced about the room, angry now. “He told me to leave, to never come back. He said I was evil, the devil’s creation, a perversion.”

I was still sat on the sofa, dazed. “Oh God, help me,” I whimpered. I hid my face in my hands, the lovely coward.

“See,” he said, “not even you can look at me.” His words cut me like knives. 

“No,” I began. I stood up. “No, you don’t understand –”

“I disgust you! You can’t stand me! You and your perfect God can’t stand me!” He pushed past me and stormed into the bathroom. I heard more of those tic-tic-tics, and then it dawned on me. I sprinted after him. He was sat on the floor, an empty bottle of pills in his hand. The floor tiles were a rainbow of colour: blue, pink, yellow. “I spilt them,” he said numbly, like a child.

I collapsed next to him and took his face in my hands. “I love you,” I said, every single word a perfect truth. “I love you so much you complete and utter fool.” He shook his head between my palms but he did not look away. The tears poured from my eyes, the damn burst. “Please, never keep anything like that from me ever again, do you understand me?”

I gripped him angrily, my heart a beast inside of me. In that moment I felt hatred like never before. I hated religion, I hated the establishment, I hated the lack of love and grace, I hated the ignorance, I hated the un-Godliness of it all. I cried out in anger. And then exhaustion took me. I fell limp. He pulled me close to him and held me tight.

“Thank you,” he said into my hair, “thank you, thank you God.”

III

I was staring into a pair of dead eyes. They were pressed deep into a face sunken and grey, cheekbones sharp, mouth slack. Multicoloured beads were scattered all around the bathroom floor. It was him, it was my friend. My heart broke and escaped out of me; I tried to catch it mid-air, but it slipped through my clawed fingers and into nothingness. I bawled like a starving baby, everything crashing down around me. I pounded the floor with my fists, blood everywhere, pills everywhere, death everywhere. 

And then I woke up.

I was back on the sofa, my neck stiff from sleeping at a funny angle. How long had I been out? I scrambled to my feet and called out his name in the dark. No answer. My brain swelled with the horror that comes with knowing. I made the short journey to the bathroom and slowly pushed open the door. He was slumped against the bath, his head resting on his chest. The dead eyes. The rainbow floor. Somebody tweaked the lens of my life, and everything was thrown into clarity. I knew exactly what to do.

I went to him and laid my hands on his broken body. I closed my eyes and appealed to the Lord. In that room that stank of death, the Spirit came to us. I burst into flames. I prayed like never before, my tongue adopting the language of angels. I didn’t know what I was saying, but I knew that Christ Jesus was interceding for me, perfecting every syllable. I felt His breath on my skin, His hand on my shoulder. 

And then I heard the most beautiful sound – a cough. My boy coughed. He lifted his head and gazed about him, his eyes lost for a moment. He wiped his mouth with a trembling hand. I fell backwards in shock.

“You’re alive! Oh my God, you’re alive!” I laughed and laughed, and then I laughed some more. “Oh thank you Jesus, oh my sweet Lord you truly are good!”

He looked at me. For a second he couldn’t speak. He looked absolutely wonderful. He grinned. “I saw Him,” he said. “I saw Him, Em… I saw God!” For a good five minutes we howled with laughter, overcome with an ecstasy not of this world. We laughed until we cried, until we could laugh no more. 

In the small hours, exhausted and trembling, we crawled into the empty bath and fell asleep together. 

No one ever believed us.

Written last August, 2013.

Blood and Moths

Oh what wretched pleasure in this agony!
So delicious the sting of tear to cheek, a face scrubbed raw with weeping.
Let me eat up my own heartbeat, let its pain feed my scream; it throbs like a wound freshly torn, if I put my fingers inside perhaps I will find myself.

Why oh why you disastrous gentleman, you spitting image of beauty!
You and your tenderness, so ready to absorb me, so willing to lap up my darkness and petty secrets, like black moths about your head, like dust in your eyes. You made me love you!
The shadows bled out from me and I became so light with sorrows shared that I crashed into you and rendered your heart a chaos.

But you were a delicacy I could not stomach; that is the excuse for my abandonment.
You deserve more, so much more, but my tongue withered in my mouth and I could not tell you.

So now I sob, a gorgeous wrenching of the gut, cries from the deep.
I mourn for you like the widow who murdered her own husband, like the thief who stole his own gold. I cry out in the night but you are not there. My own choosing! You are not there because I killed you, I squeezed your heart until your eyes bulged, until you bled from your ears. You staggered off, confused, still loving me, still absorbing me.

I would bet you love me even now.

But do not come back, I implore you, do not come back,
Or you sweet thing, I will eat you.

moths