"Sometimes I wonder when you're gonna wake up.
I think, if this is a dream it has to be someone else's and not mine. I think, some day soon the cardboard walls are gonna fall down and in the field everyone will pop up like dandelion buds, with white tufts seeds sprouting from their heads as they clap wildly, scattering themselves like bouquets all around our feet and we'll grin so big and wide because we did such a good job and they all know it before bowing lowly where we can see every ant that ever crawled on the dirt between our toes.
I like to think it'd be a bright clear day, with the sun propped up high above us warming every inch of exposed skin on our necks and spines, small gentle finger tips running up and down your shirt to the hems and back so much so you could feel what flames would be like if they were kinder, and whispered instead of roared.
But, it doesn't.
Instead I wake up stiff, and rigid. The air a thin layer of plastic, staled and pulled too tight over our tiny bubble of space which we've locked away for no one else to use, like we're saving it for later. Everything is taut and woven, like a braided cord but all too tiny; perhaps it's thread instead. We're a hundred different strings of it, all wrapped around one single point that juts out across the grass, and the wood, and tires. I wonder, if it sinks down to the rock bed, or if it's swallowed by the vast nothingness that is known as 'forgotten' will each strand swirl around the drain as well, getting sucked away, tangled and desperate? Or is it like the stem of a flower once snapped, we lay out browning and creased by the gravel and pebbles before being ground back into the earth by wandering boot steps? I can't help but wondering which one is worse.
I think now, it's time you woke up.
Aren't you tired of the same old dream, over and over again?"
The morning breaks against the horizon, spilling it’s red yellow upon the dark jagged hills. Cascading down in torrents that shattered through the windows, which already were broken, before pooling at your feet that huddle close and quiet as not to dare touch the rim before them.
It’s a cold swath of gasping, rising up and pulling your senses bright and raw to the surface, exposed like fresh nerves under slipped knife skin, gulping for air. It demands to be felt, and to be heard which it does so expertly. It’s sound, swirling and echoing from the far off distance beckons you with simple phrases, cooing gently like a mother it whispers,
“I see you.”
Calling answers through the wind, but the fear that cuts your core ripe and crisp, forcing the edge into the cramped corners of shadow still left behind by it’s ever present coalescence which ceaselessly searches.
Lingering is only inviting for those too stupid to refuse, the only choice is forceful wading forward. Feet beaten down against trodden earth, breaking blades against heel as the dew still shimmers, a glossy sheen akin to glassed eyes staring unblinking ever ahead. There’s not a moment to cease, to pause, to watch idly ghosts drift by low crumbled walls recalling with resounding voices the time from before.
The pleading comes from aching muscles begging for reprieve, wracked mind, and ever constant glances casting themselves about all crux’s of space and dark. Perhaps today is the day, the one, the finality of all things converging on one another. Perhaps, it’ll be a release, not a punishment that guides your still form far from the reaches of memory. But the thought remains stained black against your mind from oil dyed fingers that have spent years caressing the idea with overuse, what if it’s not this day?
The dawn rises to greet you as it has before again then again, and you cannot refuse it’s welcome.
Overly cautious and ever motion sick, singled out and lacking the ability to keep solid focus on the present like a mind dragging hefty gouges in rough, unmoving earth. The sounds of the forests, the creaking whispers from the bending bark and gnarled limbs straining wide their digits in heralding, calling for release. Out stretched, reaching for the secluded paling blue and scraping the smooth pristine surface, barely there, barely able to touch. Once more, it's stop and start. Idling listlessly in one place, one patch of grass and ground up leaves, brass casings, folded tent flaps and murky water from muddied fountain heads. I think, here is now but in the same breath it's not, not really. I cast my look upon him, hands folded tight over one another, laced shoe strings, knotted into balls of tangled emotions which I cannot read, cannot undo. He wants to go, wants to leave, to flee. But, where is there left to cast away to? Plucking away at the woven cords, they're too tightly bound to be freed and I graze my clumsy tips upon them in feeble attempts.
Shaking palms. Shuddering breaths, rattling under a calm pretense.
Gazes linked briefly, then broken. Shattering like glass, their shards scattering at my feet forming a makeshift ring of protection which I cannot cross.
Words tumbling flat, they sputter from my lips, past my arms and falling to the ground. Soaking into the dirt.
It's all I own, gathered in the cups of my hands, scooped up from the reserves of my mind and heart. It may not be enough but I am willing to share all that I have.
But, I always seem to let them slip between my fingers before I reach you, letting them descend without resistance. Watching myself approach empty handed.
Hot white burning against a molten core, stinging and searing it drives deep into the very center of my chest bubbles rising in rapid succession, filling my lungs raw. Lodged thoroughly and steadfast I'm hitched against the tide of my own concern battened down and swung tautly by rough burning waves, praying to make it through this storm.
Plainly and eloquently stated from tongues of all types, in all languages meaning all the same thing as they dance around the point of their agony, playing it off as simple scraped knees, roughed palms, nicks of blade and bullet. The line's been cut, they're not breathing in fire.
but not that bad.
Foolishly I'm led to believe that perhaps I am the broken bow shattered against the craggy cliffs which I could not see coming. I was the believer, casting the anchor too soon and weighing down, thinking my actions would bring a stop to the rapid motion. Plunged deep into the depths sinking in the darken blue and black which marks themselves against my skin, ink blossoming under harsh impressions left by rougher hands, air rising to the surface once again; freed.
Are we still afloat? Frantically signally SOS with each eye lid flutter, taking on warming water with each struggling breath. Cupping hands to scoop out fist fulls of regrets and apologies as it slowly boils at our heels.
Ceaselessly and frantically trying to save what is left smiling to the skies above as the wood warps around our ankles, splintering and cracking, calling back to voices echoing off the steep rock faces.
but it's okay.
But I'll be alright.
You're fumbling, and falling. Knocked kneed and bent back, stumbling roughly and thrashing through thick tall reeds that continue on in kareening over each peak and mountain tip, blinding the horizon from view.
I'm held back, slow and sluggish. Stuck in mud, glued and syrupy. Wading in deep waves of honey sent heavy laden murky waters, swirling around my knees and thighs. Plowing hurriedly through each swing of limb, but the pace refuses to keep up despite my desperation.
Now you're laid down, sheet white stretched thin over rickety slabs of wood and dust, listless and unmoving like the air in lodged solid in my lungs. I'm shuddered, and electric. Jittering which each new untaken course I should of seen, each new neural pathway carved trench-like in my memories that I retrace over, and over ensuring their validity.
Why wasn't I faster? Why wasn't I quick like the snaps of gunfire cracking overhead each dawn, why wasn't I bolt-like soaring in and darting from point to point; a blur of rabbit like reflexes unseen to the human eye? Why wasn't I closer? Cheek to cheek, back to back, near and within breath of one another, the space of air encapsulating both our synchronizations effortlessly, as if it were made for the two of us to reside in?
Why was I myself, and not you?
Why was it you, and not me?
Why was I not quick enough, not aware enough, not close enough?
Why was I me?
Slowly; like dull ripples etching out in small circles from where I dropped my weight of iron they break the tension of the surface, small rises, tiny ridges. Slipping past, flowing deep to the rock bed below. The only trace a lingering set of sighs, like ellipses, graphite dots trailing. Filling in the spaces with what was not said.
Steady; like a heartbeat each echoing thud a rap of knuckles on the door. I can hear it calling, gently, softly. Knowing what is being asked but without the power nor the will to answer.
I sink; weightless against the tide like
Drowning; the black ink wells seeping into paper marring it’s rough woven texture with dappled blossoms of black, negatives in the spaces of pooling light. With time and effort, clouding each column from view. Overflowing lungs, suffocating within my own blood.
Please; each turn uttered in harsh rough whispers, voices worn coarse from overuse no longer recalling the meaning of the word. A paranoid prayer, a makeshift crown beaded in fear, showcasing everything at once. Can you hear it now?
Help; seems far off. Adrift at sea riding waves, stranded on the wavering bent floor nothing is solid and there is but one reprieve. Desperate against the undertow, pulled violently like a child’s toy I reach out, fingers grasping but all that ushers into my palm is cloth, collar, tattered and stained. Once again, against myself I hear the shattering of glass. Was this always who I am?
Me; eyes bore into one another a reflection against the mirror, warped sense of belonging seeing broken shards laid out at my feet, once again a ring I cannot cross. All that I possess is scattered on the floor, plucking up jagged bits in your palms you turn to me and smile;
“Because I don’t want to lose you.”