Going to the River – M.A. Morris

I am extremely honored to be featured on Braveandreckless.com

Brave & Reckless

She was standing at the ready
To make me say I am wrong.
Like some saint,
I had to pluck out my eyes
To see, to see
The contortionist
She could be with words.

I laid hands upon myself
And am cured of blindness,
Cured of deafness,
And now she hates me.
Since I said,
“Get behind me, Serpent!
That dance of manipulation
No longer mesmerizes me!”

At least my head is not upon a platter,
Being served to her.

Now, I am going to the river.
Doesn’t matter where it is.
Doesn’t matter how far I must walk.
I’ll wear my shoes out
And walk my feet bloody and raw.
I am gonna dunk myself in that river,
Not her stagnate lake.
I won’t care if it’s frozen over.
I’ll dig through the ice with just my fingers.
I’ll baptize myself in icy chunks
Of slush if I must.

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Forty Years Ago

personal image of sunrise in Ruidoso, New Mexico

For forty years,
We walked days through,
Asking strangers known, “How are you?””
Without really wanting to know.
Our answers in kind,
A litany of fines
And greats and couldn’t be betters.
All the while,
Parts are chipped away.
Our edges rough
Like antique china tea cups.
It is thus
Life becomes measured out
In phrases,
And we speak of it
In stages and ages
Of what is next for us.
Told to be grateful for what I have,
I never mourned the losing
Of what was wanted once
Now forgotten,
Or regretted,
Or never attained
In the first place.
Until forty years have flipped
Through the fingers
Like the pages of a dusty book
With yellow crinkled pages
Written in faded ink,
An anthology of years,
For each of us.

On this southwest horizon,
We meet once again, and
We watch sunrise and sunset.
Our heads bent toward each other
As if in prayer.
Our hair a tangle of silver and white
In the winds of New Mexico.
Only time will tell
What comes of this
Tangle of loneliness and longing.

Illusions

A word or two,
You. 
A word or two,
You.

And on it goes,
Until my throat does close,
And the bar with six screws
That holds my neck bones
Together rubs
At the esophageal tissue there.

And I think maybe a screw
Worked out of the bone.
That would be me—
A screw loose.

And I think
I am just too old,
Too old, for this–
Heartbreak shit.
Like Prufrock,
“I grow old, I grow old.”
Oh, how fuckin’ appropriate.

And then I go walk.
But not “upon the beach.”
What I thought you were,
What I wanted to believe you were,
There still when I return.

Freedom from Everything I Never Told You – M.A. Morris

I am honored to have this poem featured on Braveandreckless.com

Brave & Reckless

Believe me,
You don’t want to know
Everything I never told you.
No, you don’t want to know.
You’d never admit to it all anyway.
How you slowly drove me a little insane.
A little gaslight there. A little gaslight here.
A bit of manipulation and a little playing with words.
The metronome of your words—

I’ve always liked this
I’ve always liked that
Are you happy?
Are you happy with me?
Are you happy?
Are you happy with me?
Why don’t you act happy?
Why don’t you smile?
Why don’t you act happy?
Why don’t you smile?

Then you listed all the reasons for my unhappiness
And none concerned you or
You and me together or
All the reasons why I walked on eggshells
Around your daily prescribed as needed
Questions about my happiness,
My happiness with you, why I didn’t smile like a fool
Every single time I…

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Wings

A wish to follow the sun
And always know its light
Was a childhood dream.
I never wanted to know night.

Terrors happened without light,
So began my craving
For warmth and light.

The natural world and its order
Cannot satisfy such cravings.
One must learn to live without light.
An adult adjustment, a drooping in the spine
Of spirit, a caving inward happens
When childhood cravings must give way
To the knife sharp edge of the adult
World order, how one learns to avoid
The blade of reality, curl inward.

Others hammered out cages
That seemed to fit for me.
Told me to shut up and be happy.
Each wire in the cage a reason
For my unhappiness
With which the one who wielded
The hammer had nothing to do so it was claimed
Or
Each wire a welded bond of a reason
Why I should be happy
If I shut up and smiled
A pretty smile
and wept tears of happiness
Upon my fiery, welding savior.

For years, I kept silent.
Silence made for a peaceful cage,
So I had learned.

Then it happened.
My silence gathered round me,
Head to toe,
Wrapping me in darkness and warmth.
At first, panic.
Nothing good ever happened in darkness.
But I felt them start to form.
Slowly, painfully.
So painfully.
A pain I had never felt before,
Starting in my mouth,
Traveling down my throat,
Seeping out either side of my spine
Between my shoulder blades.
Giving birth had been less painful
Than this, as if new bone and tissue
Formed and moved and settled in.

After a few years,
the chrysalis of silence split open.
I spoke as my new sprouted wings dried,
“You were the wires of the cage meant
To keep me from the warmth I crave,
Meant to keep me from the stirrings of my blood.
Meant to keep me from the sun.”

I am caged no longer now.
I migrate with the sun
And all things those with cages
Sought to keep me from,
Things that stir the blood,
Things that feed on
The warmth of the sun
Are mine to alight upon.

Darkness and Flame

one of my own images

Let me walk into the darkest sunrise,
Then let me crawl into the brightest sunset.
Fading into each as all my weaknesses,
All my wrongs, all my sins, all my flaws
Boil to the surface, burn,
Turning black and crusting over me.

Let me emerge,
Then from the cracking, heaping ash,
Surely not as perfect,
But as something better,
Like iron tempered into steel.

Yet if emerging
As a thing tempered
I cannot be,
Let me be content to simply fade
Into darkness and flame,
Consumed by each in turn
Until nothing remained
And I become
The darkness and the flame.