Going to the River – M.A. Morris

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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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The Vase

image from Wallpaper Cave

Filled with years of sentimentality,
The vase slips from my hand,
Falling in slow motion to the floor.
The crystal shatters,
Breaking into a million shards,
An ocean wave sweeping across
The living room floor—
And all I think—
What a perfect metaphor
For so many things.
It is brokenness perfected,
And the scattered shards are but
Jagged pieces of a life,
A person,
A heart,
A soul,
A world.
All not so easily swept up
And thrown in the trash bin.

Yet a crystal vase
Is easily replaced.

Steak

In youth,

I’d take my steak

Well done only,

Extra dead, I’d say.

Now, older,

having been taught,

Palette educated years ago,

I’ll take my steak

Rare only,

Extra moo, I say

Raw if I could,

I say with a smile,

The tang of iron upon the tongue.

Swallow down fibrous chunks

of bloody muscle

barely chewed.

Wash down all reproach

With the tinny taste

Of blood.

Washed

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At sunrise over water,
Remembering a dream
Of finding ecstasy
Within tears,
Things neither given
Nor felt in years,
Linked by all the fears
To form decades of a life
Lived like a stranger
In my own skin.

I have stood
Since the dawn
At this ocean’s edge
Waiting, waiting.
And now at noon
The rain begins.
Fierce pelting blows
Washing me clean
Of all I know
Or dare to dream.

For living continues
Within my own skin