He dabbed a sprig of liquid lavender on one wrist.
Then the other.
His mirror gawked at him,
struck blind by such brazen behavior.
The crystal bottle shook as his hands did,
which made replacing the cap difficult.
His father didn’t know.
His father didn’t know about the silk scarves stuffed into a small slit in the upstairs mattress. His father didn’t know about the trips to the theatre district, and the lace costumes she had tried on.
Was there no mercy? No understanding?
Of course not,
this was a man’s world.
There stands time, not as a grandfather, but as a threadbare coat. Thrown on the bed, or the vertebrae of a chair, waiting. Time waits for no man, but birthed patience in the stead of something greater. This coat, a needy thing, rejects all who wear it, particular to a fault. And whose fault is it? Is it he, worrying at the dregs of his morning coffee? Is it she, plucking mournfully at the whiskers of her cello? Or is it the unfinished manuscript, curled against the banister, forgotten? This coat, with ears upturned, eyes tarnished, and smeary skin, it neglects to mention who it waits for. The thing retains glorious roots and an empty tongue. This vain supposition lies misbegotten, its birth not of the womb but of the mind. Can you feel it now, tugging at your sleeves with its dull teeth? Chipping away at your eyesight, a malignant Michelangelo. Immortality is a broken sewing machine, pinned to the eyes of the beholder. I think you’ll understand when you’re older.
The pendulum swings,
as the butterfly loses his wings.
The moon rises,
a saucer missing its cup.
The second hand chases after the minute,
a fox after the hound.
The street lamps buzz to themselves,
oblivious to anything not in their circle.
Dreams have trust issues,
so they come and go.
Attention is the prize,
a bird preening its feathers.
But nobody wins.
Your vanity is unequal, your voice mismatched. Twisted metal and sculpted wood breed your chords, spawning an army of ethereal attendants. Your children serve you beyond doubt, braiding their hair together as you pull at the strands.
Your power is staggering, capable of reducing the clouds to tears and the faeries to madness. All pay homage to you and your gilded cup, begging for the chance to sip your sunset wine.
You are brilliant and bold, your branches sewn in seams of gold, dripping with green sugar and blue salt. A pool of silver laps at your ankles, trailing feelings of melancholy. Oh how it feels to be you, treasured music! Humans languish under your jeweled gaze and offer their hearts to your pale lips. Devour me! Your hands trace along a mountain’s cheekbone and the wing of a fledgling. Sketch me!
such brazen pride,
from a mumbling thing.
Under the water,
where sins go for slaughter,
it rains in reverse.
Machines spit out dreams,
stitched up at their spilling seams,
unsure about their new legs.
Wolves cry instead of howl,
constantly on the prowl,
looking for the source of their bleeding.
Fae wander the hills,
with hair as black as a raven’s quills,
struck blind by their own beauty.
A tower unmoving,
collapsing in on itself.
All the kings horses and all the kings men,
weeping in a golden glen,
for they lost their king.
It was a grotesque party, so by definition it was wonderful.
And by wonderful I mean full of wonders, the likes of which the world cannot even begin to appreciate.
Acrobats writhed and waltzed with the cruel atmosphere, suspended by dark silks and iron rings. They moved to their own rhythm, their own sound.
Dancers, the acrobats’ kin, moved beneath them in a tangled mess of limbs, lips, wings, and cloth. They cavorted in such a disconcerting manner, creating a beautiful bastard of a time.
Music was relative, coarse ballads mingling with privileged sonnets and fast tempos giving way to lethargic pauses. The result was an irregular threat, a frightening pulse that kept the affair at large.
There was no distinguishable furniture to speak of, only a lone stone table set apart from the glaring revelry. It was laden with food that turned to ash in your mouth.
The only source of light came from a single bulb, amidst the acrobats; large enough to cast a muffled glow, but small enough to welcome darkness,
an old friend.