Thursday, June 01, 2000

Melissa Marino

Six Rules to Live, Love, and Die By

Bodies warm with the still-sweet memory of dreams
I roll over towards you -- half asleep --
My reach: tentative and guarded.

In your waking, you somehow perceive the impending threat,
roll away, and rise -- never looking back --
leaving me grasping
at the empty space that you used to occupy.

I lower my hand,
my fingertips tracing the ghost-shape
that you've left in the sheets,
as I watch you stride away
leaving only your fading warmth to soothe me.

~ There will be no lingering.

Skirting around the periphery of one-another,
we go about our separate, disentangled existences
the illusion of our familiarity threadbare and tenuous,
like a transparent cloak of invisibility,
as we ride together in silence, our faces peering out
on our own, individual landscapes.

I turn my head further towards the glass
feigning interest in the nondescript, flavorless scenery,
so you won't see the tears
and we drive,
the thirteen-inch span between us:
an infertile, long-dead wasteland
that neither one of us has the will or courage to cross.

Then, in a stone-still, breath-holding moment,
you reach for me, and I mentally race your hand to my face
where I imagine its sensitive, warm caress
on my cheek -- with one loving touch --
saying all of the things that we've no words for,
and you grin, and grab my breast for a friendly little squeeze.

~ There will be no tenderness.

We play footsie with reality
talking about the paths that we've chosen to travel,
while we avoid, at all costs,
even one truthful word about what brought us here.

We pretend that we're the greatest of friends
sharing our triumphs, tribulations,
fleeting moments of fame and conquests in love,
all the while, acutely aware of when, exactly,
we should insert the appropriate smile
or congratulatory pat on the back,
giving Oscar-worthy, flawless performances
with every mouth full of lies that we choke upon.

We choose silence over serious discourse,
the echoes of conversations long-dead, loud in our ears,
and when the silence becomes unbearable,
we veil our distress in laughter
each joke ensuring that the last laugh is on us.

~ There will be no communication.

we voluntarily occupy one-another's space,
settling for "something" rather than "nothing",
and, you become the visitor that you are attempting to portray,
decked out in all of your finest visitor dress, "just so".

You say "excuse me" when we pass too closely,
put the seat down,
and pick your socks up off the floor.
We discuss our jobs, our futures,
the weather and your wife,
and, when we fuck, you close your eyes.

I'd rather you leave your socks on the floor.

~ There will be no remembering.

Balanced upon the precarious ledge called "suicide"
we resist jumping, out of fear, and, also because
to do nothing at all still ensures death
as an eventuality.

"I'd like to linger when I die", you say in jest,
not realizing that the joke's on you.

You're already dying. We both are.
The difference is,
you just don't know it, yet.

~ There will be no redemption.

Know the rules before you agree to play the game.

~ There will be no refunds.

Poem for February

Ardour seeps
From a cracked ventricle,
Soaking the frosted ground
With it's caustic potion.

And once, the veins
Of these pressed petals
Swelled with dew,
Until their essence was blotted
In some candied chapter.

Now the demi-hearted
Winter sun washes discordantly
Over my seashell
Like a frigid lamp;

So flamy through the trees,
So harsh a hue against
The still, anemic landscape.
It tears in my eyes an awful wound.

Something rattles about in the bowl, a pearl.

Absence has not kept us apart.

Love Song for Him (thank You T.S. Thank You)

I finally dumped J Alfred when
you first asked to make love to my mind

suddenly, there was something
in that nada of my thoughts ... and
i found you bending wire into wings
strong wings, soft wings.
and i almost closed my eyes then.

there was just too much beauty.

you asked me why i look at you,
and what word could
i entertain?
someone drew your face into a photograph
that i carry within my heart
that only knows your eyes
asking to make love to my soul

there's no bloodletting required,
im open and absorbing

your dance is potent,
setting nietzsche's cows to pasture and
opening the windows to
i exhaled the last breath of
when you asked to make love to my body

those folds are peppermint to the
pasteboard of my woman box
opening to you,
you hold one of the great mysteries of
life in the palm of your hand.

while the women came and went
talking of ordinary things,

you were not one of them

Melissa Marino: I was born in Warren, Michigan. I have a BS in biology and biochemistry and am working toward getting my phd in developmental biology. I have been an active writer for the past 7 years, everything from poetry to prose, to non-fiction pieces. I don't think I ever made a decision to write, I just feel that I need to. I am what most people would call a 'self-hater'. I cut, burn, starve, binge, and bleed myself. I suffer from occassional bouts of servere depression, flanked by self injury. Through all my years of hurt, and ‘treatment', writing has always been there to kill the pain.

Melissa Marino Shayne Walls David Ruslander Peter Timusk John Exell

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