Dorian Gray/The Map

How heavy you’ve become,

My eyelids!

How small and pale you look,

My lips!

/

How many branches

Have the wrinkles

Upon this tree

Of memories!

/

How many deaths

Have closed these eyes and

How many times

This skin has been reborn!

/

How many lives,

In one assembled,

Make up the face

I call my own!

/

I look at it –

How I abhor it:

The greed it stands for,

The impatience!

/

I look at it –

And I rejoice to

See painted on it

Love, forgiveness, grace;

/

One thing is certain –

There’s no room for

Another route

Upon this busy map;

/

The only place

That it can lead to

Is but another

Hellish maze;

/

I’ll rip that map

To puzzle pieces;

And draw a new one

In its place;

/

All I have been

And all I’ve cherished

I must let go of

And replace;

/

Beyond regret,

In a chest of treasures,

I’ll keep

The puzzle of the past;

/

And none will see

The real face of

Dorian Grey

Until he dies

Ten

Sunset in the VisayasI’m building castles

In the sand

Like I’m a little girl

Again

/

I swim forth

Without looking back,

Trusting warm, silky waves

Again

/

I sit and stare

At sunset lights

Dancing with the moon

Into the night

/

And it’s as if

I never left,

And never aged,

And never died

/

Nine quiet deaths

/

I’m building castles

In the sand,

With dry old hands,

And a dry old heart

/

I swim forth

Without looking back,

Knowing the hells

I leave behind

/

I sit and stare

At sunset lights

That fade the way

All fades away

/

It feels like I’ve

Been gone forever,

And like I didn’t

Quite make it back

/

This – tenth – time

Collector of the Past

All your looking back

And all your looking down

Have given you

Your tired posture, weary eyes

And waxen skin,

Collector of the Past

/

You, heavy shadow of the mind,

What you have found,

Has it not all been lost

Or fearfully abandoned

On twisted paths you walk

To wither for a reason?

/

You pick up strangers’ hopes

And wear them like they’re clothes –

And wear them like they’re yours –

Those ragged robes

Of impossible dreams,

Outgrown by their dreamers

/

Collector of the Past

Of poisonous regrets,

Distorted histories

And of discarded loves,

You, heavy shadow of the mind,

Return to me, I beg, one minute –

/

When I betrayed the only thing

I ever loved;

/

But oh, I know,

Your quiet ‘no’ –

The echo of my fateful ‘no’ –

Is all

That I can by the past

Be given

 

The Bleak House

The toys I used to love,
The loves I have outgrown,
The hungry dogs of hopes,
Which have devoured
One another,
/
Voids, interspersed with holes,
Mountains of wind and smoke,
Oceans, painted on desert sands
By jinns and ghosts –
/
My memories;
/
At my house at the edge of the world,
With cracked windows and doors agape
I’ll look away as I lock away
Everything I have
Ever known;
/
I will call the bleak house my home,
Sit and sit on the steps outside,
Staring vacantly out at things
Without knowing their names
Or mine,
/
My memories
/
Gone