The Ugliness of Effort

June 28, 2011

The Ugliness of Effort

Reflecting each other
in the loneliness of our dark waters
we chose to ignore the placid ripples
distorting the refreshing vanity
of our inverted symmetry
until we had to reach arms deep
into each other
to anchor from the storm
that whipped our images
into grotesque forms
we could no longer recognize
or recognize too well

how humbling to discover
it was me staring up
from beneath your reality
servant to your movement
twisted by your storm

i can say it now without wincing
beneath the full dizzy melting
and curved hollow swooping
we were two touches falling
insides echoing
what would always last
if it ever had
pretending not to notice
all the shadowed hands
upon our sinking
slowly surrounding
my forced forgetting
those times i couldn’t keep
ourselves to myself
or had to substitute memories
for the unregarded of me
until it became the want of exit
despite ourselves
or to spite ourselves
(never an easy distinction with us)

in the end
what was between us
was between us
pressed against our best wishes
until i left us
openly buried in our borrowed home
to return myself
and leave behind
the favor you never gave me

you thought i held you too tight
that i would break apart the wings
i knew you never had
your lightness my weight to lift
so high you could fly
if you closed your eyes tight enough
to pretend the strain of my muscles
was the blow dried wind in your hair
those nights you stranded me
on the island you had me build for us
while you
innocent and untouched
blew through the streets
leaving me scattered
among your cluttered dinner table
with the rest of your neglected responsibilities
waiting for the generous outpouring
of your unforced hand
in that forever tomorrow
that richly saturated future
you borrowed against at my expense

you thought in time i could be trained
to join your exclusive stable of janitors
dressed as magicians
each taking a corner of your palanquin
with curtains drawn to the reality you expel
though sometimes you see too clearly
through those thinning muslin clouds
and sneer in confusion at the strain
because being close to someone
means you can magically float above
the ugliness of effort
and just maybe
you’ll never need to understand
magicians are not real.

Drafts in chronological order:

















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