Letters (and other quiet perils)

Very soon these are the words I will be able to speak without the pen interposed, all these wonderings heard within the sweet proximity of you and me. And still I feel as though something innate and fearful binds my tongue, renders my ink-splotched hands nervous and fretful, like twin birds in impenetrable cages. That old nag, “Michaela, please put yourself away…” That old notion that all this feeling is something too heavy to hold.

And yet, there is so much left to tell that I imagine moments of confidence and conferred stories all of the time. It’s a ceaseless daydream of that evasive privilege, the chance to be understood by someone you love perhaps a touch too much. And it goes without saying that there are infinities left to know- crooked shadows that bare their teeth, gentle sublimities folded upon the highest shelf of memory, despised and desperate queries we dare never speak out loud, all of those invisible fingerprints and fossils pressed into your heart.

I think that it all comes down to a simple sentiment that I have nevertheless failed to translate- that I never wanted more from you; simply more of you. From, signifying an act of conference, an offering of word or deed; of, signifying essence, the very core of what and who you are. And even as I write that, my fingers recoil from the page. The enormity of such intimacy does not escape me, and you have always been at once ephemeral and indelible. It’s one of those things that comes with time I suppose, but isn’t that always what we lack?

There are at least a dozen letters like this one, scribbled on receipts and business cards, restaurant menus and the handsome pages of a fine leather notebook. Some are quite brief, merely a scrap of lines in scrambled languages, others more complete, but I keep them all in the secret hope that one of these days the paper will not feel so heavy, that not a single sentence will bear its weight alone.

M. Alden.

Mightier than (Fallible Excalibur)

This utensil I’m cowering behind
is a poor man’s tourniquet.
Its black effluence blights my courage
in a scribbled cacophony of ricochet
and unforecasted consequence,

and though these words should be
an airborne intoxicant of visceral pathogen
spewing from dauntless lips with no
ink-sketched mask or artistic trepidation,
an extemporaneous weapon to eviscerate
and devastate your impassive
vacuous headspace,

they’re no more than a colony
of fire ants injecting subversive venom
into an immunized body of pulp and dye,
a wooden sword dulled to impotent pine
swung by enfeebled arms as it passes
through your fading shadow.

Fuck all of these
inconsequential tropes
and hopes that these words
would find their way home,

this pen was my last
conduit to touch you
and it’s as good as Excalibur
welded in stone.