The Ache

Written by poetry  |  16. March 2001

by Priscilla Barton Must you live the blues to sing the blues? No, but it helps. Experience is often key. Does a poet have to remove a major organ in order to bleed across the page? No, but it sometimes happens. We are more than capable of making a thing our own during its creation. In most cases, we leave the ache behind once the poem has been completed. However, there are those times the poet exposes his or her own truth, and the ache is ongoing. As a civilized people, we try not to hurt each other, but sometimes do. If you're a poet, and the receiver of this ache, it can lead you to some wonderful poetry - especially if you're a bleeder. So many of us are embarrassed by emotional pain. Even our closest friends won't be told "I have this ache in my heart, and my hands don't look familiar." If I broke my arm, everyone would know what to do. After much activity, I would be tended to, all damage set right; a pinch on the cheek, and down the road to recovery. Next. Books have been written carefully instructing readers how to rid themselves of the ache. Many psychiatrists will advise you to hold on to the ache, examine it, try to understand why you chose that particular pain. Is the ache self-inflicted? Am I responsible for my own pain? Maybe so. Maybe I'm just sad. Maybe I'm just a whiner. As a poet, I hope I'm contagious and able to pass on the ache. Temporarily, of course. Nothing hurts forever. Tomorrow, I dance. For now, I offer you a product of the ache: Holding To Air You are like the word absent - not in the sense of being gone, but the way one can tell something is missing. The bees in my blood work honeycomb bones, hoard a sweetness gone untasted. The night you touched me with jaded hands, I locked myself in the bathroom and cried. You are filled with sand, and no longer fit inside me. I am kept at a distance created by desert eyes. The first word I ever spoke was no, and it became my mantra. Yes has always tried to kill me. I would rather lean into the blade than fall away in pieces. How is it you never once heard me scream? I leave you the image of bones and honey, and a blue bowl filled with dead bees. ********* This next piece was written by a very good friend of mine. He happens to be the best poet in the world. (he paid me to say that) I hope you like it as much as I do. Because because that's what you did. from the moment you spoke to me of babies, it became a lie, another empty space to be filled. words. used only to line shelves with, used in kitchen drawers so the silverware doesn't rattle around and keep you awake nights. my mistake was in believing them, looking for connotation, denotation, substance, significance. latinate rhyming words. you lie in anglo-saxon, short words shorn of nuance, words that are hard to lie with. you were hard to lie with. lacking words in your bed, you rattled like the silverware, danced like the china in your cabinets, cupboards, you called them. past sunset, without light to tie then down, things made rackets in your kitchen, danced in your bathroom, small objects floated in your living room. words like cotton wadding fell from your mouth and kept things tight, words of the proper size and weight. after lovemaking, you would levitate. leave the bed, until you cupped your hands and called from the ceiling `I love you'. carrying those words you would drop like a stone. you said you loved me just because those words were ballast on your eyelids and helped you sleep. by Jesse Weiner Because first appeared in Mind The Gap and is reprinted here with their kind permission. ********* Peace.

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