On memory (for Marian)

•November 19, 2011 • 8 Comments

In the low hum of night
silences overlapping
I listen carefully for husks of memory
see if I can fit them together
like a puzzle

Autumn is here and
I am as a hollowed, marionette
I spin myself a fat cocoon
from the photographs
on my table
Fashion a home for me to live another night

(Perhaps all we truly have is silence,
and the small things that light
our attention
like fireflies)

Autumn is here and
I wish I could say to you that it’s all OK
but the truth is everything fades, becomes sepia

Oh, this old woman sitting here isn’t me
she’s not the girl who went travelling on her own
–long before it was fashionable!–
spoke six languages, fell in love.
I place the photograph back on the table
I’ve sewn you into my mind for another night

Tonight, I can still utter your name.
And I say it over and over again.
Over, and over.

© 2011. Sarah Horne. All Rights Reserved.

On Longing

•October 21, 2011 • 1 Comment

In the garden tonight, I breathe heady scents that
act as a portal to a world I once danced with
My senses keening, I long to be wolf-like
and to gulp great lungfuls of air.
My bones hunger for the hunt, for slipping
my belly through the tall grasses. And at once
I am flooded with memories
– or a dream? – of ecstatic dances
and drumbeats that thunder my womb.
Shamans murmur to the spirits
of plants and I soar over hills, valleys, trees –
aware of the slithering of the snake; sensing
the awkward gait of crow. I listen to stories
of trees, rivers, stones, flanked
by shadows that dart and stalk, unfettered.
The vision recedes and
I find myself bathed in the
majesty of silence

Later I dream I am back in the garden
Caged like a bird yet unable to sing

© 2011. Sarah Horne. All Rights Reserved.

in progress: version #1

•July 7, 2011 • 2 Comments

Outside tonight, I breathe heady scents
that take me through a portal to a world I once danced with.
The moon calls to me too, and I want to be wolf-like
and gulp lungfuls of air. My senses keening;
my bones hunger for the hunt, for crawling
on my belly through tall grasses. And at once
I am flooded with memories
– or am I dreaming? – of ecstatic
dances and drumbeats that reverberate
within my womb. Shamans and
wise women murmur to the spirits
of plants and I soar over hills, valleys, trees –
aware of the slithering of snake; sensing
the awkward gait of crow. I listen to the stories
of stones, flanked by shadows that dart and stalk, unfettered.

Later, I pad back inside where my shadow hangs, silently
waiting to be free from its dark-hued slumber.

© 2011. Sarah Horne. All Rights Reserved.

Café Rouge

•July 7, 2011 • 2 Comments

Tendrils of food laced with perfume,
Windows of noise
Echoes in closed eyes.

Lemons nestled in silver-bowl,
Full-bodied decadence
Embrace.

Slick-sticky pleasure
Blood-violet pool in mirrored transparency

Soft tumble of memory
Senses blurred, unspoken
Slurring.

Candlelight falling through mind,
Tall words amid pleasing heartbeat,

Veins pulsing under thick membrane
Through cigarette smoke
Stirring.

© 2010. Sarah Horne. All Rights Reserved.

The Darkroom

•July 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So precise;

the developer, diluted just so,

the stop bath, the fixer. All await,
to coax an image
from particles of silver
bromide in the darkness.
All I hear is the sound of the
Paper immersed in solution.
I lift it out with care, peg it
on a line.

My image, my process, the
temperature, the time,
Just so.

Later I curl up to you in the darkness,
Knowing nothing outside of
this moment.

This touch, this sigh, all gone in the
blink of an eye. I want to peg this moment
On the line, fixing it in time.

© 2010. Sarah Horne. All Rights Reserved.

A view from a window

•July 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The fresh smell of morning dew
Reminds me of a time ago,
when the trees outside
(in their shades of viridian
and pale green),
were teeming
with chattering finches.

And autumnal fingers
gently enveloped the fields in
a white mist.

Now there is silence outside my window
And a grey terraced smudge replaces the trees.

A winter’s chill I cannot shake.

© 2010. Sarah Horne. All Rights Reserved.

The Frequency of Loss

•October 17, 2010 • 1 Comment

Particular frequencies have always driven me crazy.  I can hear sounds that no ordinary human can and I have been able to do so since I was a small girl.  No-one knows why, doctors aren’t able to pinpoint it exactly, but it’s like I can hear things that aren’t even proper sounds.  I can hear the sound of thought and feeling. I can hear other people’s displeasure, excitement, fantasy, jealousy, rage, frustration, sadness, melancholy, and utter, utter despair or madness.  That sounds very much like fingernails on a blackboard.  I hear these noises all the time and cannot switch them off.  I can’t do very much about it either, as how do I approach a stranger and express concern or sympathy at how they feel?  I tried it once and all I got was abuse.  So it’s like a fairly useless gift.  Images sometimes accompany these sounds, not always, but sometimes.  Powerful images that strike me down with their realism, and then they are gone.  It is as though I co-exist simultaneously in two worlds, my reality and that of other people.  And yet, after a fashion, I got used to it.  When I am alone my head feels empty, hollow, almost aching with loss, loss of feelings and the older I get the less able I am to be able to generate feelings of my own.  When I want to feel, really feel something, I have to be with others so I can absorb their feelings and pretend they are mine.

It is as though I am ceasing to exist as me, every day that goes by I seem to be less.  As Haruki Murakami might say, my shadow is more faint than that of other people.  So I absorb.  Sometimes I want to cry at my identity loss, at my fractured and unhealed self, messy and hollow and soaking up other people’s lives.  I am the life collector.  I don’t know why it feels so healing to do this, but it does.  I used to hate it.  I used to see it as invasion, but my ego-self was more fully embedded in me then, I was more whole.  Now I am lost without it.  I see myself like Echo, she of Greek mythology.  I cannot cry for myself, even if I want to, I think I should cry, see, that’s the difference.  I think I need to bemoan my loss, but I don’t feel it.  And if I lie with another and make love, I only feel what he is feeling.  I ache to feel what he felt as he was inside me, such a rush of emotion.  So I ache for him, but he is no longer mine.  It’s a void that is too hard to bear.

I am here now, in the library.  I like it.  I like the sense of peace people have in libraries.  I see fields and trees and rivers.  I hear noises like contented sighs in people’s heads as they stare at the shelves.  Some people’s passion for books I find captivating.  I hear noises of sssshhhhhhh, and aaaaahhhh as people settle down with old, dear, titles and I feel like I am walking on air.  I hear boredom too, coming from that teenager over there.  He is thinking of a lover.  I know because I can feel similar sounds that my ex used to exude.  Only lighter, less serious, less adult, somehow.  Less formed, fragmented.

Scratch, scratch.  I look up; the sound of frustration.  It grows to a waaaaaaah sound, peaks, then dims.  Ah, sorrow.  Fierce sorrow comes in like the sound of a crow at first, then a nightingale.  Jagged sorrow indeed.  A young woman sits watching me, eyes so hollow I wonder how she can remain alive at all.  Her spirit is gone.  She speaks inside my head.

“I know you can hear me.”

I look startled.  Rivers of black appear before my eyes as I become lost in another vision.  The rivers merge into one, powerful black river, like the river Styx.  It is just me and this woman, sitting at the bank.  Overhead it is raining lightly, but the sky is a deep, dark grey, and a wind whips the tall grass into a frenzy.

“How do you know?”  I ask, simply.  It is useless to argue, and I somehow suspect it is she who has transported me here.

“I saw the way you interpreted the room.  I do that too.  And then I felt the way you lacked feelings of your own.  I saw the emptiness.  I felt it get filled up with everyone else.”

I sit in silence, contemplating.  Another like me!  How strange this is, and yet, it feels utterly natural.  I stare at her, drinking in every detail.  She is probably in her mid-twenties, dark hair cut in a short, functional bob.  Her eyes!  Deep, dark, sunken mysteries, they speak of loss and the sort of longing where you cry ceaselessly, night after night, trying to fill the aching chasm that lies within your chest with anything, drugs, drink, sex.  Those are eyes I could love.  If I could feel love, she would make me feel it.

 

© 2010. Sarah Horne. All Rights Reserved.

 
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