Thursday, July 28, 2011

Friday Love Poems: Amanda Mathews and Andy Bowen!

When The Gardner Loved Houdini

By Amanda Mathews and Andy Bowen

1. The Gardener:

In the quiet
I can hear my undoing,
The soil being tilled from the hard earth.
The sounds of loneliness
blooming from the stem of my throat,
your fingerprints
evaporating from my skin.

There will be great orchards grown from this goodbye.
A someday
of pluck- red
glistening from great boughs of leaves.
For now though,
I am an empty bed of dirt
the seeds of your goodbye,
still moist & swollen
lie restless
beneath my skin.

2. Houdini:

Shackles, milk cans, coffins, straight-jackets,
water filled tanks riveted shut from the outside.
No cage has ever held me so securely
as that made of bone inside your chest.
The day we met had all of the excitement of a rising curtain;
of a smoky spotlight and a tingy piano
reflecting the audiences own breathlessness back to them.
When I took your hand and bowed,
I saw the dirt beneath your fingernails,
heard the way you spoke my name and knew
that I was caught without a key.
But keys are only shortcuts,
an ignorant man’s path to freedom.
The careful man needs only time and attention
to extricate his self from any cage.
I began to watch you;
to study the firm grace of your movements.
How every gesture seemed at once
deliberate and flippant;
both careful and idle,
as though you understood how few
real choices we have in life,
and you meant to offer each one
its due consideration.
I measured the distance between your knees
when you walked with purpose.
I counted the rings in your spine
to know your age.
I could never manage to make these sums
fit into a single word
so I never said it.
But it lingered under my tongue
like a pick to a different lock.
In days I had all I needed
to perform the trick,
but showmanship dictated that I drag it out.
No matter how difficult an escape is
the audience always wants it to look harder.
A smooth exit is unappealing to a paying crowd.
They like to see the struggle.
I bit through sinew and kicked through bone.
I tore through your flesh and skin
like I needed air.
I won’t say I’m sorry.
I won’t bow.
I have never been bested.
I will only say that,
though the bars of longing are wide
and the distance between them is great,
though I cannot see them
I feel them.
I know they are there, just over the horizon,
and I know that I shall never again
be outside of them.

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