Ivory Brushed with Starlight

This piece was originally published by the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective


are you angel or demon

man with ivory wings

brushed with starlight

and indigo eyes?

you are still

silent

but your ancient eyes say

that you have seen the color

of my soul

have studied it contours

 

your nostrils flair slightly

scenting my blood in the air

you see the crisscrosses

carved deep on my palms

at your knowing look

the knife in my hand drops

from suddenly nerveless fingers

blood wells from the cuts

dripping to the ground

consecrating the earth

you gently capture my wrists

cup my hands in yours

as golden tears drop from your

otherworldly eyes

fall onto my damaged skin

transfixed I watch your sorrow

heal my wounds

 

you release my hands

to cup my face reverently

your kiss is honey and cardamom

i am filled with your light

and as your soul expands

to fill all my damaged places

i see the cosmos dance in my head

understand the mysteries of the oceans

feel the warmth of the sun

and in a flash of brilliant understanding

know that my humble heart

matters to you

and I am transformed

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

Pain and Chocolate-From the PTSD Files (revisited)

As I go about my life

a detail of Tuesday’s lost hour

(55 minutes)

pops into my head with surprising clarity

I am sure that it has been sitting

just below the surface for the last four days

and that I have been studiously looking around it

like a white elephant in the middle of a living room

(why white?  i wonder. i have always liked the idea of a polka-dotted elephant.

maybe pink and purple)

 

C.B. unexpectedly rifles through her notepad and says

“Do you remember last week’s theme?”

(last week had a theme?! i don’t remember a theme)

I forget that she writes notes while we talk

I look down when I feel too exposed

maybe she writes during those moments

or perhaps she has mastered writing legibly

while never breaking eye contact

I picture scrawl at odd angles

that she must struggle to decipher after I leave

 

She has used the notepad several times

to draw me cryptic diagrams

that I fold like origami before disappearing

them into the depths of my bag

She looks at the lined white legal pad with curled up edges

(hello OCD)

on her lap to make sure she gets the phrasing exact

while I idly wonder if I have my own dedicated pad

just for me

Or whether she uses it for everyone and gives us

secret code names to remember whose notes belong to who

for no particular reason I decide I want to be Blue Iguana

 

“I am attuned to pain” she reads my words back to me

the room is silent as I absorb this and consider

why she wants to talk about this now

I am (relatively) sure that at the moment I said it

I meant that I was sensitive to other people’s pain

The probing and insightful look she is currently giving me

Suggests that she at least understands that

There are many layers of meaning to those five words

That I am still not so sure I am ready to explore

 

I rarely think about my relationship to pain (much)

though I have had flashing thoughts (okay, maybe more than flashing)

that not so unlike alcoholics and drug addicts

That perhaps (just maybe)

I have an addiction to pain

(and chocolate. but chocolate hasn’t come up yet in our sessions)

to my pain

that maybe inflicting psychic self-pain (and maybe physical pain)

hurting myself in this way

has become compulsive

out of control

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

My Hit Parade

musical notes float through the air

almost visible to sleep deprived eyes

razor edged lyrics

chosen for their bite

sharp enough to penetrate ancient scar tissue

that crisscrosses internal contours

for every baby step forward

there are two slides backwards

to the place where psyche becomes blank canvas

to paint the nightmare landscapes

of silent screams and locked doors leading nowhere

with a knife dripping recrimination

blame

self-hatred

in a palette of

acid

smoke

venom

blood

reaching the thinned line

between sanity

and madness

between here

and gone

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

 

 

Bloodletting (Revisited)

I am doing what I do best

Living inside my head

alone

in the early hours

listening to music

that breaks my heart

over and

over again

Easy to set Spotify

to repeat play

songs that do

the most damage

 

Feeding the longing

feeding the ache

adding old newspaper

dry wood

to the cast iron stove

where my pain and isolation

smolder

Hurting

always

hurting

Seemingly unable to stop myself

 

I recognize that this is a form

of psychic self-harm

emotional self-mutilation

music becomes

invisible fingernails

picking at my scabs

brutal self-talk

sharpened into knives

slices my self-esteem

self-worth

into tattered ribbons

 

I am an expert at drawing blood

It beads up gently

on the surface at first

before starting

to drip

before starting

to pool

before starting

to stream

 

The secret shame is not

that I do this at all

The secret shame is that

it is oddly comforting

familiar

like welcoming an old friend

whom I love dearly

but is a terrible influence on me

and who always stays too long

At least when I feel this pain

I am feel something

I must be alive

I must be real

and so I bleed. . .

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

 

Self-Inflicted

Sometimes the wounds

I inflict on myself

Are administered

With surgical precision

Using the sharp knife

Of bitter self-recrimination

 

On the long dark nights

Of the soul

I am capable of

Carving hundreds

Of tiny cuts

On my heart, on my psyche

With biting edges of an origimi crane

 

If the guilt and feelings

Of unworthiness are

Overwhelming  enough

I will then pour

Orange juice on them

For good measure

 

Leaving me sticky

Seeping blood and citrus

Reassured for the moment

By the exquisite pain

Breaking through the numbness

That I must still be alive

Still have substance

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

 

Ivory Brushed with Starlight

This piece was originally posted by the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective


are you angel or demon

man with ivory wings

brushed with starlight

and indigo eyes?

you are still and silent

but your ancient eyes say

that you have seen the color

of my soul

have studied it contours

 

your nostrils flair slightly

scenting my blood in the air

you see the crisscrosses

carved deep on my palms

at your knowing look

the knife in my hand drops

from suddenly nerveless fingers

blood wells from the cuts

dripping to the ground

consecrating the earth

you gently capture my wrists

cup my hands in yours

as golden tears drop from your

otherworldly eyes

fall onto my damaged skin

transfixed I watch your sorrow

heal my wounds

 

you release my hands

to cup my face reverently

your kiss is honey and cardamom

i am filled with your light

and as your soul expands

to fill all my damaged places

i see the cosmos dance in my head

understand the mysteries of the oceans

feel the warmth of the sun

and in a flash of brilliant understanding

know that my humble heart

matters to you

and I am transformed

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

Pain and Chocolate-From the PTSD Files (revisited)

As I go about my life

a detail of Tuesday’s lost hour

(55 minutes)

pops into my head with surprising clarity

I am sure that it has been sitting

just below the surface for the last four days

and that I have been studiously looking around it

like a white elephant in the middle of a living room

(why white?  i wonder. i have always liked the idea of a polka-dotted elephant.

maybe pink and purple)

 

C.B. unexpectedly rifles through her notepad and says

“Do you remember last week’s theme?”

(last week had a theme?! i don’t remember a theme)

I forget that she writes notes while we talk

I look down when I feel too exposed

maybe she writes during those moments

or perhaps she has mastered writing legibly

while never breaking eye contact

I picture scrawl at odd angles

that she must struggle to decipher after I leave

 

She has used the notepad several times

to draw me cryptic diagrams

that I fold like origami before disappearing

them into the depths of my bag

She looks at the lined white legal pad with curled up edges

(hello OCD)

on her lap to make sure she gets the phrasing exact

while I idly wonder if I have my own dedicated pad

just for me

Or whether she uses it for everyone and gives us

secret code names to remember whose notes belong to who

for no particular reason I decide I want to be Blue Iguana

 

“I am attuned to pain” she reads my words back to me

the room is silent as I absorb this and consider

why she wants to talk about this now

I am (relatively) sure that at the moment I said it

I meant that I was sensitive to other people’s pain

The probing and insightful look she is currently giving me

Suggests that she at least understands that

There are many layers of meaning to those five words

That I am still not so sure I am ready to explore

 

I rarely think about my relationship to pain (much)

though I have had flashing thoughts (okay, maybe more than flashing)

that not so unlike alcoholics and drug addicts

That perhaps (just maybe)

I have an addiction to pain

(and chocolate. but chocolate hasn’t come up yet in our sessions)

to my pain

that maybe inflicting psychic self-pain (and maybe physical pain)

hurting myself in this way

has become compulsive

out of control

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

My Hit Parade

musical notes float through the air

almost visible

to sleep deprived eyes

razor edged lyrics

chosen for their bite

sharp enough to penetrate

ancient scar tissue that

crisscrosses internal contours

for every baby step forward

there are two slides backwards

to the place where psyche becomes blank canvas

to paint the nightmare landscapes

of silent screams and locked doors

leading nowhere

with a knife dripping recrimination

blame

self-hatred

in a palette of

acid

smoke

venom

blood

reaching the thinned line

between sanity

and madness

between here

and gone

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved