Walls Stripped Bare
Sitting in carved out ruins. I once lived among them. Ages ago. Drank, laughed, fucked, fought here. Busted my back, broke my fingers here. Saw children grow. Watched love leave.
How many lives have we lost? Sense memory points to a few, but most go missing. Dead moments emerge in scent and taste. Crumble. Fade.
The present is merciless. It has all the advantages. Knows every pressure point. Fighting it is foolish. You wear yourself out, then it smashes your face. Another moment you'll eventually forget.
I wonder if I really knew her. Photos offer no justice. I look as lost as time. She looked better. Smiled more easily. I couldn't relax. I doubt she could either, but she hid it better. Sometimes I went by her photos instead of her touch. Softer focus. Longer fuse.
There were fights. Real go-rounds. I learned from my parents and related adults. Back when people hit each other without getting arrested. Back when screaming and cursing were expected.
She didn't have my training and it showed. An area where I felt in control. But she developed some moves. Used them well. She was the only woman other than my mother to punch me. A warm sting. Like old times.
I knew her as well as I could. Ghosts surrounded her. Fear choked me off. It's remarkable how well we got along when we did. Yet storms always loomed. A question of time before the next downpour.
No matter how awful it got, I desired her. The crazier, the hotter. There were other feelings, sure. But the arousal I found in punishment remains strongest.
Now it's gone. Empty shelves that once held my books. Another man's shirt on a chair. Different food in the fridge. An overall energy shift.
The neighborhood is as boring and provincial as ever. That I won't miss. Photos cover the rest. When the kids were young. Before the gray grew in. When the life we shared was all we knew. Smiles among the flames.
(Image by Kumi Yamashita)