#1086

I told him it didn’t matter, that nothing in his past could change my love for him. It’s the truth, of course; I would never blame him for mistakes made out of fear and confusion and loneliness. Everyone deserves their chance at happiness, or at least momentary peace, even if their methods are misguided. Besides, he has punished himself enough for the both of us all these years since, so what more could I ask? Still, like Tanim I find I can’t quite let the past stay where it belongs. Sometimes at night my thoughts dig through his old graves, unearthing skeletons better left to unmarked mounds. I never knew any of them, nor does he ever speak of specific liaisons, but my masochistic imagination covers those bones in muscle and flesh anyway. How many of them were there? How many nights did he spend in the arms of strangers? It’s a cruel game but I can’t help it and the scene unfolds whether I will it or not: my beloved tangled in another’s limbs, skin to skin, mouth to mouth, desperate to lose himself in the surrender of control to this hungry domination. His companion is nameless for individuality doesn’t matter here, only greedy hands and grazing teeth, possession and submission. It breaks my heart to watch yet I cannot cut the scene short and so it plays out to the inevitable end, to Tanim alone and empty once again, willingly used and cast aside, ecstasy cooling to disgusted guilt. I don’t need to fabricate that wounded shame in his eyes, at least; I’ve seen it enough times before, a shadow of loathing that never quite lifts. How can I ignore the scandals of his past when even he cannot banish their ghosts? When I have to face their mockery every time I meet his gaze?

#1085

“Daren?”

His voice somewhere, close. Can’t quite cut through the fever haze. Touch? A hand on my cheek but it’s hard to register, distant like everything else. Or is it me who’s distant? Too numb. Too worn. At least the cold’s gone, just the exhaustion left behind. I can deal with that. Can’t remember a time when I wasn’t tired.

“Come on, Daren. Come back to me.”

To you? Fear in his voice. Eyes are heavy but they open, at least a bit. Don’t focus well, though, and he’s blurred at the edges. Another dream, maybe. Wouldn’t be the first time.

“Tanim…?”

“Yes. Yes, I’m here. Do you think you can stand?”

Can’t even move. Eyes are too heavy. Everything’s too heavy. It’d be so much easier to give in to the dizziness pulling me down, back into unawareness–

“No, don’t go to sleep. Stay with me, Daren. We have to get you inside. You’ll catch your death out here.”

Aren’t I dead already? I could have sworn. But no, because I can feel his fingers digging into my arms, no clue how hard he grips, too afraid to let go as if his touch alone might be enough to keep me here. Fool. I must say something, tell him I don’t want to go, or I can’t, or to leave me alone, because he makes a strained noise I’ve never heard him utter. A whimper, almost, or a choked back sob. Familiar sound from unfamiliar lips.

“Don’t make me say it, Daren. Please, just do this one thing for me and come inside. It’s all I ask. Please.”

Doesn’t need to say it anyway. Never has. He’s so obvious. Doesn’t he see how doomed this all is? How pointless? Does misery really crave company so badly? It would be kinder to us both to let me go.

“Daren.”

My name once more, softly. Pleading. That voice could break my heart. I manage a nod just to make him happy and try, really I do, to stand. The world spins. This time it isn’t back into darkness, though. His arms catch me, slip beneath mine, and he’s a sudden anchor in what’s become an endless storm.

“It’s okay. Everything will be okay, I promise.”

I doubt that. Don’t have the heart to tell him, though; he of all people deserves the comfort of blind faith. Anyway, this is the lesser of two dooms. If I must choose, I choose him. My foolish, faithful Tanim.

 

[ I dunno, man. I dunnooooo. ]

#1084

“INSTANT POPULARITY”

here’s some crap haiku
oh, I took a picture too
enjoy it, bitches

[ The picture is some graffiti I found while in Zürich. Thought it was fitting. Not that I'm ungrateful my poetry generates traffic to my blog, but there's a definite disparity popularity-wise between it and everything else I post, which is sometimes a bummer. XD ]

#1083

The lighthouse fell years ago in a thunder of cannon fire and crumbling stone. Its scattered skeleton sleeps in the shallows now, though some say that at night if the moon is right you may glimpse its ghost rising from the fog, milky and insubstantial, sweeping white light a beacon to the lost ones still. I cannot speak to the truth of this but if you venture the shore at low tide and plunge your fingers into the thick wet sand you can dig up word fragments buried by the restless sea. Step carefully, though, lest you cut your feet on the shards of glass hidden amid the ruins. Every storm uncovers another layer of slivers so hard no amount of time and waves’ caress can smooth their edges, so shattered the bulb may never be pieced back together.

#1082

Waldeinsamkeit”

amid steel and glass
still the silent places wait
refuge of dreamers

[ Picture of Lake Trubsee in northern Switzerland, taken on my trip there last July. Title (a German phrase meaning “the feeling of being alone in the woods”) courtesy of Better Than English, a highly entertaining website every wordsmith should visit. ]

#1081

Tanim rolled over for the hundredth time and heaved a restless sigh into the dark living room. Clouds obscured the sky beyond the windows but he didn’t need to follow the path of the moon to know how long he had lain awake already. Just as sleep eluded him last night, he knew he would never manage it tonight either, not with mind and body both so fixated on the beautiful torment sleeping just down the hallway. There was no point in dwelling on something over which he had no control yet still the two conspired to conjure scenarios agonizing in their perfection and impossibility. Firm hands, hot skin, eager lips crushing his mouth in a passion as hungry and needy as his own–

Enough. Tanim reigned in the daydream before it could progress any farther and strain his already too frayed nerves. He knew what lay at the end of that road and couldn’t bear the rush of loneliness and guilt, not again. If he was doomed to another sleepless night of obsessing over Daren then at least he could face it without letting emotion overwhelm his ability to judge the situation. Surely if he worked things through logically he would realize he was simply overreacting. With another noisy exhalation, this time a poor attempt to force out the worst of his nerves, Tanim settled onto his back and tried to untangle the knot of emotions he could no longer ignore.

This is what you know, he began, comforted by reducing the issue to a bulleted list. First, you know Daren is far more damaged than you ever suspected.

At this he shifted anxiously, a chill shiver raising the hair on his arms at the memory of Daren thrashing and sobbing in the throes of a night terror. Tanim knew he wasn’t prepared to deal with someone so wounded. He had never entertained the delusion that Daren carried no baggage, of course, but he could never have predicted the man suffered such crippling trauma. The plan to nurse Daren back to health dissolved that first night as Tanim tried and failed to wake him from the nightmare which rocked his sickly frame. Though it ached to admit, Tanim couldn’t heal Daren’s psychological and emotional damage as easily as his body, no matter how desperately he longed to play the knight in shining armor. Which lead to the next uncomfortable fact.

Second, you know you love him.

Here his stomach twisted, his heart wrenched, and his throat constricted as if even his body couldn’t bear to acknowledge such a shameful secret. Tanim hadn’t meant for this to happen. He had been lonely, yes, and drawn to Daren from the beginning for reasons he didn’t understand at the time, but his intentions never surpassed hope for a little companionship. Even taking Daren in after he found the man sick and delirious had been nothing more than one friend helping another in need, right? He had managed to convince himself of that once but in the anonymity of the empty night Tanim suddenly questioned every excuse he’d made to steal just one more moment with Daren. Of course, in the end whatever he had wanted, subconsciously or not, didn’t matter anyway when faced with the final irrefutable truth.

Third, you know you can never tell him.

Tanim buried his face in the bunched blankets to muffle the sob lodged in his throat. Only rooms away the man he pined for slept on, in Tanim’s bed no less, oblivious to the power he held. Even if his motives may have been less pure than he cared to admit, he held no such fantasies Daren shared the same aspirations for their relationship. The moment Daren realized the depth of Tanim’s attraction, that would be the end; homeless or no, he’d be out the door and gone forever. Tanim couldn’t bear to lose Daren now they had reached such a comfortable place in their friendship. He would rather drown the heartache in alcohol each night and remain some part of Daren’s life than put voice to the unrequited longing and face complete rejection.

Maybe in the end that was best anyway. If wallowing in self pity lead to too many sleepless nights, facing this dilemma head on had done Tanim no better. Certainly it illuminated no unseen solutions nor provided even a modicum of comfort; if anything he felt more wretched, not less. At least indulging in a fantasy or two provided momentary pleasure before the hopelessness of his situation necessitated a generous nightcap. He craved one now just as badly and surrendered to the urge, kicking off the tangled blankets and making his way across the dark expanse. The daydreams only brought him loneliness, the doomed nature of his need only guilt and despair, but the open bottle of bourbon stashed at the back of the bar offered a few hours’ blessed oblivion from everything. Tonight it would have to suffice, as it had for so many others.

 

[ Daren isn't actually oblivious to any of this because Tanim is very, very bad at hiding his feelings. ]