need begets belief
hungry for explanation
yearning for purpose
need begets belief
need begets belief
hungry for explanation
yearning for purpose
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?
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.
“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.
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. ]
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 ]
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.
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. ]
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. ]
Mary, tell me your secret
how strength had you to stand by
give your son to fate?
No faith in resurrection
soothes this guilty heart
[ We've been here before, him and I, yet it never seems to get any easier. ]
I knew Tanim was damaged from the moment we met. He can’t hide it, hard though he tries; behind the restless ocean of his eyes is a sorrow so entrenched no other emotion can quite mask its presence. Even when he smiles his gaze is still shadowed by a lingering bleakness that tears at even my uncaring heart. That’s how I knew I could trust him when I’d otherwise have dismissed him without thought; his whole personality is laid bare in his eyes and to the core he’s nothing but a sweet, gentle, terribly burdened individual. Some people, like myself, are damaged by an outside force, or perhaps their own volition, but there are others who are dysfunctional from the beginning because of some lacking or malformed component. With Tanim it’s as if there’s a defect in his mind that forces him to replay the same cycle of destructive mania and crushing depression. He compounds the trauma with substance abuse and isolation, of course, but those are just desperate attempts to contain something beyond his control, not the cause itself. The obsession, the guilt, the loathing and denial, they’re all ingrained in him. Even he recognizes his logic is faulty but he still can’t fix the flaw. It’s part of him. It’s who he is. Tanim may not understand why he can’t shake this darkness, but I do. The broken always understand each other. It just remains to be seen whether the broken can save each other as well.
[ I can’t tell if I accidentally made Tanim bipolar or if it’s all a product of sexual repression and his myriad other issues. Or maybe it’s a chicken and the egg sort of thing? Psych 101 students are welcome to place their bets. ]
Daren stirs as the combination of morning sun and grumbling stomach wake him from a blessedly peaceful sleep. Stretching, he eases from the tangle of sheets and rolls over to brave the chill air in search of something to appease his empty stomach. Before he can rise, however, warm arms wrap around his waist and tug him gently back from the edge of the bed. “Don’t go yet,” the man at his side begs in a sleepy murmur, still curled beneath the blankets, “Stay. Please.” Daren chuckles but allows Tanim to hold him captive for the moment. “Did you think I was going to leave?” he teases fondly as he twists to face his lover, brushing an unruly lock of hair from Tanim’s forehead. “I just want something to eat. I’m starving.”
“I never get to wake up next to anyone,” Tanim’s fingers wander over Daren’s bare stomach as he offers up a dreamy smile. “Just stay a few more minutes; I’ll make breakfast, I promise.” Despite the offer, and the sweet contentment warming Tanim’s eyes, he isn’t so easily persuaded. “You always make breakfast,” Daren points out, refusing to succumb, albeit with increasing difficulty, to the tempting touch raising goose bumps and hunger of quite a different sort. As if sensing victory close at hand, Tanim leans in to press his lips to the dip of his companion’s collarbone, murmuring against the smooth skin, “So why are you in such a hurry to do all the work yourself?”
“…well, you’ve a point there…” With a sigh closer to one of pleasure than frustration Daren finally sinks back down to the still warm bed and his lover’s even warmer waiting arms. “You’re insatiable, darling,” he chuckles as Tanim’s lips travel south, wending their way with care as if to memorize every contour. It quickly becomes clear the man has other things on his mind to fill the morning besides breakfast, though, and Daren raises up on his elbows to frown down at him. “Tanim…”
“Mmm?” Ignoring the impatient tone, he continues his exploration until Daren’s hands cup his jaw and lift his head to match mischievous blue-gray eyes to solemn black. “You’re trying to distract me,” Daren warns, though he can’t manage much force behind the admonishment with a smirk tugging at his mouth. “You promised me breakfast.”
“Fine, fine,” Tanim heaves a sigh and begrudgingly frees Daren from his embrace. “What do you want?”
“I don’t know,” Flashing a triumphant grin, Daren lounges back while he watches Tanim hunt for clothing. “Surprise me.”
Tugging on yesterday’s discarded sweater, Tanim gives an exasperated snort and heads for the kitchen. “That’s what I was trying to do.”
He suspects; I know he suspects. Tanim learned the hard way early on that there are times when he cannot touch me, when he must speak gently or back off entirely and wait out the madness. Surely he wonders why, though he’d never demand an explanation. What story has he concocted to explain my broken mind and failing body? Is he willing to face every painful piece of evidence to put the truth together or does he deny what’s right in front of him in order to paint a less heartbreaking picture? I wouldn’t blame him if he did. Who wants to believe someone they love has been so irreparably damaged at the hands of another? Tanim tells me it doesn’t matter and I know that’s true, I know nothing I say could ever change his love for me, but that isn’t the point. The point is sometimes I can’t bear his presence, let alone his voice or touch, and he must make excuses for my defects. How else could he stand to stay at my side? I wish I knew how close to the truth he’s come but I could never ask. What if he’s right? And even if he has no idea, if his mind won’t allow the admission of such dark possibilities, I’d still have to confirm or deny his assumption. I’m not ready for him to know the truth. I’m not sure I ever will be. If I can’t even face my past, how can I expect Tanim to embrace it?
“I don’t trust physics.”
“You don’t trust anything.”
“Accurate, but beside the point.”
“Planes rarely crash, you know.”
“Tell that to the people on the ones that do. Oh wait, you can’t.”
“It’ll be fine. Flying isn’t that bad, really; just relax.”
“Of course you’d say that. Your family probably wintered in the tropics and summered in the mountains. I bet you’ve been flying longer than you could walk.”
“Not quite. My father was always too busy for vacations. I did accompany him on business trips as a teenager, though. I guess the trepidation and wonder of flying have worn off. It’s hard to get all worked up about it now.”
“…You’re enjoying this.”
“Perhaps a little. It’s rare to see you so paranoid.”
“I’m not paranoid; I’m just very aware of our possible fiery demise.”
“What the fuck is that?”
“Those are the engines, dear. And I rest my case.”
[ Just a silly non-canon thing I wrote on the plane home from Sacramento to Seattle. I doubt Daren would actually be afraid of flying; if the man can handle being half crazy and terminally ill, flying probably wouldn’t faze him. (Except for the part about being surrounded by people, which would seriously piss him off.) ]
Is it still suicide if the person you’ve become is a stranger? If the life you are ending is no longer yours anyway, the body you destroy so alien from the one you knew that you can barely comprehend its hungers and desires? This man who speaks with my voice, who grasps with my hands and traces with my tongue, he isn’t me. He is an interloper; a trespasser; a changeling. He must be destroyed. There isn’t room enough for both of us inside one body and mind, and I am too exhausted to continue the constant struggle for temporary supremacy. If I cannot numb this parasite to impotence with alcohol and drugs or bind him with loathing and bury him in denial, then I am forced to take more drastic action. I won’t suffer his presence any longer. I won’t let him twist me into this perverted monster. No more. I will end this. I will destroy him. If I have to spill my own blood to slay this beast once and for all, so be it. We’ll go down together.