Friday, June 25, 2010

The Vanity

In the evenings, she found her comfort in the cushion of an ottoman, sitting down softly in front of her own reflections–a three-mirrored vanity of Victorian origin. Despite its apparent antiquity, the surface of the dainty dresser was still polished and unmarred and housed one slender drawer whose brass handle is starting to show signs of tarnish. Each mirror, a center one flanked by two narrower ones, was lovingly farmed in cherry wood while the cabinet’s long and willowy legs fell curvaceously to the floor, ending in wooden cat’s paws. It was here, within the warm caress of a fine chardonnay, that she reviewed the items of the day as well as the articles of her life.

Organized atop her cherished repose were vials of scented oils and memoirs. On the right lay a horsehair brush, its silver back embossed with rose petals and vines, attended by a similarly engraved fine-tooth comb. There were assorted barrettes and hair ties and a jeweled French comb which held a particular place of prestige. Across the back, beneath the mirrors, stand several assorted perfumes, lotions, and crèmes of jasmine and lavender. A copy of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Adonais, its corners curled and tan, sits conveniently on her left as she picks up the silver-handled brush. Thumbing the horsehair bristles softly; she looks into the mirror on her left and begins to reminisce about the past.

Drawing the brush slowly through her hair, she remembers how her mother used to brush it every night when she was a little girl. She used to pull her golden tresses behind each ear and tenderly, cupping her cherub cheeks in the mirror’s reflection, assured her of the hidden beauty of which a looking glass cannot reveal. She imagines her mother still standing behind her in the mirror’s reflection, her eyes bright and full of life. Warmed by the memory, she gently sits the brush back in its proper place–not so far away that it isn’t still close to her heart. The image of her mother in the mirror slowly disappears, and yet the warmth of her touch remains.

Holding the length of her hair back with one hand, she fumbles for a barrette with the other while gazing into the center mirror, reflecting on the present. The French comb finds her hand and she began to secure her freshly-tended tresses. An ambiguous if not noncommittal gift, she thought; after all this time, what had he seen or not seen in me, she inquired of the mirror. Affixing the jeweled barrette, she examined each cheek in the mirror looking for that veil of beauty. Her features were still strong and angular, and yet her eyes were beginning to reveal the pangs of living. Thus pouring another glass of wine, she repositions herself with a huff and downs the entire ration.

Refilling her glass, she looks into the mirror on her right and tries to focus on the future. Her left hand drifts to the paperback and caresses its cover. It is soft with sentiment, and she is overcome by her loneliness as she recalls a particular passage of verse–The breath whose might I have invoked in song, descends on me; my spirit’s bark is driven. Far from the shore, far from the trembling throng whose sails were never to the tempest given; the massy earth and sphered skies are riven! I am borne darkly, fearfully, afar; whilst, burning through the inmost veil of Heaven, The soul of Adonais, like a star, beacons from the abode where the Eternal are.

Sitting the wineglass gently down on the polished wood, her gaze drops slowly from the mirror’s reflection and she begins to weep. Running her fingers softly over the tarnishing brass handle, the drawer slides silently out on its rails as she opens the cache of her secrets–bundles of aging letters bound by the confessions of undying love of which she was too good to reciprocate the affections. Where are you now, she thinks; that here in the remainder of my life, this cushion offers little comfort compared to the warmth of the love you professed to me. If I never said I loved you, it was only because I could not say it enough. Closing the drawer, her tears run warm with the absolution of which she cannot even forgive herself.

© Charles Coakley Simpson 2010

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The streams of consciousness

As my thoughts are a babbling brook -
That they wind gently through the forests of my imagination
With their gurgling rhythms and echoing rhymes
And the cool, stimulating, caress of serenity’s inspiration
as they polish the very pebbles of my
- Poetry.

© Charles Coakley Simpson 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

The paths of fate

Two souls stood upon a divided course
That together they could not take each
Therefore they stood in a length-full remorse
Such fortune feinted by dire discourse
And to fate's end they did then beseech–

“Our souls are bound.” Was their fair entreat
“Please spare us the choice of this sorrow;
This road is too narrow for our retreat;
The other too wide and incomplete
Thus of your wisdom may we borrow?”

The fates listened to the pain heartfelt
As their duty was not to proph’cy.
And here was a mystery to be rebuilt
This card of providence misdealt
Might they alter what was not to be.

Then spoke up the one wielding the shear
It matters not of which path you choose
For each road leads to Death’s kiss endeared;
If souls are bound they have not to fear,
For nothing can separate such hearts
- Thus true.

© Charles Coakley Simpson 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Damaged goods

Swans sing songs of such tales should you heed
of young maidens who weave webs of deceit.
Once a fetching such lass found me in need
and spun her spell on my heart’s last retreat.
Her kiss like honey was sweet with desire;
sugar flowing slowly from her tongue soft.
And her hands down my back’s length did aspire
as she lifts my last dollar from its loft.
Identity stolen, lust is dismissed
Bank account broken, betrayed by a kiss.

© Charles Coakley Simpson 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The intervals of inspiration

Such are the sparrows of thought -
Which land lightly upon my shoulder, wings whispering.
Their tiny black talons bite into me with invention
and my blood flows with the stream of their consciousness.
Thus with prophecy perched upon my tongue
I am moved by the weightlessness
- Of my heart.

© Charles Coakley Simpson 2010