... a culprit is indispensible

my former lover has just been promoted to ( ) ...
I'm not going to fill in the blank...
you might figure out
who she is
or worse
you might figure out
who I am
or I might
the thought of her
assurances :
this could be me
if only I could learn to be
more appropriately

set fire to me

They know I shouldn't be here. They know I'm an impostor; that pyro setting fires across the night, recklessly burning the path behind. I fear they see I'm a klepto, the spoils trailing back with the flames. Where did this path begin? To what end do I travel? Do the trees have eyes and who is this other beside me, this shade of what was?

I had two liters of kerosene I stole from the hardware store. I dug a trench into a patch of earth, shaped in the letter I, filled the scar with fluid and set it alight, golden tongues licking dirt and grass. It felt good to burn, to feel anything but nothingness. I knew I must move on, and the other followed with me.

Now it becomes me. I wear it like a shadow or a cloak so all feels gray. It settles on my skin like dew condensing on cold stone at dawn. I can't shake it off no matter how I try. Something convinces me it's unwanted, collected from moments in time as a footprint is left in the sand, some sign in the soil everywhere I've been. And why they must know what I've done. It's all over me, what little choice I had.

I daydream buildings burning and bank heists, showing through the seams of everyday gray, seething just below the surface. So I set them on fire and mumble some words of regret. They must be around the corner. It follows me still. Stop following me. Constantly one hunts me and the other I try to shake loose. Never to be captured and never to be free, maybe I'm a shade too, the smoke and ash left behind by a dream of fire.

Am I asleep? Do I dream or is this a mad-self awakening? Too dangerous to work in the daytime so I only come out at night. See better in the dark, hear distant waves rolling on distant shores. Always rolling. Almost always. My thoughts too upside down and curling back, then streaming out like a run on sentence in a punctuation crazy world and I bide my time until the tide turns and there is a moment -- of pause. All goes silent. I can hear that a heart still beats in my chest. The waves begin again. Stretched along the strand are three bonfires...

all this time I've journeyed without knowing it:

if i'
m honest i'
d have to say i
liked the (t)raining more than the
indifferent about
only interested in the quality of the work
it's a curse
that's stayed with me
my one boredom i
guess it's why i
so seldom indulge it
& walk away as soon as i
feel its hot

little attacks of hope...

there are days when I almost forget about that thing
I can't do
days when I can pretend that I could
do that
& not have to wonder what might happen...
those are dangerous days
perhaps it's why I take such morbid delight in their unfolding
& why
this perverse simultaneity of exhaustion and exhilaration
fills me with the lie of possibility
I know I never have done that with which I torment myself
& that I don't have any idea what would happen were I to follow that
but please, let's not dignify this with words like impulse...
it's not the disappointment that's killing me
it's the hope *

*with thanks to Mimi for these lines and much more...