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oh, o recognise this 

this is an old acquaintance with 
with whom i’d lost touch  
i remember her face
i remember the scent and line of her neck
i remember 
 the smoke upon the air
the smoke upon my skin 
the smoke about my eyes
the cauterizing

 the shattered-glass breathing
 the every breath a broken bottle

the every breath a bar-fight

the every breath a cat-fight
did i not wonder at another
 i would fear not the passing of the pain
i would not worry at its going away

teach me to have fear in the appropriate places
did i not wonder at another
i would not hoard every lobe of its memory
every infuse of its ink

the seeds of knowledge were screws into bone
and sprouted McGuffey readers of pain
those readers of pain, novice, acolyte
fondle the scars
for them there is much to learn
there are rivers without bottom
pain that leaves by the front door
to which one waves goodbye
like a friend of no phone calls
like a meal of flavor forgotten
such that one calls for it
one calls out for pain
one invokes the gods therein
implores the re-granting


show me again the colors of its clouds, 
bless me the warmth of its breath

one asks for a close friend
that saves the catch of breath that says: 
i know you
i see you
i am you
i will be not you
come to me

that i might look in your face once again, 
that i might smell your breath
that you might remind me of that which i must know
that you might whisper in my ear, tell me you are no stranger 
that we know each other  
only your breath
will stem the rising child of panic
will tap it on the top of its head
say:
it is ok
stay. 
right. 
there.
for
we have 
business to conduct
we have
hymns to sing
candles to light
rosaries to pray
coup to count
now i know why arrives the pain
i know why the the visit
the knock on the door at the end of the day
 the knock on the head like a knock at the door

come ringing round the rosie this friend 
 with hands full of posie
this friend with flowers behind her back
 said, 
follow me i know a way
i can take you there
i can walk you from this
i can walk you this tunnel
but what i teach you must hold
in trust 
in truth
for years decades generations and continents of time
you must hold it 
until you forget me
until you’ve never met me
until you’ve forgotten 
far mist 
far fog
dark skies 
long long long forgotten nights pure
where you’ve forgotten me
where you’ve lost any sight of me
where when you do see me again

you will think:

 
oh, i’ve seen her before
i dont know where i’ve seen her

and you will travel last rites
of forgottens and nears
of sleepless and sleepful nights
the cramps from spine to tears

you will wander all those corridors
to remember me
to realize that
i am your friend
i am not your enemy
i am the friend come to you
dressed as the enemy
whom you recognize 
when false friends 
steal your clothes
and arrive at the party 
in crimson and pearls

with
‘A-ha!’
will you say

oh i remember 
you
you showed me a painting one day




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  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McGuffey_Readers

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