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Gideon Resnick Headshot

Alabaster

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"Alabaster!" was all she screamed as breath took the midnight train
To San Berdanino and left her heaving, recluse breasts
Hitchhiking on the side of the road,
Wayfarers of interminable buoyancy and zest
Now reduced to lost travelers on a shipwrecked
Wench of a beautiful death.
The coroner hadn't a clue;
With his bloodshot eyes peering ever so meticulously
Through the bottoms of Coke bottles plastered on
His peepers, he was dazzled
By the spectacle of it all, the simple nothingness
Of the specimen draped on the cold concrete before him.
They spoke of noxious fumes,
Pray tell the townspeople urged soothsayers alike
"Where did she come from?"
"I think my cousin knew her"
"She reeked of lighter fluid ever since she stepped into this joint"
And just what did alabaster mean.
The whole goddamn place was up in flames,
We were destined for it, that incendiary turmoil
Of souls fighting in affectionate rhapsody
The type of feeling that burns your insides,
Smoky, sweet, deathly fumes of ignorance, hatred, and passion.
Once she had sat in silence, staring at the sand
Nestled between her toes, hidden lovers
In their soft skin nooks, creeping behind cupboards
Where unsuspecting parasites lurk and fester
Upon things that were never ours to begin with.
Devils caressed her subtle brow in spite,
Tempting the unmentionable part of my soul
To rage against its own insides,
Gnashing iron chains which
Lashed at me through smiling, twirling fog.
His name was rarely brought up,
And on the unfortunate occasions where those syllables
Exited her lips, the simple William
Through jet puffs of cigarette-filled lust,
I beat the hollowed earth with my screams.
No doubt he had something to do with it.
When she had returned from Fresno in the smallest hours
Of some long-forgotten morning,
The car sounded through the trees,
Interrupting the swaying rain as it poured
Into the depths of the creaking floorboards.
Through the pane, I watched them embrace,
Lightning casting a fluorescent spotlight on the rapturous couple
With thunder clapping in applause,
It was as if the gods had given them just rewards
And they returned the favor to my still beating fever of a heart.
Forgetting oneself is something depraved and remarkable,
A transformative property of existence
That turns the cogs of time itself,
Making a moment sear into the urine-stained quilt
Of my haunted nightmares
Where the shadows of those two lovers lingered,
Laughing, their eyes and teeth aglow
With the brilliance of a thousand distant moons,
Only to sit and stare at my foolishness
While I watched myself change.
Wincing at the face that grinned in the mirror,
I pinched at the heartstrings and decidedly willed
Them to disappear.
Our fingers entwined, she flew from me
To the cold, cobbled street below,
Bereft of me, free, lonely, and inconceivably beautiful
As she tumbled the flights of the heavens
To the ground beneath.
Despite the arsenic, ethanol, Tylenol, Barry Manilow records,
Sleeping pills, uppers, downers, and out-of-towners in her system,
It was the fall that did it.
How she harmoniously flipped over the railing
With the gentle urging of my soft, lilting hand,
A ballerina gracefully descending
To some forgotten abyss
Where the world smiled with her.
Yet as I returned from my fantasy to alabaster,
I watched as a shadow engulfed the corpse my bride
And turned to find the same man
To whom she had whispered breaths of cascading deliriums
Looming over me with a monumental white stone.
There was but a moment when the mystery unraveled,
Looms of images, words, sighs, and undulations
Paraded before me as my stained, splattered head
Lay quiet and still next to hers,
Our eyes meeting in knowing,
Irrevocable glances of tender understanding,
The ill-fated warning issued from my lover's lips
Still ringing in my booming ears,
Rows of marching drums pattering down
The echoing alleyways of monstrous horrors
To the cavernous halls of the undead spirit
Winking soft delights in my mind.
And as sirens roared in a distant dream,
Detached and asleep, cuffs clasping,
Shocked gasps of breath, and shrieks of reverberating despair,
I saw little else but the love and the warning,
The futile attempt of the hated kindred
Beneath my blood-besotted arms,
My tender heart wept for my soul,
My love, my alabaster.