Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Swimming the Forest

It’s a complex game, you know,
but a game nonetheless,
walking through these woods,
sensing souls more or less.

Stepping on a dry twig or two
and tripping over their sound,
I wish I could hear the entire tree
before I fall to the ground.

They are beautiful, you see,
right up until first frost,
when they plot to keep secrets
as if they might be lost.

Perhaps if I came more often
and I lingered long enough,
I could merge before the fall
and elude their cold rebuff.

I’m told that it will happen
when I accept the snow,
that there’s magic in a forest,
in case I didn’t know.

But what if I’m a whale,
not meant to parley with trees?
What if there is more magic
in the sorrows of the seas?

© 2008 Marcy Stoeckel


I want to superimpose your
nerve cells to form patterns
on the couch, on our bed,
and in your eyes – to crawl
into your space, open the
doors both small and large,
and quietly hold your hand
as you abjure the weight of
the before. Frustrated and
forlorn because you will let
me touch neither latch nor
hand, and above all else,
deny both my line of sight
and longing to nurse.

Here in this warm crook lies
love and asylum, if with all
gentleness you rest your
head, as arcane experience
is more treasured than the
self-extolled deeds of an
outwardly appealing boy –
the pet that is only loyal to
its master to stave off the
perpetual fear of starvation.
For the eyes of a dog are
not really earnest, but have
instead evolved to pander
for their very existence.

I’m left to plant my thoughts
in empty verse, obscured to
all but me and echoed only
by the sky – because you
asked me to. An alarmingly
familiar hollowness of arm
and bosom has led me to
question the very meaning
of acumen and of fulfillment
when you’re not here. For
what is a life lived without
meaning and connection?
Solitude appears safe until
you discern that it isn’t.

© 2008 Marcy Stoeckel

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tidy Little Boxes

Compartmentalization is like calculus,
and physics at the quantum level. On
the exterior, detachment is all that I’m
able to muster and maintain near you

so that you’ll never see the storming
confusion inside a troubled soul. It’s
best if you think me strong and wise
and witty – for the gales might wash

you away like so many fishes lost to
the hungry. Placing words and verse
inside tidy boxes is relatively simple
when compared to the arduous task

of putting away upsetting and oddly
shaped emotions. Fearful that I may
fail and shine them up for abhorrent
display – unsorted and in fact much

too real – leaving splendor precisely
packaged in hidden attics. It's better
to keep all of the parcels and indeed
all the storms and verses for myself.

© 2008 Marcy Stoeckel

The Writer

You said that I make you feel guilty.
I said, “I’m no Wyrd Sister.
Had I the power to make you feel
I would …
then I could smile as you stoned me.”

I love you.
Your derision,
your anger,
and the spite.

Your work is only butterflies
tacked under glass.
The Proustian, dead wings,
forever in process and damn
if avoidance isn’t delicate work.

Agreed, your mother is a bitch
so you use her like a shield
with a crest of paranoia and excuse.
You wear martyrdom well
on your crusade against all that is pink.

I love you.
Your derision,
your anger,
and the spite.

My life is as hard as the substance
from which it was carved
but I’ve lost all the will to blame.
Call me if you find the wrong Muse,
I hear she’s failed you once again.

© 2007 Marcy Stoeckel

Conditioned Avoidance

There’s a feather on my chest
and I can’t move or breathe.
Pinned down by an imprint
and you I can’t appease.

Eggshells, cherry pits,
and ancient, rotting meat,
all this garbage on your floor
and me in my bare feet.

You look as empty as a desert
and you can’t feel or speak,
but a desert isn’t really empty
and jackals never weep.

Disengage, hide away
and pretend that you are not.
I’m busy looking at the floor
and wading through the rot.

© 2007 Marcy Stoeckel


I know I’m late to this endeavor
but what else is there to say?
I’m just a Jenny - demons
abound and the fighting
is for me and me

Do you ever look over horizons
still missing the perfect find?
This endless sight has left
me blind, as bitterness
keeps me well

You’re the only one who didn’t
require detailed explanation
but listened just the same.
Ever hearing my voice
even when you’re

How many more years before
we learn these lessons well?
All for which we both yearn
is pouring through me
for you and you

© 2008 Marcy Stoeckel

Cough Drop

You touched my lips and
it felt as good as cherry
red sugar can.
When I was twenty and not
quite ailing, but still unwell
you might have done the job.

You tried to force my hand
in more ways than one - and
yes, I can feel
your hard candy coating.
I’d taste it too, but know
we would surely dissolve.

You – you’re just a cough drop.
It will take much more than
sweets and dyes
to proffer a cure tonight.
You may tempt brief respite,
but lasting relief eludes.

I need real treatment,
penetrating senses to cells.
Strong, narcotic and
burning all the way down …
the kind of dope you swear
you can feel in your hair.

You only begin at the throat
and won’t spread to the heart,
merely to the feet that don’t
mind leaving you - barely
unwrapped and awaiting some
easy little disease to treat.

In collaboration with Patrice Lynne Young, to whom I extend warm thanks. You're ever so much more than a "feedback lady".

© 2008 Marcy Stoeckel

Sunday, January 25, 2009


“Oh baby, don’t do it like this
and don’t worry about that …”
as if telling me what to do
ought save me from myself;
a charming, if feral cat.

With every word, the hero
efforts sculpture where
no casting need exist.
I am want for no such
rescue, trapped within
your fist.

Steadfast in his dysfunction,
frightened of real test,
as if the sculptor turned
to hidden, lonely craven;
a wretched soul at best.

© 2008 Marcy Stoeckel


Rushing right in,
desperate for an answer,
he can smell the blood
of former assaults.
In the moment, this
is everything he needs.

The romancer, the predator
feeding upon your
confidences, your essence,
until his full is met and
the prowl is on.

He might linger to say,
“You wanna talk about this?”
An afterthought infused
with false honor, he knows
only his own hunger.
He always wounds each
answer as he leaves to
hunt for yet another.

This is the under-the-bed.

This is the dark.

And you are so much more
than this.

More than he has earned
the right to know.

© 2008 Marcy Stoeckel


Pores aligned as if graphed
by Nature, entering slowly we
devised a temple with stair of
stone and forest frieze.

I was blue in the light
and his in the dark
and never again will
be either.

Fingertips raking the ground
transformed to gentle fist,
tugging the roots of yielding
trees mixed and twined ‘round
the fingers, ascending the arm
through essentia and bark while
sharing the pulp of our tendrils.

I was green in the light
and yours in the dark
and never again will
be either.

Blossoms fade as if touched
by Melpomene, escaping we
raised a door with frame of
bronze and rusted latch.

I was me in the light
and mine in the dark
and will always be both
or neither.

© 2008 Marcy Stoeckel

Unsaid, A Love Letter

I’ve labored too
long and hard
to gather all of
this self-worth to
allow its demise
in three strikes,
with a dig about
a woman who’s
more perfect for
you, a criticism
of my reasoning,
and a patently
snide definition
of the concept
of “interjection”.

But, oh, how I love
the real you
hidden inside.

Withdrawal is the
mortar of all my
defenses, while
yours remain
reinforced by the
jab and cutting
remark. Mine is
no better, I know,
and scares you
as much as me,
but I swear I did
try to relax my
guard by standing
quite still and
submitting it for
your warm and
tender inspection.

And, oh, how I love
the real you
hidden inside.

It’s true that you
can’t live by the
judgments and
tides of the mob,
but just perhaps
those few that
you have allowed
near your heart
have averred your
tongue aggressive
because … it is.
But I know it only
happens when
you are trapped
and feeling hurt –
you revert to the
conditioned skills
of pure survival,
honed by abuses
and rejections.

And, oh, how I love
the real you
hidden inside.

Valid doubts exist
because I’ve sat
patient, quiet, and
far too near the
cage of a beaten
animal before –
alas, Trust never
showed up for the
reward. The sad
and tortured beast’s
perception of
refuge was lost
in its perpetual
analysis of my
every movement
and motive, thus
forsaking all my
attempts at love
for its own lonely

But, oh, how I love
the real you
hidden inside.

My love, if only
you knew what I
really wanted to
say about how we
are the same, you
and I. And how
you can stand
up for yourself
sans the spiteful
defensiveness, or
retaining me as
whipping boy.
Oh, how I would
gladly join in the
defense of you,
if only you would
notice that your
most subtle and
heavy armor just
serves to bolster
my protections.

And I’ve no doubts
about my love
for the real you
hidden inside.

© 2008 Marcy Stoeckel

The Hidden Profile of Miss Perceptions

“I have given up trying to recognize you in the surging wave of the next moment.” - Rainer Maria Rilke

Of the thousand words
floating through these eyes,
never the right permutation.
The precise measure
of strength and empathy
known to none but me.

The one that doesn’t inspire
my wont to look for more …
or different.

The way I shine where there is intimacy to avoid.

The way it’s always more radiant in my head.

She must be this way,
he must have that,
and there’s no coffee in sight.
We’re all just one
“hi how r u?”
from oblivion.

An acutely pointless exercise
of sinuous principles
and abrupt departures.

Our repulsion to the desperate
measures our belief
in the age of self-help.
Perceive it otherwise, if you will,
but our attraction to the damsel
exposes our need for rescue.

The way a parent enfolds a crying child.

The way we deny it to save face.

Clinging to the ideal until I distorted,
turned inward, disillusioned,
and began to write.

These connections made inside
seem more enduring
than those made without.
Perhaps, more significant
are those to come,
or never made at all.

© 2008 Marcy Stoeckel
Excerpt from "You who never arrived", Rainer Maria Rilke

Mustela nivalis

Did you hear that?
The Universe just went “click!”

Every word in the world escaped,
scurried to that hidden place
where only words can go.

They took their leave of me,
the me left stunned, bemused,
and wary of his usage notes.

An epiphany, he said.
Ready to deconstruct the past,
the possible, the everything,
he said.

Only once, maybe twice
did I pull away the receiver,
to ponder its existence and …
who is this again?

My Soul hid nearby,
with Her knowing smile
and guarded eyes.
He’s ready, she said.
Are you?

© 2007 Marcy Stoeckel

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tell Me When It's Over

And I watched him do it again.

I thought I was in control.
I thought I had something in reserve.
Like a film in which
you hesitate to invest …
yourself, your emotion.
Breathe and watch and wait
for the peaceful, connected ending
one hopes will be the beginning.
The creation of something,
of everything.

I clawed my way out before,
broken nails and bloody heart,
cursing myself and him alike.
Convinced I was only a voyeur,
this time, I watched to the end,
unaware until now
that I was still part of the plot.

This end is terrifying,
and more than I can bear.
Somebody lend a hand,
pull me out
and turn it off.

© 2007 Marcy Stoeckel

A Lack of Evidence

You rotate
while I revolve.
Like the Lady said,
“This is sex without touching.”
I’m trying to negotiate
a graceful collision,
but you’re misaligned;
you’re not receiving.

I could opt to contrive,
bait you like a Siren
and will you to follow,
all in manipulative
and vengeful fashion,
but I lack the spirit
and I never was that clever.
I just wanted you.

These years I’ve spent
revolving in this proof
that doesn’t exist,
but that you always require,
are simply wasting away.
I can reassure and comfort
the rest of your days,
but I can evince nothing.

Your demands for proof
will remain unmet
for I have nothing,
not a shred to offer,
except that I’m still here,
and I’ve told you
time and again
that I would follow.
And I will …
even if I appear
to have totally eclipsed.

©2007 Marcy Stoeckel