Her Gaze

As I walk the street near shops, and cafes, and galleries, I notice her.

Her features are lost in the sun, all I can see is the black of her eyes.

She hugs herself against the cold, her shoulder protrudes her coat.

It flashes a sort of hedonistic charm; it is the little boy in the wrestler’s belt.

It is the hooker under the habit, it is the business suit adorning the gimp.

Suddenly, the corners of her lips come into view, offering the promise of a smile.

A vast one? A bright one? A small funny smile that she hides behind the scintilla

of a smirk?

Who knows what gracious dimples, or inviting gaze, or disarming charm her

smiles holds?

I seek the mystery, with the slightest inquiry—a wave.

But it is too late?

She projects her stare on the pavement, it’s light blares but only in cold, deterring

hues.

Her stare sloughs my wave: it’s rejected gesticulation wilts against her snub.

Her gaze becomes like the pavement we stride hard, and gray, and uninterested.

Sidewalks don’t care who paces them: they don’t inspect the souls of those who

tread.

They don’t worry themselves with matters of customary morals: they don’t pick

things up when commuters drop them.

They don’t even care that random things have fallen upon them at all, things like

snow, like rain, like spit.

Nor do they regard who languishes silently, in awkward neurosis,

under the abject solitude, the cruelty and dismiss of a beautiful gaze.

In the same way, beauty regards no one, honors no creed, bows to no ideology,

worships no idol.

What it lacks in brutalism, it makes up for in dismissiveness.

Everyone craves it: but only those who it regards with its inscrutable whim

are deemed worthy of its light; all else is sound and fury.

The invitation to some awkward conversation was blatantly wasted

when her gaze shifted from my wave to the pavement: and what a shift it

was.

It tortured my nerves: it riddled my confidence, ripened my remorse.

The rejection it cast was a beautiful push, so tragic, so final that,

the dim halo once encircling her lips, flung itself in razor-fine shards at my

pride, ripping it, leaving it ramshackle against the

ground, the flat, gray, ground which mirrors the sky.

A cold drop of rain dots my head: I rush by her.

Bumping her, I send trinkets sprinkling from her purse: we both fall.

In my race to help her, I fumble over her things: Her slender fingers weave between mine.

The warp and weft of our reaches entangles our limbs in a lattice of pavement

scuffed fingers, chipped nails, and ows, and sorrys.

Whatever things I am not quick enough to retrieve, she talons from the street

and places them in her purse.

After ignoring my offer to help her up, she flashes a kind yet standoffish smile,

a smile born of comportment.

It is a trite token: a “Please come again,” pat on the back,

a smug smirk and a moist handshake from a flimsy and flippant man.

My gaze displays my disdain: her’s show’s livid luster, a tiger pouncing its prey.

I hate it worse that I hate her splendorous smile.

 

I Don’t Mind II

Distance grows, like breathing shadow: slack betrays our embrace

As disappointment seeps into the cracks that unmake us and

I don’t mind.

The prick in your kiss when you withdraw your lips posits a popping pucker.

Gone is the warm press, the sweet beverage of your spit, replaced with the flush indifference only detachment breeds, and

I don’t mind.

Your stare is so different from the string-of-pearl-ballerinas once huddling your iris, bread with hopes of glory and virgins’ quiver, who loom their warm-glow-plie against the once dazzling glint in your eyes, where I asphyxiate each time I pilfer a glance,

I don’t mind.

And while your eyes bake their bitter confections, you cast your enraged  gaze over your shoulder: it burns vulture-breath-gnaws into the hollow of my belly and

I don’t mind.

Being the lethargic voyeur to my own demise, curses me to languish in faded hues, desaturated by deaths meandering fondle, and

I don’t mind.

When your ire is summer haze, reeling from the pallor of your own rancid love, you direct your specter across my memories but only in the form of remote objects, their edges softly defined and overlapping, and drawn just beyond memory’s impenetrable mirk,

I don’t mind.

When your scornful tongue laps the tears scorching my eyes, and you savor them like succulent morsels before your septic mouth gulps from the effusive banks descending my face, and when my tear’s briny redolence fills your belly, like a cistern,

I don’t mind.

 

E.S. Russell is a forceful writer whose works capture the essence of resentment and disappointment, distilled through his intimate view on the relationships that have defined his life. He frames his emotional journey in such striking detail that any reader would instantly identify with his tortured soul. To further distill his sensuous milieu, he has earned a BA in Creative Writing and English; and, he is currently engrossed, writing his next heart-rending poem.