Slide to Unlock: Blue Note
July 19, 2012
In my pocket I carry a painting.
The violets and golds press their heat
against memory, skin. The card, blank
for this moment, holds only a landscape:
Antibes Seen from La Salis.
Our Monet of Toledo, taken to Paris,
from our tandem stone, to our tandem stone.
Place of you only ten days before.
I rise under the falling light, the words
untethering the undertow of our bodies,
salt of our silence. The letters, read, spoken.
The words we walk under and through:
Shakespeare and Company Antiquarian Books.
The door is an invitation, the threshold,
a release. Us: two who sought synchronicity,
unsecreted salvation, freed silence
from the lock of time. To come alive in the tension
of possibility: our call. Our calling,
at last, answered. Or begun.
I leave the words: betrayal, infidelity.
I leave the years of apology, the nights
my empty hands sought the air for you,
resolution. I find the blue chair.
I will not remember what I wrote,
only that I thanked you for all the years,
your way of loving, honouring our storied ways.
Part of me could feel you assemble beside me,
sense your hand in my words after all of this time.
My virgin love. Muse. Fantasy of wires.
Our glass city. I seal this all between the pages.
Behind the iron gates of the poetry shelves
I leave you
an envelope, never knowing if the planet
will permit, spin in such a way that you find it.
July 12, 2013
You text me a picture: the tufted blue chair.
My God, you are in Paris. It is the chair
where I wrote you: the one broken
beneath the seat, hollowed to sit.
Hallowed too. But you know this already.
Your next photo: the letter, propped against
Margaret Atwood, just as I left it a year
before. The wrecked girl of me is holding
you near the water, our last place. We never went back.
This you know too. There were other ways, you’d said,
and this was one. Of course you read
my words in our chair. Of course you know
what I will ask before I ask it. You return to the stone
square. You hold the letter, photograph
your name in my writing, the bookstore behind.
All these shifts of reflection, return.
I have never told you about Before Sunset, that open
end. Always this is how I see us: that precipice
of possible. It makes no sense. I am betrothed
to another life. Yet the ring is not a lock.
Some things in me cannot be held.
I married a man that knew this and somehow
blessed my brokenness: always part of me
is you. And he loves me still.
Sometimes I think it is true of us all. That those
loves that build and break us
are always our loves to be wreathed
in odd gratitude, to be released to roam
in our recesses. Not to be clutched,
prisoned in a bent photograph, sullied
in a drawer of regret. We led them
to those they love now. We dance over
so many boundaries, question them all.
Part of me will always lament that I cannot open
my body to you, my body that first learned
to open because of you. But the call is to love
in ways beyond the cell, and in this, there is more:
Words, art, the danger of our electric phones.
You photograph the letter in your hands now.
I am as with you as I ever will be. We are still our book,
writing. You walk to the café next door, order
a glass of Soave. You text me a toast: We are here
you type, our energy, the ways we love in this life,
the ways we love story. Go, lift the words, our book,
into the truth. It was never ours. I will be waiting.
And what you don’t tell me is this:
I’ve left you a letter. It is written on blue paper.
This one we will open together, our covers
joined, the spine of us bent to half circle,
releasing all of the loves who could not
love. Watch how they break
the surface, how they begin
Admit their story too.
Julie E. Bloemeke
This poem is from the author's upcoming collection, Slide to Unlock (Sibling Rivalry Press).
Julie E. Bloemeke is a graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars and was a 2017 fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her first full-length poetry manuscript, Slide to Unlock, is forthcoming with Sibling Rivalry Press in 2020. Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Gulf Coast, Chautauqua Literary Journal, Crab Orchard Review, White Stag, and Bridge Eight, among others. Her poems have also been widely anthologized, most recently in Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse. Her interview with London novelist Bella Pollen was published in the February 2019 issue of the Writer’s Chronicle.
The Ekphrastic Review
Join us on Facebook: