She turned a burlesque onion,
in the too-dim lights of a smoky bar,
peeled off all the layers in slow motion… one by one,
to the edge of too far.
They came off at her leisure, teasingly,
a tiny part of her revealed, coquettishly,
with each movement
but, revealed all the same. And it wasn’t deliberate,
no contrived game,
just the onion would never let her
slice right down
to its bones.
It trusted no one
and it set like stone, to blunt and fail
every knife that assailed it.
So all of her came to light
in the pieces that made it...
and was never quite the whole of a moon.
And so, she came to be, all too soon,
in their dreams,
only the strokes of her twisting dance,
that spoke through
caresses of her tender
hands, that kissed and whispered
when all it wanted
was to shout.
Turn, turn, it howled…here it is,
just there, a little to the left,
a flash of the onion-skin in the dark of
and gone again
in the blink of an eye.
Sentences and words, were said,
as she gyrated,
as she spun and whirled.
And thoughts, thought
without ever really thinking
were surely believed
in the glare of her world and her
blinding spotlight: “It’ll be okay,
and you’ll be alright.
Because you’re always alright.”
Never injured by a storm
or a battering night...
And so out of her mouth, came the default
sound-bite, time and time again,
‘Are you ok?’ ‘Yes.’
And the onion kept on turning,
whilst another layer fell off her
like satin or lace,
slid down her curves as silk lingerie, and she kicked it away
with a red-painted toe.
She kicked the filthy layer away,
and set eyes upon it where it
lay - there like a dead thing, there like dead skin,
because it wasn’t the truth. It wasn’t the truth.
Her layers were deeper
and dirtier than they knew.
There was new flesh beneath,
that was easily bruised, and tender with
the price of spent trust,
and for each silvery layer, so effortlessly lost,
the onion got smaller,
all the strength of it
pulled to the core.
And feeling with each word,
tinier than before –
I never said it, I never, she thought.
Rivers of people and noise swam around her,
as the dizzy of words heard in heat,
fell across her. Of all that those throw-away words
had cost her - and I never said it,
unless it was true.
And in the morning
rolled into a new
day and a train carriage right behind her,
and someone had written upon it: get me out of here…
…too many imposters, just get me out.
She stuffed it in her backpack and went
without doubts, in search of moments she had forgotten
that she had once sought;
in search of wide open spaces, where no root-thoughts,
but all of the onions grew.
Big open spaces, the filthy parts of her knew,
were there only to hide amongst. There to conceal for however long
it took, to be somewhere you could be
a place to be smarter than the onion, still peeling,
on its shelf, in the larder of your thoughts ,
somewhere to be stronger
than the tears it brought and to know only words
from the truth:
“Ah but you’ll be alright…” she heard it whisper,
as it tried to take hold and root
at her ever-watchful back,
and she took the onion in anger,
and with a deafening thwack, she hurled it
across the spaces
at the closest of the trees –
“I will,” she told it, “in the arms of verity,
where I trust, I am safe
being me.” And she walked away,
with an embrace all around, and a thousand things to reveal
and be opened, and found,
in the aching
of passion’s beautiful hours
and the burlesque onion
in pieces, amongst the ground’s sweet flowers.