Molly and Thomas

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Molly and Thomas

Apropos of very little,
Prompted by the need for a historical, declarative, emergency statement in the event of my capture,
My mind builds a vignette
Molly and Thomas.
A grey tabby lady with a calm demeanor and a thin tail,
A grey tabby boy with a white chest and long whiskers.
Sitting next to me on an ugly brown couch, Dad’s favorite.
We’re watching “A League of their Own.”
I get so frustrated at the end I slapped my hand down and sent Molly skittering.
My mother scolds me for my temper.
I wonder – will this mise en scène be so clear when the camouflaged men stand over me and ask me authentication questions?
“What were the names of your cats in 1990?”
Will I remember that raggedy brown couch?
Will I feel that tuft of white fur?
Or will I simply stutter out in fear their names like anchor points
Holding my mind down in chaos?
The crystalline historical certainty of Molly and Thomas,
Reaching through time to verify me as their human.

NaPoWriMo Begins!

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Welcome to National Poetry Writing Month!

All this month, I will be doing my best to write regular updates, specifically poems. If I’m being honest, this blog is really just a poetry blog, since I rarely put my short stories or difficulties with the writing process here. Still, I like the idea that I may put other types of writing here, so don’t expect that to change.

But wait, it’s already April 2! I guess that means I have to catch up…

04.01 – Small

Wrapped in a giant white towel, my feet don’t reach the end of the chair.
Dwarfed by vaulted ceilings and tall windows, tucked into the hollow space of a building so grand and indifferent as to render me invisible.
How is it, being so tiny, so inconsequential,
I can at the same time feel trapped in
the increasing size of my own skin?
That my girth somehow compares in scale?
My mint tea arrives.
I set it on my tummy.
A big girl and a small cup in a big room.
The symmetry is poetic.

04.02 – The band

Would you like it polished gold
Or burnished copper plating?
Recycled from an antique mold
with palladium engraving?
Tungsten is more avant-garde
Silver is antique
Choosing one is always hard
When the choice is more unique.
Now do you want a tasteful stone
An imprint or engraving?
Inlaid with lacquer, set with bone
Cliched words worth saving?
We’ll do it up with leaves and crowns
Or wrap it round in tangles
We’ll acidify the whole thing down
To rustic, hardcore angles~
We’ll polish it to ice-cube sheen
We’ll drill it to the core
A finer band you’ve never seen
Than the thousands seen before!

***

Gah, ok, I can’t end it and it’s so late. Headache settling in says it’s time to try again. I keep trying to take a step back at the end, change to an AABB couplet, but it’s not sounding right. It’s already sort of cliched – the couplets, meant to summarize, just sound patronizing.

I forgot how hard poetry can be…

Throw down a little Salt

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I cannot imagine new tenants walking backwards up the stairs,
Throwing down a little salt because they read it in a book.
They must not check over their shoulders,
Nor hunch their shoulders up around their necks for protection.
Poor dark things, menacing an empty room,
I worry for you.
Who feeds you now?
Do you skitter amid the boxes, looking for me and my vivid imagination?
Do you still dance as I imagined?
Not that I could bear to witness.
I could not stand the darkness.
Perhaps now…but would you want me now, full of worldly fears?
Or would I taste too leathery, to tough even for your needle teeth?
Check on them, if you would.
Under the stairs, behind the boxes of forgotten books, or in shadows of the old art projects.
Throw down a little salt.
For my lonely living shadows.

Doki Doki

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Doki Doki

Mock poetry at you own risk.
Poetry proves that in words
We see the souls of others
Ripped free of constraint.
This may lead to violence, broken bones,
And out of focus eyes that shine a bit too brightly
In sunlit classrooms.

Poetry, oft-maligned, self-aware poetry
Is emotion deflected with cute words that wrap around and protect us
In soft, soft, crushingly soft language, muffling our voices till they are only unintelligible sounds and gasps for air.

We cannot look at poetry breaking down
Without seeing the person breaking down in tandem
This is horrifying.
Self-reflexive preservation pushes us back
From meters that make no sense, sentence fragments, bits of math tumbling from a demented mouth.

And all those short skirts, bright hair, scripted sighs
Won’t save you from the poetry.
Beautiful, broken poetry that daintily reels you in and snaps your neck
With the efficiency of a full stop.

Mock poetry at your own risk.
Learn the lessons of language young.
Save yourself.

***

I did not play through “Doki Doki Literature Club.” I watched a GameGrumps let’s play, so I got to watch this unnerving game from a distance. Even that was not enough to save me from being affected. So, if you like games that will make you uncomfortable, go check it out. I guess, for the rest of us, there is poetry to save us.

Creeping Fear

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“Creeping Fear”

Women sit in the padded beige chairs, glued to phones.
There is no eye contact.
There is no fear to match possibility.
Nurses in pale pink uniforms sing out surnames
And whisper “this way” in the necessary languages
To assuage the tightness in our shoulders.
Fear makes my answers sound hopelessly dumb
I am suddenly ignorant, thick-tongued, and demure.
I settle in and strap down into fear.
Let it stretch my stomach lining,
Poke my kidneys,
Cramp my guts,
Tingle the part of my spine in my neck,
Until I cannot see anything except possibilities,
Looming, turning into solid, horrible, truths.

4.7, 4.8, and 4.9 for Good Measure

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The past few days, I’ve been toying with free-form verses that have a vaguely hip-hop aesthetic. I’m usually terrible at this, but then that’s the point of practicing, right? And that would be the point of this monthlong endeavor – to practice stretching out muscles and learning some new tricks!

Enjoy!

Post-Booze Brainstorm (4.7)

Buzzed with booze, a brain
Firing neurons terrified to lose
The wisdom of cups and relaxed blood flow
Is not done thinking
Chasing the siren song to dawn
Tied to the mast of exhaustion
Sinking in the unknown

Falling in Rain (4.8)

In Japan, it rains so heavily,
umbrellas are barely a remedy,
Rainfall patters out a melody where
I fall like a drop into reverie
Mess with the rhyme scheme
and pay a heavy penalty.
Soon words wild in anarchy
Make forms flown to thunderstorm cacophony
Little April showers ripped of all their piety
Best use that umbrella to fend off your anxiety
Lest you run down gullies of depravity
And settle into puddles of stagnant mediocrity.

Grey day Walking (4.9)

My mind is a Jane Eyre grey
Pinched in, cinched in every way
Until my voice goes quiet
And I lose the need to speak
People become my visual cues
Not to cross the streets
Muted eyes rest on blind sights
Unable to recognize my own fights
With attic-dwelling feelings
And a hollowed chest sounds a lone note
Suggesting fiery heights
Of deeper meaning
Lost in the repetition of day-to-day pattern
I do not wonder or wander, yet I do yearn
And hear the premonition
That the destruction of my worldly goods
Signal a break from Jane Eyre grey
And the woulds, coulds, and shoulds
Give way to brighter days.

Compassion

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We make the correct decision.
Our hearts are not in it.
To show mercy, compassion, and faith
Seems to yield little but bleeding.
We sense that rage and retribution
Are attractive alternatives.
That grinding a heel would feel
So. goddamn. satisfying.
But we open our arms all the same,
Sensing relief,
Anticipating pain.
We know the correct decision
Will always be tarnished by a second-tier truth:
That cruelty exists in us all.
Still we open our arms
In the faint and persistent hope of being better
than our baser selves.
Of achieving enlightenment from charity.
Our hearts are not in it.
Slapped a time too many to truly shine anymore,
All we can do is stretch out our arms
And try, once more, to heal.