* Stanza intentions - 1: Pencil; 2: Paper; 3: Inspiration; 4: Story; 5: Divulgence.
* Syllable count - 10, 6, 9, 10.
* Rhyming Scheme - stanzas 1, 3, and 5 should have a pseudo end-rhyme on the first and last lines.
Yes, this was a practice piece that I found interesting to create, and interesting to read afterwards.
I always said from the start no one could save me. Not my parents, not the doctors, not myself. I didn’t really want to be saved. Four o clock in the morning, found lying on the floor of my bedroom, a breath away from death, with a bottle of pills scattered across the floor. So I had everything, or so it seemed to others. I just wanted to get away. It wasn’t hard to take the pills. All I had to do was think of everything that made me cry, everything they did to hurt me. No one would have missed me if I were gone.. Sometimes hell seems more inviting than life. Maybe life is hell
They got the phone and dialled. Flashing lights and oxygen masks. My life dangling on a string. They fucking got me.
I woke up to the stench of disinfectant, and white reflective hospital walls. The room spun, and the walls closed in on me. I screamed and cried, no one came. I couldn’t believe I was awake; I didn’t want to think that it had happened, I had failed the biggest test of my life. I never could do anything right.
Why couldn’t they have just fucking left me there!?
I took in my new surroundings with a sick sense of amusement. No curtains or blinds with ropes to hang off, and no long power cords to use as a noose. Nurses watched me take my pills everyday, and checked under my tongue to make sure I swallowed. They always knew when I was pretending. The shower was detachable and I wasn’t allowed to shower my face, in case I tried to drown myself. No sharp objects, not even the forks had a point. I laughed every time I thought about it. Maybe I was unstable, but I wasn’t stupid enough to try anything when help was a hairs breath away. There was still some rational thought left in me, I had the rest of my life to plan my next attempt out, thanks to these people.
The nurses all dressed in white, as if they thought they were angels. They scurried in and out regular as clockwork, like mice, never stopping to chat. As if death was contagious and I was trying to reel them in. The doctors prodded me, made diagnoses and decided my future, and my chances. Seemed like a waste of time to me.. I wasn’t going anywhere. I was just an empty body, devoid of all thought and emotion. But I was like that long before I arrived there.
The hospital room became a cell; I even had a barred window to stop me trying to jump. All words were spoken softly, as if they were scared I would break if they raised their voices. I wanted them to yell, to tell me I wasn’t worth it, to say it would have been better if I were dead. I wanted them to lay on the floor having convulsions, begging me to stay alive, begging me to save myself. Any reaction other than calmness and indifference. But they never did, every move, every footstep was rhythmic, and calculated.
A lady came to talk to me. She told me she wanted to be my friend; she wanted to know about me. She wanted me to play her stupid game. She could ask me three questions and I had to answer honestly. The first to were easy, how old was I, what did I like doing in my spare time. The third question was what stopped me in my tracks.
”Why did you want to throw everything away.”
I gave her the coldest, hardest stare I could, dug up right from the bottom of my rotting heart. I didn’t like her games; she just wanted to get inside my head. She thought the same as everyone else - I had done it for attention, to see what everyone would think of me. To see who really cared. Funny, I already knew the answer to that.
She spent her time helping other people; she was always needed to make them better. She wouldn’t understand what it was like to never be good enough, to be constantly in the shadows, and reminded what she could be. I was nothing, I had been told that. I was too fat, too lazy, to stupid, to ugly. I couldn’t help anybody, I didn’t make anybody happy, I was an oxygen waster. I knew what that felt like. Instead of cuddles I got hit, or if I was really lucky, black eyes. Bruises and scars adorned my body. From their fists, harsh words from their mouths. No matter who held the blade, “they” were behind each cut, each severed vein. Every time I lay bleeding on the floor, I made them happy. And a little part of me died.
She couldn’t even contemplate how much it means to be cast off by the people you love the most. The ones who are supposed to support you through everything, and anything. And love you until the day you died. I figured they didn’t love me when I was alive; maybe they would love me if I weren’t there. They’d be grateful I made their lives easier. I just wanted them to love me..
But some things just aren’t meant to be.
Time fades into nothing when nothing is all you have. Rainy days, drifting away as I sat by myself looking out the window, watching people walk by, free and alive. They had everything I never could. They had someone to come home to and tell about their day, someone to hold them when they were scared. They had someone who loved them. I screamed, I screamed at nothing, I screamed to get me out of this place, get me out of my head. I guess it was reasonable they thought I was crazy. I wasn’t crazy, I was just mad. I needed to do what I needed to do, and all I wanted was to end everyone’s suffering. I was lonely, and I was alone.
Everyone wanted me to be fine, but no one really cared if I lived or died. At least they could say they tried. Written off as a hopeless case, she never really stood a chance anyway. The posters would be taken from my walls, the furniture burned, the paint recoated, until all traces of me were gone forever.
And people would cry, watch as my body burned, as my ashes were thrown into the sea. The photos would be put away, in a box for safe keeping way in the attic, and in time, they would forget. I would just be that girl, who did a stupid thing, and didn’t really give herself a chance.
That girl who wasted her life on a bottle of pills, just to see what would happen. No one would really give a fuck why she did it.
I'll pull a line with chalk and if one emotion ever dares to walk over it again I'll cut it into pieces and glue it onto paper and call it collage number three.Yeah , this is how it goes. I have learned to convert feelings into art before they even show my mind what could be wrong with me. Before they even try to change the way that I perceive this world because because emotions are better when thrown into cans of paint and swirled around with a thick brush size 20 or something . Just large enough to make it drown inside the colours. And now come on I do not .. want to hear any worried exclaims from the mother of emotions : love. Because I have handled that one quite well , just a few weeks ago. See my gallery ? here is love. Crucified behind glass. Kept safely on the wall with several nails. Sadness? Just around the corner you see that painting with the thick black border?that is sadness so as you see do not stress yourself it is so so easy to manage emotions I of course call it devotion when infact the act of creating art for me is to trap the emotions safely in controlled shapes So that they cannot break out anymore those glass shards on the floor? are nothing no,no.Everything is alright. You see my life life is art. But I am not the right battleground for the feelings to play around with shrieking sounds so I create artificial ones where my own feelings become the feelings of the viewer and isn't that.. isn't that the easier way? I give the emotions away and let them stray around in someone else so that I do not have to feel them Isn't that the easier way? I'll give everything a shape a shape to every little thing
to every little thing even if I am afraid at night in my bed when shapeless somethings float around my eyes and I cannot grasp them I cannot ask them for a short description. Just some details so I can atleast imagine. They like to play with my unability to see to really see. Because the truth is I have never learned seeing. I claim that I am dreaming breathing feeling through my eyes but most of the time I have them sleeping inside my skull. Sometimes when guests are around I wake them up and say sh stop your slumber for a moment and act as if you observe flower petals real closely And of course they don't know me. they don't know me so they will place their hands upon their chest and says oh you live life to the fullest my dear you really do Someone like you must have absolutely no fear from what is next because you'll watch even your own death with loving eyes , like meeting the shadow that followed you in sunny childhood days.. after years. The truth is .. I do fear death. I tried to trap it on that canvas you see two steps away but something went wrong something went wrong the canvas remained purely white I placed my eye upon it and tried to see something but but.. I am sure there is an easy explanation if not I'll paint one All these years given away to create a name that will be living for decades after me in book pages upon your shelves in the news
In everyone else
but not me
Too much "me" is not healthy for anyone , no? so why not reduce it to nothing ? why not hide it all behind images that are screaming, crying, laughing out emotions While the inside of me remains a dried out ocean from which the world collects shells as souvenirs and marvels of pearls
Some months ago I .. started having the feeling that writing about my emotions was just a way to keep them from really having an effect on me before I even experienced a feeling truly in a way .. that it got me and overwhelmed me I already caught it on paper, film or canvas. not giving it any chance to come in the shape it wants. to come in a self made shape.
This is however not really written completely out of my position. I imagined being in the skin of an artist who uses art in fact as a try to control what normally cannot be controlled and imagined further on what confessions his tongue might make in moments where nobody watches.
When does the ghost begin to fade and lay to rest the blame? For I have haunted far too long these God forsaken ways, And down the church, the rooms and halls so maddeningly still, I wait for her to pass again, right through me with a chill.
And that is all and my full force falls short to turn her eyes, She shudders when my ghastly form slips through her skin divine, But then she glides away as I stand stricken yet again, The coldest pale that marks a man who lost where he began.
The bells now ring, the women sing, and God is on His way, The clergy wear their finest suits, while by the doors they wait, I drifted past the man erect whose face was somewhere else, He never saw my shape or even glimpsed the way I felt.
Today we’ll have the finest wine and drink the wells till dry, The silver plate will touch us all, and we will all comply, Oh Hark, yes Hark, the angels sing for she has now arrived, A princess in the whitest gown, the pure and fairest bride.
And now begins the ritual, the damned futility, The calling of her name and yet she never looks at me, Before we die we never know the pain of standing by, I wish that I had never known her warmth, her touch, her eyes.
The song has now reached its refrain, the chanted line, the crest, And I don’t think God ever came, despite what all was said, The Pastor stands to speak the praise of his accomplishments, “We captured God today my friends, He’s ours, we own Him hence.”
The clapping now abates; the cheers subside to some degree, I glance across the meeting hall to find her eyes on me, My God, dear Lord, how could this be, she turns as if she’s seen, Yet tries to hide the roses now that blossom on her cheeks.
I rise, I run, and laugh with joy, up through the aisle rows, My God, dear Lord, how could this be, I think this time she knows, And passing through the final seat I reach and touch her neck, She shivers with the slightest move and pulls her jacket tense.
This work is the first real poem I have written in a long time and I feel a bit rusty. I had forgotten how wonderfully therapeutic writing poetry can be and I felt a great deal of release as I wrote this piece.
i sink in one foot at a time with the same anticipation i would have while stepping into the shadow of your naked body if you were standing in front of me
i submerge myself in the depths of lonely night water hot with the scent of your breath if you were breathing on me instead of the steam that pricks my skin and rises like your face above mine would if you were here.
i lay back slowly letting it run through my hair as your fingers would if you were here and it rises past my shoulders drowning them in streams of heat as you would with your tongue if you were here
it encircles my breasts where your tongue would paint me swallows my nipples where your lips would embrace me fills my navel and pours over my waist sending pools down between my lips where you would part me if you werent apart from me
i let the water hit me where you are missing let it bead up on my skin and gush inside me the space you would fill with your electricity heat and fire if you were here
i arc back in dream and pulse sending waves through this flooded vessel moving forth with moonlight-speed inertia illuminating my body with candle glow as you would with your gift of nirvana your love shooting through me with the power of ocean tide tumbling tsunami if you were here
water displaces never replaces energy is neither destroyed nor created but is moved through me with molecular mobility where you will someday sail in and embark on my shore displacing the water that i need no more
It has not been so bad here -- warmer than home and they call the place differently than we do. You know how we always said Mizzery? They call it Mizzera.
Dear Daniel, Auntie J and Uncle Agner have made the attic comfortable for me. From my window I can see hills fattening in the distance and the river veins away from them -- winds right through the pasture.
Tell mother I wear the cardigan she crocheted and no one can tell yet. Auntie looks hard, cause she knows I should be blowing up, but she's disappointed. She tells me eat right cause she wants her new baby healthy and she heaps enough food for two grown-ups on my plate; I eat as much as I can, but it all comes up anyway.
Give everyone my love.
Dear Ana, Mother is still too upset to write; I hope you understand. I'm glad you're settled in.
Agner only owns the pasture, he hasn't a breath of livestock His job is on the road, so I'm alone with Auntie and the boys most days.
The phone rings and we hope. Auntie always answers, which I like anyway. I hate being the one so clearly desperate. I can tell by her tone that it isn't Agner and hope she hands it to me. No. She waves me out of the room.
That was your mother, she tells me. That's all. No secondhand love.
It always begins and usually it ends that way. The trees I waste reminding myself I'm not alone. When paper dwindles, I uncrumple the heap at my bedside and read scrawling after scrawling of dear daniels. I flatten and stack them; I practice a new way to write my name: one that exudes confidence.
I lie flat on my bed beside the sweating notes. When drafts breathe through I listen to the friction of Daniel's name on mine.
Dear Daniel, My belly is rounder now, but it doesn't matter much. Uncle Agner's property is large and I can roam it freely without anyone ever seeing. A salesman came by yesterday and saw my belly; he blushed all bright, but Auntie lied and said my husband worked with hers and I was just staying with her -- being in a family way one shouldn't be alone and she can always use help with the boys. She's a good liar and didn't even touch her rosary after -- not that I could tell.
Uncle Agner was home for a week. I'm glad he's gone now. He likes to use his belt on the boys a lot. Dad never did much of that. I'm thinking of keeping the baby.
Please say something.
Much love, Ana
I scribble out Please say something and seal the envelope. I have so much time to write and this is all I've said.
Ana, (I can almost hear this sigh he must've heaved in writing this) How can you even think it? What's in that water they give you down there?
I'll hear nothing of it.
Write again when you've come to your senses.
How can I think it? He'll hear nothing of it. He won't say what I want to hear: no affection, no apologies. He never meant to hurt me.
Dear Ana, Daniel told me what you said. You just remember that J and Agner have taken you in with the understanding that you'd turn that infant over to them once it's been nursed. You're not bringing that baby into my home!
We'd still appreciate knowing who did this?
You were always such a good girl, Ana. My only daughter, my heart is crying for the way you're broken.
I take these letters to the river. The pasture is overgrown with thistle, darn picky cows won't touch it so it thrives and takes over, becomes so big. So much of what no one seems to want.
The letters I send are supple with my handling; theirs arrive stiffly-starched, but I run my fingers along the penmanship, touch where their hands have been. Then I let the river have their words: it's strong enough to handle them.
Dear Daniel, The baby should come any day now. I'm getting uncomfortable. Auntie has made some lovely buntings and bedding; the bassinet that belonged to her boys is waiting. I dust it off a few times a day, thinking it doesn't look clean enough.
I can't wait to come home again. Please tell me how everyone is doing.
Dear Ana, We're all well. I'll be heading off to school in a few weeks; I got accepted by a college in upstate New York. I probably won't be around when you get back.
I hurt to know if my tulips ever took to bloom, but Daniel hasn't time for something so minute.
Even the river is slow to swallow this stiff letter.
Agner is home again; he slapped me this morning. I don't quite know what I did, I just cost him so much and am in the way.
Auntie has towels and washbasins ready for the moment they're needed. She tells me her boys came slow, but one never knows.
I've been cramping all week, but this morning it felt as if my belly was going to pinch me right in two. Then it went away, returning in far apart waves.
I didn't tell Auntie right way, just fixed breakfast and hid my pain until she got busy fussing over the boys.
My suitcase was small to begin with, so trying to fill it with all I can think of leaves it heavy and overstuffed. Auntie's clean towels barely fit, but I'll need them.
I write one last note: by the time you read this we'll be dead
I haul my suitcase, myself, and my ball-and-chain belly across the pasture.
This afternoon is cooler than summer should be. I leave my dress on a rock and wade into the water; the cold soothes.
I bear down firmly, punished. In a blistering burn, my insides explode outward, heating the river.
The strange heat drifts away, but remains tethered to me. I had thought it would waft away, like a bad smell, on the current, but it won't let go.
I reel the stiff cord in and haul the strange heat-squirm to the bank.
I stumble more than I'd think, still leaking heat. I sever it from myself and lay it coldly on the ground. A little girl, I see. She gasps and screams, all covered with fatty pinkish-white.
I rub her clean with a soft towel and hold her for a moment, trying to summon the courage to carry her back to the water.
Her scalp gleams with dark hair. She doesn't look like me, I determine. She looks like, like Daniel.
She purses her lips and, without a thought, I put her to my breast. If she's to drown, it will go like this.
A few years ago, I lived on the border of Kansas and Missouri. I only lived there for a short time, but honestly, I felt the strongest connection just being there than I have anywhere else. I identified more with the Missouri side, though I technically lived in Kansas. I've been working on this piece for quite some time now, and I really am proud of the way it's turned out.
“How did the exams go?” he asks, a slight stutter in his voice betraying his excited, unvoiced line of questioning: ‘Are you leaving us?’
You try, unconvincingly, to say that they went okay – not that you could be sure, yet – and list all the work that you’ve done; try and prove that you’re not a waster, even though you yourself remain unconvinced.
As he speaks, he pulls you down, and you can almost feel his outstretched, grasping hands on you, as he teases you about your future career plans. You’ve grown up with this national aversion to success, so it shouldn’t be a surprise. But it still ruffles your feathers, makes you imagine the unimaginable: failure and a life spent working in this fucking cage.
His questions come to an end, punctuated by the emission of a deep, guttural cough, and he stands to go to the worktop, where he’ll prepare his lunch of cheap white bread and margarine.
The fifteen minutes finally draw to an end, and you stand – “See you,” “Yeah, see you” – and hurry to the shop floor.
You start to serve a customer, thoughts fleeing from the do-it-in-your-sleep routine, up and away to your dreams: a shattered storefront, bloodied faces, and flames dancing in upturned cars. Oh, for just a little chaos to eject us from this monotony! You want to slash and stab and fuck those you serve; spray their blood and lifeless, dismembered bodies over the wipe-clean white walls and vinyl floors in a sanguine sea: cleanse the world of their bovine complacency. And you do so, in your head, replaying the best bits again and again.
The barcode reader in front of you startles you, for a moment: a packet of Quavers doesn’t scan, interrupting the procession of beeps that had, until then, been in perfect synchronicity with the war drums thundering away in your thoughts. Through gritted teeth you manage an uncomfortable, red-faced smile, the group of young cattle you serve looking nervously on, as you enter the code manually.
Your Duty Manager looks a bit like a pigeon, you decide, as she waddles behind the counter to help you. She has a bad reputation among the others, but she treats you better than anyone else; or maybe you’re just more tolerant, you’re not sure. Soon, you have dispersed the queue together.
You exhale and offer a smile.
‘As the Earth spins around,’ she begins, unexpectedly and sounding flustered, ‘as the Earth spins around at 1000 miles an hour… we’re just still, aren’t we? We don’t notice it.’
You give a slight, confused nod.
‘We’re stuck in here, in this man-made machine, following the strict rules of those above us. But it doesn’t have to be like this.’
‘What do you mean?’ you ask
‘We don’t have to stay. We’re different, you and I. That is to say: different from the sheep and the cattle that surround us. We should be above them.’
You look nervous.
‘I know your secret,’ she starts, ‘I’m just like you.’
She ignores the customers that have now formed at her till and clumsily lifts up her shirt, unhooking her straining bra strap to reveal a small cluster of dark feathers that flick wildly under her uniform.
You nod, and walk out from behind the counter, to the door.
‘Come with me.’ You say, as you turn back.
‘No,’ she says, ‘my wings are too old. But it’s not too late for you.’
You stride out, ripping the shirt from your back. In an ejaculation of feathers, your wings reveal their full span, horrifying some punters outside, idly on their way to the supermarket.
It takes one leap for you to be airborne: and it isn’t long before you’re in the atmosphere, going 1000 miles an hour, up and away with your dreams.