I reflect, confect, arabesque, meditate cogitate rèflexions in the mirror opaque, convex, invert, perverted lips leaving stain, tea-cup, coffee-mug, wine-glass your underwear torn, scattered like poppy seeds what shall we give birth to? When the time comes to see clearly? (It never will, we are chimeras of body dysmorphia, we inhabit false hope, blind faith […]Reflections – Candice Louisa Daquin — FREE VERSE REVOLUTION
I think of you as I might
the collected soil outline of a beloved plant, died in Wintered frost
slow the creep toward perish, I hold back, I do not want to enter that room
with its antiseptic smell, lolling tongues of linoleum stretching like vast desert
here nothing thrives
not you, in your beige iron bed with metallic purr of machines overhead
nor the sucking out of sight sound of life being apportioned and gentle knock and brush of clutter off stage
I have learned to manage my desires, like labeled things put away and forgotten
they seem inconsequential in the gravity of this moment, elongated into a maw, disabusing itself in perpetuate howl
the green eyed girl who sat astride you devouring your skin with the hunger of the famished, is just a filament of memory, drowsy with being taken out and examined many times
what is real feels false, we fall apart with rules, we are well behaved in chaos
as rain falls, drowning response, we are free briefly, to call for Gods who are sleeping against their fatigue of us
I look down at my fingers entwined in memory, carving the halls of you with journeys taken to your very core
wish I could write like a girl who didn’t need to rinse her eyes of salt and her mouth of violence
there are no mirages in this sterile land, only the abundant hygiene of fear, roasting itself on impotence
here even you, are forgotten to yourself. I wonder if you recall how we were or if
this eclipsed reality, so suffocating and tightly arranged, is your only memory
occasionally I want to do something vulgar and wrong, to break the dreadful count-down
call an old lover, meet them in the broom closet for some rearranging of clothes, we don’t know how to handle things, so we explode quietly inside ourselves
just to feel I am not plummeting alongside you
faithless for sure, my brand of lusting for life and wellness, anything but encroaching perishment, we fear dying even as we seek it
apparently I am not alone in this
strangers will swap bodily fluids in desperate snatching, on top of folded doctors overalls. That strange, nameless brand of green we all loathe
I was a false girl before we met, learning to reign in her impulses against a backdrop of damage
thriving under the rental of youth with no care for those far-off dates waiting in distant wings
life was already its own brand of unbearable, it felt yet, too searing to imagine decrepitude or bad luck
instead, thrive on the daydream, liquor up the inside of your nightmares and send them galloping and sweaty into the abyss
rest in the drowsy arms of indifference, for everyone wants something and nothing is as it seems
until blinded or crippled, you crawl to your date with the inevitable
hearing your ancestors crow their dissatisfaction at your cliched rejection of fate
compassion doesn’t cost, but as I stare at the vacancy in your eyes I know
i’d say yes to the proffered ease of escape
yes to anonymous lovers and things to someday regret
but not now whilst we stand under the radiance
when life still reigns and I know how to squeeze from it, that ounce of pleasure
not hedonist but survivor. Some survive in the calm shallows
I want to wade waist deep in warm water, feel your touch bringing me back to life
not forget what it was to circle the varied heavens and their demands
nor the feeling of my heart in my throat, birthing color and chaos in equal order
I imagine you as you were, impossibly alive, bright in ways that hurt my eyes
our dance around the mandala of us, ever decreasing, unawares of our own diminishment
your last words lingering in pre-storm humid air, like fruit left a little long in sun
sticky and soft we meld together and break apart with the astringent sting of broken clay
turning again to earth, as if it had never, not once, not even in dream
Our society worships entirely the wrong animal, venerating them and reducing others to ash.
The news recently devoted a good portion of the sports coverage to how much money certain sports figures were going to be paid for kicking a ball across a field. And this in a time when our jobs are dissolving, our society is being wrecked, our economy may be irrecoverable and certain industries will cease to exist en mass. Put simply, there will not be jobs to come back to folks but apparently we still need to pay these guys billions for their service to humanity?
I cannot understand how ANY society and how any of us can tolerate/accept a sports figure being paid anywhere NEAR that sum for what they do when those who really do jobs worth paying, are dying in droves because they are not receiving enough personal protective gear to protect themselves.
When did we start paying someone to kick a ball millions and a nurse who saves our life, hundreds?
What’s wrong with us?
If I were an alien observing our planet, I would seriously wonder if we all were crazy in our assessment of VALUE. What we value. What we do not. If nothing else, Covid-19 has given us a chance to see this once and for all and try to do something about it.
We have marched for Black Lives Matter during this time because it was over-due and our raw emotions on the subject burst out of their polite shell and filled the streets with ire and a desire for equality but how many of us really want equality? Not all of us that is for sure, look around and you can see it in every facet of life, a desire to be above someone else somehow.
We still routinely under-react and permit by our inaction, serious hideous crimes like rape to go unpunished in this country and others.
It’s the year 2020 and we still think inequality for women is acceptable in some forms and fashion. Let us not forget what Maya Angelou said about wanting to vote for a white woman over a black man. She said – women were the original oppressed group, thus we should work backward until all oppressed parties are equal. I agree with her.
We still think hate crimes against Jews and telling Jews that Israel should not be their country is somehow acceptable, despite those Jews having descended from that country. Would we say the same to Black People about Africa. Of course not! So why do we say it to Israel? Because of the Palestine Question which Europe in particular has decided to side with, uncaring of the history of persecution toward Jews and their right to have some land of their own. Of course we shouldn’t persecute Palestinians either and of course, Israel has made mistakes but it’s now about what optics politicians choose and what side of the story is half-revealed via inaccurate news reporting. It’s essentially about which side looks right to support? Because Trump supports Israel, most left-wing supporters are against it. Yet it is not that simple and never should be. Lest we forget our history.
We still think homosexuality is unnatural and abhorant and that being queer isn’t natural. We don’t say it out loud because it’s not popular to say it, but we think it and we act it and gays know. They know.
We talk about slavery and how horrific it was, but half the time we just pay lip service to the deeper issues, because we don’t know our history so we don’t mention Native Americans and how they were exterminated en mass and continue to be disenfranchised. We’re so proud of ourselves for changing the Red Skins but we think that’s enough. Or how slavery has never really gone away, it’s just changed hands and outfits, but it’s still well and thriving in many forms.
So it’s never enough. Until everyone is equal and inequality and racism are a thing of the past. But will they ever be? With people who seem to thrive on discrimination and putting themselves ahead of others and putting others down? If people think wearing a mask is too much, is it any wonder they really don’t give a shit if you are sick or you are vulnerable? Don’t they just want you to die and bugger off?
Likewise with illness, with chronically sick people, it’s never enough to just have laws that allow them to not be discriminated against because discrimination comes in a myriad of differing forms. Subtle. Unreachable. Devastating. People of color have to put up with this EVERY SINGLE DAY as do women, as do gays, as do sick people. Just one roll of the eye says everything. Says; ‘we think you are pathetic‘ invalidates an entire moment.
Chronic illness is a little like amputation. Obviously anyone who has suffered an amputation will refute this and rightly so. But metaphorically it remains akin to the loss of a limb. You are left flailing, unsure of how to right yourself, and continue as once you were. A part of you is lost.
They talk of periods of adjustment. The stages of grieving: Anger for what you have lost. Shame imposed by a society who now judges you weak. Acceptance of a ‘new normal’ that includes intolerable things such as chronic pain etc. For many, those stages of grieving never really end, they cycle and you go through different dilutions depending upon how you progress.
But progress is perhaps not the right word. In our linear society where so much is expected. For someone to drop off and no longer thrive, in nature they would be left behind to perish. In our society they are carried along but reminded frequently, of their burden, of their ineptitude.
For many who suffer mental illness, physical illness, both, there is a lot of shame attached to their existing after this fact. Even as people do not come out and say it directly (and believe me, many do!) there is a thin veil that is easily penetrable. People know when they are treated differently, seen differently, worse, judged without jury.
Being ‘sick’ in any manifestation is seen as a ‘weakness’ by our society. This invariably goes back to the ‘dog-eat-dog’ notion of surviving. The weakest link perishes or is a burden to the whole. But these days, with our so-called faith and mercy in place, one might imagine a little more compassion? And if you did, you would be sorely disappointed.
Since getting sick in 2017 I have felt intermittently well enough to continue working and ‘accomplishing’. But as with any pendulum, when it swings deeply toward illness, I am right back at the horror point of when it all began, down on my knees, imploring the universe for healing. And for the most part I have done this alone, because as all those who have been sick for a time will attest, most people do not stay by your side. Even those you expect to.
You can’t plan any longer. A trip is a fear because what if you get sick? Then someone suggests; maybe it’s in your head, maybe you are making yourself sick? And no matter how many times you prove otherwise, they think maybe it’s a choice, just like being gay is a choice, right?
Wrong. You can’t rely upon yourself like you used to because you never know how it’s going to be, how you are going to be. And usually you could be relied upon 100 percent and now that’s gone and somehow you still have to plan a future, but how do you plan a future if you can’t rely upon yourself?
I try to take something from every experience I have, including negative ones. Without learning we don’t grow we just regurgitate and I would rather grow even if I’m throwing up and in pain as I do it. I have taken from this experience what is obvious, but I have also tried to take from others experiences, and have noticed disturbing patterns among those I know who have also been sick for a while or a very long while.
People don’t care.
Poverty goes hand in hand with illness.
Anxiety and fear are natural outcomes for a plethora of reasons.
Loneliness can kill.
What I have come to see is this. Sick people are TRUE WARRIORS.
They fight the unimaginable that most of us never have to endure. They have to get pacemakers in their 40s, they have to struggle through taking 2 hours to get dressed and STILL MANAGE TO SHOW UP and this strength – this strength is what I have learned the most from my experiences and listening to others. Strength comes in many forms. We dismiss most of those forms but they are real.
I watch people who have seizures and brain tumors, fight and fight and fight and I realize, we’ve got it backwards. We should be applauding these people not marginalizing them. But we do everything backwards, because as a whole we are poisoned by false ideas of what is valuable and what is not. We toss aside those we deem un-valuable when they are perhaps some of the most valuable people in the world.
So if you are disabled in any way, be it in your head, or your body, remember that. You are some of the most valuable people in the world. Let nobody ever let you forget that. You are some of the most valuable people in the world.
This is written for my sister Angie. You inspire me every single day. You are that light in the dark that refuses to give up and because of you, I refuse to give up too.
You don’t need to tell the doctor why
your heart beats at 95 bpm despite
your quietude or
how the rose
lost its coral petals to dust.
You don’t need to tell the doctor how
laughter used to come unbidden and often
like a bright stream of rainbow fish
catching sun’s rays
til darkness spread her feathery fingers
blocking out light like a single word
You don’t need to tell the doctor who
it was, left you crumpled and derelict
in throes of grief beside
the memory it was not always
this cruel or this bitter
You don’t need to tell the doctor if
recovery is lost, for he guages truth
written across your face as any
horror shall permanently stain
an indelible fingerprint of
you say nothing and if you say nothing
it doesn’t exist
you can go on pretending
with your crossed legs and empty arms
the barren effigy of loss
rending its blades
behind your eyes as
you stare forward facing
a mannequin to your own life
to hold yourself up
A warbling, holding, green glass pain
Like joined hands make paper cut
Invisible like girl in crowd, falls
Deep as ink without light
Stinging with clamoring cymbal
Tears almost bare themselves as first night lovers, tremorous
Retreat beyond the naked streets
It is not brutal gnashing strength
But soft lipped resignation
And a little elipsing hope
For bare faced ceasement
Lain like prayers and rushes and thrown flowers wetting paving stones
No ceremony. Only, black cars devoid of dust
A trail without salt. They bent lower to seek. Not yet.
It’s hard to say it. The wind chokes words. Before.
We walk on. Omphalos in fatigued lament
Toward reprieve, illuminate in muted tempest.
I dreamt or made up that I did
In sweet spot between wakefulness and sleep
giving over to fantasy as bolster against, hard spit of life otherwise
sometimes, you just need spoon of honey stirred in warm drink
reducing disappointment, like when you were ill as a child
someone laid a cool hand on your fever and whispered;
there there, there there
when I was little, I was very disappointed
with empty rooms, lack of interest, invalidating reasons to exist
I learned before I could talk, to fantasize and imagine
sustaining me throughout life, both as warm blanket against harsh reality
sometimes a drug that I used too much to ward away gloom
for when we live inside the rooms of our imagination
we create such spectacular palaces
sometimes, the outside world is neglected
we do not try as hard, if we can imagine instead
I danced with Jennifer Beals in Flashdance in my mind
why then did I need to try?
and reality it is necessary to know, you get nothing without effort
dreams are just dreams, eventually avoir le cafard, leaving you cold.
Once in a while, I still permit myself to
think of a world where everything I want, comes true
what would it feel like?
think of what hurts you the most, turn it into the best scenario, that was my moto
I hated how I looked, so in my fantasy land, I was free of all taint and condemnation
always abandoned, so in my mind, people came to me open armed
as silly and unrealistic that may be, in the cold light of day
lying in my bed, yesterday, I flung my arm out of the covers
into cold air
imagined a lover taking it
kissing my goosepimpled skin with warm lips
until I could hear their words, whispered in my ear
feel their want of me
curling around usually empty flesh
so long I felt, I had mastered the feeling of rejection
I could write a monologue on it
wanted to kill it, leave it dead and bleeding
never again know intimately what it felt like
to be lied to, walked away from, deceived,
never again know, how it felt to make mistakes
trust someone who promised and gave nothing
in my mind, I needed nobody
still they came, as fantasy will
the girl I set my sights on
changing her mind, bending to Fates chant
it was all rather sad, when you thought about it
here I was making up worlds that didn’t exist
when in my own, there was only indifference
but it is, the unbearable likeness of being
sends me to my mind palace, hiding from the world.
As a little girl, when it was cold outside
and rain fell or my own tears, in my prison
and I had read all the books, thrice over
nothing to see out of windows, nobody to speak to, or call out for
the emptiness of days, absent of structure and attention, I was to all, invisible
behind my eyes, I created a world
of being wanted and validated and sometimes
where lovers spoke entreaties, wonderful things occurred
and as I grew older I could pretend
it was not me who touched myself
but the hand of someone, I only dreamed of
for reality was falling rain
nothing worked the same out there
it stung of let-downs and empty words
even when something seemed real
it would not be me, who it came for
maybe recognizing, I was not worthy
for I spent too much time pretending
not working hard enough in stark light of reality
for I was ever a coward, escaping the grunt of dull living
for the majesty of the fantastic.
On weekends going to clubs full of dreams
just to escape sordid living of emotional poverty
drugs can be snorted or made up, by concentrating
and lovers who did exist, could be magnified
it is said, you do not fall in love with a person
but with passion itself
and I was guilty of that
though always I wanted, to meet the one
and I still believe such things exist
though not for me
I was never a fantasy girl, despite living in the fantasy
and you were my fantasy
though I did not make you up
I may as well have
for you did not want me
I cannot now, recreate you in my mind
you are more than I could ever imagine
now the dream is soured
because I knew you in the real world
and for the first time
wanted to stay there with you
dancing beneath changing trees
for once, I threw everything of me, at making something come true
it only confirmed what I had always feared
it may be true, we do not live without effort
but to risk our hearts and realize we are not enough
doesn’t seem recoverable
it is no wonder
many of us I suspect, live inside ourselves
where we cannot be hurt, by what we want and do not
is that selfish?
was it greedy of me to believe?
we are not given these feelings for them to
but here I am, so many years later
still dreaming, solitary, untouched by something real
growing it seems, with every year
a little colder and more removed
for nothing is as sad, as going through life unwanted
having to find succor in the promise of our dreams.
Out loud you hear yourself say
I don’t need to be cared about
And the cave dweller behind your eyes says
The rain is mentioned on the news nightly
But it never arrives
And we are driven to distraction by
Our dry state
Knew what I was thinking
You may blanch, squirm and feel embarrassed for me
For the feelings I have, not reciprocated
Or you may
Take me on the lawn before the rain came and green was turning brown
Turn me into water and let me loose
Or you may
Be holding three versions of repulsion
If we’re meant to read minds, my sense is blunted
I only see the gathering clouds swell ominously overhead
Stubbornly hold onto their rain despite our need
Standing below imploring
Though it is us, with our concrete lives
That usher the rain gone
Until when you least expect it
When you have given up
Taped and sealed yourself back up
Return to maker
And you will open
Your arms and let me