Only child

pexels-photo-573266

I’m sitting in a linoleum room with ghosts, specters and occasional stranger

a girl with long legs like a foal, is pulling elastic pink lines of gum from her full mouth

and snapping them back, loudly

I wonder if I have ever sat so evenly in a chair, if I ever had peach hair, light on my skin like that

it reminds me of my friend who competed in gymkhanas, we made up our own horses, hers was called Mars and mine, BeTwix and we ran

so fast our hearts thundered up her grandmother’s hill in the La Roque-Gageac

her legs were like those of a foal,  even at eleven, the waiters watched her with wet lips

I think of The Object Of Beauty, how Liv Tyler gleamed, coming out of the oval swimming pool

What men must think when underage girls begin to fruit.

My ghosts routinely tell me, I am without worth, they remind me if I had anything worth having

my mother wouldn’t be absent

a life time of inadequacy, wouldn’t be my legacy

I disappoint myself, not just the ghosts, sometimes I think

I don’t belong in this American world, where women are proud to work sixty hour weeks and go the gym at 9pm

still feeling they haven’t worked hard enough.

I think I am forever running in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine, with my imaginary horse

watching a girl turn into a woman, aware of too much even then, and not enough

the specters mock my lack of confidence, whispering in my detached earlobe

nobody likes a wuss, confidence is the American calling card, haven’t you noticed?

Even silly people and indifferent people get somewhere, if they believe in their

silly people and indifferent selves. And brilliant people, who doubt, will fester

like a ring someone lost in a river, glitters too deeply for marbled birds to

pluck it out and restore to light.

I lost a ring once, you’d given it to me when we were 14 and I didn’t have coltish legs

or peach fuss on my skin, but rather, the strong bones of a kid who drank milk with her cereal and got a stomach ache

reading Asterix at the pine breakfast table, with her stuffed toys.

I can still hear the plastic clock and hum of the washing machine

a warm symphony of my childhood, as I delayed leaving for school

and the inevitable crush of humanity, I had long decided was not for me

in fact, my trajectory was so far from that world of push and pull

competition and attention, fan fare and nose-pick small talk

I inhabited the after school hours like an addict of one

rejoicing in the quiet and empty spaces where

my mind could roam and gallop

sometimes I would sit on the roof tops of outdoor storage buidings

eating my soggy paper bag of sweets, stuck together from being

crunched in my pocket, head stuck in a book about

beautiful places with kind people and fantastic things

wild roses growing like thoughts from arching cracks

in concrete, their soft heads and sharp thorns

not the decapitated baby bird, I buried beneath the acorn tree

its silvered blind eyes, swollen and bulging

wings pressed like cries of regret for having never spread

in flight

something horrifying in everywhere you looked

like the terror you feel when you realize you are truly alone.

That kitchen clock would change day and month

but never really the precision of its emptiness

I learned it is better, to rely upon fantasy and avoidance

than the pinch and grope of society.

Often, a stranger would ask

why are you playing outside so late?

I would run away into the eclipsing shadows

behind the corrugated iron fences that separated

the good neighborhood from the skeletons

those bombed, bleached, bones of former homes

where a kid of twenty years ago had lain

watching paper airplanes cycle

above their head, clutching something with glass eyes

and faux fur, as I still did

funny, to find some comfort in the inanimate manufacture

of nature

my toys looked at me in the darkness and spoke

words of love, I needed to consume

their salty fur held

the cups of my early disenchantment

when teachers commented on my red eyes

I said; hay-fever and they believed me

because I wore a dragon tail

this was surely an adjusted child

with avid imagination

cantering alongside her friend

with the honey colored hair and long bare arms

absorbing sun like a shining fruit

I knew then how different I was

how quiet pain, how loud silence

my mother always looked so beautiful in

floral dresses with her trim ankles and long neck

I, the stranger behind her

admiring and shameful in her artlessness.

it was among the lost in forest, I claimed my place

when first love failed, when promises became

paper envelopes containing no letter

dishing out school diner and homework

leaving my scuffed shoes at the door

I climb

into the ivy

away from the party

a reflection I see of myself

gathering stillness like a blanket

she is fetching her best smile

for the emptiness of years

staring into emulous clouds, watching

for signs and miracles and unspent words

the sound of others laughter

rinsing through tall green shadows

like echoes of

someone else’s life

 

 

Advertisements

I never grew out of needing a dragon tail

63f23c6809bddf9597b4c6236a8c747aThere is a girl I ‘know’ online, she’s a twenty-something artist and a writer and suffers from crippling social anxiety and it struck me, when I heard she suffered from social anxiety, that it was a great irony.

Why? Because I had concluded that with my own social anxiety, I would be ‘able’ to do a live poetry reading if I could somehow inhabit someone like her, change skins, climb into her person-suit and read the poetry through her eyes.

So obviously the next thought was … that’s really weird. Why would you be able to read your poetry aloud in front of people if you were her but not if you were you? The conclusion must have something to do with self-hatred on some level, but it’s also about what you want to project.

Sad to admit, I don’t want to project me. I want to project someone like a photographer may appreciate and project through that appreciation the beauty of someone else. I’m a behind-the-scenes type. I didn’t used to be, I was the belly dancer at the front of the school play, but the difference was, I still wore a mask. That time the mask was dark paint, a wig and a veil.

Some of us need veils or metaphoric veils or some type of guise to be ourselves. For me it used to be a few drinks – dutch courage. I didn’t even know it, but before going out I would swig a bit and then I could go through with it. Not a good method. When the ulcer nixed that option, I retreated further than I thought possible, unable to face going out without my mask.

I see others, people who are not attractive, people who are silly, people who are absurd, do it all the time, and I admire them and wonder, how is it that they can do this and I cannot? I’m not certain of anything other than, when you feel this way, it’s like you are under a microscope, on a petri-dish and everyone who looks your way is shining a light on you and you can’t stand the inspection.

It is an illusion or delusion of course, because people see individuals less and less these days than ever before! We truly can walk around and be invisible and ignored! But when you feel that scrutiny it’s like sunburn, you just have to get out of the sun even when it’s not really happening it feels like it is!

A few of my friends, normal, not overly attractive people, can stand up there and do anything and everything. They are admired because they appear to have no fear or they feel the fear and do it anyway. I despise my inability to do this, but I do not despise it in others, I understand it in others, I have empathy for it in others, so despising myself is another point of hypocrisy.

Any delusion is hypocritical. A feminist may starve herself because she sees a ‘fat girl’ in the mirror, who does not exist, and despite believing it doesn’t matter what you weigh, she’s caught up in it nevertheless. It’s like being hypnotized. If you take anxiety meds you are released from them, but it’s artificial. I have yet to find a ‘natural’ method, though much is made of natural cures, none have worked thus far.

All I’m really saying by this, is, how interesting to imagine, just by being someone else we could be ourselves. I think of those robot or clone films where people are asleep and send out their robot version. How much I dislike that idea of living and life, how I don’t like the idea of women behind veils, and yet, when I think of standing up and reading my work I want to put on the dragon suit I had as a little kid so badly. I want to wear it underneath myself (my true dragon self) as I did when I was a kid, and the teacher would pull out the tail and say ‘she’s done it again’ and call my dad.

I am you see, a dragon, and I want to be a dragon, and if I cannot be a dragon I would like to be my friend who looks a little like Jennifer Beal whom I liked very much in Flashdance and it’s not a creepy reason at all because I don’t fancy my friend, but I would be able to read my poetry out loud if I had her curly hair and brown skin. Ironically she is more scared than I am, and if I ever met her off WP I would say ‘what an irony, you are too scared to be you and I am too scared to be me, shall we be dragons?’

Anti Club

6569729_origWho is that girl?

standing polishing her shoes

surely it is not me

who will mount the steps

open her mouth

speak the words

I am not afraid of commitment

I simply do not seek it

which could be selfish or disinterested

not all wish to affix

nor the involvement of cliques

groups and movements

especially trends

a month of this a month of that

they rush like birds caught in a net

to the sound of the next buzz

no original thought

whosoever a tide must push

nearer nearer to becoming as

everyone else strings a merging

I wish not

to join in

become part of

subscribe

affix membership

lead or equally

devalue

humanities need to run in pairs

groups and marathons

crowd fund the day

and I

who matter nothing in any way

irrespective of in distinction

long to hear the turning tide speak

go your own way

and if that way is opposite

to the herd

so be it

you will find the going

tough

sometimes empty

but for some

this is the taste they need

to keep purpose or

sanity

afloat in

the debris

of afterward

 

(This is an internal debate, highly subjective, that I often have with myself. The irony of posting on social media that I find social media unhealthy for the majority. Yet I stand by it. I am only on FB to increase book sales, FB stands for everything I don’t relate to. I am not judging anyone else, but sometimes I look around and wonder, how many people don’t want to socialize versus those who seem to need it like a drug. It makes me feel like I am not normal because I see my closest friends literally jump out of their skin unless they feel validated by others, affirmed by socializing, and as I get older I need it less and less and never ever “need” to go out and socialize. Then again, if we are social animals, is this natural? If it isn’t, why does it feel natural? As for ‘joining in’ that has been an anathema my entire life, I can’t stand the ‘club’ mentality though it is so pervading especially in the US. I find it an interesting subject especially as those who are less social are very condemned by the majority as having something wrong with them).

Era

03om12jumpPerhaps we are all born in the right era

growing up regretful we did not come of age

when life was better

the tinge of past tense

greener fields and sentiment

but should we care to revisit them

time shows we are all here when we should inherit our turn

for children of today

do not wish to sit sloppy and long gaited sharing close space

our communication and intimacy has barriers

we have not learned to be comfortable with intrusion

going about our lives unmolested

I could not have endured the proximity

continual chatter and energy required of those

born without headphones and opt outs

they knew how to socialize

crammed on sweating buses before air conditioning

whilst I believe

had I been born in an early century

I’d have taken myself away and reverted

back to the iron age

becoming a mineral underneath earth

where excited hands could pound

their fists of enthusiasm

for I have no wish to be

celebratory or illuminated

more than the passing of one year to next

it is in the quiet avoidance I find most pleasure

those born in times of chatter and noise

rationed by over-head bombs

heralding progress, talking to strangers

you think the world unfriendly now and it is

when it came our time

everyone went quiet

the buses were empty

just a book here and there lay

bent at the spine and unread

for we who keep our windows shuttered

do not wish to join the throng

but sing in lilac trees over looking

the quiet fish pond

Social

I do not have one photograph of me in a crowd

since I was 15

dispersal it seems

happens when clams

decide they do not want to be eaten

lying upside down in shell

rocking slightly to the swell

of another’s hunger

nor does the sour effervessence of champagne

dull the gritty pearl’s fate

when she is presented raw and quivering

longing for the sea and the weight of water

upon her shell

perhaps that is why shell fish was outlawed

in the Tulmud

we sit in our red tents

beyond the barnacled city walls

wondering at such things

and though we stand alone in photographs

it feels much like we are in a crowd

for the boyance of honesty is best of all

perhaps like pearls comprised of rubbed elements

swirling into circles

the truth has a way of

brining us back to shore

 

SHE

17183914810_d81091c658_bShe has not answered the door in many years

even when she had a door

even when there was a bell to ring

or wood to pound

she recalls once

feeling as if it were only herself

and the world

miming in pirouette masks back and forth

echoing on either side of a shard of glass

and she cut out that feeling with thin lines

blossoming under the bath

bubbling their way into unconsciousness

until lifted from reddening closure

she could not recognize afterward

thin on blood and holy water

her face in the hallway mirror

though she saw how badly the brass frame

needed polishing

perhaps if I smooth the glass

it will show me as I feel

not the scars and the fear

dancing across with pointed shoes

every year she remained patent

underneath the mossy dander

listening for the interupted caller

watching herself grow in reduction

a vile experiment in self exile

once a color, become ash in circles

for her tongue to lap

words left beneath earth

chanting dieties

and her child

was in a bottle set out to sea

playing mahogany violin

that could be captured by

circling satelites looking

much like stars

 

 

For I feel

080-francoise-dorleac-theredlistTremulous ghosts must stand in patent shoes around me

for I feel their hands on my shoulders tugging at my seams

I who do not cry

weep openly with sorrow

imagining is often harder than

bearing reality

I think of when he will not stand discontented

staring out at flocking birds

I think of the time I found a starling chick

lying cold on the ground

wondering at the bitter sky

why didn’t you give them a chance?

why did you let me stay instead?

discontent

the child who knew the flavor of strawberry milkshakes

was an artifice

lies from adults, how many more?

behind closed doors and screens

I met a poet an old lady who

wrote like she was on fire

when she didn’t write for a time

I knew she had died

again I railed

why take her? why not me?

I stand disillusioned and empty

she who played castanets and sang

she who had wind-chimes and wrinkles in

her vowels

she had so far to go

I do not

I am here at the fulcrum

waiting my turn at the scythe

it strikes me living doesn’t suit

those who feel everything

like a pretty shoe

isn’t practical for walking

you can admire its form

but it will not hold you up

I ache in ways I cannot give a color

or adverb

it is a disturbance of the soul

the card reader told

you have a dark shadow on your back

she has her hands around your throat

until she dies you will wish for your own death

or you could start drinking again

that might work

sitting at the kitchen table at night

rinsing grief from my palms

strange dark sounds comforting crushing hurt

I examine the bones of my face

they feel as if they should have come unglued

reformed into a mask of ache

outside neighbors children are awake

eager for day to start

a lone dog barks at the moon

because it disturbs the pattern of his knowing

it has been long since I dreamed

when I dream I have hope

hope which is always the most painful place to go

when returning to zero you see the futility

of setting sail just as storms are predicted

you were a hurricane I let whip me up

lent me hope

now I am a milkshake that does not

resemble real strawberries

I am sweet enough for take-out

but nobody knows the sadness behind

a glass that looks full and is not

just residue remains

sticking to the sides

I am holding on

trying not to cry

at the nature of things

some known

some found afterward in epitaph

my grandmother’s hand was

blotchy and purple

still I looked away believing her well

you see

I want to believe in fairy-tales

and ever after

but I confess

it is hard when we are surrounded

by lies in

illuminated

jars