Grotesque

Could we take a moment to consider O’Connor,

maybe Welty, or Faulkner too? Where regional

works are absorbed into families, and deformity

is linked to the spirit.

Because that is my own dilemma.

Can I have a club foot, or a disfigured

face, a hand that never lets go?

What would they have said about

my spirit? What would the lesson be?

There is a theme among parable-like stories,

short and long, novels and poems,

and words that sound like home,

every page I turn.

Perhaps I am already grotesque,

and that’s why I relate

so well.

Although, I’ve often felt closer to Chopin’s

characters. To take my clothes off near the beach,

run into the the welcoming waves,

and become so lost in my own awakening

that I drown.

First Day of Astronomy Class

As a child, my mother had recanted
memory of a time when she had
been quiet enough a bird
had landed on her finger.
I had done the same,
curious to see if I could copy
her success in stilling my mind,
and to my amazement
a bird did set near enough.
The fluttering of the wings that day
matched my youthful heart
and made my imagination
soar with lofty thoughts.

So much older am I now than then and,
I had no intention,
as I descended the stairs,
Winter biting at my ankles,
to my classroom
in the basement,
of catching any small bird.
The threshold barely welcomed me
as science is a precise art
and rusty poets do not humbly
figure for the brightness of stars.

I quickly found a desk, I felt,
was most calming to me,
and watched as new classmates
filed in with anxious faces,
finding space where they could,
each caught in their own tune.
This one boy was more exacting
as he calculated the perfect seat,
our gaze collided with one another,
and he procured a fetching smirk.
Directly, he would come my way,
and light the seat beside me
stealing one more look upon my face,
as I pretended not to notice.

As we would start our starry lesson,
I beheld only my pen,
but I would catch him watching me
as I took notes and learned.
What beauty of the universe we observed
thousands of galaxies,
with colors more vivid than any painting,
more systems than could ever be named.
Forgive my asking, Mon Cherie,
but why should you attend to me?

My bird, I would not linger here,
the universe is vast and open,
yet of all the places you could choose,
you chose to settle here.
Even brightness of the moon,
and sun with magnitudes of negative numbers,
would not illuminate the heavens
enough to show my wandering eyes
to behold your fragile frame
and startle at your feathers.

Objective of My Heart

(This poem is in progress, but I wanted to go ahead and type it out before I lose my nerve.)

If I am your aim of conquest or

if my heart is truly your goal,

words alone will not tempt me,

only action will do.

I am the Haggard Woman,

only becoming beautiful at night.

I am not your wanton demure princess,

decorated and amused at jokes

that take no wit or talent to think up.

My soul craves knowledge,

a ravenous beast who feasts on Philosophy

stopping to adore Philology.

I am a bibliophile

following quotes and passages

figuring out the fountain of learning

and drinking until my belly is so close to

bursting that I roll to the side asleep,

dreaming of a life determining my career

based solely on my passion.

Do I bleed enough ink?

See this Haggard Woman’s deepest desire?

Confusion diminishes your demise,

and I become the destitute

as you focus on your score.

So often lofty lovers don’t think out

collateral damage, but I digress…

If conquest be your aim, I implore you deeper.

Beauty fades as age defiles youth,

and believe me, wisdom takes its toll

on a smile, on a mind, on a soul.

If you were Gawain, valiant and shining

what would you remember the lesson

or would you selfishly choose?

My Journey Through Self-Discovery, and in the Process, Self-Love

Again, in this dimly lit room, with

the sounds of tranquil waters gurgling from the machine.

I’m sitting on the very used, but comfortable couch,

talking out my issues with this season’s counselor.

My mind starts to clear, but I know by days end,

the mists will again roll in.

I talk about my parents, my two younger sisters, my silly dogs, my daughter,

anything to keep the questions about me at bay.

I will talk about anything,

except me.

Is it because I was bullied in school?

Because a girl would tell me I was fat and ugly,

make me flinch with empty threats and closed fists?

That a coach told me that I wasn’t a runner because

‘she couldn’t see it’?

Is it because they would call me the walking dictionary,

but then when they thought I couldn’t hear them

they’d call me something different?

Is it because my parents gave me advice

on how to look “prettier” and not so “frumpy”?

That at twelve I was taken to Weight Watchers?

Maybe it was that in the eyes of my father, I wasn’t worth fighting for

not from my mother, not from his mother, not from a man who had hurt me.

I’m not sure even I can ever answer which thing it was.

A thousand days of hiding behind make-up and push-up bras,

telling people lies so that they would

like me better,

and having relationships as a sole means

to fool myself into thinking I was

worthy of love.

How can you ever trust anyone to love you?

Where did I learn that turning against myself

was the only way I could cope

with what I couldn’t change?

Can I actually fool myself into loving myself?

As I look into my eyes,

reflecting back at me from my bathroom mirror,

then shyly look away,

I realize that even I don’t know me,

and maybe all of this self inflicted abuse

is still me, trying desperately

to reach out to myself.

I force myself to look at me,

recite my given affirmation,

and smile.

The loudest conversation

Isn’t it funny we say so much,
thinking our words mean nothing;
when, in reality what might be insignificant to us,
evolves eternally in others?
Simple phrases stay stuck in my craw.
I mull them into a fine powder,
mixing them into a tall glass of water,
and savoring their attatchments.
I feel every word you say to me
sometimes like a warm embrace
others are laced with jealousy,
a pinging sensation in my brain
hammering the thoughts as strikes.
I just want a conversation that I become lost in,
but what I get are these expectations
social cues that I miss,
and my relationships will falter.
What hurts most of all,
is when we speak,
and you think I’m not aware you’re lying.
It’s little things, like a sudden look, the way your voice seems to sway, and then you try to cover up.
We try to speak so civily,
but what’s not being said
   speaks louder.