Maybe if I scream

Hello blogosphere. Long time no see. Unfortunately, when the work grows mountainous the blog has to become the last priority, the neglected middle child. But sometimes a person has to stop and write. The following poem poured out of me this morning in a manifestation of all that has kept me silently marching along, eyes to the ground, ears tuned to the orders of an omnipresent yet unidentifiable drill sergent. So here it is, for you. 

***

I told myself I would never bow to this.

I would never bend my back into a broken branch

to hang over dead leaves and frozen ground.

I would never shape myself into a chiseled arch

to tower above a city of men and women

who’ve lost their freckles scars grey hairs fat ankles

veins

to the travel section of the New York Times—

I swore I would never bow to this.

And yet

my hips ache when I wake each morning

and my coffee no longer tastes of reflection

but of reaction

to the alarm clock beside my bed.

 

I bought it when I was twelve

to wake me up when Momma was states away

and couldn’t be there

to tickle my eyes open.

Since then it’s been interrupting like a school bell

to tell me to comb my hair a little more

to clothe my body a little more

to study my books a little more

to be

a little less.

And still I press it silent,

my hand falling heavy on the sound waves

like a gavel to choke dissent—

I haven’t remembered my dreams for eight years now.

That’s two thousand nine hundred and twenty empty nights,

with few exceptions,

and yes—

You are one of them.

 

You come tumbling into my sleep

like a stone rolling onto asphalt and I swerve

but there’s no avoiding you.

You end up lodged in the exposed metal of my engine,

speeding along with (in) me toward the alarm clock.

When the invasion arrives

you do not retreat,

you do not jiggle yourself loose,

no—

You burrow deeper and the heat of my whirring engine

welds you to my rib cage.

But darling,

that’s not a safe place for you.

 

Those bones are failing.

Slit the bark a little with your fingernail

and you’ll see the wick is a ghostly shade of hardly-green.

One more winter without sun to the melt the snow

and it will be dead altogether.

Those bones will snap soon

and tear through my skin,

the grey, rubbery bark protruding like a plank for you

to jump from.

Leap, my love.

Do not fear the icy water below.

Know that once you slice it with your outstretched hands,

the heat of your body will make it bearable.

 

Maybe someday we’ll find each other there,

wading in the water,

turning to coral from the waiste down

and doing our best to keep our hearts above the surface.

It’s a nice thought—

but I can feel myself folding,

and my body is molding itself into a bridge,

not a diving board.

 

If I put my foot upon that bridge

and you see me start to walk over life

like a Parisian crossing the Seine

without taking a moment to appreciate

the wake left in the iridescent river

by beaten souls seeking inspiration—

Call my name.

Cry out to me and tell me

to search my blood vessels for my pulse.

Tell me to taste the particles of carbon dioxide

that dry my sanded-smooth tongue

and turn to phantoms in the cold.

Tell me to cross my eyes

and wonder at the oil that shimmers on my nose—

And tell me to scream.

 

For once I hear the crash of my vibrating vocal chords

shattering this white-noise world—

I just might stand straight again.

***

This post is only a draft. Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions below! Your input is appreciated!

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2 Comments

Filed under Poetry

2 responses to “Maybe if I scream

  1. marjorie

    Well now, I’m not sure this is such an inspiring poem, but I will read it again and again to see what you are really trying to say. Seems deep. Gma

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