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to bend shadows into light



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Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:22 pm
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bluewaterlily says...



Hey @fraey, thanks so much for your kind words. This was my first try at a narrative autobiographical poem for NaPo, so I'm glad you enjoyed it. :) I've never tackled this issue before but for some reason socioeconomic classes seems to be a big issue I'm tackling this year in my NaPo.
"A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language." - W.H. Auden
  





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Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:38 am
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bluewaterlily says...



it will be okay:
a mantra I repeat to myself
each morning as I peel
my bones out of bed
"A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language." - W.H. Auden
  





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Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:49 am
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Ventomology says...



God I relate so hard to this. Hyperbole/overdramatic phrasing is just so good.
"I've got dreams like you--no really!--just much less, touchy-feeley.
They mainly happen somewhere warm and sunny
on an island that I own, tanned and rested and alone
surrounded by enormous piles of money." -Flynn Rider, Tangled
  





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Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:15 am
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Charm says...



Omg Taylor! The narrative poem about the trailer you grew up in is just incredible. I think it's the best poem of yours I've ever read!
Even if I'm slow I will walk with my own feet, because I know this path is mine to take, I will never lose my dream.

— BTS
  





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Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:17 pm
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bluewaterlily says...



Thanks so much @Charm!
"A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language." - W.H. Auden
  





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Sat Apr 20, 2019 4:53 am
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bluewaterlily says...



If I Should Have a Daughter


My grandmother believed in many things:
reading the Bible every night,
attending church every Sunday,
serving guests dinner on fine China,
and always putting up a real Christmas Tree.

She also believed in looking good for her man;
she never left the house without her hair curled
to perfection, lips painted red like Elizabeth Taylor,
cheeks dusted pink with a soft feminine blush.

She even believed in looking good when
her husband came home to the dinner
she made for him. These were the things
she taught her daughters the same way
she’d been taught, parceling up her ideals
and passing them down like genes for survival.

Why don’t you put on some mascara?
she’d say when my mom would leave the house
to see her boyfriend. You’re pretty, but you’d
be prettier if you lost some weight, she’d suggest
once my mom started dating my dad. My mom
didn’t believe in wearing makeup to make Dad happy,
but she did wear make-up on her wedding day,
more for her mother’s sake than her own. Her family
loved it; they called her beautiful, perfect, a porcelain doll.

Mom’s been married twenty-five years now,
and she hasn’t worn make-up ever since then.
She doesn’t believe in looking extra good for her man,
and she doesn’t put up a real Christmas tree or put
out the fine China when company comes for dinner.

She might not believe in red lipstick or fine China,
but she does believe every woman who should shave.
It’s more sanitary, she tells me, when I try to argue that
no, studies show it actually creates microtears, portals
for bacteria, I explain, much to her displeasure. This
earns me a scowl as she calls me a smart ass. It’s unfeminine,
she says. And when I point out that men don’t shave, so why
should women have to? she shakes her head and tells
me Fine, look like Big Foot, I don’t care.
She doesn’t want to hear about social constructs either.

She might not believe in having to look good
for her man, but feminism is a dirty word
in our household. Her face tightens whenever
it slips free from my lips, and she tells me that it is
nothing but an agenda and that women
aren’t oppressed. She still believes in equality,
she explains, when I try to say that that is indeed
the definition of feminism, and we go in circles
like a dog chasing its tail. There have been many
dinners that have ended in silence over the F word;
rather than unite it only divided us, like a shoji screen.

My grandmother might have believed in beauty, but
my mom believes in silence and obedience,
She believes religiously in disciplining her children,
keeping them in line before me or my sister
ever could stick one toe out of formation.

She tells me that if she was constantly on our asses
It was so wouldn’t be like the other kids: rude
and obnoxious and loud. The irony is hilarious because
she is the most outspoken woman I know with a firecracker
temper ready to explode, but I guess outspokenness
was a recessive gene that skipped me which is why

I hope, that if one day, I should have a daughter
of my own, that she inherits what I didn’t,
but I won’t try to raise her the way my
grandmother raised my mom or the way
she raised me. I will raise and teach,
as a mother does, but I will not tame her
thoughts or her curls. They will be
allowed, encouraged to grow unruly.

If I should have a daughter, I will not
encourage her to wear make-up, but
I won’t discourage it either. I won’t
tell her the red lipstick she may pick out
at the mall when she’s 13 is a color that
only hookers and whores wear as I was told.

I will teach her how to shave her legs
when she is 11 and the last of her bunch
of friends to pick up a razor blade, but
I won’t call her Big Foot if she decides
smooth legs aren’t worth all the mountains
of angry red welts she will have on her skin.

I won’t tell her that she is pretty but
she’ll be just a little prettier if she loses
weight, and I definitely won’t hold onto
her “fat jeans” to show her how much weight
she’s gained four years after her first diet.

I won’t read her the fairytales I was read
as a child. Instead, I’ll read her biographies
of Susan B. Anthony and Marie Curie and Malala.
Feminism will not be the F-word in this household;
it will be a lesson of empowerment and one of the first
words she learns once she can master the alphabet.

If I should ever have a daughter, I will teach her to
be like Prometheus so she will learn not to flinch
from the fire inside of her. I will teach her to trust her
instinct and rely on that fire; It will guide her as the sacred
flame of Olympus guided the mortals out of their darkness.
I won’t be there for her forever, but one day when I am gone,
know she will be okay and she Won’t be stumbling around
in some dark cave like I was because she will let that
small flame guide her and she, along with Hestia,
will accomplish what Prometheus and even I couldn’t:
She will bring Olympus to its knees.
"A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language." - W.H. Auden
  





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Sat Apr 20, 2019 4:55 am
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bluewaterlily says...



Love is a mountain of Christmas gifts
purchased by parents who don’t know
when their next meal will be
or if the lights will stay on.

Dad’s out of work again;
he’s washing cars and
mowing lawns for extra cash.
It’s still not enough. Last year,
Mom’s sister had to save them.

She gave her nieces the best
Christmas they could ask for.
Those kids got more gifts that one
morning than they had in a lifetime.
But now they’re greedy, hungry
for more. But what kid isn’t?

Christmas morning arrives, like
The cousin that comes to town
And never calls. The children run
To the den, expecting Santa's toy shop.
They see more floor space this year.

It takes five minutes to shred through
the Dollar Tree wrapping paper.
The youngest daughter only gets
One Barbie and some knock-off Disney
Princess movies. This makes her mad.

She watches them with her sister,
and at 9 and 10, they marvel at
how incredibly low budget
the animation is.

She imagines what their friends got:
Malibu Barbie dream house,
A shiny new Nintendo DS,
or a brand new Wii, at least
real Disney movies.
Her friends are the lucky ones.

This is your fault, she tells her parents.
Thanks to you, we had the worst Christmas
Ever. She expects to be spanked, but as
she stands, legs splayed wide apart,
hands curled into fists, she doesn’t care.

She wants a fight. A time-out. Something.
Anything, she doesn’t expect
numbing silence as her mom turns
and retreats to her bedroom,
shadowed by her father.

She doesn’t expect to hear muffled sobs
She doesn’t expect They’ll understand
When they’re older to slice
through her like a knife.

She hates Christmas now because
she’s older and she finally understands
Why her mama’s knuckles are worn
like brillo pads from scrubbing
Other people’s toilets and floors

She’s seen the canyons carved
by sleepless nights under her Dad’s eyes;
she’s seen the fridge stocked full
And her Dad’s wallet (and belly) empty.

She’s seen the scratch marks poverty
Clawed into her parents’ skin
With the vengeance of a street-cat.
They took each blow like a whip,
But somehow, their spines are straight.

That Christmas was a lifetime ago, but
Memory is a ghost that still haunts
The hallways of her mind. She remembers
the devastation that rippled
across their face like a hurricane.

She still sees the debris in their eyes:
Poverty clings to them like a tick,
belly swollen with blood,
always screaming for more.
"A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language." - W.H. Auden
  





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Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:30 am
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bluewaterlily says...



she returns with blue-tossed waves
in her smile, lips as expansive as the ocean
glowing with happiness that you hope you
can absorb if you just stand in her sun
for long enough but you've been warned
not to stare at the sun directly or bask in sunlight
without the protection of sunscreen
(you'll only get burned)

but like waves rolling in at high tide,
you're pulled in, into the stories
and you can just picture yourself
stepping into her life for one sunkissed moment

you're happy for her but you wonder
what it would be like to live a life tinged
with more brightness and if there's some
secret supply of happiness scorching you
with you even being aware of it or maybe
if there's some lottery she's lucked out on
and if she can teach you just some of the winning numbers
"A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language." - W.H. Auden
  





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108 Reviews



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Reviews: 108
Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:35 am
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bluewaterlily says...



how does she walk into a room
like she's taking a stroll on the beach

how does she tilt her head back
to absorb invisible beams of sunlight

how does the laugh bubble in her throat
and waterfall out of her lips

how does her smile bloom on her lips
so easily and so naturally for all to see

how do her hands have room
to cup all of life's offerings

how does she glide in a room (and life)
so care-free, so effortlessly

how can she teach you to let go
of each breath you hold in your chest
so you can finally let it go and breathe new air
"A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language." - W.H. Auden
  





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Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:38 pm
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Cadi says...



Ooh, I really like that last poem, and especially the final lines - what an excellent illustration of the way other people seem so effortlessly confident and in charge sometimes - and the way you end up holding your breath without even meaning to when you don't feel confident and in charge.
"The fact is, I don't know where my ideas come from. Nor does any writer. The only real answer is to drink way too much coffee and buy yourself a desk that doesn't collapse when you beat your head against it." --Douglas Adams
  








"I never expected that I should be a queen so soon."
— Alice's Adventures in Wonderland