poetry, Prose

Instead of killing yourself

 

By Louise Anne Buchler

http://www.starfish-woman.blogspot.com/

 


 

Instead of killing yourself
You could make a cup of coffee, peel an orange, play a song you loved when you were thirteen, gangly, and coming undone.

You could paint your nails turquoise, lie in the sun, master Russian, watch Hitchcock films, read a classic novel, meditate on Kafka, and re-think existentialism, your life, your hair.
Watch trains, wave as they pass, stand on the bridge, feel small, feel big, take up space, walk, count every step, run, run faster, catch your breath, hold it, breathe out, let go, the universe as small as the palm of your hand, dispersed dandelion wishes, let go, let go and in letting go hold on
Say I love you, say I hate you, write a letter to your teenage bully, write a letter to someone you once loved, write a letter with all you wish to say and do not send it.

Lie on the grass, lie on the sand, plant something, keep it alive, feel the mulch under your nails, smell the wet breath of soil, pull out the weeds that choke and mar, make space for spring in your heart.

Tell a secret. Keep one. Fold an origami crane, unfold, fold an origami you, unfold. Listen to an aria, listen to Bach, listen to the symphony of voices in small spaces, pick out words, write them down. Observe everything.

Instead of killing yourself
Get a cat. Get 12 cats. Get one more. Feed yourself small spoons of kindness. Swallow. Repeat. Laugh at one thing, let the laughter engage your whole body; laugh at the madness, stupidity and beauty around you – your inner cynic may vomit (that’s ok). Remember your first race, remember the finish line. Remember yourself at 5,6,7 – remember yourself with love, the pictures you drew, the smell of sugar paper and oil crayons, Defend the scabby kneed, jewel of you, cast a line all the way back, champion that heart through the decades, wrap it in tissue paper, keep it safe in a cardboard box, champion all the incarnations of you. Remember how it felt when you understood that we will all die.

Try not to worry. Try to stay. Focus on sitting still. Focus on moving forward. Focus on the scudding clouds, the clarity of blue, September. Do not let the whim of others alter who you are. People come. They also go, they drown in puddles, they sail us over oceans of self-doubt. Sometimes they love us. Sometimes they understand. Sometimes they release us with a hook-wound back into the sea. Bid them well. Tread water, float, swim. Don’t stop swimming.

Brave explorer, I know you have climbed a hundred metaphorical mountains before breakfast – every damn one an Everest expedition, I know something of world weariness, the longing to be still and Novocain numb, here, where everything ceases to matter, that unbearable anaesthesia; it’s a quiet death and there is never a guarantee on the prescription pamphlet that you will thaw from this freeze – like a celebration roast on your birthday, or that change will come, running down the street with the laboured tinkling of a nostalgic ice cream truck or that you will wake a different person, who sucks positivity like a boiled sweet, a mantra of live! Live! LIVE, in your ears. I hear you, I see you, I send my love to you in droves of doves, a deep pelican beak abundant with fish, a handmade kite on a windy day, β€œa bright red sloop in the harbour” the suicide poets dancing mid air, their words like seagulls declaring their truth – statements are enough in broken climates. We are adorned in these miseries, the heart’s last vestige, it is a poor fit, we are all runway models with broken limbs, birds who forget their wings, we are stuttering like vintage cars, we are negotiating with our ancestors. We are not broken in need of repair, we never ignore the elephant in the room – instead we festoon it with marigolds, offer up a cup of tea. We know the impermanence of life; we consult with graves every day, toes dipping the surface, surveying the depth. We write our eulogies on the body, the staccato tattoo throbs the ending, we are anxious all the time.

I find a forced conclusion – writing it down I imagine we meet on an autumn day, the first leaves scatter like old news – our hands are cold. We sit in silence, the air perfumed with chimney smoke and the taste of green. We are held in the moment, a devastating despair, we face it together, we sound out sadness, mouthfuls of vowels swelling in gutfuls , escaping the gape, they flap and glide – our glossy winged birds, squawking and calling, diving like bombers, circling like vultures, spinning with sorrow. Perhaps we cry, perhaps we feed them bread crumbs and worms, perhaps we load slingshots with tiny stones and shoot into the void, perhaps we build an ornate birdcage, perhaps we become scarecrows, perhaps we release them, perhaps they return. β€œI am not ok” we say, β€œI don’t know if I ever will be” – for a moment the sky clears, we are a strange tragic chorus, we are a sad repetition. The birds abandon their squawking. We nod in recognition.

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Standard
poetry

dotting the i

he stabs the clothes onto the line
his hands feel damp at the soft seems
shoulders fold in the wind
toes clip the needle grass

he rivets another idea down
the scented stars watch him
and the nylon clouds paint emotions
beneath the seams of evening

tomorrow while his head is buried in
the plump pillow and fuel-injected birds
narrate the churning traffic

he will wait for the recumbent sun to
strum the dreams down into
the drain’s chortle and

his hound will punctuate the
peace with a guffaw

Standard
poetry

plastic I & plastic II

plastic I

tonight while i cook
i look into
hannah’s faded face
with her flaking fingers
she clings onto that
microphone full of grit
and glamor
– so the critics say

she’s getting old now
the flowery spotlight
drowns the echoes of
female essence floating
through her clothes

she’s a singer now
my dad told me once that
yesterday’s heroes only
eat the bread that
certain slivers
of society bake
in their unconscious oven

i wash the dishes and
my hands graze hannah’s
supple neck and muffle
her laminated lips

perhaps it’s time i buy
a new radio with
a round volume dial
that can cloak the chime
of adolescent deejays

and allow me to sleep
for a few more minutes

 

* Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  * Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  *

 

plastic II

he stood in the store
her plastic arms
baking under
the neon breath
of color and customers

her poise is natural
the eyes soak in the clammy fingers
that slice each benjamin out
of their iron wallets

she stands as a model
almost
except for the giddy boys
they reach beneath
her copper eyes and wrestle
the wrinkles in her speech

when the shop is silent
she is bathed in the dark
treacle of ghosts
the soda soft light falls
onto her hair and pries a laugh
out of her pixel thin lips

at night she is still there
her shoulders are the scaffolding
we use to build paper pyramids
of gleaming gadgets

she will only smile at us
once we’ve exhausted our
flavorant filled bodies
still digesting more mounds
of cardboard coffee

we’ll sit by
that same fountain outside
with its necklace of birds
its giddy sun dancing in the
spurts of water
and feel our skin become
warm again

 

PhilosopherPoet

Standard
poetry, Reviews

Ted Hughes – Macaw and Little Miss

I’m an image whore. I love poetry because it achieves this almost immediately And of course you don’t get much better than Ted Hughes. I enjoy him because he’s the Beethoven of poetry. He creates the storminess and ferocity that many other are afraid to mention and talk about. He uses the animal kingdom to reveal the dark side of humanity. He can be tender at times, but generally he’s vivid and intense.

This poem is probably more suited for a horror film, but I really like it. Comments are always welcome πŸ˜‰

Macaw and Little Miss

In a cage of wire-ribs
The size of a man’s head, the macaw bristles in a staring
Combustion, suffers the stoking devils of his eyes.
In the old lady’s parlour, where an aspidistra succumbs
To the musk of faded velvet, he hangs in clear flames,
Like a torturer’s iron instrument preparing
With dense slow shudderings of greens, yellows, blues,
Crimsoning into the barbs:

Or like the smouldering head that hung
In Killdevil’s brass kitchen, in irons, who had been
Volcano swearing to vomit the world away in black ash,
And would, one day; or a fugitive aristocrat
From some thunderous mythological hierarchy, caught
By a little boy with a crust and a bent pin,
Or snare of horsehair set for a song-thrush,
And put in a cage to sing.

The old lady who feeds him seeds
Has a grand-daughter. The girl calls him ‘Poor Polly’, pokes fun.
‘Jolly Mop.’ But lies under every full moon,
The spun glass of her body bared and so gleam-still
Her brimming eyes do not tremble or spill
The dream where the warrior comes, lightning and iron,
Smashing and burning and rending towards her loin:
Deep into her pillow her silence pleads.

All day he stares at his furnace
With eyes red-raw, but when she comes they close.
‘Polly. Pretty Poll’, she cajoles, and rocks him gently.
She caresses, whispers kisses. The blue lids stay shut.
She strikes the cage in a tantrum and swirls out:
Instantly beak, wings, talons crash
The bars in conflagration and frenzy,
And his shriek shakes the house.

-Ted Hughes

Standard