Friday Poem: the elephant

Friday #Poem: the elephant

This is another poem I performed at the Toscanini Slam Poetry event last week. This one is much older — I wrote it back in high school for a poetry class, about the playground outside the apartment building where we lived back in Kharkov, Ukraine.

the elephant

There was an elephant, once
in my hometown
small, and silent, but big enough
for me to ride on.

I’d get up on his back,
clunk clunk of…

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Friday Poem: the elephant

This is another poem I performed at the Toscanini Slam Poetry event last week. This one is much older — I wrote it back in high school for a poetry class, about the playground outside the apartment building where we lived back in Kharkov, Ukraine.

the elephant

There was an elephant, once,
       in my hometown
       small, and silent, but big enough
       for me to ride on.

I’d get up on his back,
       clunk clunk of metal,
And with a woosh, cold metal
       on my back, warm sun beats down,
Slide down his trunk
Into my mother’s arms.

The Importance of a Really Good Wallow

One of the first things I do when I want to do something is research it. This usually starts with a simple online search and then moves on to polling friends and social media and reading scholarly articles on the matter. Wallowing in self-pity is no exception

Upon arriving home yesterday evening, I set out to find justification that wallowing was going to be good for me. The Internet did not disappoint. This article, The Importance of a Really Good Wallow by Larisa Noonan, even includes etymological information. Wallowing, it turns out, is something buffalo did to cover themselves with dust so as to prevent insect bites. We humans wallow metaphorically, but Noonan contends that wallowing can serve a similar metaphorical purpose–taking the space to feel things acutely so that the rest of the time we don’t get overwhelmed by the emotions we’re feeling.

Well, if it’s good enough for the buffalo, it’s good enough for me. If you catch me looking morose in the next few weeks, it’s ’cause I’m taking the advice in the linked post to heart. I am going to carve out some time each week to wallow, and I intend not to feel guilty about it. I have permission from the Internet, after all.

Friday Poem: Girl

I performed this poem at Toscanini Slam Poetry 5 at Stony Brook last week.

This is being posted today and not Friday because of a number of things: lack of computer, busyness, and the subject of my next personal blog post: wallowing.
And now, without further ado…

Girl

I know you girl!
Beautiful hair down to your
neck
Beaded and braided as if you’ve got
magic tied up there
biting as wool, shorn
fr…

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Friday Poem: Girl

I performed this poem at Toscanini Slam Poetry 5 at Stony Brook last week.

This is being posted today and not Friday because of a number of things: lack of computer, busyness, and the subject of my next personal blog post: wallowing.
And now, without further ado…

Girl

I know you girl!
Beautiful hair down to your
neck
Beaded and braided as if you’ve got
magic tied up there
biting as wool, shorn
from a black sheep,
you never did go with the flock.
I know you, girl!
long legs bone-thin, ankles sleek,
skin smooth as wood floors,
we know wood floors, girl.

I know you.
I know the way you cock your head, impish
the way you scratch your nose with one finger
when you’re thinking;
I know every freckle you were brazen enough 
to claim meant something.
Girl, I know the music you dance to when no one’s watching
I’ve seen your rhythm change from room to room
as you shed skins
until you whirled about the room 
in just your underwear
and you have bruises everywhere
You wound yourself, you’re so reckless,
I know you, girl.
your narrow eyes, like pinpricks
in a waking limb,
your eyelashes have a sting to them, 
each tear you cry falls double,
double-pronged;
Girl, I seen your fingers dragging,
fluttering,
like doves on wing.
I know each photograph you never took,
the landscapes you never painted,
every fugue you never wrote,
You could have done them all.
Girl, you
your lips shaped bloody around 
teeth, sharp;
I know the shape of every spell you ever whispered, “life”
whispered “life” under blankets,
flashlights shining, like fireflies.
I know you, girl.

Your tongue bells soundless in the silence
you toll nothing
your words fall into wells 
like pebbles, wishes, 
Girl, if you scream, 
it’s world’s end,
it’s bird-flight,
it’s buildings crashing down in fire and smoke.

I know each room that you left empty when you left.
You made my world expand, my walls recede,
Left my halls cavernous, my mansions 
caving in in dust and tears,
my landscape desolate and yet, through all these years,
I have held firm, I’ve learned my strength from you 
We knew each other once, and I think
we still do. 

How To Regain My Awesome

CN: mention of death, feeling like crap, grief, tension

Last week I had the distinct feeling that I had misplaced my awesome. This wasn’t just a case of feeling like dirt–I knew that I had had awesome, but that I’d lost the sense of it. Somehow, all that hope I’d had (even in the midst of my grandmother’s illness and subsequent death) at the start of the year had faded away into a grey blah.

There’s a bunch of things I know can help me; for instance, I’ve got an intake coming up at a local health center, after which I’ll have access to both physical and mental healthcare. But what do I do to stay afloat until that day?

I got a massage the other day and spent nearly the whole time thinking, “I haven’t allowed myself to relax like this since my grandfather died” (a year ago, for those keeping track), but even then I wasn’t truly relaxed, because I could tell that there was all sorts of grief and fear that needed releasing, preferably in a proper weeping session. Then, talking it out with a friend, I realized that the reason I couldn’t allow myself to relax and release was that I was afraid that if I let go, I wouldn’t be able to pull myself back together in time to get done all that needs doing.

And there is so much that needs doing.

But, see, that’s the trap. I think, Oh, I’ll take the time to release all my pain and grief once I’ve finished [clearing out my parents’ living room, stopped job hunting, etc.], not realizing that there will always be more to do. I need to create the time and space for myself to feel everything so I can suck the power out of it. Nobody will make that space for me–I’ve got to do it myself.

So here’s the reminder, how to regain my awesome:

I will be kind to myself, give myself the time to feel what I need to feel, and take my time doing the things I need to do. Trying to force any of this will just break more things and require more time. The awesome is in there somewhere under all the clutter and sad; all I need to do is give it space to grow.

Friday Poem: to the Friends of Captain Awkward forum

The white hot dance of electricity — an infinity of
                    stories we take turns narrating.
We are all experts of our own experience.

                   Now, how can I be lonely
when the oceans are bridged
                   as if by magic,
and I, in New York, can lean on you, in Bath.

This poem is a tribute to the truly wonderful community that is the Friends of Captain Awkward forum

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