unbearable

There were words spoken
out of turn
and a sharp twist of truth sprang out
ugly, unwanted, embarrassing- the very thing
that was supposed to be disguised
appeared boldly and she-
left voiceless and without
the opportunity to shift
her weight in preparation
for attack- tripped backwards, slipped
behind her words and left
without us noticing, while her body remained
at the table, quietly listening
to nothing at all, her eyes
carving alibis
into each breath

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Found text experiment

I’ve been experimenting recently with a particular kind of found-text poetry that I’ve heard called blackout poetry, cross-out poetry, and book page poetry. The idea is to take a page of text and to create a poem by crossing out all the words you don’t want to be in the poem.

Here’s an example using a page from a piece out of The Sun magazine (Oct. 2013, issue 454) called Already Falling:

 

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Andrea Gibson’s The Madness Vase

Andrea Gibson has a particular talent for capturing the essence of mental health and trauma in her poetry that I really appreciate. I also need to test whether I successfully connected my tumblr and wordpress blogs just now, hence the double post in one day. You can find her website here. Otherwise, enjoy this piece of brilliance:

 

THE MADNESS VASE

The nutritionist said I should eat root vegetables.
Said if I could get down thirteen turnips a day
I would be grounded, rooted.
Said my head would not keep flying away
to where the darkness lives.

The psychic told me my heart carries too much weight.
Said for twenty dollars she’d tell me what to do.
I handed her the twenty. She said, “Stop worrying, darling.
You will find a good man soon.”

The first psycho therapist told me to spend
three hours each day sitting in a dark closet
with my eyes closed and ears plugged.
I tried it once but couldn’t stop thinking
about how gay it was to be sitting in the closet.

The yogi told me to stretch everything but the truth.
Said to focus on the out breath. Said everyone finds happiness
when they care more about what they give
than what they get.

The pharmacist said, “Lexapro, Lamicatl, Lithium, Xanax.”

The doctor said an anti-psychotic might help me
forget what the trauma said.

The trauma said, “Don’t write these poems.
Nobody wants to hear you cry
about the grief inside your bones.”

But my bones said, “Tyler Clementi jumped
from the George Washington Bridge
into the Hudson River convinced
he was entirely alone.”

My bones said, “Write the poems.”

This.

(trigger warning for sexual assault content)

She refuses
to remember
the way the two of them made her
spread
her legs-
the living room floor-
to teach me
how to remove
a still-forming fetus,
the proof
of one man’s
indiscretion.

“This will help,”
one said, “you not
have children
out of wedlock.”

This
will help.
This is help.
This is what help looks like
to her.

She said,

“We ran
away as kids, but now
she leaves
me alone with
the horrors
of a shared childhood
and how can I
blame her, really, except for
when the nightmares come,
tearing a scream
from the fist-like place
inside me
where even I don’t dare
explore.”

(For the record, this is not an actual quote.)

Soul on Fire

[The title for this poem was inspired by the Ferdinand Foch quote, “The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire,” as quoted recently by The Better Man Project Blog (here). Everything else is my own.]

First, the recurring
Exposure. The residual
Re-experiencing of a scene
Witnessed. Directly.
Lived. Personally.

The correlating stress:
Reactive. Dissociative.
Persistent. Intrusive. A heightened
Arousal.

A diagnosis: internalized.
Acutely disordered. Insecure.
Inhibited. Restricted social
Engagement. Avoidant attachment.
Neglect(ed).

She is remembering her
Self. Her soul is
On fire and this
tumble
of words
can’t describe the inflammation
caused by the friction
of her
still burning
trauma.

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