Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Linnea Dee Jun 2013
This poem took three weeks to write.

Actually, this poem took three weeks to begin. Three weeks of picking up my pen and waiting, thoughts swirling, for something to become ink on the anxious page in front of me.

And when it finally did begin, it didn't grow like a seedling, reaching wide-eyed towards the sun, vibrant and lush and increasingly more green.


It sat like a rock in my gut, a ball of words wound so tightly together that for weeks no amount of elbow grease or bribery would loosen it.

Its gestation was like that of a real child, complete with the accompanying symptoms of discomfort, dizziness, and a perpetually churning stomach. So many times bitter uncertainty would rise up into my mouth, ***** fingers scrabbling at the inside of my throat, only to be swallowed down again and again as I blinked back tears. This is a feat easily accomplished when in the privacy of one’s own room, in the corner where all the pillows have been shoved and you’ve stashed a box of tissues for emergencies like this. But under the fluorescent light of high school halls, the task is considerably more difficult. There people notice when you’ve tilted your head to let your hair hide your face, when your eyes are glassy and red, ringed by damp lashes.

But then you remember you can do something with this baby bundle of words that you cannot with a real child; you can pretend it isn’t there.

So I did, though maybe not entirely conscious of the choice. All the same, who wouldn’t choose to look through the lens that makes the world seem, well, okay, over the one whose warped glass leaves you forever nauseous from the disturbing view before you. The swelling around your eyes will subside, the bitter taste of unease will recede from your mouth, and the knot in your gut will shrink until it is barely noticeable. You’ll suit up for battle in your transparent armor, made especially for convincing the world that nothing is wrong.

At least for a while.

Because eventually, your white kid gloves won’t be able to hide the blood on your hands anymore. And when it begins to seep through the soft fabric, you remember that everyone already knew it was there.

I’d been branded the villain on that Sunday months ago, with red hot iron so it would never be missed. Beneath it are “selfish,” “heartless,” and “thoughtless,” burned into my skin.

As though it had been easy.

As though I enjoyed doling out hurt and pain like chocolate pudding.

As though I was proud of the Lego house I’d crushed.

I’ve always been one for excuses. I don’t like when my words leave  my mouth one way, but arrive on a listener’s tongue dipped in a foreign sauce and spiced to change their flavor. But even I know when not to be defensive. Because after all this, now that seemingly everyone knows of the crimes I’ve committed, I understand.

Go ahead, look at me.

Judge me for what I've done. Whisper amongst yourselves about my fall from whatever grace I had been clinging to. Snarl at my carelessness. Glare at me, isolate me, condemn me.

It’s okay.

I have to live with me.

If there is one person who can truly understand the depth of the wound, of the pain, it’s the person wielding the knife.

I don’t need to be reminded that I made a mistake. But I also don’t need to continually be explaining why it wasn't all a mistake. It has been cathartic enough to unwind the strand of words that wrote this poem, digging out the marrow of my sorrow and analyzing it as truth or fiction.

I don’t need anyone else to comb me through with iron spikes of guilt. I sleep on them every night. Until you've slept beside me, until you've heard the voice I hear ringing in my ears as I try to steal away into my dreams, do not try to tell me you “know how I feel.”

That voice screams things too horrid, too terrifying to be uttered aloud.

I've learned a lot of things. I've learned that there’s no going to hell and back, no, once you’re there, you’re staying there.

So yes, I suppose if you like you can tell your friends I've moved in with Hades for good, if that is how you see it. But with his lengthy experience with the human race, he knows that pretending nothing is wrong does not equate not caring.

~to be continued~
This is a work in progress. Any suggestions are welcome.
Linnea Dee Jun 2013
Among dust bunnies collecting on the carpet of her bedroom are lullabies, matted into the seashell shaped ridges by eager toes.
Other mothers sing Rockabye Baby, but hers crooned the crash of ocean waves and the ballads of mermaids.
Memories like those sent shivers down her spine, cold fingered fairies dispatched to walk the tightrope of each nerve, triggering flashbacks of moment after moment.

Beneath a quilt of fallen oak leaves he found a baby hedgehog, infant bristles damp and lonely.
Some days, when it meandered curiously across half-written papers, its paws writing notes in a script he couldn't decipher, he regretted rescuing the handful of spines with the pale, inquisitive nose.
Leaves of muddied paper, though, became pages in a scrapbook, dedicated to moments more beautiful than he could fathom.

Following them were snapshots of sunsets over the lake, the first phrases from a concerto he adored, a polaroid of his fingers interlaced with hers.
Her palm met his without hesitancy, and the joy she felt reminded her of the mermaid's musings heard through the sleepy ears of a child.
On all sides it was warm and safe and fantastically real, simply because they decided it should be.

While she did say no the first time he asked her to marry him, it was only because to her marriage had grown stiff with age and its rusting hinges complained when she tried to add her own swing to its meaning.
He asked her again, of course, because she was the only person he'd ever met whose heart fit his jigsaw edges so perfectly, and this time she said yes.
Waits for the love, her mother told her; a fearless woman waits for love to ask twice.

On the winter solstice their son was born, whom they named Martin, because he thought it sounded courageous and she thought it sounded furry.
Distant waves tumbled as she sang her little one to sleep in the only way she knew how, and gave him hedgehog kisses with her eyelashes because butterflies are too delicate.
Dreams always came quickly and lingered in his mind, fantasies of whirling woodland dances and salty kisses from the wind.

They documented the unassuming; they tracked coincidence; they remembered the weight of every footstep and the cadence of every whispered "good night." They knew that even though they were obscured by the smoke of normality and stench of the future, every moment was unique. Among other things they found everything.
I needed to start writing again. I also needed a piece to submit to my school's lit magazine, themed "among other things." Last but not least, I had a looming death threat from I friend if I didn't write anything by the end of the week.
So, this happened. I'm a little confused by it. It has a mind of its own.
Linnea Dee Jun 2013
It's easy to write about warm people. It's simple to just let their love and compassion flow effortlessly out into the world. They stumble upon the perfect one, THE one, and fall in love even if they don't know it. And for a while they don't, because that's the beauty of it. They don't know, and then suddenly they do and they realize that they're complete and whole now, that they've found someone who fills the cracks in their soul.
It would not be so easy to write about someone who flat out refuses to admit that they are not already complete. Then he appeared. I couldn't see him, but I knew he was there. Oh, this is a game then, I thought. I'll see what I can figure out about you.
I'm Isaac.
I heard it so loud and clear. Shivering, I whispered, nice to meet you, Isaac. I let images flash through my mind as though I was trying to settle on the one that fit the personality walking at my heels. He's blonde. Which is odd. My characters aren't usually blonde. But he's blonde in a way that he can hide. At first I thought he'd walk slowly, shuffling his feet as though he was so focused on what was inside his mind that outside of it his coordination was all off. But then I realized he was keeping up with me, and I am quite a brisk walker. Isaac is one of those people who builds walls. He doesn't know it, but he does it. Everyone else notices. They notice, but they don't care. The only time people run into his walls are when they try to complement him on his playing.
Oh, did I mention he's a musician? That's why he's built the walls. As of now, I'm pretty sure he's a violinist.
But anyway, when people compliment him, try to tell him how the ways he plays that violin opened a well of feelings within them that they didn't know existed, he stares blankly. They blink, thank him again, and hurry off, wondering if the reason his blue eyes were so confused was that they'd lost their ocean of feeling to the music.
I wanted him to be chubby, perched somewhere on the border of adorable baby fat and visibly out of shape. But his shadow behind me is tall and bony. Not athletic, not chiseled or lean, just wiry. All sinew and nerves. Like when he plays, he might rip.
Then I'm home. Mom calls down stairs and asks how my day was. It was fine. Boring.
I know I left Isaac outside, but he doesn't want to come in. So it's okay.
So I've been reading this book by Anne Lamott and it's very inspiring. She's given me a lot to think about. One of those things is my characters. I love my characters. But I'm not sure I know them that well. I started thinking about the novel I wrote this August. The main characters' names are Ivy and Asher. I know some people go through and change the names of their characters in later drafts of their work, but I just have this feeling that those two aren't going to change. I know I've got a lot more to learn about them, but they are Ivy and Asher. I just knew when the names popped into my head that I had it. But Anne Lamott talks a lot about really listening and taking the time to get to know your characters: their tendencies, their bad habits, their loves, their favorite comfort foods, their least favorite music genres, and so on and so forth. Today as I was walking home from the train, someone popped into my head.
Linnea Dee Jun 2013
Let your mind flow.

Let the thoughts swirl.

Let your words come out of nowhere.

Out of nowhere.

But somewhere something happened.

No cliché figurative flickering fluorescent set you off, no slight nudge sent you *******; no, you've been lit on fire. You don’t know it, but you’re burning. But that flame is not the one nestled neatly in your grandmother's fireplace, nor the uniform petals licking up at underside of her tea kettle. It is a forest fire, raging and impatient, intent on turning over and devouring every leaf of your inspiration until you let it out. From far away it might appear to be merrily orange, but underneath it's blazing blue and white.

Maybe you can feel it. A burn like that would leave a mark.

Those stories that crackle from your tongue are going to tear this world down and replace it with one of their own. The energy they create is irresistible. It will consume you like old newspapers in an autumn bonfire.

Yes, it will consume you, just like the search for the perfect word. Remember? That tickling on the tip of your tongue that will not go away, not in hell, until you can name it. You’ll wrack your brain for hours, sometimes days, as though it were a cluttered attic and in the most hidden corner huddles your word, grinning impishly when you stumble upon it. That quest that devours your mind again and again is only the beginning, the end, the in-between, the pinpricks of color on your canvas that make up your painting, your masterpiece. And it will be a masterpiece. Your beginnings and your ends and your in-betweens will become a wonderful whole.

But, a warning. The window to your mind is not the lens that everyone will look through. Those whose opinions distort their sight will tell you your beginnings are simply weak scaffolding, your ends have loose threads that remain unsewn, and your in-betweens are only the unoriginal fluff of a muddled mind.

Their words, however, are only kindling for your fire.

Watch them burn.

They will learn to respect the writer.

— The End —