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n stiles carmona Apr 2022
SCENE I: A CHIAROSCURO OF IDYLLS AND TAINTED ZONES. Curse the newsagents and bless the chain-store coffee shops; forgo zero-cal drinks for chai lattes. Time might heal the hospital's harm, but the sand in the hourglass promises nothing. Back from Uncanny Valley, she's here for one day only: please welcome...

[warming up for the performance of her second-rate lifetime; faults and failings all dolled up in costume jewellery, consoled by every artifice except the Self:]
They brought me back button-eyed.
I'm by the bus shelter in last Body's clothes,
recalling our trips here one Body ago:

[an ILOVEYOU loiters on the corner of this street —
it tips its chin and stares a greeting.]

I lower my gaze
in routine

ILOVEYOU stalks a metre behind.

[bellowing intermittently:]
Charity-shop libraries (plural) wherein mundane spectacles
were made of ourselves; hushed confrontations cause
scenes behind stage curtains. Shopfronts that site
your effigy in my mother's eyes. Kisses, tears, the
tying of scarves, Starbucks, ducks, parks, book-cover
inscriptions, living a love story while not lucid
enough to document it—

[syncopated; mumbled into crescendo:]
—five-lap treks, pyjama-clad, year-round shivers through phantom autumn gales. Empty quests amid off-licence shelves; chip-shop smells, taunting; slo-mo supermarket crawls, clearance sections, the listless skimming of labels; sleepy insomniac; brick walls upon which I sat hunched and feasting like some rabid feral dog, 'consumed' in passive voice and 'wasting away' in active, walk it off WALK IT OFF—

One meeting without warrant for apology. No words to shepherd back into the ribcage they'd tunnelled out of.

I swore no-one would touch me and then melted in your palms—dread being seen at all, but devour your "you look good". No personal growth, but raised by stilts; no less virulent, but restrained behind masks. The sickness takes a different shape. I fear you'll discern the difference. I also fear that you won't.

A half-finished narrative or a blackout poem? You've gone from 'knowing too much' to having only the chapters we co-write: "Better this way," I say, and stand by it. I can starve and starve and still never master how not to Want; how to tell my heart these Wants aren't Needs; how to stop them escaping through the craters between bones.

I feel larger than life but I'd cast off my limbs to fit inside your pocket. My friendship must taste like eagerness to please; still, you'll eat from my spoon and I'll open wider than required for yours...

...yes, we'll name it 'nourishment'.
guess who's back with their old gimmicks!!! so, uh... '21/early '22 sure did occur. i dare myself to let streetcar die and not reach for a reference at the first opportunity. if this *****, it's a warmup exercise; if not, it's a poem :)
n stiles carmona Jan 2021
Where'd you wander off to? I was one lonesome night-shift from writing another piece entirely – Allen y Federico, chasing Whitman as he climbs the paywall guarding Bohemia, ashen fog of beard left trailing in his wake. Ah, but here you are, my High Court of Muses! Lavender castoffs of two mechanical empires, camped outside on the supermarket pavement: awaiting a dawn delayed by the skyscrapers it hides behind. The Best Minds Left Standing... Lorca’s feet beating faraway Gitano rhythms; Ginsberg spouting love-letters re: the weeds’ anarchic growth from the concrete cracks... and one smaller sycophant.

I’ve offerings of oranges – Spanish nostalgia reduced to contraband – ‘stolen’, bruised, saved from dumpster fates. Wouldn't you have done the same? Isn’t food waste just state-sanctioned sacrilege? Naranjas, clementinas, full miniature moons split into crescents: I figured (halved) you'd (quartered) be starved (eighths). You savour each sacred drop of juice in ways I've yet to master. I’d always been preoccupied with expiry dates... Moloch who sets up shop inside my brain... yet time melts between my lips and I am with You under UV floodlights. I am with You where the overhead glow may not be starlight but it’s not the worst alternative. I am with You – until the checkout boy steps out for a cigarette and when Allen’s eyes follow in pursuit, I’ve lost him again. Holy, he mutters into his final segment of fruit; holy, I repeat, imagining Eve’s overeager sprint into the wide-open prisons of thought.
    I am a woman cloved in two, better half wrapped in citrus peel and tied with string – para tí, maestro Lorca. Does it bother you that these buildings stand closer to the Sun than you could have ever reached? Yet you were nothing short of an Icarus, and how close you came! Abstract wings borne from words and notoriety! Your mythology was written to fit a flamenco guitar – if they don’t know that, they don’t know you – through musical folklore, Franco tried to **** that which was immortal. His legacy is a nation of graves and a granddaughter in the gutter press.
    I begin to feel that history is a ripple-effect of looking over one’s shoulder and deciding “you’d hate it here.” There’s always the dawn. You wait for it with practised patience – pervasive optimism – the ability not to end an “always was” with “and always will be”. Is it all you’d waited for? Has time diminished its novelty? Will you write it down and tell me what I’d slept through?
    Out cold, you turn me onto my side so I don’t choke when Moloch finds his way out.
just a writing exercise rly lol. direct response to ginsberg's 'a supermarket in california' about his literary hero, walt whitman (i feel like it'd make even less sense without having read that beforehand). one day i'll write something that isn't too long for folks to bother reading - until then...
n stiles carmona Jan 2021
Hindsight, hallowed be thy name.

All I've got is luggage... luggage!
My God! Turn around; find my comrades slumped under the weights strapped to their spine!
Limping, bearing, burdened by non-negotiables while the High Court of Good Karma takes collective sabbatical —
and this knapsack of shame, I've partial credit in filling.

Grey handkerchief, original sin:
one. single. suckerpunch. and my fists are raised forever,
begging for the chance to swing and prove my own strength
— supposing the opportunity never fell into my lap — I'd said "**** it," packed a

hundred grams of bushy brushed-out curls, stop-sign red
fifty grams of lips to match (uniform too, now I think about it)
fifty grams of raccoon eyelids and coloured-in brows
hundred grams of halls of mirrors, circus-attraction Alice
lose a hundred/gain a hundred/repeat til dizzy
hundred grams of ******-in stomach, eyes averted in changing rooms
wigs by the armful — that's three — nom-de-plumes thrown in gratis
(it's only a journey to the rest of my life anyway, I'll need them,
alternative being cinematic debut as Myself)
hundred performances to imaginary audiences, less-than-stellar reviews
hundred grams of overwhelming then underwhelming "on purpose"
hundred grams of laughing off any belief in potential
hundred grams of scratch-marks and verbal fountains of venom
hundred grams of giving almostneverquite as good as I got
hundred grams of group-work alone thank ****(?)
hundred biro-holes stabbed in martyred pencil cases
feral in broad daylight spoiling for a fight
kilo of aiming for 'scary' and landing on 'strange'
kilo of being third to make good company a crowd
kilo of taking sixteen years to find Her
— Shadowboxer Fiona, rhythms invisible, catharsis in art —
hundred doodled superstitious evil-eyes in the ruled margins
hundred laments over the inability to provide a better future

(removed one by one whenever I think the future's mutable)

that one glimpse of white lightning in a violet storm
one single minute's pause to look over my shoulder
scarce-to-zero progress made
endless miles to go
breathless body soaked to the bone
and this useless! *******! bag! of Everything and nothing of value!!
mansions worth of loathing yet there's nothing to lose
did I decide that because I can't change the world, I can change nothing at all
(instead throwing darts at reflections/emotional *****/kicking stray dogs as a full-time hobby)?

O clarity so saccharine that I cannot be angered by the wasted years
I take it
   off my shoulder,
the first kind action I have spared myself in time unguessable
    air it out...
and trudge on
The world's enough of an uphill climb.
written after too much time poring over allen ginsberg. ambivalent about this but the alternative is endless writers' block so this way i've at least got something to show for myself
n stiles carmona Jan 2021
Just once,
I should like to see
a pretty truth.

I am too used to self-curating
— slipping into silken words —
shimmering golds that complement
my skin just right
(not wash it out
upon the threat
of natural light).

Confessions speed to
they cannot catch the sun
from a gentler angle,
to soften, to lovingly blur
and still pass for the same entity.

From the cradle, I've been
my own ******: half-enthusiasm
borne from rubbernecking thrills
— real-time collisions
at the mirror's appraising edge.
FIRST WRITTEN WORK OF 2021 WADDUP (and first written piece in  six months but we'll gloss over that okay)
n stiles carmona Aug 2020
"fresh start" I
seize. I paint myself a
different colour every time, only for the
tide to drag me in
and soak it
away, and it'll
dampen my spirit and flood
my lungs with seawater but it will
never submerge me no matter
how much I
it to -- or
maybe it's because I beg
it to, and there's more joy to
be reaped in wounding me
with its grinning
n stiles carmona Jul 2020
    • 1 springtime
    • 1 brain, bruised and ripe for the picking
    • As many hours as can be held in your arms
    • A handful of mantras that got you precisely nowhere, e.g. "this too shall pass"

1) Before declaring yourself insane, remember you are not immune to your own humanity and every emotion seems as though you were the first to discover it. There is, ironically, a word for this - qualia - meaning however elaborate the description, words alone cannot replicate an experience (a yellow sky; a minor key). You are as much an explorer as every other living being, and these are communal journeys taken in solitude.

2) Acknowledge that when you feel blue, it is the colour of forget-me-nots. Unbolt your door, against your better judgement. Spend time among the flowers, knowing this is what the earth is capable of. This is what it creates of its own volition. Wander until no longer threatened, but comforted in the presence of beauty. It is their cycle of blooming and wilting that makes you kindred spirits and—at least this season—you're in friendly company.

3) Notice your conscious hunt for reasons to feel alienated, undecided on whether you are possessed or defective. Recall that for all the nights spent on self-interrogation, indulging in sweeping guesses and bolting your door shut as a service to humanity, you've found nothing of significance. Consider what this may mean. (For best results, do this under the sun. You will sit beside a shadow that has seen enough to understand, and wordlessly pledged its lifetime to you. Do not take its loyalty for granted.)

3) Try to reconcile your hatred of being looked at with your burning, inescapable need to be acknowledged. You will fail. Repeatedly. Keep trying, keep failing, and treat it as a success you've yet to fully comprehend.

4) When it seems as though self-acceptance means turning a blind eye to every wrong you've ever committed, or waving a dismissive hand to all the methods in which you can wound people, re-write a definition that makes sense to you. So long as your hands can wield a knife, they can hold a plant stem or a human cheek, and that is your permission to exist.

5) Repeat until the word 't-m-rr-w' doesn't desperately warrant censorship and you can look into an hourglass without the need to smash it open.
n stiles carmona Jul 2020
It's a birthright, not a dream:
the rising sun is mine to chase.
I grow upwards, each newborn cell rejoicing,
petals outstretched to scale the clouds
and I do not know where I'll go afterwards --
only that it'll sink into my touch
like an animal seeking affection
and I will say THANK GOD
I didn't shrink like a violet at the burn of judging eyes
when my soil-buried roots hadn't yet much to offer
or deem myself good as wilted and cut my growth off at the stem
(the call is not mine to make)
or declare the fruits of my labour would be poisonous
so time, effort, water are wasted acts of love;
how easy it is to give up
so as not to face the prospect of a hungry autumn
or feel my promises break in my clumsy grip.

We owe it to ourselves to wait and grow
for we may never reap what we don't sow.
experimenting with viewpoints that aren't mine and people i can't be yet. also maybe listen to 'roses/lotus/violet/iris' by hayley williams if you're a huge fan of plant metaphors. also shoutout to @whyhan for the prompt and breaking my writers' block i owe u one
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