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(Photo credit: This poem was inspired by mixed media artist Mark Waldman‘s piece, “Psychpuppet lll,” available at El Cuervo Gallery, El Segundo, CA.)

 

Quiet now

You half of a whole

Who in being seen

Meets your goal

And being touched—

Like a violin—

Strikes a chord

Dissonant but

Silent still.

 

 

Hush my dear

Let it trickle down

From eyes

Mixed with brown

And a shade of

Wisdom not profound

As much as weak

With a penchant

For not sticking around.

 

 

There was a word

I longed to hear

Tied to the back

Of your throat—

Loosened by

Bubbles in a beer

Or stinging swirls

Inhaled between

Being okay and

Shrugging in fear.

 

 

So now is now

Or, at least no more then,

Moments away from

Tomorrow

Years from yesterday

But stuck in a pondering

Swimming in a wondering

Of drowning letters

Detached and suffocating

Signed with your name.

 

 

But still, you say nothing.

 

 

Presently, a sentence forming—

Then, conceived as a question

Now, shaped as a warning—

Spray painting the sides

Of my mouth

Colors brilliant but

They taste like doubt

Still, let the cans be emptied

And the sentence come out

Arrayed in vibrant display

Like a vomiting spout.

 

 

“I give no credence

to what they thought—

the ones whose judgment

was tied like a knot

at the center of you

and I

and the time that went by

in silence and

steam pouring out from

the sides of my ears

like a cartoon whose head

might explode.”

 

 

Sorry to unload.

Oops. No, I’m not.

 

 

“Rolling inside my tongue

are the anchors of love

and I promise

they were enough

to keep us grounded

instead you jumped out

and drowned in the

waves of ‘goodbye and

I would try but my courage

spilled out’

like oil contaminating, suffocating

innocent ducks and

the part of my heart

that gave a fuck.”

 

 

Your visage complex

Shaded with light

Contoured in darkness—

Three dimensions of

Your one-dimensional lack—

Rises from the back

Screams to the front

Where you speak

Like Big Brother

Thirsty for blood

And for the hunt.

 

 

The projector is filled

With your face—

My god,

What a waste—

And the taste of regret

Pushes behind my lips

Clenched with force

Like fists

And you tell me,

Almost fell me,

With the words

That are signed with your name

Now composed

In the quiver and taking aim,

“You are to blame.”

Hit me in my chest—

Where you used to

Lay your breast—

And watch me resist

The temptation to fall,

“I will wear the blame

like a badge of atonement,

like an arrow doused in flames,

but there is one thing

I cannot do—

could never agree to—

this badge will never

undo the truth

you know is true,

I will stand here for them

clench my teeth for them

look like the monster for them

but the weight of the guilt

will reside

inside

of you.”

 

 

Be quiet now

And I will too.

 

 

There was a time

When the rhymes

Hidden in these unformed words beat

Like a drummer on repeat

Syncopation rattled me

And all I never said

And the dread

Defining the we I knew us to be—

But there is a free,

A settled and buried and a—

What is the word?—

A me

Whose jaw has been loosened

With the rusted metal

Of speaking what is real

And what is no longer

Hidden,

Revealed.

 

 

copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

 

 

 

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