Saturday, August 11, 2012

Smoke Tree And Apple

You can say, now,
whatever you like
to whomever is your latest life raft.

You can say that I faked you out,
told you lies;
that I was just costume jewelry masquerading as diamonds--

But we both know, don't we,
that you knew from the start, the woman I was?

In the softness of our bed, on pretty blue and white sheets,
you would goad me.
What about Denise?
What about Debbie?
What would you do to them?

When you did this, I would demur,
hesitant as any Catholic girl ever was,
but not because of sorrowful, crucified Jesus above me on the wall, beyond your shoulder--
it was because you were touching something that was only mine,
hidden so well, that even I had nearly lost it.

In the end, those nights, you won.
Despite anything, I did care for you, and loved to please you.

Oh, the things I said, with my lips to your ear...
how your body gave you away, 
filling me with a pride of power in my words,
but during our time together, I had not even the power to live in the world as myself.

When you came to your senses,
you would wrap my head in your arms, lower your face close to mine,
and, smiling, say,
"My girl. My girl."

I was not even my own girl, not then.

We had a house, a child, a nice yard.
You planted a smoke tree,
and the young apple tree was mine.

They are still there, you know.
Bigger, doing well,
and belonging to someone else.

_______

for dverse poetics: the beautiful sadness

I really wanted to add The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood" here, but copyright prevents me from doing so.

30 comments:

cinderkeys said...

You can say, now,
whatever you like
to whomever is your latest life raft.


Funny how that's so bothersome.

They are still there, you know.
Bigger, doing well,
and belonging to someone else.


Nice way to tie it all up. :)

TexWisGirl said...

sigh

poemsofhateandhope.com said...

ahh this is great...nothing like matters of the heart to create that beautiful ache....really nice descriptions here- and they create imagery that contrasts v well the strong emotions running through this. Loving the free verse style too- you get a great flow into this, but with certain words/sentences just sticking out at the right moment...v much enjoyed

Sioux said...

"I once had a girl,
Or should I say,
She once had me?"

Yes, Norwegian Wood would have fit here perfectly. The tone, the wistfulness...

The last three lines are so simple and yet pack a powerful punch.

Helen said...

Heartbreaking ... lovely too.

Lori McClure said...

You can just feel the deep well of emotion hiding beneath the matter of fact telling of intimate details between two souls finding their way together (or at least that's how I read it). Definitely filled with beautiful sadness. In every way :)

hedgewitch said...

God, those opening lines--such surgical knives, and that's what this seems, a surgical sculpting of living flesh--bleeding out truth, and of course, some poet once said, truth is beauty and so we find both, along with the soft requiem sadness of the last stanza. The symbolism is so perfect somehow, smoke tree and round sweet apple.

Brian Miller said...

because you were touching something that was only mine,
hidden so well, that even I had nearly lost it...felt those lines...def a lot of emotion under the surface...the acknowledgement you were not even your own girl at the time...love the touch with the trees at the end as well...and them being someone elses...that carries the emotion on as well...nice shay...great to see you. smiles.

Kim said...

Hi! Lots of stuff here...wonderful expressive sour taste, right? So full of slow sarcasm spread out on a plate for all to see, right? Like the good with the sadness, the beautiful home, tress, children n then the sadness.
Gardenlile.com

Mama Zen said...

It amazes me how you can deliver such a thorough emotional bruising with such quiet, understated beauty. Incredible work, Shay.

flipside records said...

He only chose to believe the things he wanted to, use them when he wanted them, disregard and minimize them later ... claiming you as his (prize). Deep and beautiful melancholy, Shay ... I felt every word.

"But we both know, don't we,
that you knew from the start, the woman I was?"

"What about Denise?
What about Debbie?
What would you do to them?"

"When you did this, I would demur,
hesitant as any Catholic girl ever was"

"you were touching something that was only mine,
hidden so well, that even I had nearly lost it"

"filling me with a pride of power in my words" ... Always, always. If you lose all else, you have this.

Brandee Shafer said...

Interesting how what's so hot in the moment turns out to be so...not...in retrospect.

hiroshimem.com said...

This line is so strong:
"I was not even my own girl, not then."
I also liked the ending, and how it was foreshadowed through your poem.

Susan said...

My spirit knew from the start:
"You can say, now,
whatever you like
to whomever is your latest life raft."
That it would be difficult to recall the beauty part. Thank god for the apple tree and the smoke tree. . . . I understand that they are with the house. But the loose end is the child.
This is a poem about the unfinished under the finished.

lazywednesdays said...

beautiful and sad... i will listen to the song now and remember this poem

Kerry O'Connor said...

I think everyone lives with a duality of one sort or another, or some secret side of themselves kept buried away in the private room of the heart or mind.
Your words are so intensely personal, but they can be felt with a similar weight by your reader, who nods her head, dabs a tear, and understands where you are coming from.

tino11 said...

You can say that I faked you out,
told you lies;
that I was just costume jewelry masquerading as diamonds--

I have lived behind that facade, so I know exactly what you are talking about. After being there for so very long, is it ever possible to reveal who we really are?

I sincerely hope, that like those trees, you learned to grow into the 'real' you.

blueoran said...

Speaking in the language of the heart marries truth and beauty so it sounds like gorgeous poetry and sings like a plaintive John Lennon. - B

Lynn said...

That Beatles song would have gone beautifully there - lovely.

geraldthewriter.com said...

this seemed raw, like it was last night...well done

Margaret said...

The first and the last lines (I feel) are stand alone poetry of themselves... and the in between is heartbreaking... But I get a sense that she knows who she is now :)

K9friend said...

I think we all have moments in our past that we remember and recognize have helped us become who we are now. Hauntingly lovely.

Pat
Critter Alley

William A. Sigler said...

Oh all the poems about the dialog that never was! This is truly moving, the way it all ties together. "not even the power to live in the world as myself". Indeed.

Mary Jane Bane said...

Once again, your words punch me in the heart and I love it. Your gift is powerful. Heartbreaking and lovely.
Brit

Mary said...

You definitely painted a strong word picture of the insides of a difficult relationship. The cruelness of the goading made me cringe. And the smoke tree and apple tree now belonging to someone else...ouch. You wrote sadness beautfully, Shay. I so feel this!

HermanTurnip said...

Wow...you sure know how to emotionally draw in the reader. Loved this piece!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow. This is it. The beautiful sadness. Love that the trees are still there, but belong to somebody else. Killer poem, kiddo.

razzamadazzle said...

This is truly very touching. "I had not even the power to live in the world as myself." What a sad line. Truly there is a beautiful sadness in this relationship.

myheartslovesongs.com said...

"I was not even my own girl, not then."

i should have known that you would write a perfect poem of beautiful sadness! {Norwegian Wood would have been lovely with this.}


daydreamerdreams said...

Powerful, self-realized, and beautiful!