Sunday, June 28, 2015

Diary Of A Long-Haired Girl


“In you, I see the heroines of Shakespeare’s tragedies.
You, unhappy lady, were
never saved by anybody.”
Marina Tsvetaeva

I had long hair then. Jules had just made clear her indifference,
her wild desire for me to leave, and so I did, on the Greyhound.
The Soviets launched Laika the dog-
we sent rhesus monkey Sam into space;
I took pills from a baggie John pressed into my palm to stop me crying,
and I swung ahead without moving, dreaming of pissing on the whole Earth.

In Oregon, I met a guy. He said he liked Gordon Lightfoot,
"You've Been Talking In Your Sleep." I had never heard it.
He told me about himself, and I wondered, how do you know
I don't have a bomb in my boho bag?
How do you know I don't go around blowing up buses,
bulldozers, abortion clinics, banks?

When a woman broke my heart, sometimes I used to let guys fall for me.
It assuaged the hurt, kept me looking pretty
like a cut stem in a glass of sugar water that will die anyway, but more slowly.
It was riskless--I wouldn't love them;
I was just a hive of honey left out for the ants, a crust on the counter,
a sweet '56 left to rust and become art.

I cut my hair last spring. I gave up on love in 2009.
Look at my yard, I can't bear to clear the trash trees.
John put a shotgun in his mouth years ago, and I don't get high anymore.
I wonder if Laika slept at all,
I wonder if she dreamed of the alleys and garbage cans of Moscow?
I wonder what made me think of that guy on the bus through Oregon?

"I heard you softly whisper..."
I have given myself body and soul to half a dozen women and one man.
I live alone. The moon rises and sets.
Sometimes, in the morning, she is still there in the sky,
pale, beautiful, and if I spoke in my sleep, if I confessed anything,
she would never betray me, not from such a distance,
though I die in orbit, howling.
_______
For Play it Again, Toads 18. Image at top by Margaret Bednar. I chose Kerry's challenge.
  

17 comments:

Sioux said...

This left me speechless, Shay. So powerful. Such a chronicle of a life and of love.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

I love how you associated the length of her hair to her emotions and the experiences she had in life. This is such an intense & powerful piece :D

Lots of love,
Sanaa

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is too, too sad. Words to rake over the dead coals of any heart that has been broken too many times and lived to tell the tale. But no one can tell it like you, Shay.

TexWisGirl said...

*sigh*

hedgewitch said...

In the end, our life stories boil down to what you put in this poem--memories, joys, heartbreak, regrets, all somehow distilled into who we become, for better, for worse--as always, you make each word count, your narrator instantly real and one with whom we instinctively identify--a poem of the magic and casual mayhem of living. (That is an old favorite Gord, by the way.Funny how the old songs creep back into our dreams.)

welshstream said...

That is just a staggering poem. So powerful with shades of depth that catch the reader by surprise. The lines :It assuaged the hurt, kept me looking pretty/like a cut stem in a glass of sugar water that will die anyway, but more slowly. - quite astonishing. A piece I shall get much from reading several times.

Mama Zen said...

The third stanza jerks your heart right out of your chest. Brilliant, Shay.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Another novel in verse ... or memoir. Moving, enthralling, I could go on and on with superlatives. You write the kind of poems i love to read,

girl said...

I love this line break: "He told me about himself, and I wondered, how do you know"

"When a woman broke my heart, sometimes I used to let guys fall for me." OMG, so perfect. They're just ridiculously clueless.

"It assuaged the hurt, kept me looking pretty" ... true that

I adore this: "like a cut stem in a glass of sugar water that will die anyway, but more slowly"

Gorgeous ending. Thank goodness for pain, though. Otherwise, where would the poems come from?

Margaret said...

My so tells me that every poem we wrote is a part of who we are. And I will say "no, I made it all up". But he insists it is true. I can only say I hope this is more poetic license and not so much personal heartache. Because it reads as if it has been lived. And I agree with all the beautiful copy and pastes.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Yes. Speechless. The heartbreak of having lived, but we wouldnt have it any other way. What Kelli is right about the third stanza. What speaks to me is "I live alone. The moon rises and sets...." and then the kicker, the line that just zapped me speechless: "though I die in orbit, howling."

brudberg said...

I remember the movie "my life as a dog" ... The connection to Laika... Yes I wonder if she ever slept. Perfect connection to the heartbreak,

Cloudia said...

you end a rich piece with a punch in the gut. Good poet!





ALOHA
ComfortSpiral
=^..^=

(\__/)
(='.'=)
(")_(")




Kay L. Davies said...

Wow, this sure tugged at me. Thinking of Laika made me cry, dog fool that I am, and I had never thought of that before.
Tugged at me from many angles, Shay. I agree with Kerry. No one can write it like you do.
Luv, K

grapeling said...

you manage to take what's still raw, refine it, yet keep it that way, too. ~

Helen said...

I was just a hive of honey left out for the ants, a crust on the counter, a sweet '56 left to rust and become art ~~~ jeez that touched a nerve! Another FB masterpiece.
Go Tigers, Go Cards!

Sweeper of Dreams said...

great poem! captured something very strong - something that vaguely reminds me of one of my favorite songs: the waifs' "haircut." Kudos!