Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pictures of Heartbreak, Poems in the Spokes of a Wheel

Here is how I imagined my heart:
blood compromised, made thin and blue by work schedules,
thoughtless words,
kindnesses forgotten,
mad-making obstacle dreams and stale air
arriving at the right atrium like someone stumbling in out of the snow;

Received like a guest, served coffee and cookies,
surrounded by the biological greenery outside the atrium,
this blood eventually slipping through the delicate leaflets 
of the tricuspid valve into the guest room quiet of the right ventricle.

Shall I go on? Isn't it obvious, the druggy dream of the pulmonary artery,
the bloom of new love in the left atrium,
the free fall through the mitral valve into the left ventricle
with its clocks and chimes, and finally the aorta into the unknown?
This was my concept, my imagining.

Reality was this:
An endless rain, the filth of the floodwaters bringing
boards, bodies, houses, livestock and death on a black surge,
an ink to begin my poetry with.
Within my chest, the wheel, the weird carnival,

All I had ever consumed or breathed gathered in ceremony,
children being born and let go but never let go,
the shout above the wind, the wonderful stupidity of the church tower
or widow's walk in a lightning storm,
the stanzas, the strophes, the angeldust afterbirth of all I needed to say.

Go ahead, tell the one whose love you need the most
that you are dropping out of med school,
that you are bisexual,
that you have knocked over a bank and shot the President;
they may forgive you, or at least pretend to.

Finally, tell them you are a poet and watch them walk away.
Feel the flood, the fever and fire--
then, dear heart, start writing.

for Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads




Sioux said...

The fifth stanza left me breathless, and then the last one hammered it home.

I hope you toiled for days on this (I'm sure that is NOT the case). Otherwise, I'm quite POed.

Anonymous said...

In this moment, this is the best thing I've ever read. I think I may cry.

Outlawyer said...

Hey Shay (who may not need so much privacy), another wonderful poem. Great leaps here amid the immediacy and urgency of the writing and the need to write--wonderful little coves in the poem--like the guest room-- I don't tell many people I write poetry, or novels! I hope they would not react that way, but not sure that they want a lawyer poet! Anyway, thanks. k.

Gail said...

Sad. All out of "Picture this..."

hedgewitch said...

This is one of those poems that really does talk in pictures, images made by careful layers of detail inviting immersion and comparison, and most of all intuitive, emotional response. Poems of the heart only seem to roll out on wheels with broken spokes, but they travel, somehow, much farther than we can imagine. I could quote a dozen lines from this, but will just do these ones that rocked me back on my heels:

'..the shout above the wind, the wonderful stupidity of the church tower
or widow's walk in a lightning storm,
the stanzas, the strophes, the angeldust afterbirth of all I needed to say...'

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh. My. Goodness. You have outdone yourself. This is amazing, in concept and in the left atrium, the guest room quiet of the right ventricle....and then the flood full of bodies and boards........."within my chest, the wheel, the weird carnival." And then your closing lines. This is magnificent to read, to picture and to ponder - on just how far-reaching a poem can fly, and how boundless is your poetic sky.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Reality was this:
An endless rain, the filth of the floodwaters bringing
boards, bodies, houses, livestock and death on a black surge,
an ink to begin my poetry with.

Absolutely amazing :D such a heartfelt pen.

Sanaa Rizvi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mama Zen said...

I'm tucking this away and keeping it somewhere secret and safe. One of your best, one of my favorites, and words to live by.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

LOVE the video!!!!!

brudberg said...

I do not every think I can read a poem about heartbreak any longer without remembering this.. Great writing

Jim said...

Bloody good job, Shay. I do love to read what the prompters write, tells a bit how they thought when they developed the prompt. Maybe.
I also smiled at the ending, only a mother, and not all of them, ever really continually brags on her kid, 'irregardless'. My friend's son plays a guitar for some sort of living, communal at best. He does keep me posted.
One of my daughters writes songs and music, doesn't and hasn't worked. I am as proud of her as of my other 'work-a-holic' daughter. Another son, a twin, plays the drums in gigs for pay. His brother is also a work-a-holic, well off.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

I can't even begin to comment on all the rush of great images and feelings here, except to say I would steal the line below for the title of my next collection, which I don't have one of anyway. Wow, dis wuz so good.

"Within my chest, the wheel, the weird carnival"

la la mosk

Kim Nelson said...

And I think... it could have been the filth in those floodwaters that brought the infection, damaging the tricuspid, effectively breaking that heart. Or it could have been the truth. Either way, bold in a good, stand-on-its-own-feet sorta way.

Anonymous said...

"them you are a poet and watch them walk away".. I've been staring at that line for a while now.. the world is messed up but your poem is brilliant.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Such a picture of the human heart as to bring tears to the eyes. Your work is always intensely multilayered and invites the emotive response.

Gillena Cox said...

This i cannot describe as sad, more so, i'll say it was intense; and, so much so, it made me feel like crying

i luv the experience of reading this poem and i'm so glad i passed by today

have a nice Friday

much love...

Anonymous said...

Stunning poem... a deep, emotive, satisfying work.

Daryl said...

i always read your poems but dont always leave a comment .. my reaction to this is be true to you and f@#k those who dont get it

Anonymous said...

This is just an amazing, complex poem yet well crafted and one that can only benefit from being read more than once. So many excellent images, love the way you use the biology of the heart to nail your point and that last but one stanza is superb.

Helen said...

~~ believe I can see the contrast dye snaking its way through the heart. Tremendous write!

Hannah said...

Yes, layered and emotive...I like the use of the language around the heart. Thank you for the posts.

C.C. said...

Those last two lines.....yes, yes, and yes again!

Susie Clevenger said...

Oh, this packs a punch. "the stanzas, the strophes, the angeldust afterbirth of all I needed to say." We need to say what we need to say at the moment it needs to be said. Love the ending. I get that look, that walking away when I divulge I am an author of poetry.

Margaret said...

I really could almost here the stutter of the movie reel or perhaps the click of the slide show of old photographs. The sadness is so very heavy, but thank God there is a release in writing. "Go ahead, tell the one whose love you need the most"... so heart wrenching.

Anonymous said...

Poetry can't be written anywhere but from the heart -- real poetry, at least -- so the medical examination here is done by that mad dreamer, the one whom it is impossible to pretend a benign indifference to the task (like real docs aspire to). So much flows through and out, and the result is not very palatable to a world which does not place truth of the heart high in its orderings. Truths are necessarily bittersweet in the heart, and this one rings bittersweetly true.

grapeling said...

the best real heart poem ever, Shay. thanks for the prompt, it's been barren out here... ~

my heart's love songs said...

ah, but this is why a poet should only fall in love with another poet...

this is one of your best, SP! stunning doesn't come close to describing it.