Saturday, September 19, 2015

Stunt Double

She calls sometimes--that's how I know she's in on it.
Her voice is nightblue and crushed strawberries;
when she calls me "baby", my true and sure gets a shiver up it.

Her stunt double makes coffee, takes the car,
fucks me, says we have to talk.
I know it isn't her.
I know the bloom from the stalk.

Stunt Double feels the cold in my kiss;
cries real tears from the plastic bottle in her head.
Stunt Double spreads her arms, says, "How'd we ever get like this?"
Like I know her. Like let's pretend.

I wait for the ringtone, a drop of honey from the bee that's gone;
nightblue and strawberries, helpless at her softest command--
there it is--I answer--a sinner for Gilead's balm,
when the Stunt Double comes in from the next room--

your phone held in her palm.

for Karin's "A Whole Lot Of It Is In Your Head" challenge at Real Toads.

Brain injury can cause a person to think that everyone in their life has been replaced with "doubles" who look just like their loved ones, but aren't. It's caused by damage to the link between visual processing and emotional response. If someone calls them on the phone, they recognize them, because it bypasses the damaged part of the brain. On the other hand, one can be in perfect health and know that the other person has checked out of the relationship.



Outlawyer said...

Wow--this is chilling, the end especially so. Of course, I read this on the purely relationship front and not as the result of an injury (other than emotional)--but it works on both levels very well--chilling, sad and so human. Thanks so much for participating, Shay, with this poem. k .

Outlawyer said...

ps -- I found the dialogue particularly effective here--the back and forth seemed very real in the face of both confusion and difficulty in relationship--the plastic bottle in the head is a very powerful detail, and the bee that's gone. k.

mac said...

I believe I may have, indeed, checked out before I left once (or was it twice?).

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow. I did not know about this condition...........a fantastic write...."my true and sure gets a shiver up it"........LOVE the poignancy in "a drop of honey from the bee that's gone; nightblue and strawberries".......this was wonderful to read, picture and then learn about, through your process notes.

Sioux said...

Fascinating note. With this post, we were educated as well as entertained. ;)
(And is this a new background? It's quite appealing.)

Cloudia said...

such rich words that open into richer associations. You can be my stand in ANYTIME


Kerry O'Connor said...

I read the poem on the metaphoric level before reading your notes. Such an interesting and tragic condition!
I love the line: I know the bloom from the stalk.

A Cuban In London said...

The way you combined condition and poetry was delightful to read.

Greetings from London.

hedgewitch said...

As your note says, this is a condition that can occur from injury to the heart as well as the brain, or from sheer mistaken desire--the echoing of 'nightblue and strawberries' beginning and end seems almost a physical thing, smell, taste, color, all the senses that deceive and are in their turn deceived themselves. It also goes to that rather staggering realization that only comes with age--how much of the Other we yearn for is actually their real self and how much our projection of what we want 'true and sure' to be? Really well-imagined and every word like a brushstroke to paint your thoughts indelibly.

Marian said...

Yikes, this is harrowing. Keep hold of the bloom vs. stalk!

Ileana said...

I was disappointed when this poem ended wishing it could be more of a book, part one of a trilogy. I too know the bloom from the stock and you're the bloom, my friend.

Mama Zen said...

Every word of this is just awesome!

R.K. Garon said...

Very interesting!!!

Rommy said...

Such a beautiful ache in this. I liked the explanation in the process notes, but it works well without them as a metaphor for a love where playing a role is more and more often the default as opposed to genuine expression. I loved the repeat use of "nightblue" and "strawberries" as a sensory touchstone to the truth. Really lovely stuff.

Anonymous said...

You're SO good, Shay. So so so so good.

Love the redhead at the top. The whole poem is amazing, but these are my absolute faves:

"Her voice is nightblue and crushed strawberries;
when she calls me "baby", my true and sure gets a shiver up it."

"I know the bloom from the stalk."

"Like I know her. Like let's pretend."

"there it is--I answer--a sinner for Gilead's balm"

This is exactly how most relationships end up, unfortunately. And then they either end or cycle back, if you're willing to stick it out and weather the storms, silences, and cold seasons.

I think the key is that the stunt double still has power over your crotch. :) As long as the couple is still sexual, I think they can get past the emotional distance eventually. Any long-term relationship is going to hit those just-going-through-the-motions stages. But the sex can hold it all together.

Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil said...

The whole notion of Stunt Double, yes, this rings true. Bet we've all had one in our beds at one time or another. Your "sure and true" getting "a shiver" stopped me in my tracks, Shay. You always know the right thing to say... I always love reading you!! amy

Daryl said...

swamped for too long .. finally catching up .. two posts in one email, two missives from an amazing wordsmith ...

Joanna Jenkins said...

Whoa-- never heard of this condition before. How scary.
xo jj