Anna was the only one of my friends that my mother liked,
but mom is dead, and Anna has moved to L.A.

Most of my friends, though big-hearted and funny,
were smokers, or "heavy", or "not going anywhere."
I asked, "Where is it you think I'm going?" 
and scooped myself a big-ass sundae.
You know that weapons-grade disapproving look? Mom invented it,
but felt it played better without dialogue.

Mom used to come knockless into my room,
pushing aside ten notebooks jammed with jumblefuck poetry and lyrics,
to tell me get up, do something, stick with something for once.
I wander into the weeds, it's true--wasn't I telling you about Anna? 
Well, back to that. 

Anna is the kind of woman Anna the girl started out to be.
No stops, no bullshit, just straight on and damn the roadkill.
For convenience, here is a planner for you:
If you want to be broke, make Anna your accountant.
If you want to be childless, hire Anna as your nanny.
If you want to meet doctors, install Anna as your chef.
If you want to test your strength, marry Anna and hold on.

I lost touch with Anna, but mom always liked her.
Anna was venomous, but had a perfect smile.
Anna was heartless, but used blusher to pink her cheeks.
Anna was vile, but dressed well for church on Sunday.
Anna was filled with rot from her hair to her shoes,
but knew the best salons
and always wore good perfume.

for Bits of Imagination: "Perfume."


Anonymous said…
I LOVE the last three stanzas. But the way you worded this line in particular really grabs me: "Mom used to come knockless into my room"
Sherry Blue Sky said…
What a fantastic character portrait. I can see Her. I am amazed the one word prompt resulted in a poem with this much breadth and depth. But then your poetry always amazes me.
hedgewitch said…
Too bad Mom couldn't see past her own shallow delusions--vividly described here. The mischaracterization of the narrator is as bad off one deep end as the assessment of Anna is on the other, dynamically shown for who she is in those killer last lines. Lack of self-pitying lament, the punch of the listing quality in the last two stanzas, and quantities of imaginative word usage keeps this from becoming a sermon or a plaint, and makes it instead a clear and very identifiable indictment. Really good one, Shay.
Sanaa Rizvi said…
Absolutely stunning both in words and images... sigh..
Sioux Roslawski said…
I wonder: how much is true and how much is made up?

Gorgeous and poignant and thought-provoking, as always.
Susie Clevenger said…
First of all, love the photo you used. Your poems is full of nail scratches. :) Anna, sounds like a mess, but someone I need to channel once in a while. This is a fantastic piece! Thanks so much for writing for the prompt!

Oh, and I know that look.."You know that weapons-grade disapproving look? Mom invented it, but felt it played better without dialogue."
Mama Zen said…
That last stanza is just perfection.
Anonymous said…
Oh, I love this! Anna certainly is an interesting character.
Mr Puddy said…
OMC ! Long time no see, You grow the claws of DOOM !
Shay, Obviously... You need a scratching post for your own...MOL
Unknown said…
quite a genius writing ;) :)
Lynn said…
I've known people like Anna. And the mother. :)
Kerry O'Connor said…
Such a singular portrait - revealing of both the subject and the narrator. I was transfixed, waiting for the perfume to appear..An excellent ironic twist of the blade.
brudberg said…
Is it a special thing with girls... my mom always insisted on which girls where the best for my sister... (though in her case it were the bookworms she preferred)
I LOVE that last stanza. Certainly proves the cover and book theory.
grapeling said…
Anna and Mama scare the crap outta me.

Gramma woulda liked her, I bet ~
Sreeja said…
it's dark ...vividly told!

Popular Posts