"The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration." ~ Frida Kahlo

As a small child,
I caught my mind in a jar.
All day, under the sun in the grass blades,
I was monarch,
daddy longlegs. 

That night,
terror held its regularly scheduled circus.
There were lids on every eyelash,
and glass between me and morning.
The tigers said, "Hide in our mouths."
The great ape said, "Hide in my hand."
In their eyes, jars of murder.

People smile and say,
"I wish I could spend an hour inside your head."
Inside, Bengal and Silverback.
--even still--
daddy longlegs
and my face against the glass.

for Susie's goose at Toads. 

Image: "Ophelia" by Antoine Auguste Ernest Hebert


annell4 said…
I love this!!...monarch, dandelion, daddy longlegs...and my face against the glass. A perfect portrait of Frida.
Cloudia said…
You speak to me, Shay.
Vivian Zems said…
You have an uncanny ability to tap into weird places.....and come out with gems!
Gillena Cox said…
VERSE 2 is my favourite. The terror is anything but surreal. The soul in the jar is your reality. Thanks for sharing so personal and candid your reality

much love...
Sherry Blue Sky said…
Oh! My! Goodness! My new favourite. I LOVE it!
Anonymous said…
Stellar stuff as always Shay
Kim M. Russell said…
I love this stream of consciousness, Shay. I love the shift from childhood pleasure - catching your mind in a jar - to the nigh terrors and the 'monarch, dandelion and daddy longlegs transforming into tigers and great apes. In this stanza I especially love 'In their eyes, jars of murder'.
I really love the contrast of inside and outside the head in the final stanza - and the face against the glass.
tonispencer said…
Outstanding. The concept of jars of murder, the killing jars of those who collect insects. Your face against the inside of the jar, looking out of it, or, looking into it observing all. The childhood versus the night terrors. It is all so overwhelming what you have done here. I have read this three times already and come up with three different visions. I think Frida did the same thing with her pain.
Susie Clevenger said…
Trapped, that speaks loudly to me. I love your opening. We can be all things, especially free, in our minds, but the reality's view on the other side of the glass is too often a nightmare we must live through. As always, brilliant writing. Thanks so much for writing for the prompt!
Anonymous said…
Wholly rich and metaphorically layered, for all the details and precisions - and I love how we fall into the first stanza -

this entire piece makes me feel, rather confusedly, but in the best of ways, as if I'm both in/out side the jar, and both witness and yet victim, and yet some how living the dream/nightmare while awake ...

so yeah, I think Frida would be pleased .... most pleased ....

and I'd go on about each stanza, but hell, do you really want me to copy/paste it all back to you?

you've created a piece as complex for as "straightforward" and "simple" as many of Frida's works "seem" .... wooo! heady stuff going on ~
brudberg said…
The image of that glass jar brings up the Bell Jar and Sylvia Plath (I know from your comments is that you might not like that, but that is what it does for me). Still that emotion of a world of tigers and apes is very much the same...
hedgewitch said…
From the first words this works--works supremely well at what poetry does, transferring the writer's personal narrative into something universally accessible, meaningful however tortuous, tormented, or revealing. And it is all of that, but also perfect in its metaphors, it's personalization of what life can do to us, of how we deal with it, but also of what we do to ourselves in that struggle to find some sort of safety, some, I don't want to be in anyone else's head--escaping my own is hard enough. Just another excellent write, Shay--you have been knocking them out of the cosmos all month, and this one is no exception.
Kerry O'Connor said…
You take self-portrait to a whole new level.

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