Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Perfectionist

In her eye
(a perfectly good,
perfectly innocent eye)
sat another one--

She opened her diary--
never again would it fold sweetly beneath her breastbone
like a paper heart;
the small round rider in her vision
set itself the task to make certain.

Each passage she had written
bloomed backwards,
unspooling like white thread
pulled from a pale page
by Death itself.

Oh, don't feel too badly for her,
our little alpha-girl.
She and her lemon eye
were not opposites, but rather, deceitful partners.

It's true that the paltry orb shut itself,
wiping out every word;
but she let it,
and sat smiling and cored, with nothing left
but her doting fondness
for the tiny killer she had borne.

for "Get Listed!" at Real Toads



HermanTurnip said...
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TexWisGirl said...

'bloomed backwards' you are such a wonderful wordworker. :)

Anonymous said...

This is great. I love the way you weave such complex characters in so few words.

Laurie Kolp said...

Shocking ending... love paltry orb.

Ella said...

I love the twist and turns and "bloomed backwards"~ YOU are so clever ;D

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Whoa! Wickedly good. I especially love the words blooming backwards, unspooling from the page.......brilliant work, kiddo. You are your own genre. I keep sayin'.

hedgewitch said...

Yes, totally bald now, thank you. First the picture itself is riveting, then the words begin to work their widdershins chanting way into the sub-brain, under that misbegotten two-toned eye. The betrayal of the diary really stands out for me--I once had six months of delusional journal entries that pained me so much to reread, I tore them out of the notebook, like removing a tumor, though that may not be what you had in mind here. And aren't we always partners with ourselves in deceit. Just an excellent poem, Shay.

Helen said...

.. 'she sat smiling and cored' ~ what an incredible visual! Thank you for a most challenging and enjoyable prompt.

Anonymous said...

I think I know her. And you described her as if she were your best friend. I liked reading about her from your point of view. Very insightful, my dear.

I'm commenting as if this were your everyday mind-blowingly fantastic poem. But it is obviously not. As Hedge said, we're all bald and calmly trying to figure out what to do with our heads now. Scarves and hats are out. So I'm presently ordering a snake collection.

This is one of those women you want to keep very close to you. Better that her eyes help you rather than harm you.


"In her eye ...
sat another one--

"like a paper heart"

"Each passage she had written
bloomed backwards"

"She and her lemon eye
were not opposites, but rather, deceitful partners."

The whole last stanza is my absolute fave.

LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. Am I making myself crystal-eye clear?

Anonymous said...

Oh, are you kidding me??? That is like my favorite Sarah McLachlan song ever! Sheesh. I'll never leave your blog now.

An orange aside: Years ago, my best friend at the time bought me that CD for my birthday and closed me in my office with her to have me listen to this song. I was bawling immediately, of course.

Off to listen!

Kerry O'Connor said...

She sounds like a Gemini ;-)

I love every painful twist and turn, like it was etched on my own skin. You make it real, then you step it up to the surreal, then you drop it so it splinters and you let us pick up the pieces so our fingers bleed.

Lynn said...


Mary said...

Love the sinister quality you portrayed in this poem!!

(And thanks for an enjoyable prompt!)

Heaven said...

This is beautifully written ~ I specially like this stanza :

Each passage she had written
bloomed backwards,
unspooling like white thread
pulled from a pale page
by Death itself.

Mama Zen said...

This gives me serious chills.

Marian said...

yikes, i don't feel badly for her at all, i'm rather afraid of her.

Hannah said...

"never again would it fold sweetly beneath her breastbone
like a paper heart;"

I know!! I'm breaking my rule...not to insert excerpt first but this stinkin' rocks my insides!

Okay, properly...the image yup that's perfect, too!!

Now, your words...the blooming backward words pulled from the pale page by Death itself...this felt like one of those hair-standing on end scary movie moments to me!! And in case you didn't know, that's a good thing! ;)

I love also the lemon eye and the fact that she pairs herself with this deceitful partner...that she's cored and exposed greatly but smiling...YES! I really like that.

TINY killer...

Yuppers...this was a great one, Shay!

Thanks a bunch for teaming up with Miss X...I had a blast with this one as well! A regular playground it was. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, this reads much differently this morning. Not that I'm rested now, but my mind is just in a different place I guess.

This is about the inner part of her constantly telling her she is not good enough---not even (or especially not) her writing. She is her own cruelest judge. And she doesn't hate the part of herself that says she is awful. She helps her "twin," gives her free roam through her head in order that she might better cast stones. In the end, she deletes herself (ripping out all her pages, both physical and figurative). She is left as nothing and with nothing, but she is smiling. And that, after all, is what really counts.

I love what you did with "paltry." Because we might see the "cruel" eye as paltry and she might see the "wimpy, talentless" eye as paltry, we really don't know which eye closed. Either way, she is empty and she is not writing anymore.

Closing your eyes has so many meanings; what a heavy, thought-provoking, and painful image to close with.

Anonymous said...

P.S. It seems obvious, but I'll state it anyway. Blooming backwards is the equivalent of withering. All that she wrote and all that she was is dying as her inner voice/eye tells her rip herself and her pages apart.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I really love this relationship you've created between the girl and herself. It's as if she not only depends on but loves the true and honest voice inside her that tells her how despicable and worthless she really is. She's content to "kill" herself, to allow "the voice" or "the eye" to "kill/destroy" her because she knows it's the right thing to do, and that the world will be better off if she is dead, in a sense (perhaps even literally).

Lolamouse said...

Is there anything left to say? I'll stick to THIS WAS A CHILLING MINDF---!

Anonymous said...


"(a perfectly good,
perfectly innocent eye)"

the poem continues to get better and better from there ~ i NEVER would have guessed you were writing from a word list!

EXTRA-extraordinary, as always, SP!

love the song, too!

Herotomost said...

I spy, with my little eye...something incredible. Nope not my hair....its your poem...sorry should have let you guessed a little longer. Super cool.

Sara said...

This makes me think of the critical side we all have -- the one that looks at what we do and says "Not good enough -- hit the delete key."

Yet, we are ones who let the critical monster in and have the power to shut her down, if we choose.

I have no idea if this was your intent with this verbally imaginative darkish poem, but that's what hit me.

Happy new year, my friend:~)

Kay L. Davies said...

Extraordinary, Shay. This must have come first, and the word list afterward, no?
Oh, someone already said "extraordinary" — unless one arrives first to comment on your work, all the best words get used up.

Cloudia said...

" Although they are
only breath,
which I
[and Shay]
are immortal "


Susie Clevenger said...

Brilliant as always...the image is startling and then your words with it create quite a chill.

Daryl E said...

amazing images you paint with words ... i always have to re-read because i know these are 'images' to savor

Loredana Donovan said...

Chilling dark poetry ... some really cool lines here. Thank you for hosting.

Anonymous said...

First, thanks for a rocking prompt! Shay, the twinning of the eyes, or rather one within another, is fascinating. I loved the diary held against the breastbone - that picture came alive for me from your words. Fascinating. You are one rockin' Toad! hee hee Amy

Margaret said...

Good Grief... unspooling might be my new favorite word. Creepy and totally wicked, without a hint of an apology!

The photo takes my breath away and so perfect (except a golden eye would have been nice :)