Learning to Live (Outside My Head)


It isn’t easy- my years of lazy experience
Has made me an outcast who lives inside her head
The thoughts like little mice scurrying
Through the alleyways of my skull
Project as potent, looming shadows; and thicken
Into a cloud above my eyes

All my childhood I was told
To learn to live outside my head
Look at all these men and their flashy toys,
And beg questions off the wind!
Don’t spin strange, lovelorn tales from your bed
That is just what sad little girls do

I was bitter, fighting war on two fronts
On the inside: starved for words, colors, sounds
On the outside: longing for the romance of the woods
And to discover dampened leaf patterns upon its floor
I thought I knew better than to live outside my head

Today I am still learning, wondering:
What is it like to live outside my head?
Is it worth giving up on the kaleidoscope of nightmares
Inside; to feed perhaps my ego on miles of human concrete
And drinking games, and flashy lights, and the smoke from angelic lips

Hello fellow bloggers, followers and anybody else who might chance upon this poem! How have you been? I’ve been gone for a while now! But I always return somehow. That’s the deal. Sometimes I do wonder if one of these days all the little voices dictating stories inside my head will disappear on their own and I will have nothing else to say to blank pieces of paper- or, in most cases nowadays, to the pristine white computer screen. If experience were to be my guide, I would dismiss this thought outright. But my creative wheels do stop spinning, especially when I live in the outside world. It is a challenge- a delicate balance. Would I be willing to risk my sanity for the Great Writing Cause? I wouldn’t say no to that question because a lot of great writing does come from a healthy dose of insanity. But the remaining comes from discipline.

I’ve begun to think a little bit about drafts lately. Everything you see here on this blog is a “first draft” that is produced in one sitting, barely ever corrected for grammatical or spelling errors, let alone revised for flow. That’s what makes the blogging experience so breezy for me: I don’t let my perfectionist tendencies interfere with it because I see it as something limited- a “hobby” I pursue without rhyme or reason. If I were to promise myself a little more ambition in terms of my blog (and believe me, I have tried and always failed), the little voice dictating errors will take over and paralyze me. Anyway, I just started reading a book called Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamon. It got me thinking about the potential of using the 90% weak writing that I put out into the world courtesy of this blog, to mine for the 10% of gold which I assume is hiding within it. That’s where the drafts come in.

Anne talks about short assignments and shitty first drafts that may make absolutely no sense and be so disgustingly repulsive that you might want to throw your laptop right out the window. But she sees benefit and bravery in your attempts to just sit down every day anyway, to push these shitty drafts out of you (almost like you are giving birth to them, which you are) because that’s where the good stuff is going to come from. I think if that is true, then there lies that balance between living inside your head and living outside it that is so essential for creativity.

Sure, I can lock myself up Marquez-style. It would probably drive me insane but perhaps if I am clever enough, it might get me published posthumously. Or I could simply look for a balance between pulling crazy demons out of my hat(rack) and actually polishing them until they shine in the dark and you can see them stand out, maybe even like them just a little bit. Enough to share with friends and family?

I don’t know if any of this makes any sense. But hey, this might just be a shitty first draft with the potential for greatness, right?

Dichotomy


https://rubeosrants.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/dichotomy.jpg

You have burdened me, oh brain!
With the task of finding out whether
I am big or small

I am who I am
The sum total of this body is
A consciousness
Not weighty, perhaps
In determining how this world came to be
Or how far it will travel

But I am somewhat important to me
Yes, with arrogance and impudence and pride
I must put my bronzed, fading, falling skin
On the highest pedestal
Right next to the sun worshiper’s sun
To do anything less is an unworthy risk
But to do this with the lesson that-
I am not Atlas but I must choose
To be him every day-
Ah! That is indeed the real challenge

Vitriol


The lights flashed, the camera shone
Pink lips and cheeks of gold

On the edge of a reasonable shriek
My women’s parts were examined, weaved
Into a thickly plait of cheek

I was the carbon on your palm
From the bills you paid to keep me warm
Your fingers itched and blisters formed
And then there came the storm

You thought the grass was overgrown
I was the acres full of worms
Your muddied arms arched my spreading form
And left the broken roots unborn

I was pretty on my own; you thought
I needed to be thrown
I was a harpy playing traunt; you made
Me hungry for the thorns

I was the christening of the dying leaves
That rustled by the pond
I was the keeper by the creek
Guarding promises long gone

I was the sinking of your teeth into
A vial of dark vitriol
I cried my tears of acid
As night melted into dawn

My Eyes Are So Open


My eyes are so open now
I put the midnight blues to shame
And blowing in the wind I turn
Out that fiery flame

My eyes are so open now
I twist rotten lies around
Until in the books I read it seems
Are the only conflicts I found

My eyes are so open now
I can look right at the sun
And tell it to find another skin
For mine is hard to burn

My eyes are so open now
I feel emotions fly by
And I don’t question their existence
Just snap away at the ties

My eyes are so open
And yet I forget
Amidst the rising waves of dust
That twilight turns to night
I’m still whispering at the cosmos
Hoping vibrations in the dusk
Will carry through the expansive space
And make the stars twinkle bright.

Someplace New


Take me to someplace new
Where the roaring ocean mixes
White and grey within itself
And the sky is silent like the poem
I’ll write under it’s sullen gaze

Take me to someplace new
Where my tame heart can breathe out
Wild fumes of flaming smoke
And I can watch the world raise itself
To the edge of a promise

Take me to someplace new
Where cotton flower turns gently
Into the whispers of the wind
And ever so often the country breaks
Into a melody freshly churned

Take me to someplace new
Fuse darkness into something magical
Let our sorrows enchant the gods themselves
Until tears of madness rain down
And drench us we’re clean again.

A

Unfrozen


The first time I opened my eyes
And  you were standing there
I saw a mirror whisper back
A face of scarlet fear

I didn’t know that one hello
Would strike me like a sword
And strings of silvery emotions
Would stir a lovely chord

And I knew I would forget you
In the haze of buzzing life
As the world was flaming, tearing through
My stomach like a knife

The men I saw, songs I sang
Echoed on the brink of night
Like twinkling stars, the stories I heard
Just lent a little warm light

The taste of coppery blood in my mouth
And I forgot why I was stranded here
A wave of pulsating memories gone
And it was hard to shed a single tear

On the crest of a new day
I met you in a dream
There was a vague anticipation emptying from the sky
And like a winter river I froze, prepared to say goodbye

The summer sun shines down upon
This flat and long city again
And somehow as my skin turns brown
I simply stock away the pain

Create


I want to grow cities and birds
And art and music
And rumbling thunder
And tumbling boulders

I want to raise citadels on mountaintops
And topsy-turvy rattling windows
On tiny walls
Where ivy and centipedes crawl across

I want to build towers
Watch sunrises from their isolated heights
I want to make the world
Like putty for a child

I want to make something
Out of nothing
And watch possibilities yawn open

Spring Confessions


We crossed our lonely hearts
Pulled lilies out of graves
And tore up letters into mulch
Turned old lovers into paste

I heard your drunk confessions
On a forbidden, dark porch
With little drops of blackened vodka
To lighten our glowing wounds

I taught you coffee highs
And fought wars through our single wall
You chaperoned me up the alien road
And warded men’s glares off with your charm

Over months of warm smiles, you pulled
Me out of endless steep reveries
When the sun would shine but I was caught
In webs of my own misery

You were high, I was low
We were aliens on a bed of snow
How unwanted and scantily-clad
From the elements of that long-drawn cold!

Sometimes I still dream about
What miracles the phone can do
But then I see the glacial pace
At which we seem to drift away

Now I’m simmering on a log of wood
And the riptide drafts different calls for us
And I know sometimes chapters begin again
But this is how they must all end.

This poem was not supposed to come out right now and it’s about someone who is far from my mind at this hour. Yet, it seems to have had a slightly uplifting effect on me. It swam to the surface of my brain upon a host of memories that were hurting and so I felt grateful to one of the few people who had anchored me (and been anchored by me at the same time), for those two years. We had our ups and downs, like everyone, and yet these are some of my recollections.

Lair


I tore apart, I tore apart
The red scarf, the dramatic act
And piece-by-piece it arose
Il est charmant, from the sea at Peros

Bare, hair- spare me your lair
I am only an Angel, you surmise
But I- fallen light, young, fair-
Had not yet seen twenty summers rise

Snatched from under the chandelier
I thought of your mask, your lair
My spotty, eternal, paternal pain
Swallowed it, wishing you were here again

Slipping into the painful task
I sang lullabies until your mask
Fell- your face edgy, broken, dead
And I was almost lost upon that bed

Sun rises against the Persian shore
He gave me back my flair
My voice, my very soul
I smuggled from your lair!

Moods of Love


I.

The sunshine
On her waistline
Blue-grey on the ground before me
Turned the dew drop jewels invisible
Drowning in a woman’s curves
I understood how no ornament could define her
I understood why she never tried

II.

There were two things he told her he wanted:
The cream atop the American dream
And a girl batting her eyelids, the color of milk
She whipped the yellow emulsion
And drank the liquid that remained
Tied a blindfold upon his eyes and
Told him to wait.

III.

He took years to find me
Years when I trampled over brambles
Bare knees and untied laces in the wilderness
Whistling like the bluebird
He came out at night though
And imitated the owl’s hoot
So we met at dawn and found a glade
To practice our little bird songs

IV.

Did I tell you, your limbs
Like shoots from soil, grew straight out
Found me. Got entangled.
Pulled apart the hairy edges of my skin
I’m the torn-up remains of a troubled soul
The signs of your massacre all over me
You fled like magic, I cursed you
You found my lips, I burned you.

V.

Would you trace the inward arcs my breasts make
When we’re kissing under a light post
When we’re kissing and people stare
When we’re kissing and someone smokes
When we’re kissing and the day is gone
When we’re kissing and it’s almost dawn
Could you tell, with each kiss
What havoc our love is
And how to tell it apart
From the one tearing the world.

VII.

Your birthday was a beautiful day
Ninety-nine candles and one, just for a joke
I wanted to say I loved the way your dark hair fell across your forehead
And I was broken without you, like one-half of a whole
I wrote the words; my poems a half-cooked treat
The eggs were plunged deep into the cake but
You cried when you saw the candles
I don’t know why they had told me once
“Women like their men with a sense of humor”.

VIII.

They mocked me when I read out my first poem
I was like cold water poured on a hot rock
This sensation was new, it was horrifying
The purity evaporated in a single dry fizzle
Today I note-
A single-lined book at the foot of the bed
And simple verse
And steaming coffee
Your arms allow me to grow old fearlessly.

IX.

I don’t want to know
If there is a God in the night sky
Your simple faith crushes the soul out of me
It is cold out there in the universe, I say
We aren’t part of any great mystery
Don’t console me with nothingness
Don’t console me with anything at all
I am inconsolably lost to this universe
To this life and to all others beyond it
I hold no claim to any foreign truth
I’ll follow your footprints into the mud and from my humble hole
We can gaze at the stars-
You’ll see magical possibilities, I’ll see balls of fire
But I’m content because you will still console me
Until my hair turn grey.

X.

The clothes lay on the floor
Like waves brought to a halt against a shore
They trembled because the distance between them
Felt unreasonable
How could one little act be so magnificent
That the universe stopped pulsating
And became a mere portrait
On the drab wall of reality
Whoever built it was a fool!
But oh, such a passionate fool.

I am over my creative standstill. I decided to welcome myself back into the folds of magic with a collection of small poems that reflect the moods of love. The hour it took to create these was a happy one. Hope you liked them!