A Swansong - The Impact Challenge Contest

in writingimpact •  last year  (edited)

girl-dandelion.jpg

They say real girls wear pearls
and polka dot skirts.
They speak in whispers
and seldom make noise.
They walk softly, on tippy toes

Softly, too, in just the right heels
appropriately lady-like and not too high
Their laughter is a bluebird’s trill
subdued, then turned to silence
yet they ache for rhythm, for fire, now hidden

The way he turns down the music.
That, too, is understood
as the abiding truth, an age-old language
of smiles, serene in their deceit.
A fledgling swan readies her wings

seeking her own truth–a captive no more,
her dreams evolve. She feels
the coolness of the wind,
breathes in the distant smoke
of oil dripping on wood

and she imagines
somebody else’s meal,
a loving home, the laughter of the kids
that’s full of joy, cathartic, unabashed,
and there she is–a girl,

wild-haired, barefoot, wide-eyed,
standing in dirt, toeing a dandelion so it bends
away from her intended path.
She feels it then, the ache for could have been
had she been strong;

Or stronger than his touch,
the shelter of his arms, his scent (Drakkar)
and that first taste (of mint and coffee),
her hands electric, him so alive
with barely a graze across soft cotton,

and then the sequence of events
that led to this: a lonely journey home
to help her heal her wounds, the old ones
and the new, the self-inflicted,
yet there is hope, as fragile as the wings

of butterflies they’d torn as kids
in play, thinking of them as lizard tails.
"They will grow back," he’d said,
a stranger at the time, then step-dad,
later, still, a dad.

Years later still, she knew he’d lied
but he had given her that other gift,
the watchfulness of spirits that can sense
a stillness in the movement of the trees,
a stillness in herself….

The dusty window of the darkened train
presents a vision, stark as a goodbye,
an acid-eaten masterpiece of life
lived just out of reach of any who would listen;
any but her, yet she had failed

to break the hold of Mother’s
stinging words. Invisible she'd wished for then,
and so it was, until again a captive,
captivated not so much by skill
but by remembering that pause

that in-between her mother’s happy
and her mother's still. And silent.
“Real girls wear pearls,” her mother’s voice,
scratchy and old
and thirsty for her Gin

and tonic.
Her, thirsty for the dirt on bare feet,
and belly laughs and hugs that ask for nothing
in return, and for the one who should have been
the swan to guide her home.


This poem is my entry for @Rensoul17's Writing Impact Challenge that calls for using more than 4 of the 50 prompt words. I kind of used all 50 of them in this piece, for what it's worth :-)


Thanks kindly for reading. If you've enjoyed this - an upvote or a resteem would be greatly appreciated :-)
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So much to like, here, in your ‘acid-eaten masterpiece’ and your subdued ache at life’s disappointments. Namely, the gift granted in exchange: “the watchfulness of spirits that can sense/a stillness...”

This stanza and line break, alone, are worth the price of admission:

“...thirsty for her Gin

and tonic.”

Bravo, Inna. 👏🏼

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I'm so happy you saw this....weird game of chess. It was surprisingly fun to do, and yet, this too, turned dark, as do most of my things. Stale gifts I bring to the world....

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This is a case, a rare case for me where stale is good....@authorofthings

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  ·  last year (edited)

It is so jagged, jaded and frayed by obvious pain - and yet it flows naturally and beautifully .. If it is stale as @authorofthings says, let it rather be called fermented and matured into something of fine taste like a good wine or cheese or kimchi. ;-)

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I’m impressed you hit all 50 words! We share what we have, my friend. Instead of thinking your art stale, think of it as illumining the dark. And, for that, you must be intimate with it...

ooof... those last few lines. This is no lighthearted poem Inna! But there's a muted, exquisitely painful beauty here, grave as faces in a vintage black and white photograph before people smiled for photos.

The sense of being on a journey... of moving back and forth through memory, revisiting what has in theory been left behind, but in reality remains present whether acknowledged or not. Documenting the little unseen tragedies that line the protagonist's life, and in doing so obliquely referencing the larger, overarching one until a picture of it begins to come clear, each little detail like a marvelously elegant antique.

A missed opportunity can be a wound that never heals. What possible cure could there be?

I love that this question remains mercilessly unanswered.

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I'm told I don't really do light-hearted....though one of these days, an older, wiser me might find all those elusive bits of light to hold on to. But for now, even a silly poetic exercises turn dark of their own accord. You, sir, have a way with words. This comment - so much beauty here. And wisdom. Holding on to this one for a long long time.

I wish I had multiple accounts so I could upvote this again and again. Real power exists in the ability to make people feel and think. You are powerful here. I am so glad I read this.

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Sorry for the belated on this @jonknight. Thank you for still reading my ramblings, and especially this.

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I've been scarce on steemit for a few months due to illness and extended family issues, but I try to check on my favorite authors when I can. Hopefully things are settling a bit now so I might actually get a chance to write something myself!

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Well, shoot, man.... Here's hoping you're alright.... It would be nice to read you again. All my best, Jon. Sorry you're going through a rough patch.

Your work is wonderful as always. Cuts right to the bone.
BTW, real girls go out and play in the dirt, know how to fix computers, and handle their own finances really well.

Joe
@joe.nobel
science fiction, fantasy, erotica
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I know that, @joe.nobel, and so does the girl in the poem, I hope, in the end, in any event. :-)
Good to see you here, my friend, and thank you!

breathes in the distant smoke
of oil dripping on wood

I loved a lot of the way you used the words, especially this image. It gives it such an earthly feel to it. The progression of the poem was well-executed, with innocence turning into darkness and robbed innocence/childhood. That was impressive to use all fifty words, yet keeping the poem as a cohesive piece! Well-done.

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Thanks kindly, Jeremy :-) I am kind of stupidly proud that I got all them words in.... The last few kicked my butt.

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I guess you had enough of them and kicked their butts into the right place, eventually ;)

This is so good. @authorofthings, You gave us a lifetime and a world in one piece of prose. I grew older with the character, I went through all the aches and heartaches. Oh, when it started out so innocent....You allowed us the priviledge to come along for the characters life journey and life lessons as well and you gave us a peak at the things we don't talk about outside of the house and I felt the mood the old and mustiness of the house as she sat thirsty for her gin and tonic and I felt the long, lost longing the opportunity missed, the life that jump the track and played the rest of its tunes out of key with life and what surfaced still is the ultimate of hope of what could have been.....what should have been.. Yet she was only left with a saying about pearls.....

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Blushing furiously at your words, @rensoul17. Thank you for inspiring this bit of madness.

I love how dark a discussion of memory and gender roles and reality can get. This has such a unique feel. I'm doomed in this challenge, aren't I?
"...stark as a goodbye..." This is such a perfect descriptor; I've never heard anyone say it like this before, but I think this is an exact grasp on what goodbyes do to people.

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Not if you refer to your work as 'regurgitations', dear Caleb. :-) But I am glad you've found this exercise of mine. And of course it's dark. I wrote it :-)

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You don’t think of art as regurgitation? (When it’s not a deliberate instrument of war, of course)
Like food, you can only take so much depression and ideas and people and life before it comes up out of you onto page. So, as eloquently as I could summon, art is our insides pulled into the light.

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Warmth and wisdom here. Wisdom in the reflection of the experience. Warmth in the form of grace with words like these: a stranger at the time, then step-dad,
later, still, a dad.


Greetings @authorofthings

You've been invited to the iTalnet contest/initiative

If you wish to enroll the contest, the auditions started today 1'st of March and will last until 5'th of March read more in the link below, the contest has a new voting system where artists/performers vote between themselves (no judges / no upvote count / no nominatios) only contestants vote counts.
https://steemit.com/art/@ivan.atman/italent-contest-auditions-have-started-or-45-steem-rewards-or-all-talents-or-auditory-arts-visual-arts-performing-arts

Please read the rules of the contest prior to enrollment, thank you
@ivan.atman

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beautiful!

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What a picture and story you created there! The theme is so familiar, but theres a driving passion there. Just right for my mood this morning.

I'll keep checking for you here! I'd bet I'm not the only one who misses you!

Hey Miss you Inna! I hope all is well in your world.

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