REM Stage 6: A Poetry Blog || julie niklas


Daddy
07/26/2009, 11:26 PM
Filed under: Poetry, Writing | Tags: , , , , ,

It’s a first draft, to be revised at some point, but here’s what I have for now.

She is indignant. “I can
do it myself.” But he offers his hand
anyways,
and she takes it,
anyways, and stretches her leg up the stoop,
the pink ribbons in her hair bouncing,
one hand out for balance, the other secure in
Daddy’s grasp. When she reaches the top
she smiles up at him
and bobbles in the door, which he
holds open.
In ten years he will offer to drive
her to a friend’s before she’s even
reached for her keys, but she will say, “I can
do it myself,” and leave him there
with just that, the grinding jingle of
the keys she’s holding the way
he used to hold her hand, and the springloaded double-slam
of the screen door. The sound of the
engine will float to the ceiling like
a noodle in boiling water until long after
she has driven away, the only evidence
she spoke a word at all the pink
ribbon on her lips, now
split up the middle.

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Nights with Other People
07/22/2009, 12:37 AM
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

It was already dark when we got the
marshmallows out, and we sat around
the carnelian flames under the stars that
looked like powdered sugar on burnt toast,
and even though we were near the city we could see them
because we couldn’t see
anything but lights in our dark places. And we
kept those dark places to ourselves, clasped to
our breasts, warming like solid silver on our skin, and
melting the closer we brought them to the fire.
We passed the bag around more like it was
a jewelry box with pearls than plastic and marshmallows
and we skewered each one right
through the center, sometimes three or four at a time
because it didn’t matter if they stuck together,
just that we got to have sticky on our
fingers and around our lips so that when
we laughed we could feel the dried sugar
stretch on our faces like a second skin. In the dark,
with the fire glowing up onto our fronts, we knew
how close to burning and how brown everyone’s
marshmallows were, but could see
only silhouettes of our own turning
over the heat, and it was comforting
that no one else could see the dark places
we saw in ourselves.



America
07/19/2009, 5:07 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Haven’t posted in a while. Been thinking- a lot. Being in Costa Rica this summer made me realize how dissatisfied I really am with America.

America, you’ve built walls too high to jump
and decorated the insides to
make me comfortable, and looking around
I see a fouton covered in a fabric I once saw
at my grandmother’s house– you’ve pulled up a tv on a plastic dinner tray
beside it so I can see all the great things you do.

America, you’ve stocked my fridge with
your own bloodsteak and crop,
fed me from the pullout freezer for weeks at a time
and given me buy-one get-one coupons
to use at your chain supermarkets and drugstores– anything
to keep me happy in your perfect arms.

America, you’ve thrown opportunity after
giftboxed opportunity at me and I’ve taken them because I am a child
and you are everybody’s mother. America, you taught me
manners and language– I would not write if you
had not done so.

America, you’ve been a blessing with
a complimentary petticoat I’ve worn all my life.
You’ve given me everything I need and too much more,
and from the inside looking out you are beautiful because
all I see is the view and your top dollar wallpaper,

but America, have you looked at yourself lately? Have you seen yourself from the outside?
You look like a prison with all your flags up like barbed wire.
America, when did you become less than what you stand for?



Sheet Music
07/14/2009, 4:40 PM
Filed under: Poetry, Writing | Tags: , , ,

He speaks like sheet music. Un-
-steady, metered,
half of the equation. Words mezzo piano,
stems coming out of the lines
where they shouldn’t. Then, legato,
and two octaves down, the notes
resonate in my ribcage. When he
stutters forte and discordant I
expect him to say, “Oh shit,
I just pizzicatoed.” But he holds his breath like
A fermata, and continues talking.
Diminuendos in the presence of
A lot of words. Muffles,
Only the echo dares to speak.



Forbidden Fruit
07/09/2009, 3:25 PM
Filed under: Poetry, Writing | Tags: , , , ,

It was the image hanging out the corner of your mouth
that sent me over the edge. The
fibrous mottled skin of
all things beautiful, flung across your cheek
like an overcoat, you wrapped up in it and your arms
going the wrong way through the sleeves. It was so big on you
it could have been your grandfather’s
and when you smiled, I saw the translucent
bits of sweetflesh stuck in your teeth like
black keys on a piano. Then you chuckled like an
out-of-tune baby grand, and your breath
smelled just like the fruit
you devoured in the shade of your mind,
not even thinking to wash it first.
You and your sugarcoated mouth and your uncontrollable hunger
and now all that’s left is a shred of skin
reduced to a sloppy triangle and fit for a graveyard, and all you can say is
It wasn’t a very good apple.



Green Tree Frog
07/08/2009, 11:10 PM
Filed under: Photography | Tags: , , , ,
This is a green tree frog I came across outside the cabin while in Costa Rica.

This is a green tree frog I came across outside the cabin while in Costa Rica.

The same frog, in a different stance.

The same frog, in a different stance.

Approximately the size of a large peanut (with shell).

Approximately the size of a large peanut (with shell) when curled up.



Poets
07/07/2009, 4:06 AM
Filed under: Poetry, Writing | Tags: , , ,

Even when a poet tells you
his secrets, don’t believe him
because he is a poet, and a poet
is a liar, not a man. But man is a liar,
and he is not a poet, so why do we
believe the man over the poet?