REM Stage 6: A Poetry Blog || julie niklas


Excerpt From Today
02/20/2011, 3:52 PM
Filed under: Poetry, Writing | Tags: , , , , ,

I smell my dead grandmother in a spilled bowl of lunch-soup.
Two years and innumerable shakes of spice jars,
still I can’t shake the sting of curry.
Some fragrance of sesame in the broth, the thickness of it
was always hovering around the arches in her knuckles.
The sediment stirs up like an onset of moldy glaucoma
wavering around the spoon,
blurring any reflection of my face.

It’s impossible to hold the dichotomy
of grandmother and anger for long. They are unrelated
but both prone to swollen feet, tears.

Soup gives her death a reason to linger, a way back
into memories, a drinkable memento.
Smelling her while angry blossoms a deeper rage in my diaphragm,
and the stale reality is that one of them is dead,
tucked away in shrouds in a mausoleum.

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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?



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.