Introvert in Red

there is a snort wrapped in your chortle

devaluing scoff of disbelief

prickling through trappings of merriment

find humor at my blush-ed expense

 

you heave invalidating skepticism

splashes of frigid indigo

ice my vulnerable disclosure

impromptu orchid proffering

 

you have colored me strident scarlet

as I retreat not from weighty debate

and stand toe to toe with any challenge

in my hollow of hallowed ground

 

I carry off vermillion verisimilitude

in tones more assured than dulcet

take the measure of men of stature

shrink violet from no deliberation

 

my soul is lilting lavender

clad as a rubied warrior

wilts exhausted in social commerce

blooms fragrant is solitude’s sun

 

you vision me caricatured cerise

pushing envelopes and limits

while I crave the blessed relief

of a meadowed azure retreat

Mood, Moonlit

I sowed the seeds of my own destruction

coated in the guise of a mother tongue

while the drizzle of doom

soft and silent

drips

drops

/my sibilant sis/

 

I ate from the cap of the amanita

scarlet brooding senorita

swooned to the tune

of a glass-looked fall

spat the spores

/blood admonition/

 

I dabbled in a dab of diablerie

swaddled as I was with faux coterie

dawdled long among tip-toed tulips

placed dibs on the crux of wizardry

 

I raise my glass

chipped, half-empty

toast with the devil

/wed moonlight/

Fall of the Fallen

I crunch

on the swath

of crisp cool air

that cuts

chilled and invigorating

through the swamp of my despair.

 

dust of leaves

coat my tongue

as I masticate

crow pie

long past

it’s sell-by date

 

I spit

 

breathe

the oak floating

reminders

 

humid cling of miasma

is not the haven

it self-proclaims

Assaulted

you were pushed from behind

 

I heard in the breathless notch

in your measured words

that catch

in your voice

the tremulous quaver

in your understated stand

 

I have felt those hands

(haven’t we all)

one knife-wielding

– in word or deed –

while the other lays claim

with eyes or clammy paws

to my plush backside

you are the embodiment

of cultured terror apparent

the carbon dated anguish

etched on your skin

your pain quivers

on articulated tips

of your educated tongue

 

I jump sky high

elbow cocked in self- defense

it fades yet never ebbs

that stretched rubber band

that inhabits cells

twangs unbidden

and we sproing!

he tantrums

spews vile rhetoric

wields his power

his privilege

in ways she would burn

at stake

were she dare give voice

were she to cry crododile

her ovaries would fry

ahhh those tantrums

we choke down

swallow hot with rancid bile

those that would label

rabid bitch

raving psycho

 

because well behaved women

may bare our ankles

here in 2018

shoulders even (Oh my!)

but we step NOT

upon the tender toes

of fragile male privilege

under pain of recompense

 

How Low Can You Go?

you gather your henchmen

close and closer

they

whose quals consist

\in whole and part\

of oft-shriveled

deified appendages

and an omnipresent

aptitude for grating

self-aggrandizement.

 

you flaunt

your petulant pedigree

while maggots squirm

on the flyleaf

pearling slime

on the stained

glass aperture

to your fears

 

I neither sway

nor hold self-same

relegated

as I am

thankless workhorse

\inflamed appendix\

held in abeyance

 

bend my back

with toil and trouble

work nimble fingers

to aching bones.

I break not

dear sir

limbo me not

to the lowest

of your lows

To Lie in Wait

does anyone know how

to wait anymore?

in this world of constant contact

buzzing chiming hyper

stimulation

what happens if you sit

in silence?

alone with the thud of your blood

\thundering in your veins\

and the whisper

of your inner descant

erupts

a cacophonous harangue?

nay, you say

I run not from the fear

my flaming inner ear

as I suckle at the singing

\pinging ringing\

electronic sugar teat.

 

this generation who believes

navel gazing

is a search for pierc-ed bling

an alt-indie band

or a porn-spawned

sexual fetish

they might just give a try,

flee

\buzz on the back of a flea\

at the barest nod

to hush-ed introspection

heed not those

tongues of babel loosed.

 

what inner demons?

 

 

 

 

 

Under Construction

 

I built them myself

these walls

that circumscribe me

\hem my hagridden heart\

‘round me

safe and alone

bricked with mortal mortar

\angst echo chamber\

impervious to pounding pestle.

fingertips mangle

in the raucous

clawing

to breach

a bloody gap.

 

I just wish I hadn’t

scrawled such grotesque

graffiti

Name That Fire

was I being

uppity?

might that be the source

of animus

in a jailer woman

who inhales internalized

sexism

haughty with skinny latte aroma

exhaling scorn from the lifted bridge

of her upturned nose?

yessir! that is why

I abhor canned characterizations

labeling woman

\manipulative, dramatic, triflin’\

who we vanquish

and discard.

it would not be

that I speak

of the inequities I see.

if I am uppity

from what properly

lowered place

do I dare

rise?

 

I am fiery

you say.

an assessment lit

in my challenge

to your read

simply because you hold

all the cards.

true, I refuse to defer

to authority

over logic

to might

over right

I stand firm in my quaking boots

as I climb from the trench

\silenced no more\

fan the flames

of my insubordination

drink in the mist

of grudging admiration

from slaves to status quo

while I burn it

to the ground

I Knew My Pain

I knew my pain when it was a screeching

sunset

spurting cotton candy carnage

across the feathered heavens

mocking all that is soft and soothing

drawing my gaze

up and up, tearstained

\thundering scarlet refrains\

reverberating clang of your loss.

I knew my pain when it was a snarling

saber-tooth

birthed of my rent ventricles

spewing aortic dirges

feasting on festering anguish

\clamorous gluttony\

heartache grew fangs

fueled on midnight howling

and my heart gnawed raw itself.

I knew my pain when it was a stinging

nettle

clinging needy-puppy to my shins

\all scratch and scrape reminders\

of the bite that replaced the soul

in the deep chocolate of your iris.

I knew my pain when it was creeping

ivy

camouflaged among wistful greening

arisen from the fetid heap

\itching a glitch in my hopeful healing\

tendrils sneak snake-oil slick

renders my skin hopeless raw

where it lingered

in the shadow of your touch.

I knew my pain when it was tempered

steel

inlaid with soulful etchings

\mother of my surviving pearl soul\

I raise the blades coated

in my fevered blood

hammered now, the plowshares

of my hard- won stance.

I Knew My Place

I knew my place when I was cooking

barefoot

scrambling to please

the indomitable hostess

fierce in a frazzled up-do

sizzling while he sat at ease.

I knew my place when I was chewing

my cheeks

cognizant of my inconsequence

biting back that biting retort

while they chewed conceited cud

confident of their pompous placement.

I knew my place when I was toiling

drudgery

forbidden from the boardroom

as I covered incompetence

silver coffee serviette

service with a smile.

I knew my place when I was massaging

his ego

and his member, crafting a pleasure cruise

dutiful and doting

at the expense of my own satisfaction.

 

I know my place when I am standing

strong

solid on my own two feet

above the clamoring fray

going my own way.

 

This piece was inspired by I Knew My Worth by the inimitable Kindra M. Austin.