You don’t see it, but some days
I drag moonlit danger behind me like a veil of milky dust
casting itself off of my crown. I balance
armies of fire on the backs of my arms and
use them for wings. I hear
the stars rubbing their legs together for the want of music
and hanging gold fiddled notes on Venus’ earlobes. They
chime, making love in the solar wind.
I strap bass lines onto my back;
wrap chain mail angels around my chest;
strap thunderclouds to the soles of my feet;
and I dance.
You wouldn’t know it,
but I have a thousand Heavens
and just as many Hells burning inside. You see
the computer mind, but not the
glass shatter heart. I sometimes wonder
if I am a transparent kachina in your line of sight, if you can
already see how much I burn; but you
always prove me wrong. You
try to unzip me, and see my eyes fleeing away from you
like startled ponies. Do you really
know me? If you did, you would know that
if I look at you too long, I might burst.
But you don’t know. And how can I tell you?
I consult the dictionary of human behavior every day.
I had to load it into my brain and make it learn
that you open doors with hello and
that you close them with goodbye. I had to learn
the mechanics of when to smile, when to laugh.
If I like you, I tear encyclopedia pages and pictures from off my walls
to give to you as gifts. And if I were to love you, I might
serenade you with music channeled from the
stereo installed into my brain that I first noticed
when I was ten.
But small talk still feels like grease on my
fingertips. And some days, I hear
my own voice rendered in Greek and wonder
when I will speak my own tongue again.
So I will speak my own dialect of
encyclopedia notes, photographs, trivia bank entries,
badly sung covers of the originals, words shaped
like arrows. There may be no smiles, no
dance of our eyes, no oil between us to make things
easier. That’s not how I work, and I am
not ashamed of this. And maybe some day, you will
see me dance.
This is my fourth piece for the February 2010 Mini-Challenge over at Read Write Poem. This month’s challenge directed us to gather a poet’s work around us, pull out or underline lines we really liked, and then construct at least two centos, or patchwork poems (one each on days one and two, of course) from those lines. On day 3, we have the option of either writing another cento or parting ways with the lines and writing our own poems based on or inspired by our chosen poet. (And BTW, you can read all of my February Mini-Challenge Poems here.)
I chose to do a few things with this poem. For one thing, I noticed Rimbaud uses simpler, shorter concrete imagery — but his work is still very vivid and arresting — whereas I will try to paint you a huge picture. I tried to go shorter and simpler, yet still vivid. And I used a modified version of a quote from one of his other poems in this piece:
I have stretched ropes from steeple to steeple; garlands from window to window; gold chains from star to star; and I dance.
I also wrote it for Read Write Poem Prompt #115: What Do You Believe? I cheated a little, and didn’t make a list, BUT I know I believe heavily in the concept of neurodiversity and the right of a person to be as they are without having to try to fit in. Also, I’ve been reading a lot lately about Asperger’s Syndrome and ASD and with my therapist’s guidance have been exploring the possibility that I have Asperger’s. And if that is the case, then I don’t consider it being broken or something that needs to be fixed. That is what I believe. And so I let it also inform this poem.
Hope you enjoyed the read.