This poem was written for two prompts: Tuesday Title at Poefusion (“Red Music of Burning Glass”) and Read Write Poem Prompt # 51: Peel the Onion. This was a collaborative piece written from material contributed by several members of Read Write Poem (for more details, follow the link above to RWP). Enjoy.
brittle glass on top of skin
you wince when you hear the red music
of its burning from fiery words
outer pain melts its way inward, encases you in stasis
gives you unseen green skin, horns, and strange trumpet ears
your ogre lives inside
beneath warm smiles and pleasant gestures
a surly growl, a sullen look
taught rough rope moves through this world
taught fiber optic nerves respond in reflex
block fists, spray formic acid
piss on their sacred cows to even the score
but no Warholesque masterpieces flow from you
just tainted water and stench
pieces of you stick to whoever gets close
they require surgical removal
so you sit in a wombat’s corner
radar eyes scan shoe shuffles, forgotten creases and ruffled hair
crawl up into a tree with silent mental pictures
of your purloined goods
smirk at your clandestine getaway
from the dance of red blood and flushed skin that is life
you get human, you get lazy
drop Polaroid prints of yourself for others
to pick up, look at, insert into their own mental photo albums:
your open office door betraying pictures of
your multicolored family on your monitor
in full screensaver view
your refusal to eat meat, your barely perceptible shudder
when you see skin stretched across ottomans
your sobs heard through a door as you
tend inner bruises, insults, and scabs and then
hurriedly glue yourself together, mop up the tears left over from
an impromptu tsunami
now you notice that you’ve dropped far too many pictures
what do you do?
scurry, gather them up
suspicions rise as thought ribbons to tie you down
who saw what? who will say what to whom?
barely survive the strangling from the boa constrictor
ribbons wrapped around your neck
move with with austerity, look over your shoulder
a comatose spirit watching self in half-tones
wishing for the dawn
what are you hiding?
a little girl who likes chocolate ice cream most of all
and who rides her favorite yellow bike around the block?
a young boy sneaking into an empty construction site
to play within its cage of studs and trusses,
the whole world close enough to touch?
a man grabbing chips in his cold tight claws,
collecting too many to hold or swallow or chew or lug in a massive bag
until he must let them fall away?
a woman who still remembers empty mailboxes
and emptier promises?
peer through the unseen gossamer curtains
that divides inner soul from outer layers
when the curtain is drawn back
your truth stumbles forth, blind and sloppy
sometimes the breeze blows the curtain open
you’re fooling no one
so release the light, let it burst forth
penetrate your layers, peel them back
become both onion and peeler
cry as you are peeled away
there’s a quivering soul at the core
holding out a single rose
hoping someone will take it from your fingers
now a question:
this reflection in the mirror
these thoughts, these images, this truth –
was it you or was it me?
Written 11/3/08, 11/4/08, and 11/5/08
© 2008 Nicole Nicholson and the folks at Read Write Poem. All Rights Reserved.