Release the Light

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

the end

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.

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About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 38 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and autistic.
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10 Responses to Release the Light

  1. Scott says:

    well worth the wait! I loved the journey, all the way to the end! Very nice with capturing imagery. I also like the form, the way each was seperated. Thanks for sharing it with us! 🙂

  2. Gemma says:

    A wonderful rollercoaster of experiences! I think my favourite image must be the one of “wombat’s corner”. Love this!

  3. Powerful images of self and turmoil within self. You certainly know how to open those layers up and make someone look at detail. Well done. Have a nice day.

  4. winedarksea says:

    thoroughly exquisite

  5. A~Lotus says:

    I enjoyed reading this! Powerful images, great use of diction–what a journey. I can’t pick out my favorite lines or stanzas; they’re all beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Holly D says:

    “become both onion and peeler”-and you did…this was done so well!

  7. I felt all those are interconnected in some ways. Great work…

    ribbons of her thoughts

  8. nathan1313 says:

    I love the way you introduce each section. This is an amazing examination of the nature of the self. And that photo is like nothing else.

  9. rob kistner says:

    Excellent piece! Fascinating reflections on the essence of humanness… 😉

  10. Wow, thank you everyone. I totally have to give credit to the folks at RWP – they generated all that raw material and I must admit, it was a real challenge to assemble it into the final work you see.

    I think these collaborative prompts give me quite a challenge, and I’m glad for it.


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