Once Upon A Time

This was written for NaPoWriMo #5: A Little Introspection or 50-Word Pickup over at Read Write Poem. The ten words I used out of my 25 word pickup (I couldn’t get 50 words, so I worked with what I got) are in italics. Enjoy.



I was not built to study ichthyology – but
once upon a time, I swam

with fishes

while the whispers of precepts created
by minds painted with Machiavellian
colors clung to my ears. I searched page
after page, line and line, imprinting
my own damnation into my heart
until it spat back macabre declarations
into my ears – and I shook

from the violence

of my own preaching. Once upon a time,
I was prey for hawk-eyed kestrels selling
belief in the puncture of their beaks. I was loam,
fourteen years old and full of wandering,
searching the cosmos for dreams where I
could find my own face. I was a tree, reaching
up away from ordinary roots with
open brown arms looking to grab stars
by gluttonous handfuls, not caring if I came
back down to Earth with burnt palms –
and looking to grab the


in my arms
and read her closely
for evidence that the preaching
jettisoned from my heart
was wrong. Now I know

that I was never completely consecrated, never
completely baptized in rivers wielding swollen
tongues speaking sorrow in measured blows to
the brain, and my own tongue was swollen
once upon a time –

but I always had an ear
outside the river. I heard amethysts calling
my name, emeralds preaching to the
insane tone-deaf tongue choirs in my
mind, and turquoise moons quoting
strange and beautiful Scriptures
to the tatterdemalion girl that I always saw
staring back at me in the mirror, clothed in
chartreuse birthstones and hiding Leo’s
fiery mane under her ragged, sable
hood. I always knew

that I would be permanently liminal
and criminal to minds enshrouded by
fences that cannot think and divisions
that cannot feel: but I sing the dawn, seeking
like Bono for the colors of God. And I
know that they are still there –

because I listened
outside the river
once upon a time.

Written 4/6/09
© 2009 Nicole Nicholson. 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.
This entry was posted in Lent 2009 Challenge Poems, NaPoWriMo 2009, Poems, Prompt Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Once Upon A Time

  1. poeticgrin says:

    Your poetic voice is so unique. You’re always a joy to read. I love that you take on challenges such as this. If I had to work with some of these words, I’d be sitting there, drooling, twirling my hair in my fingers wondering where, oh where, to begin. Not only do you build the house, you make it a mansion. Good work!

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