Poem: Confession (For RWP #117)

The book was laid open beside your head, which was
turned sideways so that you blew a wind of breath
across its face as you slept. Once again you slept where you fell,
a shadow of an angel collapsing in a corner, onto stone, with your
window shades shut to words and the
dimming amber of light that deliquesced itself onto the walls and floor
of your bedroom. This time was a record: you’d fallen into dreams
less than five feet from your own bed. We laughed, and
left you sleeping.

Too soon, your eyes would become dreams,
your breath would become the west wind, and
your feet would become sky. I wonder if you ever saw
the ring, the ring, that fucking ring, the thing
that was made of gold but smelt of hellfire, the kind that
clings to your clothes long after you’ve left that bed of brimstone. The
Devil’s touch, the hiss of his fingertips on your skin. I
know that there had to be a collection of rubbers
like collapsed and used souls that lay spent in little piles of mass dead
on the floor next to the bed – but I was no more clean for the deed
by their little sacrifices. But when you are eighteen,
you at least believe that the little wedding ring made you
clean in your naïve fucking. When it fails, you pawn it, take your $46.50,
and flee. Which is what I did.

Written 3/5/10
© 2010 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.

This poem was written for Read Write Poem Prompt #117: Create A Hinge, by guest celebrity poet Zachary Schomburg.

Schomburg instructed us to write a poem in two parts: the first as a missive to someone we knew personally who has died, about a memory that you and that person shared; and the second, a confession about a wrong, a misdeed, generally something for which you hold some guilt.

I’ve decided not to reveal the backstory behind either stanza until a sufficient number of you have come by, read, and commented. I won’t spoil this with an explanation until then…or maybe at all. I haven’t decided yet. This is very personal. But I hope you do enjoy the poem.

Stumble It!
Stumble It!

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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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12 Responses to Poem: Confession (For RWP #117)

  1. A very beautiful poem Nicole- powerful and sad. I had to read it several times and enjoyed the freedom you’ve given me to make meaning. Loved this line ‘you’d fallen into dreams
    less than five feet from your own bed’.

  2. This was very well done, Nicole. the first part speaks to me of a small child who refuses to “give up the ghost” and fights sleep until it claims him.
    The second and more heart-rending part tells me of the devil’s bargain made to fit in with what was expected of you…that brimstone smell and the entrapment of the ring tells it all!

  3. Wow, this was amazing. I love how you created the hinge–“Too soon, your eyes would become dreams,
    your breath would become the west wind, and
    your feet would become sky.”

    I also enjoyed how you teased out the meaning of the ring and didn’t reveal what you meant by it until the end of the poem, so it was a nice little mystery to follow along with. This poem packs a real emotional punch, too–especially with the theme of the wedding ring making one “clean”. And the last line:

    “When it fails, you pawn it, take your $46.50,
    and flee. Which is what I did.”


  4. anthonynorth says:

    Full emotion in this – and powerful.

  5. Nicole,
    Wow! You have my imagination going wild with this one. Superbly done! Thanks for sharing this.

  6. Irene says:

    Another wow.

    Somehow you always bring in the Devil in your work. Because the Devil is real isn’t he Nicole?

  7. karen says:

    Nicole, I really like this – maybe in large part because I don’t know the backstory. Using my imagination to fill in or find my own connections is part of the pleasure of poetry for me. I have to read this again to continue my consideration of the first part, especially. That makes me like it all the more.

  8. Those little bits of repetition and frustration give it all an edge that makes it feel it was really ripped out of you onto the page. Thank you for being so honest, it’s awe-inspiring to read…

    10,000 points for using “deliquesce” too, it’s one of my favorite words to toss around.

  9. Paul Oakley says:

    Absolutely breathtaking, Nicole! Wow!

    Our choices certainly do stick to us like the smell of sulfur. “When it fails, you pawn it, take your $46.50,/ and flee.” That is truth.

    Very strong, highly evocative, and wonderfully written.

  10. I agree with above praise! This poem is gut-wrenching. The details are superb. I see that one of the tags for the poem is “divorce” which, for me, places the poem in a tragic setting of family love gone bad, something stolen from the family members. I commend you, Nicole, for your courage in sharing this poem. Thank you.

  11. Tumblewords says:

    An intriguing poem. Strong and vivid. I enjoyed reading it – without knowing any more background. 🙂

  12. Thank you, everyone, for stopping by, reading, and commenting.

    I’ll give away a little now: the first stanza was about my friend, the same one who battled alcohol addiction and didn’t live…this scene is out of one of my last memories of him. Before the darker times took over, he had a habit of falling asleep in weird places…while reading, relaxing, or anything. The second one, as you’ve probably guessed, was about my first marriage…which ended in divorce.

    @Joseph: the second stanza was ripped out of me and onto the page.

    @Irene: It’s not so much the Devil, but the whole concept of Hell. I think we either a) create our own hells, b) end up in them by the selfish behaviour of others, or c) a little of both. But I think it is possible to walk through Hell…and get to Heaven on the other side. Which is why it’s been in so much of my work.

    Plus, for this one I think Rimbaud had something to do with it. There is a section of A Season in Hell, “The Infernal Bridegroom”, in which a woman described being in a relationship with someone personified as the Devil…and the love and abuse by turns that she encounters from him. It’s been said that this part of Season may have been an analogy for the tempestuous relationship Rimbaud himself and his lover, Paul Verlaine. But I digress.

    Again, Thank you everyone for coming by and reading.


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