Calico

Please don’t ask me
“How do you feel?”
In the garden of how I feel
nothing grows
but tears and sighs and bitter aloes.
I cannot speak
my sorrow:
it swells inside me, fungating tumour,
choking words and ulcerating thoughts.

In the garden
of how I feel,
there is no light; sunken corner
of mind’s eye,
knotted stems writhe and mould; torn out of earth,
the mandrakes scream;
ivy leaves
rustle angrily as rats tunnel through,
dragging tails and leaving stench of death

in her garden
where lavender,
lily and roses used to grow.
Violence
of absence displaces memory.
Past and present,
love severed;
nothing looks nor feels the same to me
that once was seen and felt by her, too.

Please don’t tell me,
“you must move on”-
fresh amputee crawling towards
a closed door,
my only way out through catacombs.
Resurrection:
replanting
the wild and tender flowers that she loved,
colours breaking heart of stone and clay,

ancient arts of sweet disorder,
patterns swaying with summer stems
Make-believe
like her the most while having little,
her mystery
calico –
look – she’s climbed to the highest branch again –
she stands, laughing in the dappled light.

Written after seeing a photograph of a woman in a garden

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8 comments on “Calico

  1. […] now here is an ostensibly unrelated link to Pippa Rathborne’s […]

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  2. erickeyswriter says:

    “You are getting too close to the heart of my mystery, such as it is.”

    This only encourages me. As I’ve been reading, I got the sense that there was a unifying thread behind it all. Sure, on the surface you hit several themes multiple times from multiple angles. The same characters come to the surface time and again. But even deeper, there was something that was tying it all together. I dismissed it as my imagination at times, but perhaps it wasn’t.

    ““Calico” is merely the camouflaged entrance to a private hell.”

    Is it wrong of me to be excited to be so close to the entrance?

    “I dislike the online confessional, and I’ve got tens of thousands more words of it to reblog. Writing was therapy, but publishing it was revenge on people whom I cannot kill or maim for legal reasons. Not a pretty thing from any angle.”

    I think I understand. We’re not pretty things once you scratch the surface, are we?

    “Creative self-expression can only be justified if it is turned into art – there’s the rub. It’s the only reason I hesitate to publish. I despise other people’s self-pitying rants so I’m a hypocrite to publish my own.”

    I think you are an artist. No amount of protests will change my mind. I can’t speak to your acting talent – I’ve never seen you act to the best of my knowledge, nor do I have the training to judge an actor’s work – but you have a skill with words and ideas that causes me bouts of jealousy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. PJR says:

    You are getting too close to the heart of my mystery, such as it is. “Calico” is merely the camouflaged entrance to a private hell. I dislike the online confessional, and I’ve got tens of thousands more words of it to reblog. Writing was therapy, but publishing it was revenge on people whom I cannot kill or maim for legal reasons. Not a pretty thing from any angle. Creative self-expression can only be justified if it is turned into art – there’s the rub. It’s the only reason I hesitate to publish. I despise other people’s self-pitying rants so I’m a hypocrite to publish my own.

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  4. erickeyswriter says:

    “her calico mystery”

    What a great line. Love the poem. The weariness of it all… It pierces me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. PJR says:

    I am very grateful to everyone for their kind comments – writing is barren until it grows inside someone else.

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  6. Deep. No doubt we all probably take entirely different meanings from it.

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  7. Very touching!! Saw this on Sarah’s post at First Night Design.

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