I love reading poetry. Poetry makes me remember to breathe when everything is dark. Poetry slides my heart delicately from beneath my skin and stabs it bleeding onto the page. Poetry holds my bones together.
But sometimes, I despair. I despair when I read other people’s writing, because they are so painfully en pointe that it makes me wonder why I even try to dance. Because their words have already been shucked from my mouth like an oyster from a shell, and I cannot ever have them back.
I am trying to convince myself to submit to a couple things right now. It is not going well.
Today I discovered Clementine von Radics. She is 21. She has published two books. Her writing causes my belly to clench and my mouth to become dry and I both hate and adore her for it.
Here are some examples.
It is all loneliness, the way you live.
You get up and make the bed like you are trying
to prove a point. You make coffee that is never
quite right and never finish it. This is the third day
you’ve worn this shirt. Eventually, you will paint
your nails again, wash the grease from your hair.
Once you have someone besides your own reflection
You spend more hours not writing poems about him
than you do dancing. You go to parties where you know
you will only stay an hour. Lean quietly against the wall,
watching people with enviably easy laughter.
Your smile is a cracked boat in a flooded river. Close,
but still useless. You do not talk to strangers, just sit there
like a begging dog beside the dinner table,
with eyes that say “Please, come, be my friend.
I am a coward, but I’m hungry.”
I have had horrible nightmares ever since. Last night
I dreamed I was shot but there were no wounds.
I kept having to convince people there were bullets
breaking up my back bone. My subconscious
is a lazy poet.
I have no right to be this tragic, to have a brain like
a broken record. It is unfair to those with reason
to suffer. The worst has already happened to me and I
have tried so hard to be whole again. To wake up every morning.
To buy groceries. To look at strange mens’ strong hands
without half wishing them dead.
I am terrified of what’s inside me. My organs are such
ugly things. They twist and rupture and fail. The good news
is we are all like this. I’m not sure this is good news.
Here is my response.
She is like me only more
She is like me only younger, and prettier, and raw
She is like me only eloquent.
I am blunt stone and she mocks me with her sword
She is behind me when I stand alone in the kitchen at midnight holding a broken wine glass
She is my yesterday morning waking in the dark
She is my skin without the scars
She is the apple before it was bitten
She is the poem before it is written
She is green, and I
have gone too far.
See more of Clementine’s work.
See more of mine.