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Martine April 12, 2009

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[just something I wrote one day. Maybe the start of something bigger?]

What hurts is not the way her body is starting to ache more and more with each performance these days, nor that the money circus tickets sell for is becoming increasingly less than it was years ago, that now it is a stretch to put a meager meal on the tiny table in her trailer to feed herself and her son. It is not the way her skin is starting to fold and crease in the corners and in the places no one – or hardly anyone, that is – sees. Nor is it the way her stomach is slowly growing rounder, softer beneath the corset bindings of her leotards.

All these inconvenient changes induce a dull pang in her stomach when Martine thinks of them – mostly she doesn’t. But what aches, what truly aches, is when the lights go out under the big top, when the applause fades away and she is no longer Madamoiselle Martine, the sparkling, daring trick rider who amazes and frightens audiences into gasps and applause, who holds their hearts still with her showy beauty, only Martine Reynold the single mother who sleeps alone, rejecting the occasional, cheeky offers of fellow acrobats Jean Marceau and Pierre, and fighting back the more serious, almost menacing advances of the ringmaster Vasser.

What aches is the sense of being trapped, the feeling that her life is half over and she will fade into lonely nothingness. Only a few more years are left to perform in this cheap, struggling traveling circus – never to know fame, or glory, or anything better, really, than this life of drifting, half-empty existence.

What aches most is her resignation to her situation. There is little she could do to fight the truths, and even less of any conviction to do so, when there was a time when she would have jumped to struggle and push against the bars of her prison until she broke out.

All this travels through Martine’s mind as she extinguishes the lanterns that hang from various hooks in her trailer and looks at the sleeping child – Léon will always be a child, a silent, strange, volatile child, for his brain will never develop as a normal boy’s – who lies curled on the cot in the corner. Here, though, asleep with his slow-moving eyes shut tightly, he could almost pass for healthy, for any other child. Martine smoothes the pale brown hair from his forehead and presses her mouth in a kiss there on the smooth dusky skin. Asleep is the only time these days that she can truly touch her boy, for rarely during the day will he tolerate her affection without screaming or shrugging off her hands. Sometime in the last year or so, he has become even more difficult, regressing further behind the ramparts into his own, untouchable world. But asleep, he is her little boy. Asleep, he is her angel.

Peeling off her glittered, sequined leotard, Martine shrugs into the soft sanctuary of a man’s shirt – a man whose name she can no longer remember, but whose hands she remembers as being surprisingly coaxing and gentle, a man who stayed only a hair’s breadth of time, but who somehow managed to leave his mark in a few forgotten articles of clothing. She blows out the last light and climbs into her own narrow little bed, where the nighttime sounds of the circus at rest will surely lull her as they always do into a few fleeting hours of sleep.

sad story, self #2 April 8, 2009

Posted by Girlbird in life, poetry, writing.
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She wears her suffering like a crown:
Garlanded in sacrifice
Ornamented in hope –
But mostly there is sorrow there.
There is pain, there.

And it is pain that consumes her,
When the lights flicker low as Evening goes to his lover.
And then again –
Rising after a sleepless night
With the sun, an indifferent ruler who seeks to scorch his subjects with his
Cheap brilliance,
It is there.

For although she rises up
like Ira predicted
It is not a song extolling freedom
But rather, in praise of her self-crafted
(Though admittedly haphazard)

sad story, self #1 April 8, 2009

Posted by Girlbird in life, poetry, relationships, writing.
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What she hates most is the
bitter fact:
there is no one to blame, really,
but herself.

After all.
It was she who built the cage,
And, sleepless,
reached around the bars
to turn the key in the old, rusty lock — yes.

Baby did it,
all by herself.

Of Siblings and State Buildings February 24, 2009

Posted by Girlbird in poetry, relationships, Uncategorized, writing.
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She threw the Empire State Building against the wall.
Years later, he threw her.
The pinnacle of fourteen years spent shouting in public halls.

She took his spotlight, invaded his small
Attentive atmosphere.
She threw the Empire State Building against the wall.

She took his space, and made it fall
From the sacred height he revered,
Giving way to fourteen years spent shouting in public halls.

He took her heart and made it crawl
Into a world engineered.
She threw the Empire State Building against the wall.

They often uttered nothing at all,
A silency heavy, austere.
The rest of those fourteen years were spent shouting in public halls.

It was only a toy, insignificant, small.
But the repercussions were severe.
She threw the Empire State Building across the wall,
Cutting the ribbon to years spent shouting in public halls.

(a villanelle… and a true story.)

the tragic tale of the cast-off coffee pot February 14, 2009

Posted by Girlbird in poetry, writing.
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She sits, pending, in the corner
a siren once seductive,
now abandoned for sleeker, more efficient models.

A snaking tail protrudes, coiling around her body
its two prongs, devil-like,
poised in resentful wait.

Her silver arm extends
in a beckon once inviting,
now only a crooked testimony

to how one,
nearly comatose, perhaps
would reach for her bloodless, bewitching form,

removing her molded polypropylene coronet
to pour moist, blackened grittiness into the dark orifice below
reaching for the pinpoint of migraine-inducing infrared,

to induce the drip-drip of liquid carcinogens
– akin to draining gutter contents after a flash flood –
into the crystal chamber just big enough for one
of bitterness –

A cavern now sullied by a glaze of dead skin cells and miniscule pollen fibers,
a tell-tale whorl of a stain
the faded lipstick print of an open-mouth kiss.

A cavern that now only holds such treasures
As headless, withered jewels of insects
Ladies adorned in red and black with filmy, crumpled sashes…

Instead of enticing liquidated cinders.

The damsel sits, pending, in the corner.
Forever in wait.

Should you wish to draw her out,
to ignite her inner mechanisms into caffeinated frenzies once again –
Tread carefully.

Pay close attention to the warning
inscribed on her pallid shoulder:

Relieve pressure through steam tube before removing cap or brew basket.”

A worthy piece of advice
when dealing with any
tempestuous vessel.

-Me (Siri Hammond) 02/12/09
originally posted at Snaps, my english teacher’s class poetry blog. This was his coffee pot, by the way. In the corner. I unearthed it under piles of other junk. Hah.

blueberry picking January 29, 2009

Posted by Girlbird in poetry, writing.
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so tart, so sweet –
you cram them in


after blessed handful

like kisses

’till you must come up
for air
now turn away


at your gluttony –
but your mouth!
your lips, your tongue, your teeth
are stained a telling blue,
marking you as


Measures January 25, 2009

Posted by Girlbird in aspirations and dreams, life, love, prose and short stories, writing.
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Have you ever wanted something so much, she mused, that it made you want to burst into tears… but at the same time it was so wonderful that you couldn’t really cry over it? That you reveled in your sadness?

He looked at her then as she sat turned a little away from him, silhouetted against the stars, her skin illuminated by the moon, hair intertwined with the same light. With her flowered dress and her bare feet, wet from the dew soaking the grass, she looked like one of those dryads or whatever that he had read about in the fourth grade. He breathed. She, this scene, the question she had just asked was every cliché he’d ever read or watched, but somehow he couldn’t bring himself to care. Although he was the boy who tried to escape every expectation, every social grace, every conformity, every Hollywood theme, somehow in doing this he became the very ultimatum of the classic social rebel.

She looked back at him, lounging in the wet grass, his long limbs stretched out and his head thrown back as if he hadn’t a care in the world. She took in a breath. Through the ragged locks of hair that flopped over his forehead, his eyes appraised her, and for once they weren’t filled with a bitter, biting cynicism. There was no curtain there tonight. They were piercing, certainly, but for once it was as if he was really looking at her for the first time, and perhaps he liked what he saw.

She blushed and lowered her gaze, seeing the unspoken answer in his silence.

Have you ever felt that something was so wrong for you and so right at the same time? she asked then, her heart pounding.

He shrugged and tipped his head back up to look at the sky. Is anything every really… right? Or wrong? How can anyone judge that?

She trembled. There has to be some measure of it.

He shook his head. Sometimes people set too much in store by rules. You get too caught up in rubrics and precedents and measuring cups.

But without measures, how could anyone have goals? How could we move forward? How can we decide what we truly want, making choices, if there’s no way of determining which is better?

He could see she was nearly crying now, for although her face was darkened by the night, he saw the tears glistening on her cheeks and heard the hysteria building in her voice.

Hey, he said softly, as if speaking to the stray and skittish dogs he had used to work with at the local animal shelter, sitting up. Come here. She scooted forward, and he took her hand and placed it against his chest, over his heart.

Her fingers curled and she closed her eyes, feeling the quickening pulsing beat radiating through her skin and down her bones. She looked at him questioningly, their breaths mingling. He pressed her hand closer and met her gaze.

This is how we tell.

learning January 3, 2009

Posted by Girlbird in life, love, poetry, Uncategorized.
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ahahah it's me all over.

ahahah it's me all over.

won’t you make my heart grow
won’t you make my soul fly
won’t you make my dreams linger
I thought you would.
I thought you could.

but you made my heart falter
and my soul sink
and my dreams flicker
because you wouldn’t.
because you couldn’t.

but now my heart is growing
and my soul is gliding
and my dreams taste
because I will.
because I can.

poetry written at midnight or later December 6, 2008

Posted by Girlbird in writing.

Obsessive Cleaning

She cut her finger on a can,
washing dishes –
It was 11:38 PM.

(she ony cleans voluntarily when she’s agitated
or when the world turns upside down)

the blood
it stained the water red.

(the dishes too)

there is a bloodstain on the linoleum.


Seeping into the lines
In her slender finger

(lines of cleavage, she read in her anatomy book)

there’s something satisfying about the way
it oozes out

like a bit of her soul.

(we’re all just masses of tissue and dna anyway)

sticks the finger
in her mouth
tastes so

salty sweet.

Yes, I understand…

We’re all just a mistake
Evolution gone awry.

His lips

…were chapped.

And the other’s were insistently

But yours?
She thinks yours would do quite nicely.