That woman is me

The woman sat flaccid-bottomed on bath lip
squash of emotions beneath sturdy hips
pieces of her, no-one ever sees
water on full, hitting porcelain as drums beaten to recall
steam filling small room, obscuring
her grave emptying breasts as they urge to droop lower in hour
whisper of a nipple, against empty arms
when was the last time? She felt hands on her
lifting drummed grief within, recoiling of sadness for
blur and smooth music of touch?
Is she still a woman able to appeal?
or become the damp drying of paper walls
pealing and perishing with carved silence
and who would caress the broken parts of her
with equal ardor? Not minding
how her stomach rounded and slid
slightly sideways in its phantom gelatin mold
where the folds of her neck roosted
her opening legs a trust, erased
for she holds within herself an
eternity of scolds and loose threads
disliking the belch of flesh around her thighs
or the downward pull of stretched skin
marking its silver lines across her
like marauding seafarers
she is told she is beautiful
by those who over-use the word and
glut on dispelling fears like caged witches given
their freedom
but in her heart of hearts
where rosy trace of girlhood is long swept and vanquished
and mirrors are to be run past and shunned
the puckering of her forehead, and thin skinned clavical
knows the real scales of her drying self-hood curling inward
in its invariable regret
she is not the smooth melatonin
goddess of her dreams nor even young enough to stop
another heart with any part of her
physic movement or grace
yet she possesses still
a smile, pulled from depths, capable of
illuminating others darkness
and when she is not
angered by slouch of age and
hours spent hunched over making
worlds with words
withering in slow motion on the vine
of her choices and that stayed
moment she quit opening for sunlight
she remembers the fleet-footed
girl of yesterday, taken in the arms of those
who would give her ease from solitude
in their reverence of her youth
though, it is not now, now she is alone
the bath filling high and her wish
to step into hot water and be absorbed by fantasy
to be touched again in feelings now stored away
only taken out briefly when facing herself and
the strange quality of her diminishing reflection
a voice within
rarely permitted to verbalize
the absence and loneliness of her skin
for if it could speak
surely those words would, catch the damp of her
ardor and unsaid want and cry out
oh just once more! Let me feel the rounding
desire we take for granted in youth
a touch through time, relieving ache
of years spent sleeping, back to the wall
hands beneath pillows, unwanted in disappearing skin
the burning of such need
a fire beneath closed eyes
seeking refuge in other worlds
where you are as you were
and have always been
devoured by your passion
the feeling of you inside, reminding us both
of life abundant
without loathing nor reducing
that woman
reaching out
is me

She has grown out of herself – Candice Louisa Daquin

 

The girl, the gash, the glory
she was once even referred to as happy whore
sinister slut, fake good girl
the girl of multifaces
is no longer a girl
she has grown out of herself
the sharp thorns of her virginity
long bled
she is now a woman of dubious age
standing on the hemmed periphery of other girls with elastic limbs
their body language leans away, saying; she is no longer their sister
(they whisper, they whisper)
an aging divide
four and five, divide by nine
long multiplication
she has been subtracted out
something about the lines in her eyes
she’s not one of us, they say in collective pollen count
coming together like a quilt
leaving her to wade out into flat water
only five years ago, only less than that
when she had a full head of bright hair and nimble back
she somersaulted in their field
picking irises
and they did not bat an eye
she was under the radar
nar, nar, nar!
old enough to be mother to some
those angry girls with tight biceps and lungful of words
but they did not detect
the softening of her cleavage
the jello in her thighs singing its spring bulb
they only saw her pretending
thought her good enough and one of them
til the sickness left its indelible mark
a red hand print covering her left eye
the one she could not see well from
(Premature macular degeneration, you may lose your sight, the optician gleefully sung)
turning her with its yellow dusted baptism
honest to her guilt of years lived
I am four and five not divided by nine
I smell different to you
this is what men sense when they sniff around us like
wolves come from rain storm
instinctively keening toward the coltish and fawn
as we who are older turn like wine
another vintage they have no taste for
she could fool them well but did not, after her visit to Hades
wish to pretend to be a girl anymore
only a woman could have survived
and it was stamped as surely as Ash Wednesday
a third eye
the slow drain of life began
she saw it first in her hands, then her mouth
it did not so easily tell stories
when Spring came, they knew her truth
without saying anything, left her out
of their Mayday circle
all the light-footed snow rabbits and their daisy chains
now when she tried to join in
they circumvented her, like
she was a parent, a teacher, an elder
with respect, but no thought given
of her pattered exclusion
maybe she did the same, when she
had such halo radiance
just as boys turn to men and wish
to scoop up girls and remain
ever held in youthfulness
she saw her own extinction
in their slow passing over her gaze
she was becoming invisible
first her hair, then her arms, then her feet
gone into deep water and not returned
she swam out to the lighthouse
where piercing rays caught
undulated water like a lovers stroke
and by fevered spray of waves against rock
stared at her future like chain and ball
why does a woman have?
first the pummeling of her elders
constraining her flight?
then reigned condemnation of those
wishing to corset and divide
and finally, as she ages
the talisman of wisdom enveloping her
an unspoken rejection by her own sisters
who think themselves invulnerable
far removed, not tainted yet by
her approaching wither
til the only one left to speak
is her own voice
and in unblemished muslin sky
she becomes a single long tail bird
seeing everything
from on high
that lonely place
of insight and exile
how she longs still
to be pulled into the sewn circle
embraced by her daughters and shimmering girls
given the crown of daisies
led whirling and laughing
around mosaic may pole
like a girl who has remembered
her life before she was born
again clasping the soft hands
of future
fearful of nothing
in the rawboned bosom of her sisterhood

A soft closing of words – Candice Louisa Daquin

 

When you are younger, everything is a challenge

I will not let them break me / I will fight back / I will survive!

as you get older you see

or you hear

or maybe it’s just a sense

in the air

or a turning of

light

changing

clenching your heart

sorrow wells up

a pool from nowhere

upon which you see

no reflection

only the insubstantial flickering

of someone

trying to survive

skate even

on cracking surface

too thin for the weight of

all those doubts

shadows without names

time piled high

playing broken records

and though you skate fast

and nimbly

there is numbness in your effort

as if you wish to finally be

caught

submerged

ice leaching your hot discontent

with page turned days

and ironed nights

into a drowning

of all the pain captured and glazed

within your center

where no-one looks

because adults are not

children with sticky hands out

being picked up and comforted

they are supposed to be

warriors

haven’t you read the literature?

didn’t you attend therapy for

a number of years where

it was reiterated perpetually

between biscuit breaks and tepid coffee in plastic cups

like a long string of words

thisandthatthisandthat

not meaningful enough

for a necklace

about how we are the masters

of our fate

it is up to us to fight

the temptation to slit our

fucking throats

and watch as the deepest

red bled

on snowy white

surface

a contrast we ache for

in nights howl

just when the fangs of doubt

seethes loudest and

the pain of being truly

alone is not

comforted by

bouquets of self talk and

P.O.S.I.T.I.V.I.T.Y.

looking thin and translucent

in candle light

only reminder of

times broken hearts thought

they could be well and whole

just as plug is pulled

the doll wound down

we sag and droop

remembering the sore rub

of innocence and how

we believed then in futures

unstrung and awaiting

not yet familiar with

sore eyes from so many tears

even as we say

do not cry again you foolish person

oh how I hate the weakness of

someone who weeps even as they

should have known

(you fool! You fool!)

oh how they should have

known

we all

fall

down

only some of us

wish to

pick

ourselves

up

the rest may not and it isn’t

your place to judge us

if we’d rather

tear at our flesh

or hammer the senseless walls

of our former trust

until bruises bloom like

underwater flowers

and knives can cut

some of the pain from

proffered wrists though

water tinged with scarlet

is no welcome

as I stand not wishing to

continue this charade

of being invested in life

or its many fascinations

you see

or you would

if you had ever

meant half or quarter

of the lies tasting so good now

they are settled and dark on my

closed eyes

for when you shut yourself

in a box and the magician taps

one two three

it is then opened and you are

not revealed

for you have

crossed over

maybe where those who cannot

perform magic themselves

must go

to escape the erasure of

each day spent hoping

pain will give up her lament

no she does not

quit so easily then

it is ours to turn the volume

down as we sink

beneath weeds and lily pad

to distant place where before it all

churned a terrible hurt

there was the reprieve of

knowing nothing of life’s scythe

and our simple steps made in earnest

before it was clear

there is no strength in survival

beyond what we endure

it is surely about

the language of loss

and if for some

it takes them

with it

then so

it may

be

the end

with

a soft

closing of

words

don’t forget

to buy

flowers

Temporary warmth

We’re walking on different sides of a sunlit street

The rain has ceased, everything glistens with temporary warmth

We are no longer the children of coal and sinking crafts

Who plucked our fear from our teeth like stray pieces of meat

In undigested land devoid of dental floss

I swam once

The entire length of a pool holding my breath underwater

The teachers eyes bulging, as he asked me why I didn’t drown

I could have told him, drowning wasn’t the worst fate

Nothing to lose with eyes closed, pushing against surly weight of water

Antiseptic smell in my nostrils and your voice

Catching with laughter like much played vinyl

We hung from tree limbs to forget the welt of sad places

Drifting in sunlight as long as we could, before shadows criss-crossed satsuma sun

I could have said; when you’ve nothing to lose

It’s easier to give your all

Even as you drown on dry land

But adults never understood us then, with our suitcases of pain and secrets

They stapled confessions together and told us

Don’t make up wicked lies

Sent us home, without pebbles in our pockets

To mark the way back to before we spoke

Out.

That is why

Diving deep

I would talk to you as we

Held our mutual spearmint breath

Swam fierce, then languid, until numb

Through unyielding padlocked worlds

So similar to all we knew

Save those brief moments skipping class

With the glory of a starting over day, all her unabashed radiance

Even nightmares could be beautiful

Braid their hair with pink skirted daisies

On days like those

Shook the habit – Candice Louisa Daquin

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I mailed my quota of trust to Hades

Gave away dancing shoes to the furies

Cut my wrists on your barbed indifference

Shook the habit of grief from my molting skull

Stepped out scathed and blistering.

*

When you have nothing to lose

When everything you believed

Is crushed in incestuous vow

Corrosion comes as a lover

To scour remaining plate of faith

Strangely, in spite of yourself

The impulse to feel, resurrects itself

A weed that has been torn out and poisoned so much

There’s nowhere to go but upward

*

You may tear my truth to shreds

Or worse, simply impassively not care

I know the song will still be playing

After I shed my seven lives

Pull on my rubber boots

Jump in a vat of boiling forsaken dreams

And make stew for the hungry

Out of my bitter survivors juice

It tastes good when you sip it just right

Beneath a full moon on a wild howling kind

Of night

This girl is all I am – Candice Louisa Daquin

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There is a secret at the back of my throat

a black tulip

that won’t swallow

the ash of memories

I was you see, a girl of damage and plums

you could see the embers beneath my eyes

like eighties makeup and Adam Ant

I was no prince charming

but the girl who played the piano with her eyes shut

because she could not read music

nor find her way to release

I see photos of girls who could have been me

with fresh skin and dimples

they can join groups and do things in harmony

smile for the camera, bow for the priest

whilst I shunned the age of innocence

or it devoured me

spitting out my infernal seeds

to scatter beyond my picking

how to climb mountains with minions

take a picture?

or smile in the collective conscience

when the stamp is already affixed

blood drawn

waiting for its testing

I can already tell you

it will be infected

with the grief that stayed and did not go

so when you ask me

why don’t you have photos of when you were younger?

why don’t you feature in group shots?

how come you don’t possess family and friends in abundance?

or even handfuls

I point wordlessly

to a girl in the past

licking darkness from her fingers

I say without a tongue

this is who she becomes

this girl is all I am

if it is not enough for you I understand

if you need someone who will radiate and take you

mountaineering and socializing

do not choose her

she has only the will of this moment

she is not a joiner not one of the crowd

but if you let her

precisely because of this

she will be everything

Scarlet Lines – Candice Louisa Daquin

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We were running so fast, lost our hold

on reality

it became a normal thing to

wake when darkness blotted sky with festive blackout

silence roamed halls of disapproval with tender switch

then I tasted, the purity of life

like a distilled drink, untouched by sweetness

this draft did not yield to usual fears

of becoming irrelevant as a woman

shifting weightless from one state of being to another

without permission, no discernible change

save the decisions made in our absence

by controller of who we are, when we don’t yet know

how to halt the discourse, throw stereotype and expectation

out with convention

the whip and goad of woman since

first she was brought to her knees and told

I control the discourse, your identity is shaped

and fractured by my say-so

I label your value or deem you worthless

because you are too old

beyond a date in time

there the guillotine falls

sorry you’re on this side now, without your head

sorry you can’t gain admittance into our club

we only like them fresh and mailable

any woman who thinks for herself, must be trouble

make up rules to control her, keep her cowed

give her endometrium and other punishments

it’s all rather biblical, said the atheist as he

inserted the next record of tricks

some cruelty smells like him

and his turpentine prostituted room

burning on false fuel, I was only 18 then

yesterday and a century later

we don’t oblige women with scars and fat

nor sagging breasts, nor any chin hair

if you’re greying or balding, go fuck yourself

no one else will

the seat in the waiting room is a laundry shute

out with the old, in with the new

we have voracious appetite for shiny flesh and unstrung hymens

I borrowed some platforms and sewed up my leaks

put on a negligee and three layers of peat

the bog man looked pretty good for his age too

hide behind war paint, chew through your sickness

give me succor baby, give me raspberry crush, give me voodoo

lovers who oblige the second time around and the fourth and the fifth

standing freezing outside Hotel St. Pierre

drinking your waste and glut of youth

I gained admittance on false pretense

hasn’t it always be that way?

change your name, gender, race

put on another person’s face, inherit for a day

or an hour or a life time

all the little girls want your number now

all the boys want to pray between your legs

serve me something unshaven and hot instead

there are fevers in the walls, trying to get out

we have three minutes until it’s midnight

then illusions are exposed, everyone sees the truth

middle-age never used to be a purple bruise

we made it this far

tomorrow the sun is coming out

remove the war-paint, undo divining spell

maybe the light won’t extinguish you

I want you to like me, for who I am

not the girl who tricks you with her little doll cries

was it yesterday or last century?

we lay beneath your blanket and you impregnated me

with the urge to live forever, never grow old

even the beautiful turn to grub and worm food

live fearlessly, wear yourself boldly, you said

as you eased the knife to the sweet spot

cutting upward from your pulse, in thin

traceable, scarlet lines

The hard as fuck girls – Candice louisa Daquin

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The hard as fuck girls

with their leopard eyes and sepia lips

set in twisted, pigtail granite

painted their hides with waterproofing

like the kind you put in the bottom of swimming pools

the muscles in their cheeks set so tight

they’d break a gobstopper with one bite

eating pickles like they were candy

no sour stomach, no need of remedy

the hard as fuck girls

survived asbestos, pinching boys and ant hills

broke their arms, laughed about the plaster itching

used youths rubber band as catapult

to get everything they required

including your heart and the french pleat dresses

my waist was too thick to fit into

they were Scarlet O’Hara before Rhett left her open-mouthed

Shirley MacLaine after she saw angels & demons

Lauren Bacall had their arching face

Katherine Hepburn the gamine grace

they didn’t like me much

I was a bleeding heart with too little guts

in fact they had no mercy for any girl

who didn’t seize the moment and say

this is what I want

FUCK the fear I’m on top

this is my day I don’t want a slice, I’ll take it all

and with lusty grinning glance ate

the cherry and the whip cream

with their little red tongues

licking the glass, round and

round til nothing more

was left

 

 

Seize the female – Candice Louisa Daquin

You’re just a little thing, a flim flam thing

something of no consequence if you choose to see it that way

and if you do, you’ll walk into rooms, drooping head, sagging shoulders

nobody will even see

that’s the gait of defeat baby and it’s yours for the taking

as nobody, I mean nobody, wants to inherit that dried up mantle

so tell yourself you’re not going to be a cliché

the girl with no self-esteem

who picks herself apart the way some will eat paper and others scabs

even if it’s true you didn’t have the calcium back then

you’re here now and you’re among the fray

nobody likes a debbie downer

remember the girl you were at ten

who wore a smart ass comment any time someone

tried to knock them to the floor?

she was a bad ass warrior and you can be too

it’s in there somewhere, lost among the ‘what if’s’ and other fears

so you don’t like what you see in the mirror and you think that gives you

special privileges to hate yourself?

many women wear their scars, many women do not possess the art

of beauty and despite this they apologize for nothing

and pursue what they want with single-mindedness

you were brought up to think the only power you had was a pair of long legs

and big eyes but they’ll only get you so far

the rest comes from a place that isn’t written down

it’s the seat of the female and all her power

that’s why we lose ourselves in plastic moments and forget

the real allure isn’t a small waist it’s a large brain

conquer your self loathing and come out of your shell

whether you’re whole or incomplete nobody can tell

give yourself over to the riot of it all

you only live once make it count

chase the dream

chase the girl

damn them all

It’s all I know to do – Candice Louisa Daquin

Silent men are often admired

for their ability to endure quietly without complaint

whilst women who speak out are many times, vilified

behind their backs described as;

“that obnoxious woman who talked too much”

I lived with a silent man most of my life

he stared out of windows and when people died, his lips did not part

later on I realized it was a form of cowardice, not strength

later on, I saw how when good people say and do nothing

everything is fractured

if tomorrow I died, the people I have most admired

spoke out against tyranny and oppression

they even shared a confession or two

if they were female they were oft lampooned

if they were male they became more popular

because everyone loves a male sharer

this world is not kind to its daughters

its daughters are not kind to their sisters

it isn’t a gender battle but if it were

we have lost as we take on more, for less and less

sometimes I wonder if we had greater freedom

when our shackles were tighter

this is true of gays too, I can’t find within their collective

anything to be part of anymore

the world has grown strange and with it, myself

I heard on PBS yesterday half the world has been born

after the year of my birth, I am becoming less relevant

I could have told them I knew this already

by the way boys glances grow dimmer and there are no girls to love

for girls hesitate when you show them your heart

theirs is an unsure game of glancing round corners for prince charming

even as you stand proffering a depth they’d delight in

if they’d but give you a chance …

how ironic a man would make better match

yet you couldn’t stand, all that maleness

if I could become a creature instead of a human

I’d be a wolf

run with night pack, my loneliness obscured by trees and fur

if I could turn into a sea creature, plummet into water

or rise like a bird until clouds swallowed my shadow

for what succor is reason and what comfort, words?

when the world is a caustic, sharpened perpetual blade

and friends want friends who don’t resemble you

things you used to like, are lost in the figuring out, of how to get through

I used to fake it better and could wear a push-up bra for 12 hours without scratching

now all the edges are blurred, you left me in the fog to see my own way home

a place I no longer know, it has photos, but no key to open

I do not belong in my own picture frame

it’s been so long since I recognized an absence of pain

we used to laugh until our sides ached

sitting by the river watching the tanned folk preen and shake

their expensive personas

I liked the muddy waters best and all the out-of-the-way bars without names

I liked being nobody special and yet, I knew myself in a way I haven’t since

they took anonymity and gave it a new toll highway

when it’s my birthday save a slice for me, I’m not yet back to eating

I haven’t been made love to by someone who wanted to, in years

there’s emptiness behind the storage of sin and loose bolts, where you tried to squeeze in

I see your outline like a defeated smoke signal

we walk out to the table of earth, above the world

where you say you own nothing and have it all

my heart is heavy for all the suffering, that’s why I speak, even as you

stay silent on your boat, watching for ripples in the surface

I am beneath water, pushing air and words upward

it’s all I know to do

the curse of the confessional poet, hot whispered glares of disapproval

as they tut and turn away, their pigeon necks, bent and cooing

“she’s putting it all out there, for shame”

and you know what I think?

I think the shame is you