The imperfection & the wonder ~ Candice Daquin

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What would it look like to be someone else?

who did not wake up red-eyed and fearful?

what would it feel like to be held and words said & meant

to be turned gently in the measure of another’s gaze

would it feel good or unnatural?

by now, like an ill-planted tree, I have bent at an angle to accommodate

the lack

It may be, I don’t want the dream anymore

but something that keeps cold from the hole in my side

so when you tell me

don’t fall in love with me, I am imperfect

so much is wrong with me, if only you knew

if you saw the real me, you would be scared off

when you tell me

the first time I saw you, I was in awe

I couldn’t reveal how much I liked you with nothing to offer in return

I ask you to consider this

I am a tree growing at an angle

because nobody bothered to set me straight and tall

in more ways than one I am bent

and crooked, slightly deformed and full of holes

that let in the cold

sometimes I am a woman who looks in the mirror and sees

every cruel word inscribed on her face

like inch worms or tattooists needle cutting off circulation

every betrayal, a brand burning my attempts

every lie, a drowning, of my ability to breathe

other days I am a girl who runs

for buses in heals and mini skirts

and the boys they shout after that person

because she is a parody and an apparition

as much as she is flesh and blood and nobody they’d want

but I’m the same no matter what mask I choose

I’m the girl who cries and then answers the door smiling

I’m the girl who has become so good at hiding

she hasn’t been found in a very long time

I give far more than I take

because I don’t know how to feel worthy either

so believe me when I say

I know your fear and part of why

you shy away from me, even as your eyes say

oh how I would like to spend a day a night

laughing and smiling in your company

but I am not a cult leader

I can’t convince you, you have to see it for yourself

I am a simple person flayed by life, other people and winter wind

cutting through our best intentions

I try to be grateful, mindful, all the things

we’re told to be

but just as often as I succeed, I fail

I wasn’t built for battles, I don’t know how

to compete the way others do

and if you think I won’t like you because

of any number of funny things

remember

they’re just things and any moment

they could be gone as we could

because life comes and snatches back

just when you think you have time

but what is left

what remains when the table is cleared

are two people

with suitcases of fear pouring out

we are sitting as the light fades in surround

talking despite ourselves

for some part of each of us, wants the other

recognizes a connection

and knows

the only way in this life is to risk all or none

there are no in-betweens

you cannot find love by wishing or digging

both of us have been burned and stung and hammered

by the lies of people and trust is a faraway concept

but until they switch us off and we lay fallow

impregnating earth with our dissolve

I say we try for our chance, however long we’ve got

not let the fear put us off

even as you swore you’d never again

even as I promised I wouldn’t go there

somehow here we sit

staring at the other

seeing everything we want

in the imperfection and

the wonder

When never is not forever – Candice Louisa Daquin

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The year is

somewhere back when

kissing in public would have

resulted in a shaming

it was not our shame

but we carried it high on our cheeks as if it were

the taunt of “lesbian bitches” like sharpened nails

prodding us to flee

and where could we run?

not your closed-minded house, nor mine

we had only the rugged country and its tilled earth

burning with our polished want

you told me, it was too hard

when you love, that’s what you eventually learn

to let go, if the pain is tormenting her

and I watched you

stumbling down the hill-side in your badly fitting rubber boots

tears obscuring your view

the purse I gave you, a mash of wool against your side

still I thought of chasing after your vanishing

but what would I say? What could I

a girl of mended pockets and thin chest of pennies

offer?

I thought of your heart-shaped face

the way the curls of your hair were blown straight

by fierce winds and the seeming condemnation

of nature

as if the spirits holding back the ice

threatened their eventual punishing

was it so? did something that felt so right really

reside in sin? and if this why was I given a

mismatched heart

latched to yours and never

the acrid stink of boys?

You, with your gentle malt brown eyes

and bitten nails rubbed raw, the way your knees

poked out of your tights like sharp stones

how your narrow shoulders threw back

the weight of sorrow as

you tried to make sense of things

broken and too heavy for either of us, even together

to move.

I lay in my singleton bed, tucked in by

the enduring chill of night and your jagged absence

pounding like a boulder on my chest

and if there had been a way to

take you away and build tree houses against

all who said

they’re going through a phase

if we separate them long enough

they are bound to find a good local boy

in time in time

oh love, my love, there is not enough time in this

short stacked life, or turn around empty stage

all its broken shells and lost moments curled

in the death of one season to the next

there is not enough power in the

minds of men and frowning adults

to leach this swollen sea from my lips

have your face vanquished along with it

no time can separate those who fate

decrees are bound

no condemnation is loud enough.

I let you go, an unfurled pain through aubergine fields

watching blurred from tears until you are beyond my gaze

even then rooted to the spot as it grew colder

you stood with me, wet cheeked, red with

high wind, the words caught from our mouths

blown like autumn around our woolen ankles

savage and whipping

the crack of old trees as they bend

unwilling and stiff

in the deluge of our hopelessness

I feel still the circle our fingers

made shared in one pocket for warmth and

how your lips tasted like cough drops and mine

or the warmth of your skin on my mouth

a scold from the whole world

who used ugliness to describe

what was always only ever beautiful

the catch of green in your iris, as if a spring shoot had said

I will grow despite the cold

and I could do nothing but let you absail away

our tether a kite, torn by tree branches

still in subsequent years, standing on the hill I saw

the string of us persisting long past its clossure

they said;  it will only take a season

perhaps a year at most

young hearts mend fastest

where did they learn that nonsense?

I grew beyond their chipped confines

you married a local boy, who gave you babies and hearth

without the fire

without the shared, reach of us

and my beckoning on our mountain

as we liked to think it was

when we were wild girls chasing each others burning flame

you smiled when you saw me again

many years hence; still the same full lips and high cheeks

like someone had thought carefully when

they carved you out of hill sides and left their grace in your shape

a woman now, of grown years in straight lines

you look up as I walk in, the chime of the door

wet shoes, dripping umbrella, badly fitting skirt

I can hardly hear the first words just your sound

my throat is closing, my cheeks flaming

our fingers touch beneath table-cloth

as if it were not the future

but that thursday atop the world

your buckled shoes scuffed by our climb

my breathless devour of the last moments

ticking down before

you turn

turn away and descend

into the world that says no to girls

I see fine lines against your eyes, the gentle curves of motherhood

you are wearing rings on all your fingers

and someone has released you from your bond

in the future you are free to ask me

meet at the coffee shop on the corner at ten

and the part of me who waited

watching the summit and our fall

and the part of me who stayed behind

seeing you go into the fog, become no more

and the part of me who knew

we’d return to each other like

coal is made in darkness and so are diamonds

where the taste of sudden storms and electricity

play on your neck and a rising blush

is a sunset in lost time

I saw us then, grown and still smiling

despite the savage world and its rules

you can try to take what is not yours to claim

I tell my enemies and the crows

as starlight falls on the empty shapes of our descent

we will in some hour, somewhere

hear again the beat of one another’s heart

steady and determined, despite the years apart

pull us close against like a final stitch

for I am hers and she is mine

washing over the heather and bracken

like light rain compels rainbows from

grey reluctant skies marbling

her hands in mine, the feeling of dissolving

for some are destined, no matter

will is won over, when never is not forever

and a promise stays growing

beneath fecund earth

 

Trajectory – Candice Louisa Daquin

12bTime only haunts you once

hardened in amber the fly immortal

a draft to whisk away sorrow, in our lives we sleep on our hope

for to survive you must look to your dreams

dancing behind double glass, she turns at the sound

seeing the one whom she loves, watching her perpetual motion

until that broken moment and the dance halts on blackened soles

unexpectedly and predicted both

like the slung free fall of an arrow will surely pierce

even armor, given right trajectory

past emotions fall imprecise from curling branches

the corridor in your mind takes a step on mustard carpet

all hushed by sway of time, leaching her bounty

youthful enough to crane perfect neck against marble bath

arching, pleasure, the slow tickle of absence like a flutist

produces from silvered mouth, the breath of music

a chance of rain sound-proofing slip of movement

time only haunts you once

prisoner of the war of words said and not

til I let you go, once and for all, softly the first

forever it felt, walking out the door

steel beneath my own terms

shaking like bakers

raising their dough before it is morning

and you

never who you were

growing wings

stepping from edges

floured hands

pressed together

leaving imprint

where no scouring can chase

the outline you made

I Knew My Pain – Aurora Phoenix

I knew my pain when it was a screeching

sunset

spurting cotton candy carnage

across the feathered heavens

mocking all that is soft and soothing

drawing my gaze

up and up, tearstained

\thundering scarlet refrains\

reverberating clang of your loss.

I knew my pain when it was a snarling

saber-tooth

birthed of my rent ventricles

spewing aortic dirges

feasting on festering anguish

\clamorous gluttony\

heartache grew fangs

fueled on midnight howling

and my heart gnawed raw itself.

I knew my pain when it was a stinging

nettle

clinging needy-puppy to my shins

\all scratch and scrape reminders\

of the bite that replaced the soul

in the deep chocolate of your iris.

I knew my pain when it was creeping

ivy

camouflaged among wistful greening

arisen from the fetid heap

\itching a glitch in my hopeful healing\

tendrils sneak snake-oil slick

renders my skin hopeless raw

where it lingered

in the shadow of your touch.

I knew my pain when it was tempered

steel

inlaid with soulful etchings

\mother of my surviving pearl soul\

I raise the blades coated

in my fevered blood

hammered now, the plowshares

of my hard- won stance.

A Call for Survivors

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Blood into Ink and Whisper and the Roar are looking for survivors to share their stories, hope and light in an interview.

At Blood into Ink and Whisper and the Roar, our curators, collective members and contributors have all opened their hearts and souls to share their stories of survival. Now, we would like to hear from you, our readers, and what makes you a survivor.

I cannot be the only one who watches people walk past and wonder what shaped them, wonder why they get out of bed in the morning and what I could learn from them. When I first joined Blood into Ink and Whisper and the Roar I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to call myself a survivor. In comparison to other members, I had hardly been to hell and back. Yet, I have been shown that ‘survivor’ isn’t a trophy you fight for in a competition, it isn’t bestowed nor taken away, it isn’t a label. It is a mindset. It is the desire to keep enjoying the taste of air and the sound leaves make in the wind. It is the drive to live through midnight and morning. In a simpler sense, if you believe you fought to be where you are today either against another or yourself, you can say you survived and will continue to.

If you would like to be interviewed about your story, please express your interest by emailing the following information to myscreamingtwenties@gmail.com:

  • Your name/pen name or your wish to remain anonymous
  • Why you are interested in being interviewed about your story/being a survivor

Once you have expressed your interest, you will be emailed interview questions to answer.

We look forward to hearing from you.

SUNRISE

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I feel the sun rise in me, the long night slowly pushing back, fading, the storm clouds gathering, away from the moon. They will come back, I know, and so they should. There are many nights in the Night. Some are gateways to dreams and stars. Some are the meadows of mares and fears, and unbridled terrors of headless riders. They will come again, I know it. But today the sun is rising, my day is dawning and the light is softly touching land escapes in my soul I had forgotten; places I did not know existed; a sea, soothing, turning pink and yellow as the sun travels up the sky.

I feel no fear.

Not today.

Not at my dawn, at the awakening of my young coup bearer, Aurora, stretching placidly from her long slumber. I feel no fear, no rush. No need to prove, to fight, to win the battle, although I will win it, when the battle does come. Today is not a day of war -not in the world of my soul. Today is gentle and sweet, and I smile as when looking at a baby sleep. Today there is a sea, swaying softly, caressing the sand inside of me -the small sail boat gliding with joy; the kite floating effortlessly, painting rainbows with its tail. Today there are picnics between my bones and my flesh. A country fair and kids running, as they eat cotton candy. Today the wind is gentle, and it tenderly kisses me. It plays with the locks of my hair; makes my dress an ethereal dancer of life. Today I am a piano, being touched delicately, pianissimo, by a curious five-year-old. Today I breathe deeply and it is as if I could inhale the whole oxygen of the world, so big and deep am I. Inside. In the place of truth, where my night sleeps -dreams perhaps- and my day shines like a perfect summer day on the beach. Today I am happy.

Today I am free.

Pandora – Kristiana Reed

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I am Pandora’s jar; unbreakable at first glance but I glimmer in the sun in a way which invites people in. My lid is screwed tightly shut. Many hands still come and search for a way in, for a doorway into the hallways of my person. Only two have ever been successful; confronting me with curiosity I couldn’t refuse. Their hands traced my edges, my bottleneck curves and their lips caressed sealed pathways to my dark madness; hearing the frantic buzz of tied up wings. All at once I poured my heart from the lip of the jar. I released glass cracking sobs of misery to plague their ears – the whole of humanity in the bed we shared. I became soft, malleable to their touch. In love as the locust swarm of heartache and hurt breathed free from my body, frantic wings lifted upon air.

I am Pandora’s jar and in me Hope remained. She lived in the house you both built inside my chest. The walls were thin so she listened to the palpitations of an anxious heart; stripped bare of the anger which kept it warm. Once I harboured my past and my insecurities and I believed I knew pain. But Hope, she rattled her cage and bruised my ribs. The bricks of her house fell apart at the touch of a promise and littered my air ways with dust. This was heartbreak. I was no longer counting nefarious winged miseries but how many times I wished I could make this right, how many times I wished to close the growing distance between us, how many times I brushed my hair in the off chance you’d come, how many times I ran to the window believing the footsteps below, were yours. Hopelessly in love is not a phrase I know.

I am Pandora’s jar after it has been opened; the salty taste of hope on my lips.

 

Painting by Lawrence Alma-Tandema (1881)

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Kristiana Reed juggles writing and teaching English; in both vocations she endeavours to remind people of their self worth and how dazzlingly beautiful the world can be.

You can read more of Kristiana’s writing at My Screaming Twenties