Mariah Voutilainen reviews Smitten, edited by Candice Louisa Daquin

via Mariah Voutilainen reviews Smitten, edited by Candice Louisa Daquin

no. 114

joining the circus

 

when i pluck up my courage

when i become more brave

i will leave everything behind

and join the circus

 

i will begin as the mid-life-crisis attraction

banal to spectators, yet strangely

the most sought-after performer

of hot-flash wails

and hormonal mood-swings

in running mascara

i will bemoan the coming of 55 and 60

as i bound around the stage comedically

in search of a cane to ease

my soon-to-be aching joints

i will attempt to regain youth in

contortionism

perfecting clown-like standing splits and bridge

in the name of showbiz i will dress provocatively

in sequined bodysuits that highlight

my knobbly elbows and knees

sucking in my protruding gut

 

after many years, hundreds of shows,

i will transition

and become the self-assured

story-teller

reminiscing about days past

regaling a tale of young love

as gamine acrobats

theatricize the exquisite

blossoming of life

my rheumy eyes shining

i will have a wreath of flowers

in my white curls

and a rocking chair to sit upon

i will smile benevolently at the

audience, who hang on my every word

 

at the imploring of the ringmaster

himself a crotchety mustachioed fellow

who desires the limelight

even more than i

i will urge my nonagenarian body

to assume the form of a spritely

dancer

that which i always wished to be

he will entreat me to join him

in a waltz

and the spot will trail us around

the ring, the only star in the dark

night of the big top

(written 15 september 2019)

 

no. 113

milonga

he holds her

the arch of her back, her heart

in the palm of his hand

they stand

barely moving

she gives him leave

to proceed

they sway

the reach of his leg

the wīnd of her arm

as it curves

in that manner

peculiar to the embrace

the cross of her feet

the twist of his hips

all this anticipated

with great consideration

and then the music

begins

(written 1 september 2019)

no. 112

advice to self

when having a crisis of faith

and of character

meditate

contemplate

reflect on the transience

of all things living

and already expired

clarity?

confidence of conscience?

conundrum of conviction?

or

is there nothing

fraught with naught but

the thought

that the indecision

brought about by

years

both too many and too few

to make a mistake

in that moment

just stand still

and find comfort

in the fallibility

and the imperfection

the knowledge that

others have tried

and

succeeded

and tried

and failed

and still move forward

into the unknown

(written 14 august 2019)

no. 111

pulled from a delicious lethargy

(that of course can only be found in this microcosm)

a blanket burrow, fibrous with polyamide and cotton

swaddled until that moment

when, marshaling all the breath of patience that abides,

bhudda-like, within that bubble

of stale but comforting air

a sweet but mewling timbre

that at first calmly coaxes, but quickly becomes

more and more urgent

when, with the demands of morning just below the slip of sunrise

(that orb also struggling to heft itself from soft but heavy restraints)

a hand, small fingers curled, stealth-be-damned-now, brazenly yanks

oh, the sear upon skin liberated to the gray of pre-dawn light!

that is when defeat becomes precursor to movement

wood meets toes with icy welcome

hands greet eyes with increasing vigor

hope fills nose and belly with the promise of that which occupies

kitchen cabinets and soon sizzling pans

(that those thoughts trump all else, now, is paramount)

when, legs scrambling for purchase on the counter-top

suddenly find place around hips and arms around neck

that no-longer tiny body, all limbs and curls,

plasters itself unabashedly to the form which birthed it

too long ago for comfort, but not long enough for the space of maturity

when, nestling a lanky head between the crook of chin and neck

(that last bastion of sleep’s warmth and afterglow)

mouth receives the repast from mother’s feeding fingers

(written 2 january 2019)

…and 200 came and went

dearest readers,

thank you so much for continuing to take the time to follow my poetry blog.  as of late, posting as been a struggle–life is hectic and full of the usual day-to-day that happens when one is fully submersed in the mundanity of things.  and that is what and where i am.

yet i press on, writing on the margins of my calendar, fervently typing in the few minutes i have between pressing needs of the hour.  most days i do not have it in me to ponder much more than whether i have had a cup of coffee, the first sip of which is a momentary exercise in much-needed self-absorption.

and so i write this note to express my continued pleasure at seeing that you’ve read, perhaps liked, perhaps commented.  the last post, no. 110, was the 200th post i have made!  i hope to add more regularly again, especially as the reprieve of summer holidays is just around the corner…

until then!

 

no. 110

the reason for faith is not one of the need-to variety

 

recently, i became fossilized

i glanced in the mirror, and the creature reflected therein

was bones and petrified skin, still standing because of its

biological integrity, bolstered by methods of internal and external beautification;

wisps of hoary, curling hair, preserved for years by a haphazard regimen

that ignored all contrarian advice

 

strangely, in this moment i also saw my own impermanence;

bile rose in my throat, the soft tissue of which fell away

revealing the stacked bones of my cervical vertebrae

the mast to the ship of my shoulder girdle and rib-cage rudder

musculature barely there, deteriorated to a patina upon my frame

 

still, my heart beat–i could see it there

a reminder of faith

the reason for which is not need, but want

the desire to believe, that like a fossil,

a marvel of epochs existing in scientific imagination,

i will be unearthed

(written 30 may 2019)