Artistic Smugness

It was a chilly, rainy morning here. The kind of rainy day where you never know which direction the next gust of wind is coming from, and the rain is actually coming down sideways. It made for a nasty commute.

In honor of National Coffee Day (when did that become a thing, and can it happen more often?) I have had too much coffee. Including the cup I was drinking when I wrote this poem while waiting to go to a meeting.


Artistic Smugness

Stilettos of rain

Stab at miserable commuters

Umbrellas and hoods up

As substantial as paper.

I watch through the window,

Safe and warm and dry.

Mass-produced coffee next to me,

Feeding this smug self-assurance

Of being a “real” artist

At least until

It’s my turn again

To brave those liquid knives.

 

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Splinters

This poem was originally going to be an essay, but I’m not sure that’s the direction I want to take this blog.

When I was growing up, and even now as an adult, I try to talk to my parents about concepts like self-esteem and self-love. And they just. Don’t. Get. It. It’s like there’s no room between self-hatred and rampant egomaniac with these people. And they definitely think self-hatred is the only “moral” choice. I’m getting mad again just thinking about those conversations.


splinters

Self-esteem? Self-worth? Self-love?

Bullshit.

That’s what they call those words.

People who love themselves?

Insufferable.

Arrogant.

Self-obsessed.

Better that we hate ourselves.

Put our hearts in little wooden cages.

Make sure the walls contract,

Crushing us,

Squeezing us down.

Smaller,

and smaller.

Until there’s nothing left

but self-hatred,

Blood,

and Splinters.

and We can Dance and be Free

My poetry is mostly about the dark side of my PTSD; it’s been incredibly healing so far to put some of that darkness into words and then let it go.

Out in the physical world, most people who meet me have no idea that I have any of the issues I am so brutally honest about on here. I present as friendly, positive, even sunny. I am all of those things, in fact, I am mostly those things.

My mental health struggles no longer sap all the joy and color from my world. I am about as free as a person with my background and scars can be, I’d say.

On a recent trip to Northerly Island, I was absolutely mesmerized by the Daphne Garden.* Those beautiful statues filled me with a sense of freedom and joy. Knowing the background about them now, it makes sense. My darkest parts make my light shine even brighter.

the wound is the place where the Light enters you- Rumi


This first statue reminds me of the Earth element, she is grounded and strong.

I don’t have much to say about the second statue; she’s beautiful, but she didn’t elicit much feeling from me individually.

dancer_3

The final statue brings to mind Air; more than dancing, she is almost flying.

 

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They are the most powerful when seen all together. Three metal women, dancing freely and proudly in the sunlight.

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*I need to stay in Chicago for another year, so I’m trying to have as many adventures as possible to scratch that adventure itch. And to make that year go by faster.

 

Screaming in Silence

This poem will be pretty self-explanatory. I have a recurring nightmare that someone is attacking me out on the street. I always think to myself, “This time I’m going to get away. This time, I’m going to scream as loud as I can.” and then, every time, I open my mouth and nothing comes out but a wheeze.

I’m shaken for hours after having this nightmare. My throat usually feels raw too, like I have been screaming; or at least trying to. As far as I know, I don’t actually make a sound. Just like in the nightmare.


Screaming in Silence

Sometimes in the night I dream

Someone is attacking me

I open my mouth to release my scream

And all that comes out is silence.

 

Carried off into the night

Paralyzed by my fear

I, once again, failed to fight

Or stand strong in defiance.

 

I wake up, my breath a rasp

My heart is pounding in my chest

My mind still caught in terror’s grasp

From this dream of violence.

 

 

 

Masks

 

The idea for this short poem came to me while running errands. I saw two little girls playing in front of a bank. They were playing with the door. When I saw a large man exit the bank, saw the girl closest to the door startle, I was worried he was going to yell at them.

For obvious reasons, I am naturally very protective of children (and other people I perceive as more vulnerable than I am). My mind immediately came up with a strategy to protect them if necessary.

Fortunately, he didn’t do or say anything and we all went on our merry way.

It was a good reminder for me that even though I have learned to be very in touch with my emotions, I still have the capability to turn them off. A part of me even wants to. It’s a scary place to be.


 

Masks

Some days I am afraid

That my humanity

My kindness

My compassion

Are the masks I wear.

I can place my fingers under my jaw and

Peel back my skin

Underneath it there is a void

Nothing human

Kind

Compassionate

Just this vast emptiness

Standing in opposition

To any human feeling.

A Word About Content

This is a blog written by a woman with PTSD from a history of childhood trauma, abuse, and neglect. Because of this, please note that the poems and essays posted here could potentially be triggering to others. Read accordingly.

If you have a similar history, I urge you to seek help and support. You deserve to be happy and fulfilled.

Love, Maggiemorphosis

In a Stranger’s Eyes

All things considered, I’m pretty lucky. My PTSD is pretty well controlled; I don’t have many flashbacks anymore (although just typing that word can still be a trigger). I don’t think my hyper-vigilance is ever going away.

It makes being out in the world pretty interesting. Hell, it makes being at home interesting too.

I never know when some seemingly tiny thing is going to make my lizard brain take over and activate the mental klaxons. Or maybe just quote Robot from Lost in Space.

This poem comes from that uncertainty. How something as ordinary as making eye contact can trigger so many different responses from me.


In a Stranger’s Eyes

Meeting a stranger’s eyes

Is a game of chance

Will we share a joyful smile;

The sheer bliss of being free?

Will we slide our eyes away;

Rejecting any chance of connection?

Will our eyes lock,

And will we feel that human spark?

*** -OR- ***

Am I suddenly

Locked in an old terror

Choking on a feeling

I thought was buried and gone

 

 

 

The Delusion of Dreaming

I was thinking about dreams recently. Specifically, the ones I know are actually impossible. I spend a lot of time trying to encourage myself to try new things, and go after the things I want; sometimes I know that I’m just fooling myself.

The first line of this poem popped into my head one evening when I was out on the town. It wasn’t until the holiday weekend when I had time to sit with it and see what else was there.

Finally, I know that I broke one of the cardinal rules of writing with this one- kill your darlings. I’m such a rebel.


nightmare_1

I tell myself, “All things are possible, all my dreams can come true.”

In the mirror, I look myself in the eyes and lie.

My heart knows the truth-

Some of my dreams are impossible,

The ones I keep in the deepest part of me.

The ones I allow myself to dream only in those moments between wakefulness and sleep.

I dream of you.

Do you know that?

When you look at me with your leviathan gaze, are you piercing my secret depths?

My beloved. My impossible dream.

You make me fight harder for my other dreams.

I hope you’ll never know.

 

Inspiration

My first bout of creative fervor seems to have passed (sadface). I have a couple more spontaneous poems I want to mess around with before posting. This one strikes me as “good enough”. I’m trying to get my poetry muscles working again after years of atrophy, seems like putting stuff out there is the best medicine.

Also, please enjoy this random picture of a dragonfly:

Dragonfly


Inspiration

Clear skies and sunrise

Herald a new day.

I greet it with open heart and mind

-A sense of child-like wonder.

What new adventures

What knowledge

Will today inspire?