it is advisable that we not remain friends.

I wrote this in 2012. Stuff was happening back then. These days, my quiet life is unencumbered by angry poems about silly boys. (Primarily because I’m married to Idris.) Happy Friday.

it is advisable that we not remain friends.

i will sabotage your efforts.

you will bring this new girl to me,

forgetting that our failed transition from

friends to something more is as fresh as the

gash you created on my heart,

and you will ask me that silly question of

“what do you think?”

and i will respond about her niceness and pleasantness

and casually mention that hopefully her meanness

will go away,

and you will wonder about this meanness you hadn’t

seen before, and i will assure you

that women know women, and i see it there, that meanness,

lurking right alongside her lazy eye and her obvious materialism.

and i don’t want to do this to you.

so don’t bring her before me, ok,

and don’t bring her up, and don’t suggest

this friendship that we obviously can never have.

just let me tend to my poor, weak heart, and

just keep away from me.

or, rather, stay over there,

close enough where i can see you,

but far enough that my poor heart and i

can pretend you’re no longer there.

Contests.

I recently submitted a few of my pieces (two short stories and a poem) for some writing contests. I submitted them with the reminder to myself that 1) I’m not the only writer in the world, and 2) there’s a high likelihood that I won’t even place, because see #1. I should tell you that I don’t doubt my talent for a second; gone are the days when I would compare my writing to every one else wielding a pen and/or a laptop and wonder why I couldn’t evoke emotions like Writer A or describe scenes like Writer B. For years and years now, I have wielded my pen/dusty laptop quite confidently, as every writer should. But it was also important to provide myself those two reminders because This Square Peg definitely likes being real and honest with herself. This foils disappointment and eternal irritation with judges who clearly don’t have eyes.

All that said, I received an email yesterday that with 375 entries submitted, I wasn’t selected as a finalist for the poetry contest. And how did I react, being that I gave myself those two reminders? I glared at the email and muttered to myself that I would never participate in that contest again. (It was my second time sending something to this literary festival.) And, yes, I wondered if the judges had eyes. And yes, I almost threw my phone on the ground. Of course, some time later, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at

phone
Yep.

myself–because as a writer, moments like that par for the course. They just are. Writing is entirely subjective. Person 1 may think my collected words were borne from the divinest of clouds. Person 2 may wonder why I didn’t choose basket weaving instead of writing as something to fall in love with. (And may wonder why I insist on ending sentences with prepositions.) When you think about the variety of writers and styles and then we all enter contests with each other? Kind of incredible.

However: for a few moments, more than seconds, I entertained my anger and my irritation. Yeah, I’m a writer, and I’m mostly a realist, but I’m also quite human. So there you go. But eventually, I bounced back. I told myself to cool it, to seriously stop flirting with throwing my phone whenever something doesn’t go my way, and to remember that I write for one person only: myself. When I’m happy and content with the work I produce, all is well. The icing is when my readers feel the same way. No contest needs to tell me any of those things.

But if those short stories don’t do well…kidding, kidding.

Tell me: in life, how do you deal with disappointment?

[Pardon the Interruption]…

…But I’d like to deviate from the daily Parisian round-up and share my new poem with you. Enjoy.

Birthright

Before I could even learn to appreciate you, I was desperate to shrug you off, this mantle that clung to the nuances of my dark skin like birthplaces and legacies.

You were the mirror I was ready to turn away from, the reminder that I was nothing like them; not mysterious and joyous, but something to point at and destroy.

And what of it?

Merely the source of special names and special people;

merely the home of my creators;

merely a rich, colorful center.

Before I could even learn to appreciate you, they informed me that I was simply a location hoarder, not real like them, just the holder of an address that was not worthy of me.

You were the mirror I intended to claim, the reminder that blood and culture can be whatever I want it to be; not a clingy shroud of shame, but something to be proud of and accept.

And what of it?

Merely the source of special names and special people;

merely the home of my creators;

merely a rich, colorful center.

Birth and death, accents and colors, time and memory: you are mine and mine alone.

Let them cajole and caw.

I bear it well and I bear it unaffected.

Like the solid stance of a landmass, a continent,

you and I cannot be moved.

Zelda.

so I’d like to believe that you
were his Daisy Fay,
holding him at bay,
until all that could glitter could
finally become gold.

and for a time, you
and your pretty egg were
the toast of the town,
flapping around,
drunk on your jazz and roses.

but you forgot, didn’t you,
that such things don’t last forever;
that precious metals fade,
even our own minds betray,
when our wings become clipped.

you could only flap for him,
as it were;
suppressing your will
to write in order to remain still,
as if only he had a hold on history.

perhaps you were punished
for being his Daisy Fay
and holding him at bay
when all he wanted was you there
at the very start, simply by his side.

well, harbors do wear away
and lights turn from green to gray
and jazz music no longer plays—
when we are waylaid
by burials that rule the day.

Les Poèmes.

Autumn: Brevity

I pull open the doors for you,
my intermittent love,
eager to greet you with the cool kisses of yet another season.
It does not bother me that you arrive once a year bearing your all-consuming brevity.
It does not trouble me that I compete with the other colors in your world.

When did hopeless beggars have the power of choice?

You are mine.
Whether orange moons or darkened afternoons–
whether burnished leaves or hearts exposed on long sleeves–
You are mine.
Cloak me with the fleeting warmth of your love and affection and
disregard what errant tears you may see from me,
for we have so little time.

The Ally

Softly, that fallen eyelash resting underneath
your lovely eye calls out for my touch.
It urges my fingers to gently brush it away as
I send it on a whirling journey to the ground,
a satisfying ending for this tiny friend that
sacrificed itself so that I could replace its
tenure on your skin.
Because I think the eyelash knew,
you see, the longing I had to rest my fingers
there, underneath your eye, my warm touch
communicating what my frightened heart
had been unable to say for so, so long.

stand on an aged, wood floor like an evergreen.

  
Happy Official First Day of Autumn. You know how I feel about this season. 

Below is Mary Hamrick’s poem about the season. Evocative. 

Autumn
by Mary Hamrick

Autumn is like an old book:
Marred spines turn mean yellow,
staples rust red-orange.

Every stained page is stressed
by a splat of color. Rough-red,
like an old tavern,

we become hungry birds
and prepare for fall.
Shape and shadow are candied citron

as lanterns turn bitter yellow. Autumn
is a red fox, a goblet filled with dark wine, a hot chilli pepper with smoky eyes.

Pressed leaves take in the colors
of seafood paella and saffron; these leavesare like death, climaxing with a smile.

Autumn: Her dress is a net of mussels;
dark shelled, it covers up
summer’s weatherbeaten body.

So pull out your boots
and stand on an aged, wood floor
like an evergreen.

Your Elephant, After All.

and while the others gasped when you called me an elephant,
I gazed at you with pride—as if you were mine, a lover armed with a compliment—
and understood that you were hailing my ability to seemingly hold memory tightly in the palm of my hand, knowing the nuances and ridges of time and past experiences.

and yet your rudimentary compliment was for surface things, silly memories of who won this and who wrote that; not for the deep things I could recall—
the scent of you when we first met, the ticklish way your arm gently brushed mine that time we stood next to each other.

and as I explained to the others that elephants always remember,
you now gazed at me with pride, only because you believed us to be merely intellectual and artistic equals and nothing more, and, boy, how I made your heart soar when I let you into the warm confines of my big brain—
even though I cared nothing about smarts and just wanted you, you, you.

but I was your elephant, wasn’t I?
bending to your will as I danced around the big top and took you back in time,
back to memory,
back to useless information.

and like they do, you took the memories of me and combined it with the memories of her and you fused it all together,
shiny and strong like ivory,
and you believed that it all came from one source (her),
and not solely from the poor elephant in the corner, bleeding and broken and bereft.

and yet, your elephant will find her way up and she will keep dancing.

Instagram.

In this Instagram world,
my dear,
find the right filter to place on our fractured love.
Will it be Hefe or Mayfair?
Amaro or Lo-Fi?
Endeavor to color us with the sheen of the dreamlike and the sepia and
take away the cracked veneer of a love that’s no longer
a love at all, but a battle, such a battle.
And when you do,
I will like it into infinity, I will double tap until my fingers bleed,
I will hashtag it #beautiful and #nogreaterlove,
and I will smile because I am looking at this rendering of a true love,
the kind of love you and me abandoned long before lives
were posted on small screens in passing vignettes.

The Giving Tree. (Blogtober #26)

Let us treat our doomed love like
the vivid orange and greens of autumn,
like the majestic trees in our midst that offer their dying leaves with opened, giving hands,
uncaring of the stark emptiness to come but falling ever so gracefully and beautifully onto the cold, hard ground–

The death of our love is impending, my dear,
but let us smile through our tears and bravely sway together in the crisp breeze until our winter comes.