Friday, May 24, 2013

Urban Refusal







Urban Refusal


I remember, mostly,
the sunlight, the dirt that danced,
the gleam off glass, for sunlight does fall
on the damned
and even the concrete bleeds green
when the cavalry of weeds
sabers it apart.

Every day
when I ran away,
I saddled my pink Schwinn
palamino for the broken brick trails, cap gun on hip,
free running in sun that stroked silver
 a handlebar mane, free not to feel,  just to
 ride for the Duke and his five-pointed star.


She let him hurt me but
he never scared me. 
I smelled his weakness, a clowning
in smoke and beer, his wet whiskey blankets
that cold-covered nothing. I knew I was already
gone where he would never be
even if at night there was

no sun and the Duke
was somewhere else.

~May 2013







posted for    real toads
Challenge: Fireblossom Friday
Location, Location, Location!
The ever versatile Fireblossom asks us to write a poem where location is important, or as she puts it, "...just make sure that the "where" of the poem is a vital part of it." 








Optional Musical Accompaniment











Image: 1950's Pink Schwinn, ©GlamourGirlChic2012 via etsy.com




35 comments:

  1. ack. this gives me a sick feeling in my belly.

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  2. Oh so painful to read these lines set out as recollections - the vulnerability of childhood and escape grasped in whatever form presented: movie heroes and an old bike. Hints of child abuse always strike me harder than graphic descriptions - its an awful reminder of how many secrets are kept behind closed suburban doors.

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  3. ugh....sings of abuse...breaks my heart...the always running away, i feel you there a bit hedge...love the second half of the opening stanza on the weeds & concrete...nice...heavy verse though...she let him hurt me...stings...

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  4. "and even the concrete bleeds green
    when the cavalry of weeds
    sabers it apart."

    That's freaking brilliant.

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  5. I love that you include the Bike, for me too a memory of a vehicle of spirit and freedom. I wished it was a horse with soft brown eyes.

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  6. I used to dream of my bike as a horse, too, and I grew up in sort-of country, sort-of suburbs. Mine was name Licorice, a little black bike.

    The beginning lines, with "even the concrete bleeds green / when the cavalry of weeds / sabers it apart" is brilliant. Then the reason for escape to the flicks turns the whole thing ominous. But FINDING the route of escape is important, and having been abused myself... it ends eventually. Either by leaving, by cleaving, or by death... This is a very fine poem. Thanks, hon. Amy

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  7. I realize this subject makes many uncomfortable--it is not meant, however to be sad, but a poem about overcoming, about resilience, and about finding what's important.

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    1. Sorry - my comment was not meant to encapsulate or criticize the poem. It was my response to the situation described. But it was overly abbreviated.

      Yes, you have a lot of spirit here, and the act of riding a bike, one making one's own breeze as it were is itself a renewing and overcoming sort of act - so it's a wonderful kind of metaphor, distilled moment. It is simply a subject that I find intolerably sad. I doln't mean one shouldnt write about it.

      I think it is especially hard to write about because readers always assume it's a true story - and it is a true story for many, and even for the writer perhaps, but often writing itself involves a kind of dramatization that may include details that are emphasized in ways that are accurate in a deep way, but not necessarily true to one's own life, or not certainly true.. I find this makes it particularly problematic. k.

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    2. I don't mean this makes the poem problematic -- the poem is terrific - I mean it makes the subject problematic. And I'm talking about the publishing side, not writing. k.

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  8. Thank you for sharing a difficult subject...and congratulations on your victory over adversity.
    Peace
    Siggi

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  9. I too had a pink bike that I longed to run away on. Your words are incredibly descriptive and you dealt with this all-too-common memory in a vivid yet poignant way.

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  10. Sissy Hankshaw, as I live and breathe!!!

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    Replies
    1. Thumbs up, eh? Thanks for the compliment, G.

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  11. This is fantastic. You well captured a child's ability to mentally and physically disappear, even though the emotions remain raw. The brain is a beautiful and powerful thing, as is the form of transportation---in this case, that magical pink bicycle.

    I love the way the title sets the tone for the speaker's defiant spirit. No matter what is done to her body or heart, she will not allow her spirit to be claimed or irreparably damaged. She will rise, and she will ride.

    This is my favorite part: "sunlight does fall
    on the damned"

    Along with the ending.

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  12. A shiver of dread ran from head to toes as I read your poetry ... you are incredibly talented and have the rare ability to convey darkness, sickness ... intelligently, with incredible grace and strength.

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  13. I love the thought of you and your bicycle, riding with John Wayne. Makes up for the awfulness, which is so hard to read about, because my first instinct as a childless aunt is "help the children".
    I agree with Helen, you have an amazing talent.
    K

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  14. Your poem makes me want to hurt someone! Good job.

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  15. Your reply to Karen (or at least, beneath her comment) validates my reaction to this piece. Yes, there is violation and horror in it, and that's not to be minimized, but there is even more of something else. It's captured best in this line:

    "I knew I was already
    gone where he would never be"

    Even as a child, the speaker has a spirit and a power of imagination that beer boy can't even guess at. After all, The Duke was just a Hollywood movie actor, not a real hero, but if you can make your bike into a palomino and hit the dusty trail to anyplace, then it's really true that no one can fence you in.

    Got to love the western swing tune as well!

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  16. oooh, this haunts and the green is forever tarnished.
    My bike was my freedom-I am happy you had your Pink Palomino and your imagination~ (((hugs)))
    I love these lines:

    "and even the concrete bleeds green
    when the cavalry of weeds
    sabers it apart."

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  17. I feel the pain in this. I identify with it. Thank God for imagination that can take one away from the pain to be able to survive it. Brilliant work!

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  18. There is a place that is inviolate, sacred and ours. And you have named it. Thank you for this poem.

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  19. Masterful story telling. I'd of been proud to ride beside her and even let her ride my fine pony, Velvet. Enjoyed this immensely.

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    1. I love that name...I borrowed my 'pony's' name from the silver screen, not National Velvet, but Buttermilk. Thanks, Margaret.

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  20. Thanks, everyone, for your gracious, kind, and thoughtful comments.

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  21. Joy, this is such a powerful write. I, too, felt the freedom in bike riding - as a child and, later, as an adult........I was most struck by the words Shay quotes about being "already gone". Resilience, yes. And overcoming.......you bet, by a country mile!

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    1. Thanks, Sherry. I don't think I would be flying/riding quite so fast these days, ;_) but I do sometimes wish I still had a bike.

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  22. This was chilling - the voice of innocence, a memory pulled out and examined. Powerful write, hedgewitch.

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  23. This poem could take place in a day or cover an entire childhood. It could represent a lifetime, easily. Your careful use of time, from one of my fave phrases "sunlight does fall on the damned" to "even if at night there was no sun" the sun is a hot star/life source missing nothing. Your revelatory stanza wasn't disturbing to me... it was more of a bare fact and I felt the overcoming of a harsh situation in the powerful "he never scared me." I was riding there with you on my yellow banana seat bike. Concrete bleeds green had me smelling the worms after a rain and remembering the taste of blood after wiping out on Oak Hill Rd.. numerous times. Thanks for taking me back to that indefatigable strength youth possesses.

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Jane. Thanks for your empathetic and insightful reading. Those scraped knees back then, the coppery blood-smell so strong, the getting back up and riding till it stopped hurting...remember it well.

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  24. Oh wow Joy...what a harrowing, triumphant tale of survival. This one about made me ball.

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  25. I liked the metaphoric expressions, They depict pain but they also release the hope of overcoming it

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg