Thursday, February 5, 2009

Candy From Stragers

Braids and pigtails woven by the wind
Framed a glossy crease
Chewing pink cotton candy bubble gum
And two smiling eyes blazed inside-out
Skin rouge and nurtured
I was told then, “Never talk to strangers.”
And so I never did,

But when I was 14,
and scrawny bones fashioned to brawny flesh
sweating pebbles and curvy streams from the yellow sun—
And proudly adorned with two new unbuoyant risings,
They offered their sweets instead,
Fingers still playing in the dirt, I slowly peered up

“Little girl so pretty,” they whispered
Calloused hands loosening my hair and skidding my cheek
“Let me teach you about love,”
Just long enough to hear the hum of unfolding metal
As the nook of my neck’s spine hung on the ridged end of a naked crib

And so, there I lay
Encapsulated in love and prickly cracked leather
Like sandpaper, scratching my tummy raw, red, and numb
My irises flickering back and forth, blue and white, turning outside-in
Tracing faces and shapes with the white drips in the ceiling
In-between the opaque and transparent whizzing of wood

15, 16, 17, 18…
Standing in front of a mirror
A used painting of camouflage and idealistic dreams
Dressed in crooked saline and fears
Scared to love, scared of lies
And haunted by the smacking echo of dry liquorish, so tearingly bitter

Susie E.


Mark_W said...


Gosh, this is a powerful one…

If I say my first reaction was to be rather terrified, that’s not meant in any way as a criticism, but rather that (apart from the fact that the cotton candy etc. evokes carnivals &c, which I’ve always found rather sinister) the fact that, perhaps especially as I’m a father of a daughter, this sort of thing is apt to scare me...

(It also reminds me of Andrew Vachss; in relation to whose Burke novels, I’m currently about a third of the way through drafting something on childhood and family)…Anyway, I hope this isn’t too autobiographical...

Fingers still playing in the dirt, I slowly peered up

That’s brilliant, and sums up so concisely how terribly difficult crossing the line out of childhood has become...

Again (and I don’t mean this in any way negatively): this made me shiver...


Susie Q said...


Thanks so much for your comments. No insult or hurt feelings at all! If it emotes an eerie feel then it means, if nothing else, it got the emotion of the poem. It can be quite depressing writing stuff like that but sometimes, when the emotions are so strong and it seems you can't get rid of it...putting the right words to the feelings gets it out and releases it to the world. Perhaps helping, or depressing, NO, thank you for your kind words! It is probably a poem many will not want to comment on.

BTW, how's the Akhmatova coming?

-Susie E.

Mark_W said...


No insult or hurt feelings at all!

That’s a relief! I’m not sure I expressed myself especially clearly there, apart from that I had got the emotion...

BTW, how's the Akhmatova coming?

At the moment my favourite two are I hear the oriole’s always-grieving voice:

I don't expect love's tender flatteries, / In premonition of some dark event, / But come, come and see this paradise / Where together we were blessed and innocent.

And You will hear thunder

You will hear thunder and remember me, / And think: she wanted storms.