Bare

By  Wildes (Ella Walker), 2016

Throw me down
I’ll steal the moon
I’ll tear the night,
keep it from you.

Hold me up
and watch me bloom
I’m a dangerous fire
A poison fume

Now I’m done staying,
Quit playing
I’m out on this.
I’ve spent too long lying,
And now I’m trying to hurt you.

But you’ve seen me bare, you’ve seen me covered up
Maybe I’m not scared, what you’re thinking of
You’ve seen me here, and held me miles away,
Underneath my skin, is all you’ll see today.

I, could take you there,
If, you let me see
Why, you are the one,
Are you the one for me?

Time, is wasted and
I’m not losing sleep
Don’t just stand and stare
Come on and bare your teeth

Come on and bare your teeth…

You’ve seen me bare, you’ve seen me covered up
Maybe I’m not scared, what you’re thinking of
You’ve seen me here, and held me miles away,
Underneath my skin, is all you’ll see today.

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Growing Up In Australia

Author Unknown.

I discovered and saved this piece on December 10, 2015. If I find the author I’ll name and credit him/her here. I include this in my Flow Collection because it is a wonderful touch stone for me when writing about my childhood. There is so much nostalgia here.

I’m talking about hide and seek in the park. The corner milk bar,
hopscotch, billy carts, cricket in front of the garbage bin and
inviting everyone on your street to join in, Skipping, handball,
handstands, elastics, bullrush, catch & kiss, footy on the best lawn
in the street, slip’n’slide, the trampoline with water on it, hula
hoops, stepping in puddles, mud pies and building dams in the gutter.
The smell of the sun and fresh cut grass.

‘Big bubbles no troubles’ with Hubba Bubba bubble gum. A choc-top.
Mr Whippy cone on a warm summer night after you’ve chased him round
the block. 20 cents worth of mixed lollies lasted a week and
pretending to smoke “fags” (the lollies) was really cool!

A dollars’ worth of chips from the corner take-away fed two people (AND the
sauce was free!!).

Being upset when you botched putting on the temporary tattoo from the
bubblegum packet, but still wearing it proudly.
Watching Saturday morning cartoons: ‘The Smurfs’, ‘AstroBoy’,
‘He-Man’, ‘Captain Caveman’, ‘Archie’, ‘Jem’ (truly outrageous!!),
‘The Wizard of Oz’, ‘Banana Man’ and ‘Heeeey heeeeey heeeeeeey it’s
faaaaaaat Albert’. Or staying up late and sneaking a look at the “AO”
on the second telly. When ‘Monkey Magic’ with fish face & pigsy had a cult following. Miraculous Mellops. & who could ever forget Degrassi Jnr High?

When around the corner seemed a long way, and going into town seemed
like going somewhere. Where running away meant you did laps of the
block because you weren’t allowed to cross the road?? A million
mozzie bites, wasp and bee stings. Sticky fingers, cops and robbers, cowboys
and indians, riding bikes and catching tadpoles.

Marco polo in the neighbours’ pool (“fish outta water?!””NOOOO”),
drawing all over the road and driveway with chalk. Climbing trees
and building cubbies out of every sheet your mum had in the cupboard.
Walking to school, no matter what the weather. When writing ‘I
love….?’ on your pencil case, really did mean it was true love. “he loves me?
he loves me not?”

Running till you were out of breath. Laughing so hard that your
stomach hurt. Pitching the tent in the back/front yard. Jumping on the bed. Ghosts stories with the next door neighbours. Pillowfights, spinning round, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for the giggles.

The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team. Water
balloons were the ultimate weapon. Cricket cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle.

Eating raw jelly, making homemade lemonade and sucking on a Funny Face,
Paddle Pop or red Icy Pole.

Remember when there were only two types of sneakers – girls and
boys. Dunlop volleys with the green ‘n’ gold or blue and the only time you
wore them at school was for “sports day.” Bloomers in primary school &
Scungies under netball skirts. You knew everyone in your street – and so did
your parents!

It wasn’t odd to have two or three “best friends” & you would ask
them by sending a note asking them to be your best friend.
You didn’t sleep a wink on Christmas eve and pretended to sleep for
the tooth fairy.

When nobody owned a pure-bred dog. When 50c was decent pocket money.
When you’d reach into a muddy gutter for 10c. When nearly everyone’s
mum was there when the kids got home from school. It was magic when
dad would “remove” his thumb.

When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at
the local Chinese restaurant with your family.

When any parent could discipline and kid, or feed her or use him to
carry groceries and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it.

When being sent to the principal’s office was nothing compared to the
fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home. Basically, we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn’t because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! Some of us are still afraid of them!!!

Remember when decisions were made by going “eeny-meeny-miney-mo”or
dib dib’s-scissors, paper, rock. “Race issue” meant arguing about
who ran the fastest. Money issues were handled by whoever was the
banker in Monopoly”.

Terrorism was when the older kids were at the end of your street with
pea-shooters waiting to ambush you.

The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was boy/girl
germs, and the worst thing in your day was having to sit next to one.

Where bluelight disco’s were the equivalent to a Rave, and asking a
boy out meant writing a ‘polite’ note getting them to tick ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
When there was always that one ‘HOT’ guy/girl.

Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot.
Your biggest danger at school was accidentally walking through the
middle of a heated game of “brandies”.

Nobody was prettier than your Mum. Scrapes and bruises were kissed
and made better. Taking drugs meant scoffing orange-flavoured chewable
vitamin C’s, or swallowing half a Panadol.

Ice cream was considered a basic food group. Going to the beach and catching a wave was a dream come true. If you actually lived there boogie boarding in the white wash made you the next Kelly Slater.

Abilities were discovered because of a “double-dare”.

Older siblings were the worst tormentors, but also the fiercest
protectors.

Now, didn’t that bring back some fond memories??

If you can remember most of these, you’re an Aussie legend!

Vaya, Camarón (Except)

By Tracy K. Smith, closing lines to “Vaya, Camarón,” in Duende: Poems (Graywolf Press, 2007)

It used to be, you’d open your mouth
and the weather changed.
You’d open your mouth and the sky’d spill that dry,
missing-someone kind of rain,
no matter the season.

And it hurt,
like a guitar hurts under the right hands.
Like a good strong spell.

Now you’re all song.
Body gone to memory.

And guess what?

It hurts.

Harder.

Letter from my Brain to my Heart

By Rachel McKibbens, 2010

This house is dirty, but comfortable.
Behind each crooked door
waits the angry weather of a forgiveless child.

I cannot help but admire this horrible
power of mine, how each small thing
can become a death: the lost house key. A spoiled egg.
A howling dog. There is no prayer or pill for this.
It is a ruthless botany; I might as well
be buried in the yard. I have no one to blame.
Not the mother who sang to an empty cradle.
Not the Dog of Spite who bit my hand,
just this long-legged sorrow
who trails my every joy like a dark perfume.

You have my permission not to love me;
I am a cathedral of deadbolts
and I’d rather burn myself down
than change the locks.

Where Could I Rest But In Your Hurricane?

By Y.Z, “Put your Weapons Down, and Come Home from War”

It works like this.
They leave, and then wait for
your letters like you’re the one who walked away.
Like you’re the one who
burned down the highways between your houses.
Like you’re the one who scattered the distance
across the train tracks.

They see you again and you’re rebuilding bridges
and your hands are blistered
and there’s a fire on the other side of the bridge
that should tell you to run.

But you don’t run.
You just keep building
because what else is there to do with yourself nowadays?

Baby, I don’t know where you were
when you got your heart broken for the first time,
but I bet you still can’t go back there.
I bet you’re still stuck somewhere else
waiting for someone to meet you halfway,
and no one is showing up.

I know, baby. I know.
He’s a wound that won’t heal,
and you’re so tired of your skin turning
soft and pink for someone
who didn’t stay to see it happen.

I know, baby, I know,
You’re allowed to start your day still in love with his voice.
You’re allowed to miss him like a war you were used to fighting.
You’re allowed to want him to come back like a soldier from battle.
One of these days you’re going to wake up without his
name waiting like a ghost in your bed.

One of these days, you’re going to wake up
and forget that there’s supposed to be someone else next to you.
And you’ll climb back into yourself and wonder why you ever left
such a miracle of a body behind.

Slowly and Surely

By Ramna Safeer

I want you to know
that the day after,
I measured the exact center
of my bedsheets and
slept there and let my body
be the burning house that
craves all my own attention.

I want you to know
that my lungs have relearned
dancing and breathing at the same time
so my feet curl themselves into smiles
on the way to my bus stop in the mornings.

I want you to know that I know what
survival tastes like.
I have too much of my own blood tucked under my tongue to ignore.

Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell

By Marty McConnell

Leaving is not enough; you must stay gone. Train your heart like a dog. Change the locks even on the house he’s never visited. You lucky, lucky girl. You have an apartment just your size. A bathtub full of tea. A heart the size of Arizona, but not nearly so arid.  Don’t wish away your cracked past, your crooked toes, your problems are papier mâché puppets you made or bought because the vendor at the market was so compelling you just had to have them. You had to have him. And you did. And now you pull down the bridge between your houses. You make him call before he visits. You take a lover for granted, you take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic. Make the first bottle you consume in this place a relic. Place it on whatever altar you fashion with a knife and five cranberries. Don’t lose too much weight. Stupid girls are always trying to disappear as revenge. And you are not stupid. You loved a man with more hands than a parade of beggars, and here you stand. Heart like a four-poster bed. Heart like a canvas. Heart leaking something so strong they can smell it in the street.

Published in issue 23 of Salt Hill Journal.