Poetry was my gateway drug to writing. I wrote shamelessly and fearlessly, with teen-angsty superlatives about things I knew nothing about (love, death: you know, the Big Stuff). I still love poetry and still end up over-writing. But it's wordplay; I just can't get enough.
And since I haven't shared in a while...
Unreliably ever after
From the first bedtime story,
we are taught that we are not the authors of our own tales.
From the moment words begin to fly from our lips,
tentative, at first, spluttering and fluttering their wings
perched on the tip of our tongues to survey the whole wide world,
then dropping from our mouths
only to catch a breeze soaring
they tumble until they are
trampled into the ground
We are snuggled into ruffled beds
pointing out the pretty pictures with chubby fingers
fluffing frilly pillows beneath our heads
we learn to hide behind the very stories
placed upon our princess-pyjama’ed laps…and yet
here is a maiden
who throws down her spindle to pick up a hammer,
the weight of it a comfort in her hand.
We are tucked under the covers,
pinching cheeks into a rosy glow, distracting others
from the blackened corners of our lives
hiding the real stories under blanketed shadows
where it is too dark to see the page…and yet
here is an errant knight
who is secretly a girl and who wields her armour
as protection from pointed prejudice.
We twirl our pigtails and pet our ponies
growing into women with unwanted hair and horses
whose riders don’t stop unless you
are glossy & helpless & mute
as we wait in our castles, endlessly spinning…and yet
here is a princess with brittle braids
who, unwilling to wait, shaves her head and
weaves a rope ladder to climb down from her tower.
We burn our once-upon-a-times
blowing out the match as the wind carries away the ashes of stories
that once pressed us between the pages
the ones that end with right shoe/proper foot, prince with assets & marriage with heirs.
And we learn that after the ever after,
the queens don’t give a feuding fuck about their warring kings
and instead they grow old together in
softening bodies wrinkled with laughter.
We shine a flashlight beneath the blankets,
freshly printed pages reflecting the kaleidoscopic vision
of our new narrative lenses
as we rewrite the endings that came too soon
or not so happily or not at all
The words take shape and peel from the pages
drying the dew from their wings
and flying out in the wide world
to sing a different story of
heroes and explorers and
rebel girls who go to school despite a bullet to the head
who throw down their brooms and pick up a book
and read it to the bitter end.