always the girl at the back of classrooms winking out

drawing worlds in yellow paper margins

staring through water-stained windows wishing

something would take me away

and as you get older it’s hard for people who lived in fantasy

a rude awakening when you’re not hiding behind youth

or cuteness anymore

the false rose of your ill-fitting collar

starts to look to others

a bit pathetic

like shine through rawhide where leather

has become thinned from wear

for a long time I found ways to pretend I was relevant

tried to believe those secreted hopes would realize

just like in reverie

wasting precious time, creating fruitless scenarios in my head

because I recognized early, there were things I couldn’t do

one of them was become the person I dreamed of being

too many deficits, broken parts, irreparable cracks

great at small battles, but the effort exhausted me and caught up

wrapping itself around my shoulders like Isadora’s* scarf

dragging me into a mire they call dysthymia

then later another bog where illness flitted, willow-the-wisp

sizzling hope on a skillet with a little onion and minced years

you’d think I’d have learned ways to climb out

dust myself off, forge through, power on

master the long game, where wars are won

I just learned ways of enduring, which felt as futile as a scarlet letter

treading dark water before a dunking, cheers echoing

as time runs forward, I fell back; finding I spoke truth less and less

we are ever reminded, it’s shameful to admit your failings and own

the loss of your dreams, the ageing of your soul

fatigue behind your everyday, who the hell wants to own that?

To a world bent on youth, game-theory and saccharine

have others pore over your inabilities like sugar ants

haven’t you grasped what people really want?

Those panglossians who succeed in this world, empower others

write about things people want to hear, to lift them up

they hate your sempiternal reminder, not all of us can

but on a good day … just surviving seems some kind of dark humored success

though its sides are hollow, like my cheeks which I fill

with false smiles, counterfeit, hoping with two shots and fast draw

for succor

if you fake it, you can make it

a bit longer, just a little more

till suppertime, still solstice

until stars devour the sky

in quiet radiance once more.

For Jeannie.

(*Isadora Duncan died when her scarf decapitated her while driving.)

10 Replies to “Feinter”

  1. Foolish people keep trying to find the mathematics to measure one endurance, one accomplishment, one kind of strength against another, to keep a score.

  2. Thank you my friend. I have neglected this page somewhat as I am juggling working full time again with 4 editing roles in addition – but I so appreciate you reading what I write as it means a great deal to me – and I would surely have given up years ago were it not for support like yours. Thank you isn’t enough. I recall my dad always warning me not to cycle with a scarf for this exact reason.

  3. Dear Carol Anne – thank you for your support and encouragement it means the world to me.

  4. For years I felt a dunce even if IQ or otherwise, tests, proved the reverse. It is funny the power condemnation and poverty of empathy can have on a child. This is why I have spent my life trying to lift people up not push them down, that’s the easy and rogue path.

  5. Lifting up and kindness really is easier and, to me, feels more natural. Harsh judgement is too much work and feels ugly. One way I’ve thought of is”

    I’m not in this world to make anybody’s life harder, unless they work quite hard to prove they need that, in which case I prefer to avoid them.

  6. Absolutely. I grew up being put down 24/7 and decided at an early age I would try to be the opposite of that – because it feels right and good and hopefully helps others – which if we’re not doing that and we’re only living for ourselves – just isn’t living at all.

  7. The essence of what it means to be truly successful as a social animal, I think. I’ve never understood the drive of competition in any deep emotional sense, that desperate need to WIN and to know who the winners are. I think it comes of not having siblings and parents setting us up to compete.

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