They think
Well … She must have it together
Look at her poise, her “fancy” foreign accent
The apparent varnish

(God, she must really be stuck on herself)

Behind shut doors
Her varnish, as they call it
Can be wiped away like make up
Discarded as quickly as a nice outfit can fool
If you don’t look too closely
Because if you did

I mean, really peer impolitely

You’d see her teeth were thin, near transparent

Her veins stuck through skin like weeds
She had malnourished eyes
Like one of those thin alley cats
Who by the light of moon looks so regal
Till you get close and smell the stink of the wild
She has a rinse in her DNA

Says; defective. Restart please.

But she’s not a poorly made piece of machinery

She isn’t in a test tube where you can just pour her down the sink
And begin over
Though most days that’s exactly what she wishes for
Evolve from scratch with different parts of fate

She’ll not show you her dreaming

But underneath the mask
And all those distractions she puts in front of you
To ensure you see nothing of the truth

She’s looking through holes cut from cured skin
Like a feral creature
Forced from the hinterlands

Uneasy in rooms without corners and florescent lights
When you tell her she’s doing well
She wants to bite down and draw blood and scream;
You think ironed clothes and brushed hair makes me one of you?

15 Replies to “Forced from the wild”

  1. Ever tried to tame a feral cat?
    Offer food
    She’ll eat with a wary eye
    Offer shelter
    She may stay a winter
    Claim a chair or bed
    Like a throne
    The resident cats
    Genuflect not play
    You might be honored
    Or tolerated
    An occasional stroke of petting
    And come the equinox
    And spring’s breath
    She is gone
    To hunt
    Still wild
    Oh, yes
    There are humans like that too.

  2. I’m glad I know you . . . And, I am glad I love you.

    “When you tell her she’s doing well
    She wants to bite down and draw blood and scream;
    You think ironed clothes and brushed hair makes me one of you?”

    You have a gift, Candice. Thank you for sharing it with us. As a reader, I’m always intrigued and inspired.

  3. Thank you so much for saying that Tre. Very often I tell people I believe in them and think they are talented, but it’s rare to hear it and it does help me want to carry on and not feel I’m doing it for nothing. The glamorous 20 somethings with a ton of online friends and time, tend to be the highlighters, but it’s ratifying to know it’s worth my doing this and I really, really appreciate that you read my stuff. Thank you beyond words.

  4. I remember a few years back when I had been working for South Florida Poetry Review and one of the ‘editors’ wrote me a nastygram saying: I’m sorry to say you are no longer one of our reviewers. And pointing out many complaints about my reviews had been logged and that what I had written was badly written. My first response was one of self-hate and shame. My second was incredulity because I know I’m a good writer, especially prose, or academic. I couldn’t have graduated top of my University if I hadn’t been. So I felt hurt, angry, and still, I turned it on myself. I think I do this because I carry around in me, the early criticism that said exactly that (I wasn’t clever enough, I wasn’t good enough etc) and I wish I were strong like you and could dispel those voices. I wish I could believe I was as good as writers I admire, rather than believe the one hater in 100 who will tear me down. I know other writers are often criticized, even vilified, and it’s not indicative of anything, and that when it is, it’s mere opinion and opinion is mutable. Despite this, I carry those wounds and they make it terribly easy for me to feel it’s all for naught. Kindnesses like yours, really keep me afloat and going. they really, really do. I hope you know the good you do in this world. The best part of that story was I contacted the author whose book I had reviewed and she used the review on her webpage, so I’m guessing SoFlo wasn’t right if the author liked it that much. I often wonder what makes someone do that. My dad used to say, petty fiedoms, and this is true in academic circles, so maybe, as they were all old as dirt ex-academics. I have an idealized view of academics because I would never, ever, ever tear someone down like that.

  5. I have my good days and I have my bad days, especially when it comes to how I react toward rejection or someone’s opinion of my writing. But I know what I can do and I know of what I’m capable. This helps me. You’re welcome. Your friend was kind to use the review. That says more than it needs to. ☺️

  6. To repeat myself and others who comment, your gift for writing that cuts through artifice is quite astounding Candice. Your recent posts seem to be gaining in intensity. You are quite simply the best writer that I lay eyes on regularly. I read somewhere once that if God exists, all he/she/it might want above all else is for humans to report back truthfully how it feels to be incarnated.That God would adore your sharing.
    It sure hurts to be alive but please keep going! x

  7. Candice, with reference to your ’27’ post, the one phradse (the hurt blooms at night) made me think of this 2019 song by Protomartyr, a band from Michigan. Maybe it could resonate with you?

    Night-Blooming Cereus

    In the far desert
    On a distant blasted plain
    A forgotten corner
    Amid the death of all things
    Not under the blinding sun
    Or the cultivator’s toil
    Only in darkness
    Does the flower take hold
    It blooms at night
    It blooms at night
    In the old city
    In abandoned shells
    On a desolated edge
    Amid the death of all things
    Not under the scornful eye
    Or the corporation’s hand
    Only in darkness
    Does the flower take hold
    It blooms at night
    It blooms at night
    In my own head
    Near the hole where hope drains out
    And fear is branded deep
    Amid the death of all things
    Not under law or the thoughts I had before
    Only in darkness
    Does the flower take hold
    It blooms at night
    It blooms at night
    In a valley filled with flowers unseen in the dark
    In a valley filled with flowers unseen in the dark
    It blooms at night
    It blooms at night
    It blooms at night

  8. How do you do it? Every time! Your words not only provide enough disguise to make us dig deeper into the lines, and wanting us to reread them over and over to go further in, but you leave (at least me!), wanting to stand proud next to you and scream “I wish you could see what I see!! You are brilliant!!” <3

  9. That’s such a lovely and very uplifting kindness. Because I don’t see it and friends like you (which are VERY RARE) are so giving and uplifting and beautiful. Thank you dearling. I try. I do. I know you do too.

  10. BRILLIANT LYRICS! I mistakenly posted that and am going to re-post in a few day. I love this! Thank you!

  11. Dearling… I love that! Please always call me that. It’s a sweet and special name. <3 Don't ever stop being you, my dear friend!

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