said Texas was more friendly than the East Coast
but she’d lived in New York and that wasn’t true
not for queers and people who didn’t attend church
the year she arrived they put up picket signs on every corner
marriage equals a man and a woman
with a red X marking the hate
obliteration of alternatives
a dirty word it was
not to be homogenous and touch your
four corners to the cross
the year she arrived they said
if you don’t like BBQ, if you don’t eat meat, if you don’t go to Dairy Queen
get the fuck out of our state
you wear too much black we’re certain
you prefer Satan
she became a shut-in who didn’t
believe in mythical devils but had
met a few who walked the earth in the flesh
not leaving the house an irony
for a Thursday’s child
who has far to go
You may ask – girl why did you stick around?
but we don’t all of us have the luxury
of choice
the saying
you made your bed / now lie in it
can often apply
so you suck all the oxygen out of the room
hold your breath
hoping they won’t notice you are still there
but they did
pinching and pulling
you’re far too thin
you’re far too white
you’re a spoil sport who doesn’t like to go on team building exercises
she began to drink in the afternoons
wanted to swear the way she used to do
in Europe
where every other word was an expletive
but swearing is crude in Texas
they like you to sweeten your words like your tea
and drink it ice-cold
It isn’t really their fault
if you move somewhere you’d better try
to fit in
even ghosts can see the purpose
in choosing where you haunt, wisely
it’s not enough to think you can carry on liking the same things
she cannot wear tights in Texas
even in December it’s too hot
you have to mow your lawn A LOT
though she would plant weeds and watch
them enclose her from disapproval
in time, she learned it’s a state of mind
sometimes when you stop realizing you don’t fit in
you just might
and if that doesn’t work there’s always
four walls and closed eyes
growing wild flowers in her mind
swearing a little less often
in time everything works differently
you look back and see
what was once strange
feels like home

0 Replies to “Thursday's child”

  1. Good poem. I love your observations, they’re acute and pithy. We were only commenting on the poverty of American swearing yesterday. An excerpt from a film and it was all fuck fuck fuck fucking fuck fuck at the speed of light in a hysterical scream. Don’t they know any other words or how to construct a really juicy insult?
    The last lines struck me as terribly sad. Do you think we all give in in the end, just for a quiet life?

    1. ha ha ha! I love this! Did you really have that conversation? Okay I officially want to be part of your household! Great conversation! You’re right, swear-words are limited either over-used but repeated (though the Spanish do the same!) in seriousness to your question … well to some extent if we stay – yes – because we have no choice. No if we have a choice and make it. I’m not saying we lose ourselves but we do compromise. I know I have. Am I proud of that? Not really. Do I think I may one day leave? Yes probably. Then again it’s very possible to not change, the idea being ‘wherever you go there you are’ so if you have a strong personality like you and I, you never quite lose it, no matter how desperate to fit in (and neither of us are desperate to fit in, but for a quiet life we may occasionally mussel our greater impulses!)

      1. Yes we did have that conversation and yes I am truly horrified by the poverty of American swearing. It all sounds so ugly! Where is ‘she looks like a photo of a cat’s hole’ or ‘he has a face like a bag of spanners’?
        You’re rightβ€”you always take yourself with you, as long as you have a self of your own, not one that’s borrowed from the TV or the back of a cereal packet.

        1. You do realize you had me dying of laughter with this response? You do realize I now MUST (no choice no choice!) use both these expressions TODAY! If I get in trouble it will be your fault! Oh this is terrific!

          1. You need to spend a while in Dublin. Northside. You’ll come away with enough colourful expressions to get you hounded out of Texas πŸ™‚

  2. Wow. I have a friend in TX who doesn’t go to church and she’s like such an anomaly. When she first moved, everyone she met invited her to their church. And it’s funny – I don’t fit into my town. Just a little too ethnic (and not the right kind) and not typically womanish I guess. But I’ve been here ten years and still have no friends in this actual town, lol. Outside of it, I do so I suppose that’s something. Anyway, I’ve rambled enough, lol. I loved the poem. 😊

    1. Thanks so much for this great reply. You are so right, it is an anomaly to not go to church in most of this state. Where do you live? What state? Why do you think you don’t fit? You are too ethnic? Are they racist? They are not racist here, it’s about 70 percent Hispanic and we have many more African American’s due to Katrina and a black mayor so things are not bad in that regard though in the past they were very Germanic and anti-Hispanic – it used to be rabidly anti-gay here also – things do change – now the biggest changes are that most people moving here are from NY state and CA – so lots of changes. I think we’re like the 3rd fastest growing city or something it’s ridiculous, there were 600,000 when I arrived now it’s around 2 million including nearby towns. I don’t have many friends here – no super close ones – because I have nothing in common with them – so I can relate. I’m glad that you relate though also sad as at times it can be really isolating. Thanks for sharing your story with me though I appreciate that.

      1. I live in MA and in my town the ethnic minorities are Asian. There aren’t many black families. I suppose I could make friends but I’m shy and it felt like everyone else already knew each other and weren’t too welcoming. So I’d just stand there awkwardly at school pick ups or whatever. I’m sure it was mostly my fault… But they’d be discussing manicures and stuff and I’d be looking at my plain nails, lol. I have found some other people I have more in common with so it’s ok. You live in a really big city, mine is small but on the outskirts of Boston so not too bad. I like it here for the most part though if I could move towns I would.

        1. When I lived in Canada we visited VA and I noticed it was very asian, I was surprised as I’d say it was around 70 percent asian, interesting how differing cultures dominate parts of places and you never know it until you move there. It is hard when you are shy, I hear you, I feel much the same. I used to be able to socialize if I drank but drinking doesn’t agree with me any more so now I am very much the stop-at-home type πŸ˜‰ It’s not fault, it’s just you, there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t condemn yourself in favor of another version, there is a reason for how you are and it’s not a bad thing to be shy. In Europe being shy is considered endearing but I notice America is less tolerant of it. I can’t understand that. I live on the outskirts and it does not feel large, or I think I would freak out πŸ˜‰ I just got back from Boston how funny! I was in Amhert MA for a night. I loved the snow. (we were there in the middle of a snow storm) I also went to NH was going to Maine but never made it, came back through NH to Mass. Lots of lovely places. Expensive but worth it. Where do you think you would move to?

          1. I want to move to Canada at this point, lol. Yeah, I’ve learned to embrace my shyness. It still bothers me a little but I feel ok. You’re right though, America values extroverts much more. I remember you saying you were recently in the snow. And you got sick right? And the urgent care lady hit on you? πŸ˜„ You must have still looked good! I don’t know where I’d move to… somewhere with more diversity.

          2. Believe me, you may be disappointed if you did move! πŸ˜‰ Embracing shyness is the only way, and what’s wrong with being shy? I challenge anyone to really say it’s a negative trait. But yeah, it can be harder to do certain things. Yes I was in the snow – it was great – loved it – except the throwing up bit πŸ˜‰ that was a la the airline from hell. I couldn’t live somewhere that wasn’t diverse it would wig me out so I hear you. The urgent care lady was HOT so it was a compliment and no I looked AWFUL which made it really perplexing? Did she see my good soul? πŸ˜‰

          3. Ha ha, she saw beyond the sickness to the beauty beneath!
            You’re right about shyness. The world can’t be all loudmouths. πŸ˜› Kidding! I can be pretty loud at times. 😁 Hope you enjoy your Saturday! 😘

          4. For example I have always been drawn to shy people over extrovert. Extrovert own the world, the shy are the ones who have more to say, they are the ones you wonder about. I’m not overly-shy, more socially-reticient πŸ˜‰ but I relate to shyness deeply, as an honest response. I hope you have a good Easter weekend

          5. I didn’t used to be. I used to be drawn to obvious things. I realized it is the quiet person in the corner who really I should be talking to. So I get what you mean totally and share it.

          6. I used to be a bit of an attention seeker under the age of ten, now I avoid attention. I always admired the person who was self-sufficient that’s the greatest accomplishment. Plus shyness can be sexy. πŸ˜‰

          7. I totally avoid attention (except on WP, I guess, lol). You should hear my inner thoughts at the gym. I have to convince myself no one is looking at me to feel comfortable. πŸ˜› I agree with you that shyness can be sexy. It’s so much better than being a blabbermouth! πŸ˜„

          8. I can’t even go to a gym so you are one step ahead of me at least! I suppose that’s why people sometimes have perceived fetishes for say, Asian women, the idea being they are shy which maybe majoritively they are, but what a surprise that person has when they get to know them better, as they are fierce and strong. That’s the thing about shyness though, it doesn’t mean the person isn’t strong. I suppose you could compare it to Sub/Dom in that sense.

          9. I wonder if you have to be shy to be sensitive? Probably not. Maybe it’s more that we attribute the two together. Interesting giving me a lot to think about.

          10. I’m not sure. I do think they at least somewhat go together. Shyness is a protection of sorts, because of anxiety. Sensitivity would increase that need to protect oneself and the anxiety felt in social situations. Empaths are usually introverts and while lots of introverts are not shy, probably more introverts are shy than extroverts. I am a shy introverted empath, lol. Best(?😐) of all worlds. πŸ˜›

          11. I suppose shyness is a protection (I hadn’t thought of it that way but what else could it serve?) so anxiety must therefore be somewhat present. Can you be shy without being anxious? Maybe soft-spoken, not out-going but maybe not ‘shy’ per say, although an introvert may not have anxiety it may be choice and proclivity makes them prefer their own re-charge over re-charging with others? A shy introverted empath no less? This doesn’t sound bad at all! I don’t know ‘what’ I am. I used to be an extrovert. I would say I was an introvert now, definitely, though maybe by circumstance and being jaded as much by choice or personality, I’m shy but at times I’m not shy (sort of like you said earlier of yourself) and an empath? I don’t know if I am. How can you tell? πŸ˜‰

          12. Yeah, I think that’s a distinction some people don’t make. Introverted doesn’t mean shy because shyness is anxiety related. I know for me, it takes me a while to feel comfortable but once I am, or if I’m with a trusted group of friends, I am very outspoken, friendly, etc. Apparently, I have a rep for always having something to say. Especially about not often talked about topics. πŸ˜› And extroverts can be shy too, though I wonder if it happens less often. Being an empath is not always easy, huh? I think when you feel so much from others, it’s easy to become jaded as you said.

          13. I don’t know if I care individually enough about people to be called an empath, hence my query as to whether I fit that. Not to say I do not care, but there is a difference between caring and not caring before you reach do not care. I would say I care less than many, because of my avoidance and distrust of many people, I am also guilty of not finding many social situations interesting and in that sense, I do not care to be around people doing small-talk. In the past I cared deeply about close friends but that’s something you sometimes grow out of because of experiences you have. Therefore when I think of empath I think of someone who deeply involves themselves and cares for others, this would not be accurate of me. I am more of an avoidant type who cares if say, someone falls and is the first to rush to their aid, but may not make the effort to be involved with people because it usually ends in a let-down. Wow I sound jaded! ha ha ha the truth can sound bad!

          14. Hmm, that’s interesting. I would say, if you are an empath, you don’t necessarily care. You maybe did care at one time, though that’s not necessarily true. I think the key would be how sensitive you are. Do you feel, or did you feel before, emotions from other people. Could you tell how someone was feeling just by being near them? And for me a big one is feeling like I’m right there and can feel everything in a news story or a book scene. I have to be so careful about what I expose myself to. It just stays with me.
            I can see being jaded and no longer caring if you’ve been hurt repeatedly by people. As a protection for yourself, you have to. But maybe you are still an empath…

          15. Thanks for this really interesting conversation by the way. Thinking about it more, I expect I am not an empath, shudder I guess that’s not good but there it is. I believe that I do not feel everything – I feel enough – for example if a lamb dies in the field I feel overwhelming pain but that doesn’t necessarily make me an empath. I would say I am less so because whilst I feel the pain of something happening I may not feel the pain of that person. I wouldn’t presume to know how they feel but I’m sure some people can ‘tap in’ I would say I cannot, although when I was a therapist I tried but it’s hard in a conventional staid role like that. Better to be open to what they are saying, a listener I guess. Yes I suppose a very sensitive person WOULD pick up on things more. I am sensitive in the sense of being easily wounded but not in the sense of knowing what someone else isn’t saying sometimes it depends. I’m hit and miss. An empath in training πŸ˜‰

    1. I love this! Better question … which one do you think I would be? πŸ˜‰ (ha ha ha!) I agree with this for the most part, do you? Which one would you be? Are you in the same nation as me?

      1. I might be wrong…but I was going to say New France area….
        And yes it appeals to me…there is one other that I could possibly choose as well…
        So give it up pup. Which one.?

        1. mmm I don’t have an answer! I would have to visit all of them. I dislike France. I love Italy and Greece – I like the countryside over cities now – but ultimately I do believe it’s the people over the place – so maybe it’s about what types of people in which case definitely not France … maybe another part of the States …

  3. Brilliantly written and with passion….. Life is to live- not to judge every one. No wonder I have no friends …. I lived in Dallas Texas…. and other parts of the globe….. Funny really I was in a leprosy colony for a time- I was accepted beyond words. No one decided to point a finger at me……At least for a moment I fitted in. to the church they headed up…. I do not fit in ! and I do not care. Thank you for your wonderful descriptions of life……….

    1. Thank you my dear friend! I didn’t know you lived in Dallas? Absolutely right, no judging. You made me think of the story of Typhoid Mary with your leprosy colony statement. Fitting in / not fitting in – just seems to me everyone should be welcoming and inclusive rather than enjoying the torment of leaving someone out but look at playgrounds that’s where it starts, so young. xo (thank you for reading)

  4. Someone I know, who lived in Texas for a couple of years, asked if I knew the difference between a “Yankee” and a “Damn Yankee.” A Yankee is one who is just visiting or passing through. A Damn Yankee is one who won’t leave.
    I moved from Buffalo to mid-Missouri in 2012. I still can’t get used to mid-West conservative values and church events on the front page of the newspapers. Fortunately, I’m retired, because I’m told the first thing asked of you when you start a job is “Where do you go to church?” or “Where did you go to school?” (meaning HS) I never had a problem with the length of my hair until I came here, with a couple (loud) whispered comments about ponytails. It’s taken five years, but I think I’ve perfected an “evil eye” when I hear those. Otherwise, I give them my disarming (and charming, I like to think) smile.

    1. Maybe you can teach me the evil eye? πŸ˜‰ I can relate to much of what you have said. That is a real change. People do not always realize, America is very different and moving is just like moving countries. People used to tell me Canada was exactly like the US also, and I lived there a year, it is nothing like the US, so I’ve concluded, all experiences of moving are challenging and can be both good and bad. I think long hair on men is beautiful so I hope you’ll not think to ever cut yours, isn’t it absurd this is still something anyone should think to whisper about? I really like Buffalo I’ve not been to MIssouri so I cannot say, but I have visited Buffalo a fair bit and it’s a beautiful place.

  5. Wow! When I was three, we moved from Philadelphia to Dallas. I never felt like I fit in, but I was a child. I wanted to read, not watch football. My mom remembers people trying to convert her. She never liked it there either. We moved back to the Philadelphia suburbs when I was in 7th grade–such a better fit. (I live in NJ now.) I think I would really hate it there now as an adult.

    1. Dear Merril, what a great response, thank you! Philly to Dallas is a big cultural shift, when you are a kid especially you can pick up on that in different ways. I like that you know what your moms memories of the changes were, and can capture those. It is sad when people try to change rather than appreciate the differences. Must have been tough to move back as much as you may have wanted to, by then you may have felt Dallas was home. I don’t know Philly well but Dallas is nice, very religious and quite conservative but also with many cliques of other groups and racially more open minded than say, when you were a kid probably. I have grown to appreciate elements of TX that prior to, I may have ignored, and this is a good lesson, though when we have to compromise ourselves too much, it’s not very authentic is it? πŸ™‚

      1. We move back because my parents divorced, but it was actually good for me–allowed me to start over. I’m sure Dallas has some great aspects, but probably not for me. πŸ™‚

        1. Neither for me. Starting over can feel really good especially when you are a kid. I’m glad you felt you went back to the right place. I have often wondered what I would feel going back to France after 14 years in America, it seems alien to me now, I do feel my home is here, but there is always a little voice perhaps all transplants feel that way.

  6. “What once was strange, feels like home”… true with both places and people. “Growing wild flowers in her mind”. So much to think about here. Thank you!

    1. I may be slightly optimistic and exaggerating! Poetic license of course! I still miss things that I can never grasp here, but that’s a time as well, sometimes we lost a time, an era, almost, no matter if we go back that era has moved on

  7. This is so provocative. Makes me mad and sad and righteous about my distaste for religion and all the insane fear heaped on top of what should be about love and acceptance, kindness and generosity of spirit. Wonderfully written to evoke such sentiments, Candice. Makes me want to go out and hug all the outsiders. I wouldn’t survive a day in that world.

    1. Thank you so much dear Wallace. I must just say I agree because to say more spoils your wonderful reply! I especially agree about not surviving in that world, I would honestly not wish to!

    1. Right? I think it’s the best part of ageing, you really quit caring. I can remember being 15 and it mattered more than ANYTHING IN THE WORLD to be able to let go of all of that, even if there are some prices to be paid (aren’t there always?) it’s a freedom you just rarely get otherwise. Some would say giving up but that’s not it at all more like reconsiling and not in a negative way. Totally agree.

  8. Let me just say this…….. I am not religious at all. believing in Christ is one thing- religion is another. Christ was not religious- they crucufied him for who he was. But not getting in to a debate about it. My life was raised with the obvious out sider mentality. Coming from the Italian back ground- school life was pathetic. I was constantly called names and left to my self. I would defend this in the play ground- spent many a time in front of my peers for fighting my corner .When I came out of the military after some 15 years- I grew long hair and grew a beard. Interviews for jobs were hard as I did not look the part. ( Big deal) I applied for a nursing job in a home- I was a keen martial arts participant- long hair and so on. I was scolded for my looks and told I may be a threat to the people I would be looking after. I ended up running the home and its staff for 3 years- I could communicate – through pain I learnt how to talk to people and then they would see I was not the person they made me out to seem. I used to blame God and the church for every thing- I was always confronted with religion and hated it. I adore people-of all races and what ever the back ground. Before anything to do with God. I loathe it when any one is picked upon- and hate injustice.I do not want to fit in at all- I like being around people who are real and have a hear tthat beats- I am not perfect of course- I just want to breath my life- and meet the same kind of people along the way. In Dallas I have spoken to the ex vietnam vets living on the streets, all sorts of wonderful bikers- and to the rich in stretch limos. My point is this- every one I spoke to were genuine living human beings – with hearts- they just thought differently about things. And they were judged for who they were – or who they became. I am glad you are French and a writer that stands out…….xoxo ( Wow I have gone on a bit sorry)! x

    1. I’m with you my friend I loathe it when someone is picked on. And injustice in general. It astounds me how children at such a young age relish hurting others. What does that say about us en mass? You are so right, everyone has worth and value, we can no more say the tramp versus the millionaire, they are all equal. I am glad not to stand out, I would be glad to be without notice, providing what I did had some value, to me that is the key, finding value in what you say/think/do in some way. Thank you for your lovely response it wasn’t too long at all!

    1. How right you are. I think sometimes that is true. Other times we compromise ourselves without even knowing we have, just for the sake of not feeling like there is something wrong with us, which in reality there is not, and we should have the strength of character not to feel bound to change ourselves. Maybe I will put my tights on after all πŸ˜‰

    1. I guess it was a homage to ‘the four corners’ as well as religion, and also the emptiness of judging others who do not believe, when you do, because how is that in keeping with faith? Than you for liking it, more of a prose-poem than poetry alone. I’m glad as you like such good work I always feel I have to keep up my quality to ensure I’ll get a C like!

      1. Ouch! If you don’t get a like from me, it is probably because I way behind in my reading. I look forward to reading your work but things are crazy at work and at home right now. Completely chasing my tail.

        1. You are insanely busy and just having you come by my blog ever is a huge compliment for me. I appreciate you. You work so hard though I worry. I mean yes you achieve it all but how and at what cost? I hope you are taking care of yourself I really am concerned, are your doctors saying anything more? BIG HUG FROM ME WHO HOLDS YOU DEAR

          1. I am heading off for MRI #3 on Monday. I can’t keep up this pace indefinitely and I know it but I do need to keep it together until our Center Caregiver Conference on May 12th. Then I can fall apart!

          2. I agree, you cannot, and so I hope this third time is the charm, seems absurd that it should be so lengthy drawn out yet I know it always is. Keep it together lovely girl, knowing all you do IS appreciated DOES count and DOES more than you believe it does.

  9. I love this, C… You’ve brought up so many memories, wow. I’m Cajun, born and bred (adopted) the area I grew up and live in is an eclectic mix of cultures. Deep roots Catholicism. I moved to Dallas during the IT boom. Lived & worked in Addison/Dallas then Plano, about 7 years, give or take. I felt completely at home in a secular sense, not in a religious sense, make sense?. The people I met were from ALL walks of life. (I prob have a book in me about my time there) It was epic, silly word, but it’s the only word I can think of, epic. Most people who lived in Dallas were not from Texas. They were from some other state. I worked for a man from another country, even. I was like, “Where are all the Texans?” Then, I met someone from Plano. I moved to Plano and got to know people from that area. Garland, Richardson, different world completely. They felt like home because they were Catholic in a land of Protestants.
    “you’re a spoil sport who doesn’t
    like to go on team building exercises
    she began to drink in the afternoons
    wanted to swear the way she used to do
    in Europe
    where every other word was an expletive
    but swearing is crude in Texas
    they like you to sweeten your words like your tea
    and drink it ice-cold”
    I know this. You nailed it. You put into words what I learned in Texas.

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