without it I become a puppet
without a puppeteer.
I am a fixture among thousands
walking mindless towards—
but in recent days
the strings seem too brittle to hold
my head up, my neck straight
(never mind my arms, my legs)
I am a little past diminished than
even four cups in.
[note: if you’re picky about the formatting of poetry staying the way I wrote it, please click on the post to view it with the original spacing]
I wish our falling out was like Hiroshima
that mushroom clouds stretched in fine grey carpets
for miles in each direction,
and that when we spoke to each other
we could hear worlds burn.
But this, this cool dissemblance
logical, discussed, like a thick needle pumping blood
from my arm into a bag: I
will not, I can not lie still.
Small, sharp pains, fleeting–
our heartbeats keep us rocking back and forth,
holding aches in both hands.
This story is written as it writes itself onward,
and we burn with fever-eyed desire
to tear out the pages;
to flip forward
anything but this blind fumbling for answers–
but our hands keep slack at our sides.
I am walking in both directions, both towards
and away from you
and neither of us have the heart to stop
and ask for directions
because neither of us want to know.
I was born with my back to the stars
standing in my own shadow looking down past my feet
thinking I knew what light was.
But when I see you I forget to breathe
hands pressed together
and then I know
I never knew what light was before now.
hands cover hands, cover skin
smooth my heartbeat
more rises and falls than each key
for each lock and piano
in every woman’s living room.
whisper innumerable words
wait for me
whistling wanting nighttime wanderlust
I am a raven black.
Cover me with hands and hands
and fingers sliding slipping sideways
down the silent curves behind my lungs
lowered lashes linger,
fingertips like feathers.
know my skin like a lover
let sleep drape each flame with shadows.
take my melted flesh and bones
pour them into this hourglass
let them set until
the heat fades
these pliant steel struts
wrap around me, I am chosen
I am a steel girl, laced in the past
half history, half whispered triumph.
I received a corset for my birthday, made at Lace Embrace Atelier in Vancouver, BC. It’s the loveliest thing I’ve ever owned. So many people pitched in to make it happen, it was incredible. My friends are the best friends since chocolate dipped pretzels.
When I wear it, sometimes I feel like I’m nullifying decades of feminism and battles for women’s rights, but then I think “it’s my right to wear what I like, and what I like happens to be a corset”. I wasn’t born in the wrong era, I was born in exactly the right one: where a girl can wear jeans one day and a corset/crinoline/bloomers/skirt/blouse outfit the next. I can get tattoos and piercings, go to university, speak my opinion freely, and vote on election day. I can learn my favourite things from every era and chances are, there will be a subculture in Vancouver replete with weekly or monthly events and like-minded people for me to share my interests with. Burlesque is making a comeback. Steampunk was invented. We have healthcare and plumbing and corsets and pocket watches and Lindy Hop, and I plan on revelling in every patchwork minute of it.
© Emily Bragg 2013
I’ve just had that moment where I’ve reread the instructions for my assignment and realized I’ve been writing in the detail that a 6-8 page paper deserves, and all they want is one page double-spaced. I chose a poem that’s 94 lines long. Ffffft.
This is my score for myself. I can’t remember where I got this from. If it’s yours, please tell me, I’ll give cred. It’s lovely.
And so it goes. Tomorrow, stay tuned for a) why my friends are the best friends ever, and b) how much Afrikaans I’ve learned in the past two hours (it is so difficult my mouth doesn’t make those sounds). Cheers.
Bramble switches lay quiet
waiting for unwary feet running haphazardly
blood on my new stockings.
Yesterday, only yesterday I
washed them and now
rust stains and
rolling down my cheeks.
The meadow looked so green,
how was I to know?
Perhaps my feet picked the thorns
not unaware at all,
toes seeking stocking revenge.
© Emily Bragg 2013