Our second poetic contribution from Emma is a piece titled glass house, which discusses the problematic identity of the self. For me, the speaker is not in conversation with an ‘other’ but with his or her self, asking questions as to the legitimacy of the ‘wholeness’ of their identity and wondering what they can do to piece it back together. The indented lines and irregularity of verse cleverly reflects the speaker’s broken self, also leaving the reader with a sense of unease as the poem places them into the position of the divided and broken speaker. I particularly loved this poem as the style reminds me of my favourite poet e.e. cummings – thank you Emma!

glass house

1.

i do not take risks.

but you,

you became my unexpected exception.

 

covered myself with

thick layers of superficial skin,

artificially sanitizing my senses,

and apologizing

to something that couldn’t respond,

i let you step through that door,

my glass house.

effortless like apathetic sympathy

you stole me –

but only for a moment.

 

2.

incomplete blueprint of

meaningless

scribbled sketches on napkins

i had found on the floor,

maps the geography of my convoluted mind,

but

even i can’t understand it.

 

3.

i neglected

to make

an escape plan.

no bother,

i’m not

going

anywhere.

 

4.

when the man asks me how i want to spend

our sessions,

i think

i want to lie down and sleep

but i really mean

fix me.

 

5.

my brain

likes the taste of

chemical imbalance

and

the fear that

goes along with

loving

 

myself.

 

6.

lying beside you,

woke up to

a voice and a cord.

so worried that i took up too much space,

i couldn’t hear the music.

 

7.

i liked the feeling

of you –

your arms around my waist, the way you

tucked my hair back into place, and

kissing every part of me,

you made me feel like i existed,

like i stood a chance.

 

8.

what’s wrong?

nothing’s wrong

something’s not right

            we aren’t right.     

      

   i’m not right.

 

9.

with each touch

my glass house quivered, shook silently

like a smile in between the dry heaves

or maybe

a whimper.

and i could feel it,

caught in the undertow

wrapping around my throat, squeezing

white knuckles

cutting crisscrossed patterns into my flesh

tiny crescent moons

the glass cracked

split spider-webbed fissures

obstructing my view of the outside,

crevices filled with blood –

my blood.

 

10.

I fight it.

 

I latch onto the fragmented pieces of me

that I pretended to call my own,

to take them back,

let slurring complicated messes of words

remind me that

I was nothing without it,

not really,

just some kind of a nameless identity,

wash-up chewed swallowed and spit back up,

that can feel

nothing

and everything,

something that

blinks and breaths

but does not

live,

would not know how to

 

even if

it tried.

 

i let it tell me not to try

because

it wasn’t worth

the shame the embarrassment or

disappointing

you.

 

11.

how do you tell the one you love

that you can’t love him

because your brain tells you not to.

 

12.

held my breath as i watched you go,

careful not to slam the door shut

and break

my broken glass house.

 

13.

an irrelevant thought,

a delicious nightmare –

my mind, the disturbed safe haven.

 

my mind, the glass house.

 

Emma Corcoran