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!
i do not take risks.
you became my unexpected exception.
covered myself with
thick layers of superficial skin,
artificially sanitizing my senses,
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.
incomplete blueprint of
scribbled sketches on napkins
i had found on the floor,
maps the geography of my convoluted mind,
even i can’t understand it.
an escape plan.
when the man asks me how i want to spend
i want to lie down and sleep
but i really mean
likes the taste of
the fear that
goes along with
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.
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.
something’s not right
we aren’t right.
i’m not right.
with each touch
my glass house quivered, shook silently
like a smile in between the dry heaves
and i could feel it,
caught in the undertow
wrapping around my throat, squeezing
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 –
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,
just some kind of a nameless identity,
wash-up chewed swallowed and spit back up,
that can feel
blinks and breaths
but does not
would not know how to
i let it tell me not to try
it wasn’t worth
the shame the embarrassment or
how do you tell the one you love
that you can’t love him
because your brain tells you not to.
held my breath as i watched you go,
careful not to slam the door shut
my broken glass house.
an irrelevant thought,
a delicious nightmare –
my mind, the disturbed safe haven.
my mind, the glass house.