throwing up, but with words

by Sai   Aug 19, 2017


It took me an unhealthy amount of the afternoon
to put my hair into a plait.
I say to myself: I have my life figured out
as I run a finger across the bumpy surface of my handiwork.
The sensation resurrects in me
the feeling of smooth pebbles that have been laid out in a straight line
by a nervous but no-longer-trembling mind.
I have my life figured out:
I've deleted the sad songs from my phone,
my clothes are dry.
They smell like flowers that have been crushed to dreadful pulps by a toddler
but between 1 and 1:30pm, I came undone again.
What would it smell like
if I took my grief out into the yard and spread it atop
the body of a collapsed tree, pounded it
to a pulp with my fists, all the while screaming internally?
I have my life figured out, I say to myself.

My screensaver is of a glaring sun.
Behind it, you could barely make out a smudge that is my dog
in mid-circle,
mid-wagging his tail,
mid-sniffing a particular spot
on the warm ground.
You criticise the quality of the photo,
the distasteful tilt, the awkward colours -
all sharp and elbows.
You ask me why

and I tell you about a day
that wasn't sticky
when it was supposed to be; the weatherman
did announce last night.
I tell you about the leaves
that are turning brown but only around the edges,
about the petals
at my feet like there was a wedding
like I was meant to be happy.

And to tell you the truth,
I was that day.
Maybe content is a more accurate word, less of the rotten taste birthing in my mouth
when I say it.
Anyway, I wrote poetry. The kind that talked about purple skies
and birds with charcoal for wings
yet they flew to the top of skyscrapers,
built their nest with brightly-hued pieces of plastic that used to contain sweets,
and all the cigarette butts you flicked
onto a foot of a bus stop sign on your way home within the past year.

My dog interrupted my writing in crooked intervals - barking at passing strangers,
clawing at my feet in an attempt to persuade me to throw his ball for him to run after.
I know he won't bring it back to me.
He wasn't trained to do so
because we picked him up and took him home, far away from the part of town that wasn't too forgiving to life.
I obliged and his toy bounces across the garden,
he chases after it.
I know he won't bring it back
but he'll be there waiting for me whenever I return home, I know.

In these intervals, I look up from my purple skies
and see a blue one.
I see a day that promises no darkness ahead
despite the rumoured tunnel that has no end
because the stars are dead,
my family is somewhere scattered inside the house, untouched by the cruel world,
and in the safe bubble of that merciful day, you were still alive.

All the while the sun glares at me,
warning me that this day would not last.
And I did not listen, wrote lousy poems instead.

4


Did You Like This Poem?

Latest Comments

  • 11 months ago

    by hiraeth

    part 1/2

    I'm splitting this up randomly, so bear with me.

    "It took me an unhealthy amount of the afternoon
    to put my hair into a plait.
    I say to myself: I have my life figured out
    as I run a finger across the bumpy surface of my handiwork."

    I really like the imagery in this, the subtle symbolism adds layers to this as well. You’re already opening this poem with the theme of reconciliation (which makes sense, given the title). You’re literally braiding words into something beautiful, it’s amazing.

    “The sensation resurrects in me
    the feeling of smooth pebbles that have been laid out in a straight line
    by a nervous but no-longer-trembling mind.
    I have my life figured out:
    I've deleted the sad songs from my phone,
    my clothes are dry.”

    Again, I appreciate the subtle symbolism; smooth pebbles being endurance (once porous, rough rocks endured the licking sea and became polished as a reward for being resilient), dry clothes representing safety. What I found interesting to note is the deletion of the sad songs, music plays a big role for a lot of people and has the power to reinforce or even reintroduce them to certain moods, it’s a meaningful & purposeful gesture.

    “They smell like flowers that have been crushed to dreadful pulps by a toddler
    but between 1 and 1:30pm, I came undone again.
    What would it smell like
    if I took my grief out into the yard and spread it atop
    the body of a collapsed tree, pounded it
    to a pulp with my fists, all the while screaming internally?
    I have my life figured out, I say to myself.”

    I can’t help but hang on the words ‘crushed to dreadful pulps by a toddler’, were they crushed out of sheer curiosity, or in anger, or ruined by the toddler ‘playing’? It’s interesting to note the different connotations associated with the options, and whether it ties in with the narrator does the same for similar or opposite reasons. I think it’s a way of likening the narrator to a toddler in some form.

    “My screensaver is of a glaring sun.
    Behind it, you could barely make out a smudge that is my dog
    in mid-circle,
    mid-wagging his tail,
    mid-sniffing a particular spot
    on the warm ground.”

    Toby? This is just a collection of verses of warmth, and it’s wonderful.

    “You criticise the quality of the photo,
    the distasteful tilt, the awkward colours -
    all sharp and elbows.
    You ask me why
    and I tell you about a day
    that wasn't sticky
    when it was supposed to be; the weatherman
    did announce last night.
    I tell you about the leaves
    that are turning brown but only around the edges,
    about the petals
    at my feet like there was a wedding
    like I was meant to be happy.”

    Now, I can’t help but hang on ‘the leaves that are turning brown but only around the edges’ in this portion. Is it the cusp of fall creeping in slowly, or are the leaves turning brown from disease? I really like this portion as well, it builds on top of the earlier part and it’s just, wholesome? I think that’s the best word to describe this part, it’s wholesome, making the most of a day that wasn’t supposed to be.

    “And to tell you the truth,
    I was that day.
    Maybe content is a more accurate word, less of the rotten taste birthing in my mouth
    when I say it.
    Anyway, I wrote poetry. The kind that talked about purple skies
    and birds with charcoal for wings
    yet they flew to the top of skyscrapers,
    built their nest with brightly-hued pieces of plastic that used to contain sweets,
    and all the cigarette butts you flicked
    onto a foot of a bus stop sign on your way home within the past year.”

    You know what, I think this is the crux of the poem; it’s absolutely well-written and there’s so much emotion and meaning packed in each verse. ‘purple skies’ are symbolism of incoming storms, and ‘charcoal’ is spent substance, so the birds being able to fly, is another symbolism of endurance (much like the smoothened pebbles), and their nests as well. The ability to thrive with such little, is astounding. The level of detail in the last couple of verses is astonishing.

    • 11 months ago

      by hiraeth

      part 2/2

      “My dog interrupted my writing in crooked intervals - barking at passing strangers,
      clawing at my feet in an attempt to persuade me to throw his ball for him to run after.
      I know he won't bring it back to me.
      He wasn't trained to do so
      because we picked him up and took him home, far away from the part of town that wasn't too forgiving to life.
      I obliged and his toy bounces across the garden,
      he chases after it.
      I know he won't bring it back
      but he'll be there waiting for me whenever I return home, I know.”

      This is just so wholesome, reading this I could feel the warmth radiate throughout my body, dogs are amazing <3

      “In these intervals, I look up from my purple skies
      and see a blue one.
      I see a day that promises no darkness ahead
      despite the rumoured tunnel that has no end
      because the stars are dead,
      my family is somewhere scattered inside the house, untouched by the cruel world,
      and in the safe bubble of that merciful day, you were still alive.”

      This really is a beautiful bittersweet way to start the conclusion of the poem.

      “All the while the sun glares at me,
      warning me that this day would not last.
      And I did not listen, wrote lousy poems instead."

      You do not write lousy poems.

      First off, let me say the title is NOT fitting for this piece (I will fight you on this since this is absolutely beautiful in every manner possible so that 'throwing up' conjures up an abject/grotesque image and that does not do justice your poem at all). However, I will concede I can see why you chose this title, since I imagine you must've felt extremely lightened, possibly even with a bittersweet feeling left ringing in your mouth. This is a work of art, and I’m still mad that you didn’t post this earlier or later so that I could’ve nominated it D:< but you know what, it was extremely endearing, cathartic to read so I’ll let it slide. I really hope this was just as every much cathartic as for you to write as well. Sorry for the long comments, would've been able to post as one comment but needed to include your poem so you know where I broke it up and what I was talking about. :)

    • 11 months ago

      by Sai

      As always, your comments are spot on. I love reading them even the long ones, so don't apologise! I very much appreciate your taking the time and effort to write these. And yes, that part was in reference to Toby :D

      Re: "throwing up' conjures up an abject/grotesque image"

      That was what I was aiming for haha! But yeah, as you've stated as well, there's this burden-off-your-shoulder kind of feeling after throwing up - literally and metaphorically, which was what I felt after writing this. Although now I'm wondering what title you would have suggested instead.

      Thanks so much for your kind words :)

  • 11 months ago

    by Brenda

    Sai, fascinating write. You gave me a glimpse of you. I see that in all your writes, and I thank you for that. Some people shy away from showing their true selves. I never feel that way with yours. Well done-

    • 11 months ago

      by Sai

      Thank you, Brenda. I appreciate that.

  • 11 months ago

    by mossgirl19

    Sai... I could be lost in this piece! This is too long for my instincts but wow how you pulled me in! Is this a normal slip of the tongue one poetic time in your life?

    I am tempted to say you are mad... This piece is just mad as well. :-)

    I loved it and made me breathless all throughout.

    P. S. It seems you have found a best friend (Mark) and the way both of you spill out words beautifully makes me understand why. Ahem. :-)

    • 11 months ago

      by Sai

      Such kind words, Mel. Thank you :)

      and yes I am mad when I write haha. I guess all the "poetic times" in my life are similar to this only that usually they're not as lengthy as this.

  • 11 months ago

    by hiraeth

    i'll be back,

    but you really couldn't post this earlier so i could nominate D:<

    • 11 months ago

      by Sai

      Haha this was very roughly edited. Just needed to get it off my chest.

People Who Liked This Also Liked