Friday, January 3, 2014

Three Poems by Tasha Raella Chemel

I am very happy to present you with three more poems by Tasha, who also contributed a monologue performance to the blog earlier this week. It's my hope that we see more of her work here, and also more guest posts in general. If you are interested in having your work featured on Shaping Clay, please check out the new 2014 submission guidelines. If you don't write yourself but you want to help me attract more guest posts, consider signing up for a subscription. Once we have a solid subscriber base, I plan to offer a small honorarium to my guest writers. - MSMjr.

Wounded Words 

Yesterday, as we sipped reminiscences
in the middle of Michaels
I had to clench my fists
to keep them from wandering into the loosened past.

Radiant with my reclaimed sight, I showed you
the blue-gray skein of wool I had chosen
for a good friend back in Vermont.
“You used to fight with me about colors,” you said. ‘Green grass. Green apples. ‘Why do I need to learn that?’”

My world tilted, just a bit.
High up on a shelf, my fantasy
that there was always a sighted child living inside me
wavered and shook
but did not break.

I told you that I was no longer a psychologist
that I wanted to teach all teenagers to love poetry
and blind children to love art.
“That would be perfect,” you said.

“We oo-ed and ah-ed over everything you wrote.
We were so impressed by you.
You knew that.”
But I didn’t always know.

My world tilted again, more dangerously.
The ink of my memories smudged and ran
like old letters dampened by tears.
Your face was written in a language that I could not read.

I remembered how your praise was like a thick pink sweater that I got to wear
sometimes, and when it was taken away
I could never stop shivering.
My stubborn words just made us colder

Standing there, in the middle of Michaels
I faced a staggering temptation
to show you the places between my ribs
Where your mother-love had scraped and burned;

the places where my wounds never quite healed.
I wanted to give you all my words
to reach, back back back
so that my eight-year-old self

would finally have a chance to speak
without interruption.
But no matter how far I reach
or how loud I cry out

my smaller self will not hear me.
And if I smother you with my wounded words
I will only be forcing you to relive all the moments

when you felt lost and silenced and afraid.

* * *


I agreed to come into this world,
Blind this time, under the condition that I remain
as vain and flawed and selfish
As anyone with eyes.

In my last life, the cold marble pedestal
Drained the laughter from my feet
And I was terrified
of reliving such a fate.

So I have fallen in lust, Narcissus-like,
with the coiled pulse of my power, with the weight
of my words, with the resonance
of my own voice.

I am vision-beguiled
Vision-starved, vision-enchanted

I have skimmed the pages of souls
without their consent, delighted
when boundaries shifted
Like sand, under my fingers.

And I lost my dearest friend
Because I saw her love for me
But was determined to dent and twist it

into something it was not.

* * *


What color is loneliness? 
Hello out there. Does anyone know? 

Incredulity asks, "What business is that of yours? You trespass on widowhood when you have never been a bride.”

Wonder asks, "If anyone could answer such a question, wouldn’t it be you? They say your heart is attuned to a spectrum beyond Light's reckoning."

Anxiety asks, "Why not choose another tenant to dwell among your thoughts? The one you lack is merely a distraction."

TO you who are incredulous, I ask because I am an artist. Isn't it the province of all artists to conceive the inconceivable? , 

To you who wonder, I ask because I, too am curious.

To you who are anxious, I ask because your fear is my fear, your darkness, my  darkness.

And to all who come to me with questions, I ask only that you unblind me here,
For I wish to stand, unguarded,  in your midst.