Tuesday, April 13, 2010

paper tigers

"Étude pour Les Fleurs du Mal"
by Leonor Fini

it’s always the same story
they love me so long as i lie
spill aromatic words
from forked tongue
they love me so long as i say
            things that make them feel
            it’s all about me me me
            me it’s all about me
they love me so long as
they can hear it and smile
but when i start to speak the truth
            they stop smiling
            and start snarling
i offer my hand
            and they tear off a finger
i offer my heart
            and they suck out the blood
they say i talk too much
            and never make sense
and they shear off my lips
and toss them to the wind
sever my head
and send it rolling
down shadowed woods
and they feast on their favorite bits

i leap into O’s of fire
trying to save what’s left of me
dreaming of finding my missing crown
but they chase after me
            and i fumble and stumble
                        in the dark

is it the eyes on my back
they want next?

i’ve lost my shoes
and my stockings
o they’re torn
by nettles and thorns
and i fall
            but churches too have fallen
and so did hercules and damocles
and the one-eyed cyclops and achilles

i touch my eyes first
then smooth the tangles in my hair
then kiss my own lips
            with my lipless mouth


  1. i thnk that the world is divided between people like then , and people like you ( and me ) .
    but people like us sometimes can behave as people like then and do not realise .... maybe .

    this is the story of my life .
    thank you Nevine .

  2. The imagery and substance of this poem is captivating and magical.

    "i offer my hand
    and they tear off a finger
    i offer my heart
    and they suck out the blood"

    These lines in particular stood out for me. Strong, lyrical and suffused with mystery. I loved the painting too.

  3. Yes. It is a forked tongue they desire. Nice juxtaposition of inner and outer lives, the inescapable dance of I and Thou. Bravo!

  4. brilliant. you write in pictures that say what we fell and see (and even do) every day...

  5. Great poem Nevine.. and love the painting ..
    The two compliment each other.

  6. This piece is brilliant....people love to hear lies, even tho they say they want the truth....and they crush us when we speak what they say they wanted....

  7. Many times people have stated to me, 'what you see, is what you get. I tell it like it is. Give it to me straight, I like to know where I am.'

    The real truth is, that truth is often hard to take, even when one is being paid the highest compliment.

    My grandmother used to call me an open book, and I guess I am. All things considered, I like it that way.

    You express the dilemma so well Nevine.

  8. This is my favorite piece by you that I've read to far. It really hits home for me in a lot of ways. Especially the lines...

    "it’s always the same story
    they love me so long as i lie"

  9. They don't want the truth, baby, they love the lies!

  10. Hi Nevine,

    I have been enjoying your poems for the last few months. I would like to post one of your poems on my blog. You can choose the one you prefer.

    Thank you


  11. This poem brought on so many thoughts. I totally related to the idea of being popular only when saying what people want to hear, not when speaking the truth. But then I wondered about the missing crown and trying to figure out what that meant and I thought maybe it was beauty queen, someone who had to present a certain image but gave into her honesty instead. Then I wondered if this person was perhaps a leader or someone put on a pedestal because of what they used to represent.

    Then I read further and saw "lipless mouth" and this brought me deeper into the idea of someone being silenced. The image was horrific but at the same time hopeful because the person kisses with their lips their "lipless mouth" and there is the idea getting up again instead of remaining fallen. Like a hero of myth.


  12. Oh my God-- Nevine dear... all you say here...I see it so related to what I 've just written and posted...

    You are great at this, not only the way you say it, but the very deep content in it...Oh those ones surrounding us... how much they can hurt us...

    Love ya! xo


  13. It is people like them that poetry like this exists. I'm not sorry, I'm happy and i'm educated.

    God bless.

  14. I was captured under the spell of this poem. Poignant. Startling. Vivid. Loved it!

  15. Caio – You’re absolutely right. That’s why there’s a lot of grey area when it comes to personalities. Very often, we can behave in exactly the same way we blame others for behaving… though, I think we do realize it. I think I know when I’m being a bad person, because I feel it in my conscience. It makes me uneasy, but sometimes there are inner compulsions we just don’t stop to consider.

    Sam – Thank you for sharing your favorite lines. And though I’m still getting to “know” you, I can imagine why those lines meant something to you. You strike me as a gentle spirit who would be torn by such behavior.

    Gerry – You always get it, don’t you? You’re a seasoned reader, Gerry, and this is true because you’re a seasoned poet.

    Shadow – I just write what comes into my head, sometimes. This one just hit me in the wee hours of the morning, when I was in bed between sleep and waking…

    Costas – I do try to find an appropriate artwork or image to go with my writing. I’m happy you liked it, Costas.

  16. Steven – You said it so well, and so briefly. That’s exactly it. They ask for the truth, and when you deliver, they want to burn you.

    Martin – You come across as an open book. And I like to be an open book, too. But you’re very right in saying that people are uncomfortable with the truth, even when they ask for it. I think that sometimes people think you won’t dare to “tell it like it is”, and when you do, they are left in a state of shock.

    Gavin – I’m so sorry that you related to those lines. But that’s the way it is for many. It’s a truth that we sometimes have to live with… the fact that we are loved so long as we’re being “kind.” But you wouldn’t want to trade your honesty for being a chameleon, Gavin.

    Secretia –You got it, girl!

  17. Khaled – Welcome to my readers’ circle. I am very flattered by your request. But, I can’t really choose, Khaled. I will tell you that I have no problem with your posting any poem of your choice from my blog. All of my poems are labeled “Poetry” so they won’t be so hard to find. It is on your blog, after all, that my poem will be appearing, so I will let you decide. Again, thank you; I feel so honored.

    Jai – My idea behind the crown was that it was simply the head. The narrator loses her head (because it has been severed) and is now trying to find it. But poetry is such a fluid writing form, I really like to leave it to my readers to fill in their own gaps. And you got the part about the “lipless mouth” exactly as I had intended it – the hope, the dream that never dies. Isn’t it such fun to play with poetry? :-)

    Dulce – Yes, even the people we love can hurt us because we dare to tell them the truth. It’s sad, isn’t it? I’ll be stopping in soon to see your new treat, Sweetest! ;-)

    Zachary – You’re such a sweetheart, too! And I’m happy to have you as a reader. I really mean that. :-)

    Nicole – Welcome! And thank you for leaving your thoughts, and your trail.

  18. Beautiful! I love the idea of turning in the end to love oneself. But such vivid imagery all around. Nicely done.

    I followed you from Jai Joshi's blog! You have such fabulous images on your blog. I look forward to reading more of your poetry.

  19. Coucou Nevine! I loved that one too!

    "but when i start to speak the truth
    they stop smiling
    and start snarling"

    Always be your truly self and don't ever lose your precious time with that kind of people, they don't deserve you;-)

    Gros bisous
    et une marée d'étoiles amies*******

  20. NeVINE You are the bard of the soul....
    Who can contaminate us but ourselves....
    Who can dismember our imortalities....

    The one who has 'lipless mouth' kisses divinely...just like you do...kissing and leaving the heaven on our tongues.


  21. Sooo very true, Nevine, and brillant!Thank you!!!:)
    Most of us like to hear lies because we can't face the truth.
    But I hate those people who exactly do what you already said:"...I offer my heart and they suck out the blood."
    Betty xx

    P.S. I am still busy working on my house. Ugh!!

  22. 'then kiss my own lips with my lipless mouth'

    And you could add, what else do they want?

    Great piece.

    Greetings from Kuala Lumpur.

  23. ...then i woke to the reality it was not a dream

  24. You're not going to believe it, but I kept hearing this as a rock song. Go figure. But that's how it came to life for me. Do you want to entertain another career as a songwriter?

  25. Carolina – Welcome to “Dreams”, and thank you for your kind thoughts. Jai is amazing, and I’m happy to see a couple of friendly faces from her blog. I look forward to it all!

    Cremilde – You’re very gentille, comme toujours. And I always try to be as honest as I can. I also try not to waste my precious time, but sometimes relationships with certain people seem to impose themselves on us, and we find ourselves stifled in one another’s presence. What can one do? I purge my soul by writing… Bisous back to you, mon amie! :-)

    COL – You always make me smile with your comments, Joseph. See? I’m smiling right now. Muaaah right back! And thank you. :-)

    Betty – Good luck with the work on your home. I know how hectic that can be. So I especially appreciate your visit here during this time, and I always appreciate your sweet words.

    Cuban – I could… Keep having a blast in KL! Enjoy every droplet while it lasts…

    LW – Not it wasn’t… was it? Those nightmares are always so real…

    Judy – No, I can sort of believe it, actually. You know, I went back and reread it with “rock song” in mind, and I see where you would hear it like that. Songwriting career? Nah! I prefer to write without parameters. Writing to music means I have to have rhythm and rhyme and all that jazz… too complicated… and too constraining. This is loads more fun! ;-)

  26. Ain't it the truth! Just popping by to see whats going on. Gritty poem.

  27. Very neat how you brought up that Gods and Goddesses fall too. This evoked a sense of rebirth through the fire in order to achieve the higher lesson.

  28. Nev-there is an imagery, a gallery in your mind I'd like to go in and visit. I think it must be images that spur such words. i envy it.
    every line is always an adventure. ~rick

  29. We really do have to be our own best friends - which means holding true, staying in integrity and not allowing others to take advantage of us to the point that we lose parts of ourselves along the way.

    Another beautiful and brilliant piece!

  30. Hi Nevine,

    I had a hard time choosing only one poem. You have too many unique ones that each has something to offer, but I decided to go with seductress.
    I will post it tomorrow on my blog as one of the poems I display during April for the National Poetry Month.

    Take care


  31. Awesome work again..:)
    I felt so much connected.
    Until the time our words are coated with sugar, people accept us and as soon as they become blunt or truthful, people just dont give any regard.
    I wrote a poem long time ago at the same theme. But now I feel like throwing that away.
    You always do wonders with words which are not in my vicinity. I want to learn from u and I think I have started..:)



  32. MarkAnthony - Thank you for stopping in and leaving a note... I appreciate it, and I appreciate your thoughts.

    Erin - You read between the lines, and I like that! :-)

    Rick - My mind is always flooded with images, and I try to share as many of them as I can. Though, I must say, some of those images should just stay right where they belong. But I appreciate that you would like to visit that "gallery". You flatter me... :-)

    Felicitas - You said it all in so few words! And you said it right, too.

    Khaled - I'm so pleased you chose "seductress". It was certainly a labor of love for me, that one! And I haven't seen any feeds from your blog since January, so I will follow your name link and see what you're doing with National Poetry Month. I can't thank you enough for wanting to feature one of my poems on your blog.

    Nipun - We all learn from one another, because at the end of the day, we are all unique, and there is always something new to admire in someone else's work. Don't throw your old poem away. How about giving it a new twist? Give it a shot, post it, and I'll drop by and read it. Trust me, you will have fun with it. How about that for a challenge? ;-)

  33. Nevine - I can't receive all of this. I just can't.

    On the surface one message is simple - people pleasers often most painfully experience the inability to stand apart from others acceptance of them.

    then the images distort and become chaotic, violent... then the power fo this piece leaps out and it is overwhelming. such pain, loss and solitude - no, loneliness.


  34. I won't post it.
    I would love to mail u that poem..
    If u can review and tell me where to improve...:)
    my ID is nipunmittal87@gmail.com
    its upto u now.
    send me a test mail if u wish to.



  35. Hello Nevine,

    I posted Seductress. It's very sensual.

    Pablo Neruda is one of my favorite poets. I try to read his poems untranslated but my Spanish is not that good.

    I've been busy in the last few months trying to finish my graduate work and I didn't write too much but I will post a few poems I wrote in the coming weeks.

    I had some problems with my previous URL so I changed it. I've been trying to redirect it to the new URL but it's not working yet.

    Wish you all the best.


  36. Kim - It's true that the loneliness is the most devastating part. Being lonely, feeling lonely, is such a destructive emotion... more destructive than anyone can possibly imagine. And the scars do remain...

    Nipun - I can't presume to do such a thing. You know, writing is such a personal thing, especially writing poetry, and I can't tell you where something should be improved. You wrote this piece a few years ago... maybe you can look at it and see if you have new feelings about it. And just write what you feel... it should flow from you naturally, and it will. I don't dare try to do such a thing as correct someone's poetry, Nipun. That, for me, is a sacrilege... quite simply. I don't dare. Please forgive...

    Khaled - Thank you so much for that wonderful honor! Really, have I said that enough times. I can't say it enough times, I think. And I will be anticipating reading you... I'm sure it will be a treat. Thanks again, Khaled.

  37. In the end you rise up. There is only so much arse kissing anyone can engage in without losing the soul, although this is more about those fleshy arses that desire the kissing, then the ones who kiss. Durn those demanding arses!

    Yes, yes, always ripe with imagery!


  38. I see everything you write, and I felt the experiences of this poem for myself while reading.

    It is sad that people can treat others in such a way, when all we do is give ourselves to them.

    Beautiful poem, Nevine.

  39. Thank you, Menina. I think we all experience a bit of this, in varying degrees. It's one of those inevitable human tests...


Your thoughts are deeply appreciated.