The Shape of You (Rae’s Song Revisited)

Tiny white lights twinkle

nocturnal noises provide a rhythm

for conversation’s give and take

We wrap each other gently in words

painting a night sky canvas together

giving glimpses

of our separate worlds

universes apart

 

Words written

spoken from afar

something fragile grows

You become brightness in my life

dazzling

awaking things long dormant

I become the roots beneath your feet

grounding you

offering you shelter

 

The shape of you continues

to grow within my heart

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

Gossamer Wings (revisited)

You spin words into phrases

like silk thread

fine

lustrous

 

You weave them into

a gossamer shawl

breathtaking to behold

 

Delicate

iridescent

resilient

with unexpected

body and strength

 

I long to wrap myself

in the cloth

of your words

cocoon myself inside

 

White mulberry leaves

nectar

shall sustain me

as I metamorphize

 

I will emerge

changed

by your heartbreakingly

tender

words

 

Luna moth

delicate

new

Ready for flight

I shall glide

toward your moon

bathe

in your silvery light

Silence Will No Longer Ring in My Ears

I will not be silent

I will not maintain the peace

I will say the ugly words

out loud and I will not flinch

Murder

Rape

Incest

Stalking

Harassment

Discrimination

Domestic Violence

Mansplaining

Discounted simply because we are women

 

To find our voices as women

to speak our truth

is a revolutionary act

that says that your voice

her voice

their voices

my voice

Matter

Count

Have weight

Deserve to be heard

Are valid

 

If my refusal to be silent

Makes me a bitch

A shrew

A ball-breaker

Then I will be loudest damn badass bitch that I can be

 

Silence leaves us to blame ourselves in isolation

Silence benefits only those who have hurt us

Silence has been the noose around my neck

The soul ache of my pent-up screams of rage

Every 13th story window I have considered walking out of

 

How fucked up is that?!

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

 

Hands

She had lately been developing

an obsession with hands

They seemed to have taken on

almost mythic importance

 

Hands could push away

in anger

in fear

in violence

the tides

 

Hands could pull

a leg

a rope in tug of war

a dog back from running into traffic

a lover into orbit

 

Hands could scoop out

the inside of a watermelon

warm clothes from the dryer

The deepest secrets of a heart

 

Hands could hold

with great delicateness

a baby

an egg

another hand

 

Hands could smooth

wrinkled sheets

a furrowed brow

Worries back into manageable proportion

 

Hands could crush

an aluminum can

a Dear John letter

someone else’s hope and dreams

 

Hands could direct

to the left

to the right

up, down

to get the exact spot of the itch

 

Hands could strum a guitar

tickle the ivories

turn the pages on the music stand

conduct the orchestra

in a haunting symphony

 

Hands could reach across

entwine in hair

caress a cheek

unbutton a shirt

unhook a bra

unzip soft denim jeans

unleash buried passion

 

Hands could bridge the distance

between two souls

touch the heart

through a thick winter sweater

feel its rhythm

guide you home

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

First Timer

Response poem to S Francis’s (SailorPoet) poem In the Cafe  All are welcome at the Go Dog Go Cafe


I stand getting wet in cold rain

watching through plate glass windows

edges fogged

rendering the scene inside

a soft feathered oval

Aroma of coffee

faint but distinct

drifts past my nose

Feeling a bit shy and tentative

I approach the door

pull it open

to the sound of a cheerful bell

I am greeted by steamy warmth

that fogs my glasses

intriguing smells

hum of lively conversation

A few patrons

look up at me with curiosity

as I approach the counter

I intend only to order coffee

but impulsively add a scone

enticingly calling from the glass case

The barista smiles as she hands me my order

my change

You’re new around here

statement

not a question

I nod

Writer?

I nod again

then add Poet

She points to a communal table

toward the front of the café

large wooden table

full of laughter

easy conversation

Steve, can you find a chair for a newcomer?

the barista calls from behind the counter

Before I can respond

everyone good naturedly

rearranges themselves

to accommodate an empty chair

I nod my thanks at the barista

before approaching the table

coffee and pastry in hand

I am greeted with warm open smiles

A tall man in the center

gestures to the now empty chair next to him

Welcome

he says as I put down my food

absorb the introductions

my shyness fades as

I take my seat

seamlessly included

in the conversation

as if I am an old friend

who has been away

I mentally sigh

Home

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

 

The Name They Call Her

Always said with venom

Always intended to punish

“How dare you?!” it asked her

insinuating that she was uppity

presumptuous

a ball breaker

to draw a circle around her body

declare loudly “Mine!”

 

Was she 12 the first time

that she had been called bitch?

Or was it 16

when she tired of boys and men

acting like her body was theirs

to look at

comment on

hold down

insult

touch

control?

 

Tired of adult women

telling her to be

nice

quiet

polite

complacent

a “good” sport

She was NOT a good sport

 

The rage became a

knife

sharp

deadly

that she learned to yield

much too often

on her own flesh

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

The Jealous Rain

A jealous rain

fell from the envious sky

soaked your clothes

translucent

caressed your hair

like a lover

left lingering droplets on your eyelashes

that sparkled in the low light

traced your cheek bones

like a sculptor

bathed your skin

warm

but could not penetrate the surface

and reach your heart

where I live

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

 

 

 

A Suitable Period of Mourning

I do not have a closet

full of mourning clothes

I have never

inked the names of my dead

on my tender forearms in black

in solemn homage

The list too long

My arms too short

to box with god

 

I am a motherless child

who grieved

too long

for the comfort of others

Left me wondering if grief

is considered contagious

a virus?

What is the suitable period of mourning

for loss of my identity

as daughter?

as granddaughter?

 

We do not mention pregnancy losses

As if they don’t count

don’t matter

as though the hopes

the dreams

we embraced for those little balls of cells

were weightless

mere dandelion fluff

in the breeze

We are left

standing alone

in contemplation

of our empty arms

 

Is a man who never held his breathing child still

a father?

A widowed woman still a wife?

A boy who has lost his twin still a brother?

Who are we when those we love are lost

and all that remains are their empty shapes on our soul

like Peter Pan’s shadow?

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

The Truth About Words

The dilemma of finally finding her voice

Was that it was not enough

Simply to speak

 

This voice

Which had lain dormant

Inside of her for so long

Lost under unrelenting responsibilities

An overdeveloped superego

The weight of roles such as “wife”

As “mother”

As “worker bee”

Rarely “woman”

Rarely even “human being”

Had become voracious

 

What she thought was merely a trickle of words

Activated by the injustices of the world

And the ache it awoke in her heart

Had grown rapidly into the flow of a kitchen tap

When given some room

It then grew into the steady stream of water

From a garden hose

It then threatened to explode

Like water from a fire hydrant

Or perhaps with the ferocity

Of a river long damned

Obliterating all real and imagined obstacles

In its path

 

She had not known

Had not realized

That all of this lay inside her

Coiled with tension

Waiting for that small crack

That would allow

Those first tentative words to seep out

 

She had exposed those first words

To air

To light

Cautiously

Fearfully

Not knowing if anyone would see them

Would read them

Would connect to them

Would understand

 

It was thrilling and scary

When she realized that her words

Had an audience outside

Of her own inner ear

But then that audience

Although bigger than any other

She had ever had

Was not enough

The time she put aside for the words

Was not enough

 

Her voice

So long suppressed

Demanded more and more

It whispered to her

In the middle of the night

It spoke to her on her morning commute

It sang to her in the shower

Causing her to be late

Because she had to write these words down

Before they slipped down the drain, lost forever

The words started to call out when she at work

When she should have been doing other things

Begging for acknowledgement

 

She did not know what to do

With all these words

Which were now

Shouting

Cajoling

Colliding into each other

Racing through her brain

Spilling onto the screen

Written in ink on the margins of paper

On her very skin

Always demanding more

 

Saying over and over again

A mantra that cut through the din:

“We are your truth

Your truth can no longer be contained

Your voice must be heard.”