Esoteric (revised)

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by J. Otis Powell (with interrobang) 

She stands with bare feet 

On a marble bathroom floor

The temperature outside has not yet

Reached up to the predicted low for today

These days she keeps mostly to herself

No one else can bear it

These cold solitary dawns

When she thinks of love

She is confronted with the clumsiness 

Of language in her head saying too much

And not enough

Managing insecurity is possible in imagination

But awkward out in the cold world

So she lives inside her own libidinous 

Smells subtracting anxiety multiplying 

Amorous intelligence quotients 

When people ask where she’s going

She tells em’ where she’s been

It’s what she knows

She tells dark stories

Channeling duende

Tales with no direct translation

Into language 

She hears deep songs

Of longing without objects  

Troubling sounds with Gnostic moans

Deep trouble with cutthroat edges of

Dreams held hostage

The world that surrounds her

Is authentic

Quilted with complexity

Fragmented memories

Stolen dreams

Her gaze has intrinsic power

To fill shadows with broken light

What the world won’t own

Lives on in the skins of drums

The scars of protesters           

The bodies of dancers

Accomplishments by people

Formally enslaved and 

Burr-throated threnodists

Who whisper imagine love

Is a glass of water

Your love

My love

Our love

And pour it where it’s needed           

She pours it on herself

Then stands

In a puddle

On the cold floor

Drenched in what

She's never understood

In what she was taught God is

Dripping love's dysfunction

In the mirror she sees ancestors   

Unborn children

And her own old soul

The world outside her reflection

Acts like it doesn't know

But she has to know   

Like a sleeper knows dreams

The world outside is reluctant

To peer through her eyes

At themselves but

The ultimate price

Has been paid

So she pours a river past a rock 

The sleeping world is dysfunctional

Because of misinformed dreams

They can’t see themselves

In ancient mirrors

They can't interpret wisdom

In infant eyes

Beyond the murk of politics

And language is responsibility

For translation into something

Less proprietary

She understands the poetry of love

That’s the least of it

It’s a cloak hiding daggers

Roses disguising thorns

Neither the bathroom nor its mirror

Were esoteric enough to reflect

The hysteria of romance 

 It did however uncover a revelation

To find her way she must acknowledge 

She has lost it

Wearing nothing but new courage

And a shiver she embraces herself


Burr-throated threnodistschanneling duendeGnostic moanslibidinous smells

◄ When A River Floods from Bottomless Sky (a novel by J. Otis Powell‽)

Spell On Me ►


<Deleted User> (9984)

Thu 30th Jan 2014 23:55

"She pours it on herself
Then stands
In a puddle
On the cold floor
Drenched in what
She's never understood "

You know me better than you think. I miss you J. Otis.

<Deleted User> (6315)

Sun 19th Feb 2012 19:09

I love this...I really do love this..hell yeah!


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Harry O'Neill

Tue 14th Feb 2012 21:54

J. Otis,
Feel this would have worked just as well using only the last six lines, changing `ask`to asks.

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Tue 14th Feb 2012 21:17

Yes - I'd agree with Anthony.
I like the way you develop the title in your poem and the simplicity of your language adds to the sadness of it.

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Anthony Emmerson

Tue 14th Feb 2012 19:09

Hi J. Otis,

Enjoyed this - very engaging imagery.


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