Bloody Polaroid

I’ve tried to be your perfect picture
But I’m tired of papercuts
And every time I posed for your camera
You were distracted by your “disasters”
But Hindenburg wasn’t about you
Neither were Chernobyl or Jonestown
The Killing Fields weren’t sown on your lawn
The Trail of Tears didn’t lead to your door
You’ll never know the Iron Maiden’s embrace
Or a kiss from Enola Gay
Yet, despite these horrors
The world’s moved on
You’re still stuck on your headlines
I’m remembering where my feet are
Topside, Planet Earth
And I’m tired of papercuts
Part of me understands
The screw-loose promise you made
Part of me understands
Scars are slave to the hourglass
But part of me notices
The universe’s calligraphy
On detours away from you
It’s hard to argue with balls of fire
But still, I tried to block their shine
With hopes of us and dreams of maybe
Stars can burn through anything
Especially steely resolve
Their truth has left scars on me
And the hourglass’ sand stings
But the king of wishful thinking
Has thrown his crown into the forge
Shaped it into guitar stings
And became the bard of knowing better
My first song is dedicated to you
We can sing along someday
But I’ve tried to be your perfect picture
And I’m tired of papercuts


4 Responses to “Bloody Polaroid”

  1. This is probably my favorite poem by you (to date at least). The rhythm is perfect, the imagery vivid, and the aftereffect lasting. I can’t say that I love this nearly enough.

    • I’m glad that you’re so fond of it. After re-reading it, it reminds me of a more eloquent version of Britney Spears’ “Stronger.” She can rock the black leotard and wield a chair better than I ever could, though, so I’ll take my little victory.

      I guess the thing that radiates the most from the poem, in creating it and my perception of the end result, is spite. The beginning and the end are my favorite parts, and that doesn’t speak to the quality of the writing. Rather, I’m a big fan of how disasters are used, particularly the Killing Fields, the Trail of Tears, and Enola Gay (the ONLY time those three could be used as positives). As for the end, I’m a big fan of the smugness of the two lines about songs and singing.

      But the biggest thing that stands out to me about this poem, along with THE GRAVE OF LINDA SEWARD and THE PAIN OF BEING MAN, is the checkpoint quality. In the video game parlance, it’s like I leveled-up. There’s what I did before those three poems, and what I do after those three poems.

      If there’s one complaint I could have, it’s that I couldn’t think of a better way to say “stars” than “balls of fire.” But artists will find anything to bitch about, won’t they?

      • I love how fluently you just took apart your own poem – and yourself. The poem is eloquent as it is – despite the balls of fire – or maybe because of it.

        Sometimes it’s only one line that can make or break a project. I read once that writers spend most of their time crafting ok sentences and living for the finely tuned musical ones that we manage to churn out from time to time. Some sentences are pure works or art while others just keep the story moving. But the fact is that you need both. Personally, I love the poem as it is.

      • I have no ego about myself or my art (unless someone challenged me or it), so I can bring them up or down without any problem. Though I’m not completely sure that I’ll react the same way when people do it en masse. Will I blow them off or have a case of “no one talks about my friend but me” syndrome? The plot thickens…

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