dimanche 26 octobre 2008

as your eye finds me

before your camera

i'm too self-conscious
you can see it in my eyes
and read it in my smile
i'm trying too hard
to be beautiful

my mother was beautiful
elizabeth taylor beautiful
i'd stand at her side
as she brushed her hair
put lines on her eyes
like a cat or cleopatra

lips perfect, brows narrowed
cheeks flushed with apple
and those round, full
breasts that took away
my breath whenever she
held me too close

(me and everyone else)

and i'd think never before
was a child so ugly
they'd scream you're a witch
they'd chant you're a freak
with my long thin nose
like a goddamned ski slope

i believed myself an
orphan, i couldn't be her
daughter, no wonder she
was ashamed of me and
had no time to listen
to my songs and poetry

all i had was words for
charms, magical words
to draw the stars and to
understand what earth could
hold and could not hold
this bag of skin and bones

(ontologically insecure)

i learned to frame
a line of verse and hold
it up like a beggar's cup
collect their awe and smile
and bow, a gallant minstral
or perfect clown

i learned to dance and
shake my hair and put
on makeup (just a touch)
i wore strange clothes and
starved myself until i
looked a part of smart

but little did i know that
beauty can hurt, it aches
with the pain of a one
night stand, so i learned
to love my funny frame
and to turn on a dime

(and drew men like flies)

beauty is only skin deep
she'd say, then enter my
classroom with a long sashay
and i was so proud even
if she was not mine, i'd
claim her anyway anytime

just as you claim me now
as your eye finds me out
and you focus in and
click, and i turn and dance
a quickly jig to make you
laugh, and then look up

my eyes are larger from
below, i stare at the lens
and shuffle and glow
i'm beautiful in your eyes
i know, and i'm just not
comfortable and it shows

(i make myself small)

learning to love yourself
is hard, harder than hard
when you're born so weird
but you come to see that
your soul is transparent
in someone's caring heart

in someone else's frame
there's a little bit of star
there's glamor in a camera
when it's filled with love
and the dance has begun
with a jig and a nod

and i'm not afraid
to play the fool and pretend
to be beautiful just for you
and i'm amazed as i see
the pictures you've shot and
can't believe it's me

(uniquely wrought)

6 commentaires:

Jan a dit…


Max Babi a dit…

Une poésie magnifique, Laura chère…. vous ressemblez à un star de Hollywood - une personnalité magnétique. Des mots puissants, langage figuré de hantise, j'ai aimé votre poésie.

ciao !


John Walter a dit…

What a self portrait by the speaker in this poem, Laura! Since I just saw Piaf for the second time, for some reason it reminded me of the amazing performance in that film, the fragility, talent, and beauty of the actress.

You are a magical wordsmith. I love the way you shift from appearance to reality to the semiotic textures in between where you excel, to consciousness itself--great self-reflexive marginal comment, " ontological insecurity"--in using the first person to create a distancing effect on your 'folded' image of a longitudinal self.

Moineau En France a dit…

humbled, which is always a good thing. i sincerely appreciate all your comments. i've gotten several comments through email as well, one a long poem in response that was so very beautiful. sometimes i wish these offline comments were written here so others could see them, as they are often profound in their own right. xoxox love always

Pris a dit…

It's hard to be the daughter of a beautiful woman . You express it well. My mother had Greta Garbo looks so I can relate so very well.

Ron B. a dit…

This is beautiful and transcends gender. Youthful, negative messages from our omnipotent's and obssessive focus on any physical imperfections combine to distort self-image. Eye of the beholder might be true for everyone else but they are lies to me.

Lacking language skills and artistic talent, I focused on domestic activities like doing the family laundry, dishes, ironing etc. etc. but I was only as good as yesterday's chores.

This poem is a knockout.