Throwback

It’s interesting
Not having seen myself through the eyes of dismissal in a while
Rediscovering the faux-concerned face
The wince of denial
The condescending voice and syrupy tone that assured me:
“No, you can’t. You couldn’t possibly. You’re just
Not
Capable.”
Recently, I watched that happen
Recognized it for what it was – a smackdown –
Laughed inside
And denied *them* that power
By saying softly,
“Well.
Watch me.”

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Poetry Month, Day 24: Let

Let

Please don’t sit across the table
And say that
You “could never let
Your husband do to you
What my ex did to me”
As though it were a thing I had approved
Endorsed
–As though the murder victim
Permits
The murderer
To select the knife.
I was not complicit in anything
Except trying to make my marriage work.
Trying to meet him halfway.
Trying to see him through a difficult time,
Hoping it was a phase that would pass.
When I found out the price
Of complaisance,
I left.
(Can you approve of me now?
But I didn’t do it for you, or for any outside observer.)
Your choices might not be the same as mine
In a particular situation –
But that does not mean
That mine were wrong
Or that I
Let
It
Happen
Through some lack of will
Or of vision
Or of self-respect.
I don’t need or want your contempt
In its mask of concern.
Keep it for yourself
For the day you realize
You’ve let something happen
To you.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Poetry Month, Day 21: Hungry

Hungry

As I swam through the routine of my day,
Marking time in neat, small crescents of business,
It occurred to me, possibly for the first time:

I have lived a large part of my life under the petty rule of others
I have given my power to people who either feared me, or felt nothing for me
I have sought to aid them in accomplishing their goals, while neglecting
Or even actively subverting my own.

Through this whole process, there has been
A constant self-talk
An abnegation of my feelings
Rationalizations for complicity
My own denial of self
In lockstep with theirs.

Why? Am I afraid of myself? Do I feel nothing for myself?
Or do I simply think I do not deserve –
Do not deserve
Should not want, do not need
To be successful in my own right?
In my own way?

And perhaps the reason I eat so much is because
Secretly
I feel I don’t deserve a place at the table
Among all the greedy
desperate
selfish
mean-spirited
petty
brutal
callous
sharp-elbowed
people
I’ve surrounded myself with
For most of my life.

Well.
I do deserve to be a presence in the room.
And I will try, in future,
Not to bow out
Or back down
Or step away
From the feast.
Not to apologize, not even with the placement of my arms
Or the questioning line of my cautious shoulders
For my existence.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

To My Unloving Lover (poem)

To My Unloving Lover

If the pale, round whiteness of my limbs
no longer pleases you,
Look on them no longer.

If the give and take of our conversation
is stale and sour to you like old wine,
Withdraw your voice.

If my intrusion into your presence
is a gall and a torment,
Set me free.

Others there are who will
gaze with rapture upon my limbs
listen with hope for my voice
wait with impatience for my arrival
As I wait with impatience and hope for theirs.

Set me free.
I have already set you free,
And perhaps that is why you are angry.

Do you relish your cage?
Fear not.
You built it for yourself, and I cannot take it with me
When I go.