Archives for category: creative writing

My Life Reincarnate

The moon and the planets
shine just for me now, and the giant
silver poplar has overshadowed me
long enough. Cut it down,

so I will not remember where it
came from so long ago, when
we stole it from a riverbank,
put it in the trunk of my car and
brought it home, an emblem
of our passion.

These days are peculiar,
as though I had given birth
in some faraway place
and come home again at last,
but with no babe in arms,
just my purged self.

My eyes reacquaint themselves
with green grasses, the swan curve
of lily leaves, sprawling nettle,
aging tulip petals strewn about,
remnants of a gone season.

The energy I once poured
into nurturing something
now returns back to me,
like the gentle dead
returning themselves
to the earth.

Like the earth itself,
continually dying
and restored.

Claire Juno, © 2016

The Mind’s Value

This disembodied love
gently retires to the
spirit-corners of his mind,
the way a grown child
lays her beloved doll to rest
for a seeming eternity
in its little bed,

now a container for love’s
history, a personal context
perfectly preserved,
glass-eyed and unaltered
by the years.

That it is there, waiting
for him, ever-expectant,
was a needed security at first,
then a familiar comfort.

This relic of his heart
remains undisturbed
beneath layers of dust
and seasons, like a truth
even tender children
eventually learn.

Claire Juno, © 2016

The Collector

He surrounds himself
with art, as his way
of bringing her back,
or at least finding ways
to be close to her again.

Free-form sculptures
become a silent homage
to the one who inspired him,
who breathed life into his
once-nascent understanding
of everything.

The halls of his home are full
and empty at the same time,
a solemn procession of tributes
to the very one who cannot
return to see them.

All are cold, smooth,
motionless— just like her pale lips
on the last day she was here.

Claire Juno, © 2016

 

The Re-inventor

I’m not going to kill you:
it’ll just feel that way.
You will grieve as though
saying your good-byes
to the world at large
as well as to each aspect
of whoever you thought
you were.

From the support beams
to the splinters and finishing
nails, I will dismantle you
until all that remains
is the ground upon which
was built so many façades.

And you will not recognize
yourself of course—
you will not realize that
all along, the constructs
of your identity were not built
on the dirt, but that you
were the dirt itself.

You were not what you created
and then discarded when it
became irrelevant. You were
what was buried beneath
all of that rubble. And rubble
is all it ever was.

Unburdened, you will hereafter
be a willing paradox, both
unremarkable and special
at the same time.

Claire Juno, © 2013

Cygnet

To be received is all I want.
I was born to be whatever it is
I am becoming. Why should this
be seen as some disability?

These wings are gray and drab
and I get the sense I am somehow ugly,
not so much by the reflection rippling
beneath me, as by the reactions
of those whom I mistook
for my kind.

I grow, and as I do, I shed my gray
for a more stunning carriage; and yet,
I am still under some false spell
cast by those who cannot see,
and never will.

Alone, I glide to the water’s edge
each night and ponder my lot,
and dream of belonging somewhere,
with some who would call me their own.

Claire Juno, © 2014

 

…inspired by The Ugly Duckling

Desolation

I am alone in this garden.
Alone with this pain.

I have told you before
how everyone has left me,
all have turned their backs,
all have chosen blindness
for the immunity it affords.
They are cut off from
their compassion.

There is no one to hide me away
from those who wish me harm,
who hate me without cause,
other than their sickness.

And I come to you with nothing left,
with empty hands, with a heart
weighed down by isolation and dread
and by the darkness itself, which seems
deep enough to snuff out my cries.
I know what is coming.

What I have already borne
is too heartbreaking. Though I am
strong and sturdy, the betrayal has
weakened me, has slowed my feet,
garbled my words.

I am afraid.

I have no one I can trust.
My sweat is tinged the color
of these roses in front of me
as I sit in this garden,
feeling unwell and uncertain
and small; powerless to deter
what must overtake me
to fulfill something greater
than myself.

The pain makes my head feel
as if it would burst, and the tears
that stream down offer no respite.
There is no one coming to aid me,
is there. You can hear me but
you do not help me, as much
as it hurts you to see me in this state.

We both agreed to this once upon a time.
Only we underestimated something.
We had no idea what it would actually
feel like to be here among them,
to become one of them. To nurse
from a breast, to learn to use our legs
and form words with our mouths,
to see blood spring from a scraped knee.

To see the sunrise as one of them,
to know friendship as they give and receive it.
To feel the warmth of a fire, an animal;
of brotherhood, of working side by side
until some work is accomplished.

To feel a fever, a lump in the throat,
our stomachs stirring with hunger.
To know the feeling of cool water on our
bodies. To know how they feel, and
what they feel, when they feel anything
in their world.

And now you’ve had me here,
building a life, an occupation, a purpose,
for some time. Enough context to make
the ending even more exquisitely
painful than we already anticipated
it would be.

This has become too complicated,
too wrought with attachments.
And I am certain now the torment
well under way will be unbearable.
It is too much.

That is all I can say
on this horrible night.
Words are escaping me now,
and my heart won’t stop pounding.
It has brought me little peace
to speak honestly to you, to make
my feelings known, in spite of the forces
already at work against me.

I know I am loved,
I know there will be an end
to my suffering, my fear and despair,
and that is all I have in this dark moment.

Claire Juno, © 2015

 

The intention of this writing is rooted in empathy, wondering what this experience could have been like, to the best that I can understand it.

Conditional Perfect

Just before another
dreamless pass,
grace veils
yesterday’s regrets
with just enough
obscurity,

and acceptance
blankets the dwindling hours
with a weary resignation,

tucking me in
to all that was too real
about the day
with an imagined
kiss on the forehead
that whispers,
You did all you could,
didn’t you.

While in the corner
a mythical bow
stands at the ready,
its quiver full of hope
to aim at tomorrow
before it gets away
again.

Claire Juno, © 2017

Wolf

You tell too many stories, Boy,
and nobody knows what to believe
anymore. The details change
every time— shadows darker, storms
stormier, that yipping in the distance
that surely signals a kill and sends
foolish shivers up your spine.

Stuck in these stories and the transient
attention they afford to someone clearly
desperate to receive it, your allegiance
to the tales you tell throws all you have
into certain jeopardy.

But you are blind to the idea of loss,
content to prey on our emotions, gamble
loyalties and good will, toy around
with our collective sense of caring.
It is all a game to you.

Meanwhile, we know the wolf
is circling, and that is the irony,
for by then you will be fast asleep,
oblivious to the real danger you mocked,
the drama you invented as you teased us
into the countryside in our bedclothes
to rescue what did not need rescuing.

It seems no one can save you now.
Those who can have shut their windows
so they cannot hear your cries.

Claire Juno, © 2016

…inspired by the fable, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”.

Fairy Godsend

You are just a pair of boots, I realize,
and I shouldn’t really be this excited about you,
but I wasn’t expecting you to arrive in the mail today.

And then this package came and I was afraid
to open it and see you for myself, afraid
of what my impulses had rendered that night
in the online auctions.

There was something about the tension
and the thrill of it, and attempting to believe
that my status as winner or loser did not depend
on a ten dollar used shoe purchase.

This emotional vacillation led to confusion
as to whether I really, really wanted you
in the first place.

But secretly, I did — in my other life,
the one in my mind, where I am happy,
because you transform me out of my rags
and into my ball gown self.

So when I pulled you from the tissue paper,
I marveled at your velvety brown smoothness,
and those pretty buckles, and even though
I was wearing old socks, I couldn’t resist
trying you on right then and there.
I slipped into you so perfectly,
I let out a gasp.

It was as though you had been always intended
for me, from some little shop with a cheery cobbler
who makes only Very Special Boots, far removed
from the cruel deprivation of Cinderella realities,
of the nameless and unheard.

Though the rest of me was still very much a mess
inside and out, I felt transported in that moment
to the other side of a magic window, where the life
I had gazed upon was finally mine.

It was hard to watch that night as the minutes
counted down, but impossible to look away.
I had done all I could do, made my best offer,
knowing there were no guarantees.

And deep down I knew if I lost you to another,
it would be a crushing defeat too hard to bear,
after the near-daily reminders of other losing bids;
the finality of auction endings, clocks winding down,
and no second chances.

Claire Juno, © 2013

…inspired by the folk tale “Cinderella”.