1.11.2013

off the line

Some days she feels exposed:
inside out, for the taking,
like undergarments hung to dry,
queued up to be inspected.

And who stands in judgment
of her frocks? Who amongst
us readies attack, spin cycle
heady and out of control?

Our times are of violence;
she wants to savor something.
Unfastening the wash, she folds,
tucks it away for safekeeping,

But it’s impossible to unclench
the fist gripping milled fabric,
its texture like her tongue:
Some days she feels, exposed. 

Fireblossom asked the Real Toads to write a poem in which the first and last lines are the same but their meanings are different.

24 comments:

  1. When reading your poetry, I am always aware of your instinctive understanding of psychology, the nuances of the feminine viewpoint and this is so evident is this particular poem, where we see a state of panic, barely concealed, amid the stereotypical task of collection in the washing.

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  2. A wash line was the main set piece in the performance art I did years ago, for these very reasons. Taught never to air the family laundry, not to hang underwear on the line, but not how to cherish without worrying about public opinion. I will need to plunge even deeper into your poem to open the fist.

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  3. Fantastic writing, Marian. Wow, those first and last lines!

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  4. Nice... I love the final image here.

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  5. Once I had a friend over, a just turned 13 year old "friend". She was rather "well endowed" even at such a young age and she laughed when she saw my tiny, paper-thin bra on the out-doors clothes line. Well, I had the last laugh as my mother walked up behind her and said it wasn't mine, but hers. (I hadn't even started wearing a bra) My mom still laughs to this day remembering the look on this young girls face. Ha! Wonderful poem, and yes, laundry can be comforting at times... and monotonous, and frustrating. Never thought of it having different "personalities".

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  6. Somehow I read this differently than everyone else. I saw an inventory of personal experiences.

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  7. You always take me places with your poems.. Make me think, ponder, roll words around on my own tongue.

    Feeling exposed is really only the beginning...

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  8. Very subtle change in meaning here. I am loving all the different ways people have gone with this prompt.

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  9. So many layers of meaning here, Marian!

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  10. Very adroit and subtle shifts in this, marian--your use of commas and line breaks here is masterly. You leave me both feeling (raw,) and exposed by the way words can turn in your hand, clothes can say more than words, and violence folds us.

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  11. Ah, you used my same trick, of adding the comma!

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  12. I used to love watching my mother go through the 'clothes washing ritual.' Helping as I grew older. Something to be said for hanging stuff out to dry .... letting it all hang out?

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  13. Seeing I am a Laundry Goddess this is especially appealing....all kidding aside, what a fantastic write. Your opening and closing are so powerful. So often in life I have felt exposed.

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    Replies
    1. you are THE Laundry Goddess, Susie.

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  14. Kerry has summed it up so marvellously: nothing left to say except that is what I felt too, but couldn't say.
    Such a well constructed poem in style and thought.

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  15. Wow, I feel like her! I love how you took our hands
    and lead us there ;D
    Well done

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  16. I find this incredibly beautiful, Marian. Just really outstanding writing.

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  17. perhaps I should start hanging my frocks out to dry.....instead of hung awkwardly over the claw foot tub. THis poem is so rich, with each stanza firing off new thoughts: it reminds me of how my brain operates when doing housework....mind humming with questions and curses of sorts. I love this one!

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  18. It's interesting all the things that the notion of the clothesline brings to mind--our selves, and the most interesting parts of ourselves, hung out for the whole world to view, but the concept of home (and being safe at home) as well, our intimates "tuck(ed) away for safekeeping." This is really just terrific work, absolutely top-shelf stuff.

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  19. i really like when poets can make me feel something within myself from the words they write. there are lots of good poems i like but few i connect with on a deep personal level. this is one of the latter, just wonderful, and masterful use of the first and last line to fit the challenge. love this Marian. x

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  20. I enjoy reading this aloud and the journey you take us on. I see rich metaphor and craft.

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  21. oohhhhh, i'm glad you all liked this one. argh!

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