Saturday, February 6, 2010

Carol Lynn Grellas - Four Poems

Steps on Being You

(Instructions I Read Each Time We Meet)

Love must come in small supply,
a tithing of nothing is almost enough;
your pockets still brimming with more
than you'll need for a dodgy cordial goodbye.

Observe anything else in the room.
Even a lamp is more pleasing
to shale eyes, than the gaze of another,
through a brooding or friendless face.

Always walk with grace, for the art
of appearing beautiful can fool just
about anyone, at least, on the surface
and being vanilla, is a masterful skill.

When reaching over to say hello, skim
your hand out and in so quickly
you appear to touch, when in reality,
there was ever air between you.

Never speak of heart-shaped belongings.
Emotions of any kind will only lead to being
uncomfortable. You cannot shed a tear
for fear of feeling pinioned by another’s pain.

Smile as you move about, your cunning
will create doubt and no one will see
the little hairs raised along your head
as you marvel at your own rigidness.

In cases of suicide, death or illness;
say your are sorry to hear the news
and flip your hair gently over narrow
shoulders. Remember, you are not

human, you are a true jackass and proud of it.

Broken User’s Handbook

This was her death by a thousand
cuts, where no prayers could save
her. Where it all began from a broken

place when mercy came in ill fated
intervals; a dismembering
sentence, one letter at a time.

Where she accepted her destiny;
a luckless fool and opened her handbook
to the gardener’s cure, when forgiveness

arrived in only one form that grew
beyond Oz and all things wicked.
This was her death by a thousand

cuts, where no prayers could save
her, condemned forever to a lengthy
stab through an empath's

heart. Where once she grew a dose
of opium; a beatified blur for a hapless life,
but as chance would have it, addiction

prevailed; the coup de grâce that healed
each wound from the holiest place
as she harvested poppies all the way

upward through a numbing space─
her pipe still full of petals

Leaving the Nest

Maybe it’s the way they come and go like this
is some ritzy old hotel and I’m the maid
who loves my job, greeting guests and turning
down bed sheets, that makes me question
my worth, except I never wear an apron or leave
those expensive chocolates on pillows since half
the time they go to bed without even taking
a peek to see that I’ve fluffed the goose-down
just so, folding the spreads in perfect halves
all the way to their Victorian footboards since
they’d probably wake up with melted Hershey’s
kisses in twenty year old hair and god knows I’d
be to blame, even though it would be a nice gesture
on my part. You’d think a little thank you
might be in order after all these years of waiting
up nights, doing laundry like a trained washerwoman
and ironing bleached white t-shirts, cheerleading
skirts and a few scattered miscellaneous unmentionables
that required delicate hand-scrubbing, during rerun
episodes of Mayberry RFD while I touted my Aunt
Bee mentality. They don’t even leave tips
in the morning, au contraire, they remove anything
resembling unclaimed coinage faster than I can
blink an eye, out they go, off into their lives without
me, only to return for a thoughtless peck on my
tear stained cheek and a quick bite of homemade
pie as I smile like the good parent that I am
hanging on to every moment, hoping they’ll linger
just a little longer before they leave to conquer
the world, remembering the day I left home
and my mother’s last words: I don’t think I can take this.

Last Poem

Let the songbird
fall when overfed
from summer’s worm; a craving
nourished by the needy beak.
poker, gritty digger of God’s soil,
his hunger quelled, no time of death
nothing left to till. And let me sing my
song until I choke
on breath for these
are only paper days with numbers
lent to corners torn from every worn
out desk. And let my shoes remain
on the floor with laces
loose, wide-open near the door.
The waiting
feet asleep, naive that heaven stole
the soul while dormant forces planned
an avalanche-
a hoary creep while breaking free. Just
like a songbird feeding for the fast,
the body knows there'll come a day,
prepares the heart to sing a song
that will outlast.

Carol Lynn Grellas is a three-time Pushcart nominee and the author of A Thousand Tiny Sorrows, soon to be released from March Street Press and two chapbooks: Litany of Finger Prayers (Pudding House Press) and Object of Desire (Finishing Line Press). She is widely published in magazines and online journals including most recently,
The Centrifugal Eye, Oak Bend Review and deComp, with work upcoming in OVS and Saw Palm Florida Literature and Art. She lives with her husband, five children and a little blind dog who sleeps in the bathtub.

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