Gritty Details

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Tonight's Poet Corner: Unfamiliar Territory

Unfamiliar Territory
by Belinda Roddie

If you find yourself confronted
with a predator, do you rend your flesh
and toss a scrap for it to sniff at, while
you sprint for the nearest door? If the
brass knob breaks off like dried bone, still
push, and it will open. You can bandage
your exposed muscle in the bathroom. It
won't hurt. It will be just like covering
a living red ribbon with clouds.

Today's OneWord: Classified

It had been a long time since I had used a newspaper to find a job; frankly, I was surprised employers still put ads in the classified section. But there I was, dealing with a power outage that had knocked out my apartment's Internet, circling and crossing out potential careers with a red pen.

The barista called out my name, her tone perky and cheerful. The opposite of how I was feeling, of course. I grabbed the chai tea from the bar and instantly regretted spending that $2.50 rather than saving it for...I don't know, survival.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tonight's Poet Corner: Obsessive

Obsessive
by Belinda Roddie

I understand that
when you see spots, you imagine
that they're endless polka dots stitched
into a new silken white dress. I know that

some people sees scabs as constellations,
view stains are Rorschach tests, finding new
realities and daydreams in the splotches forming
calligraphy beside already existing cursive text,

and if you squint your eyes perfectly,
the scribbles on a page can form a brand new
language, especially when you're still at
the proper age to challenge walls and ceilings.

I know that clutter, if organized in piles, can
become skyscrapers rising into outer space,
seeking out new planets constructed from the
same rainbow neon debris. I shape each

bruise and crack and broken spackle in
the contours of my brain, rebuild the worlds
that one part of my neurosis deems, in all
capitals, "PERFECT." But then I upset

your comfortable utopia, and I jam thumbtacks
into photographs so they curve at right angles
on bulletin boards, and I sweep birthday and
Valentine's Day cards off

an otherwise pristine table so I can relive
that same moment in a wedding picture behind
obnoxiously smudged glass; if only I had
remembered to get a shot of all of us.

Of both families. If only I had remembered.
If only I had remembered.
If only I had remembered.
If only I had

The ink that forms mosaics
on my hands will fade faster
than stone, and once the nightly showers strip
my face of grime, I feel my canvas go blank.

I understand that when you see spots,
you see the beautiful personality in every
flaw and burst seam, while I repeatedly stab
myself with the same needle as my mind screams

for me to sew together my misshapen collage,
smooth out the lumps and creases, only
to flatten it all out again, into plain, boring,
tired, spotless gray.