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Soft Voice

p<{color:#000;}.

Soft

Voice

Rowan Lakes

Copyright © 2017 Rowan Lakes

All rights reserved.

ISBN:1540154776

ISBN-13:978-1541054776

Cover design by Ellen Holt

 

DEDICATION

 

 

I’m trying to learn how to fall in love with myself and that is never easy, especially when I have so much, or not enough, to give. So this is dedicated to me – for doing hard work constantly, for knowing when to let go and when to hold on. You made it.

CONTENTS

 

 

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

 

Thanks to my friends, who have made me feel like my poetry matters to them. You’re weird, but I think y’all are alright, I guess. Thanks, Ellen for the amazing cover and friendship. And thank you, readers, for taking a chance on this loner. Bless.

 

1. Ludus

 

aesthetic

 

the sound of the clock ticking

we’re waiting

hurry up

when can i leave

aren’t you tired of this yet.

 

lipstick on the mirror

to say goodbye

future sorrow in the cracks of your smile

day drinking into night.

 

us jumping on your bed

that song, that awful song

playing

and you a constant wind of laughter

a real girl today.

 

the stretch of my bones

how they settle back into place

how i wait for my collarbones to

want me again

how i wait for you to want me again.

 

taco bell for dinner

the way the teachers looked at me

at 4:30

when my mom was still not there

how i fell asleep to 2-hour traffic.

 

 

the gun my throat

my words the bullet

the way i take the shot into my own chest

bleed out and die.

 

the carpet

settling in and watching

ceiling fan turn and never end

unlike you, a consist thing.

 

flowers blooming

my hand always steady against the dirt

always alone

always pale and wishing.

 

kissing you

not kissing you

fucking you

not fucking you.

 

let’s pretend love

let’s pretend i’m allowed to

let’s pretend we forgot

let’s pretend we don’t see each other and wonder.

 

to be touched like i am a person

something with a heart that skips beats

to be touched like maybe you will remember

what it was to be 16 and so afraid.

 

gum popping in the summer

shorts you aren’t allowed to wear

but since you aren’t allowed to kiss girls either

you decided to fuck the rules

told me to try it some time.

 

 

friends in the living room

watching movies and throwing popcorn

the fuss and the laughter

the way we lean into the warmth of bodies

and love each other like it’s easy.

 

being 21 and okay

being 36 and not thinking about death once a day

being 49 and not fearing the sun

being 54, 67, 72 and okay.

 

in my head we are rose petals

taken from home and scattered

because they thought us so beautiful we had to be shared

in my head we are rivers

running in the direction of whoever will sing our song

in my head we are children, we do children things

we do not worry about death or dying or being dead

we sleep into days and wake into minutes nothing missing or left out in our bones

never told to compromise one part for another

to love less or more or different or better.

 

in my head i share my body

and you share yours

until we are a tower dedicated to care

dedicated to existing soft and firm

and love lives in our rooms and puts up curtains

and never dies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lover vs. love

 

i want to be the prayer you give

to the hardwood floor

knees crackling paper against night

but not the deity.

 

i want to be the person you talk to the next day

the tight clench under the palm tree

in the parking lot after midnight

but i do not want be the hand.

 

i want to be the swallowing

the constricting of throat

as we try to breathe sweat and mint gum

but i do not want to be the sex.

 

i want to be the burying

the rainy day and the song i said i wanted played

that isn’t so funny when i am not there to laugh

but i do not want to be dead.

 

i want to be the time you take

the way you mold me like clay

all your fingers new brushes to paint

but i will not be art.

 

i want to be your first stop

the lingering note in your composition

a white tooth jutting in bleeding gums

but i won’t be your lover.

 

i will let you compare me

share me with an audience

let you immortalize my smile

but i will not become nouns for you

will always be too verb to stay still.

 

i can be the lusting, the crushing, the loving

but i will not be the lover.

Opposites coexist

 

my tongue

ice swollen

ready to be melted chocolate in your mouth.

 

i know spring is here

& you have pulled out all your short sleeves & skirts

but i am still shivering lips against your cheek,

waiting for winter to return in between our bodies.

 

let us pretend who we are as climates

i am tundra, glad nothing grows here

prepared to crack but not break

ready for the wind to make music of my bones.

 

you, tropical wet

a prosperous rainforest that knows no limits but sky

a direct reflection of light in eyes & warm fingers in palms

you are a constant mist, but no fear of the mess it’ll make

a smiling umbrella.

 

we should not mix

i know nothing of sunshine but that it makes my skin darken in a way that others have joked made me animal

& you know nothing of cold but of how it seeks to rid you of your mother.

 

but i suppose

if you bring a cool breeze

& i bring the sun to play hide & go seek with us under the pillows in your room, we could make our own weather

call it love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursdays at your house

 

 

rode my bike to your house

you wouldn’t open your mouth

decided your fingers would do all the talking.

 

then they did all the walking inside

me.

 

we

 

space bars and enter keys

give me a key

I didn’t ask for your heart, loser

just a key.

 

we

 

know that it’s not going to be enough

so we’re riding on luck

and more than often a quick

tuck

into bed.

 

we

 

drink the cola from each other’s teeth

pearly white absolution

I’ve got the revolution

in the palm of your hand.

 

keep it

we

we’re going to need it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

my phone ran out of minutes

 

insert a coin

two dollars for a mile

three and i’ll even

 

smile

darling, i’m pessimistic

you’re just a cynic

with a bigger

 

heart

cross me and maybe you’ll

live

for something else but

 

nothing hurts

i’m not gonna lie

it sucks you dry

leaves pathways of

 

blood

all over the house

drips inside my mouth

did you

 

hit me?

or did i

leave my own

marks of

 

hate?

sate the us in

trust

blanket me in warm

 

words are puddles

in our hands

“i love you.”

but you spoke a different

 

name

called me Hope

called me Religion

call me

 

tomorrow

a bicycle paddling to

catch the sun

we’ll fly to get

 

you are so

sosososososososo

you

and i can’t think of anything

 

more sweet

then your lips

beckoning me on

that bus

 

home

we’ll bloom

we’ll taste rivers of fire

we’ll be

 

beautiful

in our moonlight tower

disguised as dandelion flowers

sandals slipping off

 

our

our

our

our

 

(insert a coin

two dollars for a mile

maybe for you

i’ll even

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

capitalism sucks

 

tomorrow

everything you had today

will be gone.

 

they will sell your pillows for pennies

your necklaces for three dollars

each.

 

someone will steal your favorite t-shirt

and never get caught.

 

but that girl

the one down the street, in 3rd period with you

will still be there, won’t she?

 

today everything you own

will be gone

too bad

you had your chance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

city life

 

city lights do well to thrive on candles

and the morning curve of the body

listening to the trains fly by

learning to be big & ready to fight.

 

city makes food of your fear

knows difference between sheep and wolves

can scent out lonely fingers

how they shake to the beat of baby crying next door

all alive in space with full boxes

forgetting how to be bigger than everything that has ever

hurt you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mAN YOu really thought you were something special

 

don’t care if

you don’t care.

 

i’m going to give my all to you and what i believe in and if

you don’t want my passion

my spirit

then leave it there

i’ll use it again next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Anger

 

no means no

 

and despite it all,

i let you

dig into me

let you inhabit my body

regardless of how it hurt me

i forgave and forgave.

 

have figured out my fatal flaw

it is every habit i learned from you

the arch into violence as if comfortable

cliff diving into i love you’s & waiting for the laugh

for me to become a joke again.

 

i let you turn me liar

the way you owned me

when i said i would never allow it

i became pet

something to feed skin & leave inside

let you collar me & felt shame at the imprints around my neck.

 

sometimes i call you monster

give you a gun

never a real name

i guess i fear that it will beckon you

fear that you will email again

asking if i want to start over.

 

and despite it all,

when my friends say i am being dramatic

that you are different now

that i should forget it

i say no

and mean it.

 

I bite into an apple that has worms

 

 

i get lonely and i become static

i get lonely and my skin isn’t just skin

it becomes animal fur, pinpricks hidden within my shoulder blades

i become hollow like my fourth grade stomach

my mom, i think

and i try not to anymore.

 

do I deserve this?

maybe

do you?

no.

 

so we lay in the middle of the train tracks

don’t know what we’re saying but our voices are so loud

i try to forget your face but my heart won’t let you die

so we lay in the middle of the train tracks and yell suicide

 

you can use my body

fine

i have no love for it

see, these boys

they passed me around in a Walmart bathroom

the sore lasted longer than their faces did

and i hoped for a child, maybe

hoped for something to call mine that wasn’t ache

 

but i hadn’t bleed yet

guess god knew

what doesn’t god know, really

do They know me

i used to introduce myself often

prayed into the pillow, into the carpet, into my lighter

 

so ready to be devoured

hungered, hunted for

preyed upon

would let you taste me

give you a slice.

 

and That Man touched me

and Those Men touched me

and where did it hurt

and who would believe me if I told.

 

don’t confuse my anger for being directed at you

im mad at me

does the doormat desire make it less or more?

don’t answer that.

 

i would dream of your mouth

an honest sin

better than thinking of you and getting wet

better of thinking of you and screaming.

 

where does rape end

when does it stop

i think it doesn’t

you can disagree

but i still feel like it’s happening, here, now.

 

this eighteen-year-old

had virtual sex with my friend and though she was happy about it

i stole my grandma’s phone just to tell him to stop

he offered twelve-year-old me phone sex

and i thought it a compliment but still said no

but he decided blowjob fantasy was just right for me anyway.

***

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Soft Voice

  • Author: Rowan Lakes
  • Published: 2017-05-24 18:50:11
  • Words: 11868
Soft Voice Soft Voice