Shortnin’ Bread (final version)

Posted: February 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

CONTEXT: February, 2012

This is the version of the poem I debuted at Capital Slam this past Saturday.

After finishing version 2, I felt like I was on the right track but didn’t quite get there. The whole first section needed to go and lots of the images were close, but just not worded right.

The poem had become about someone who had been abused as a child. It is not about me, but my own life helps shape everything I write. Maybe it is easier to be supportive of other people… even fictional people… than it is to be supportive of myself. I don’t know.

For the more personal version, that is Conspiracy of Shame. I haven’t done that piece in a long time. It is hard to do. Maybe I should rememorize it. I don’t know.

But this is about the newer poem, so here it is:

    Shortnin’ Bread (final version)

“Mama’s little baby
Loves shortnin’, shortnin'”
Start with half a cup of
As every recipe needs a base
Where each experience
Drops in to alter the mix
Leaving you different
From birth as you are
Built from the inside out
Your core personified,
Heart spiralling outwards
In concentric circles,
Radiating heat powered by
The love of innocence.
It is like fire crackling
Behind paper – your skin
Is transparent
As you have nothing to hide.
But all your vulnerable points
Lay in easy reach
To be jabbed and poked
By those whose tongues
Have been shaved to a fine point
In a world where the
Sword is mightier than
The vein.

“Mama’s little baby
Loves shortnin’ bread”
Add a quarter cup of
Brown sugar
But the sweetness of adulthood
Turns bitter when applied
Too early.
Pulling a layer of childhood
Off like a band-aid
Ripping hair and skin,
Leaving more pain than blood.
A spoonful sugar not
For tooth but soul
As one sunny afternoon
Can change the course of
Mighty rivers,
Flooding valleys,
And who you might have been
Is stolen, dunked
And dissolved in sugar water
As even a nail
Will rot away
Left soaking
In a bottle of coke.

“Mama’s little baby
Loves shortnin’, shortnin'”
Mix in a cup of flour,
A bit at a time
As damage is quick
But recovery is in pieces.
With the precision of a
Craftsman searching for every
Flaw and blemish,
Your skin flakes away
In a puddle of powder and grease.
Trying to define yourself
As Wikipedia vandals
Distort history with the
Tapping of keys.
You awake with colours
Across yoru body
As you are tattooed
By expectations and abuse.
Turning to concrete
Cracking under the weight of
Growth, hoping that new flowers
Can force their way through.

“Mama’s little baby
Loves shortnin’ bread”
Every recipe yields a
Different result –
A little less sugar,
A little more flour,
As a list of memories
Transforms into you.
Victimized but not victim.
Bent but not broken.
You are no more a victim
Than a cookie is flour –
Part of you but not yours
To explain or excuse.
Peeling off layers
But every apple has its core
And yours beats
With an oven’s fire
And the pounding behind
Eardrums and the pulse
Of a napalm heart,
Burning away the rot,
Each dark spot left by
Those who saw you as
A sweet treat,
Crumbling off lips.
But that is not you.
You are strong.
You can never be beaten because
“Mama’s little baby

Next is another new poem so it will have to wait until it is debuted.

Here is a sneak peak:

“I am the Merchant of Salt!”

  1. anakay says:

    wow! just wow! this is amazing work. It touched me to the core of my being.

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