Anne’s sea/colour idea developed…

28 Dec

How To Lose Colour

I am a mermaid.
You wouldn’t know because I keep my tail hidden under my skirt.
I’ve learned to mask my fishy smell,
cut my hair a little shorter,
try not to comb it sitting on the bonnet of my car,
wear a bra to cover up my breasts,
they can be so distracting.
And I’ve learned to hum softly under my breath,
to keep my songs to myself.
My voice,
the things I say,
can give me away as something…
other.
Yes, they can draw a man to me,
but when he really sees me,
he gets scared and wants to run away.

I must be a mermaid
my obsession with the ocean
feels like more than a desire to breathe in the air
and besides, every step I take
feels like a blade cutting deep.

See, the pattern on the rug looks like a dog’s face
and it reminds me how he made out faces in the wallpaper
and animals in clouds,
but everybody does that, don’t they?

I watched him,
sweeping leaves into piles
and along with them, his dreams,
and the stories of when he was young.
His bones crack now, like sticks on the bonfire,
and a trail of smoke rises above stark trees,
as striking as his thoughts used to be.
Unspoken words hang in the air
like breath from lips
that remember how to kiss
but don’t want to anymore

He was born from the land,
brow furrowed like the fields,
voice like the call of crows,
his breath drawing minerals from the hillside,
to course through his blood.

And me? I was born from the sea,
my skin cold to the touch
my voice lost on the wind
my breath drawing salt from the ocean
to flavour my tears.

You can’t say I haven’t tried to live a life
the ordinary way.
I thought everybody felt like this?
So I kept going.

But now, I am leaving land behind
and going back to where I came from.

I didn’t realise that once I’d put my head under water,
I would be compelled to dive,
to swim on the surface is not adventure.
I didn’t realise that water would distort my perception of distance,
and magnify size.

I am diving.

Above me the sun makes a valiant attempt to follow,
dancing hot-foot on the waves,
but where I’m going it can’t come
and so the spectrum cannot be
and there will be no colour.

At 50 feet, red is invisible.
signature lipstick, along with black rimmed eyes and 3 coats of mascara,
my sharp-cut-hair,
fear of the dark,
tear-taut-face.

I am diving.

At 200 feet orange is gone.
kicking through leaves
the rug on the end of the bed,
warmth of arms
October mornings.

I am diving.

At 300 feet yellow green is almost gone.
sunlight through trees,
the lightness of thought,
softness of voices,
the healing of bruises,
driving the old Renault
The objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear
and water distorts my perception of distance.

I am diving.

At 400 feet violet has completely eclipsed blue,
peeling paint at the bottom of the pool,
the sky at midday,
pleading eyes,
ripped shirt,
my song.

I am diving.

At 500 feet, every colour gone but violet.
Morning mist and evening shadows,
broken promises,
wilted flowers,
old wounds,
cried out eyes,
comfort in darkness.

I am diving.

By 800 feet no colour.

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5 Responses to “Anne’s sea/colour idea developed…”

  1. mouthypoets January 1, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    Love the way you have combined the two previous ideas. Could have easily been too much going on but it is a great piece. The variation in form and style as the poem develops i think Will make an interesting and varied performance. As almost an internal monologue the voice and character is so believable. Really great piece. x

  2. mouthypoets January 2, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    I like this . You say it’s got no comedy in it I found the odd line in it that could be viewed as comedy . Some good bits of imagery in there I like this a lot.neal

  3. Anne holloway January 2, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

    Thanks people! Neal, this is a redraft, so I’ve tried to make the opening light and funny, I may even develop that a little more, then let the audience dive into serious with me

  4. Ste January 6, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

    Sorry to be the guy who disagrees but………. Personally I didn’t think the two parts matched up so well. It’s not that i’m taking the poem too seriously – I like the mermaid intro as an entertaining read, but I just didn’t find it working with the rest. It kind of changed how I took the rest of the poem, too, because now I’m picturing a mermaid diving deeper and deeper, which isn’t so strange or interesting to me. If it started at “I watched him, sweeping leaves into piles, etc.” then I get this great image of a normal woman witnessing the effects of aging, and just walking off into the ocean. Just my thoughts on the poem as a whole.

    Love the hot-foot sun, but dancing feels slightly cliché, I dunno why. I would just have it trailing hot-foot if it were me (it’s not, haha!). “but where I’m going it can’t come” this line sounds slightly clumsy? Is there a neater way to word it?

    I love how the diving sequence picks up – it’s on course to be my favourite piece of yours.

  5. secondanne January 7, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

    Thanks Ste, you’re not the only one who has commented on the shift between the 2 parts, so I’ve done a bit of re jigging – point taken on some of the clumsy phrasing, also I’m thinking about the way I perform it too, I think I need to make less certain that she’s a mermaid so the diving will feel less normal. How about the colours? Do they work, seem relevant?

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