Friday, November 1, 2013

a bright light jolted Aanteekwa awake

Nicole Nicholson submits "a bright light jolted Aanteekwa awake" on Raven's Wing Poetry.  Trigger Warning for poetry depictions of sensory issues and stim suppression.

a bright light jolted Aanteekwa
the voiceless corners inside her brain
surrendered pictures
after blowing their insides out, clean and
eviscerated of the cobwebs and liquid shadow
first, the walls on either side of her
grew lockers and sprouted

until their squared shoulders
sliced clouds, and burst them open
(somewhere, Kate Bush waited
for the resulting rain to fall)
while Aanteekwa watched
those mammoth concrete giants
squeezed closer together until
they pressed against her blue chambray-capped arms
a hummingbird flew into a window
and the candy colored hallway debutantes
joined it
a rainbow of brightly feathered ebony prom queens
sailed above her head
while pink taffeta grew in vines around her body
and dug fangs into her skin
meanwhile, the party lights in the gymnasium
exploded out of their translucent shells
and shined double-bladed sword bodies
from ceiling to floor
the earth and sky cleaved apart in chasm glory
one of those jagged-tooth maws in the floor
opened under her feet
for once, she was grateful to fall
in a shadow-washed bedroom
(at the house on Seventeenth?)
midnight, the middle of May
the moon’s baleful eye
thrown through an open window
while the curtains leaned against the window frame
arched their backs, trying to hide
from its trajectories
the past falls from her eyes
moon dust dying
before it forgets itself
and tries to stop her hands from flapping
she cannot achieve liftoff
it is 1961
she is seventeen
and alone
Written 11/1/13
© 2013. Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.
This is a bonus poem: written for two prompts (We Write Poems’ Halloween Prompt andJoseph Harker’s prompt today) as well as for Autistics Speaking Day, which is November 1. For WWP: this looks like a nightmare, pure and simple — but is it, or did Aanteekwa just get unstuck in time again? For JH’s prompt: I borrowed the “hummingbird” line (“A hummingbird flew into a window”) which comes from Melissa Ginsburg’s “Tigers”.
For Autistics Speaking Day: Helen R. Jones, or Aanteekwa as she is known later, is a black woman born in 1943 (December 8, to be exact) who is likely autistic. She struggles socially, is more interested in books than in fashion, and can never meet up to the expectations of her mother, who is a socialite wannabe (on a steel mill worker’s salary, no less) in the Black community of Steelville, Ohio, where Helen is born and lives out her life. Helen’s mother pressured her to suppress her flapping habit as a little girl. Helen/Aanteekwa is a fictional construct, but I think speaking about her today gives a voice to what many of us went through as teenagers…that is, feeling as an outsider.

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