Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wrestling with Goodbye



At all the wrong turns
and times, and for the wrong reasons,
we vowed love
through false teeth.

You were looking for a mother
I could never be, an anesthetic
for your terminal sicknesses.
And I was hiding who I was meant to be,
afraid of myself.

I am sorry for the mask
and how long it wore me.
Still, I am not sure if you are as fatally sorry
for this headstone you’ve saddled me with.

No matter—
a dew dropped, more dark than red, rose
waits on the doorstep.
Take it,
I can live with your ghost no longer.

Plus, I’m learning what it’s like to be me    
without you
and how,
finally,
to like her.



© 2013 Jennifer Wagner




*A poem of mine was selected for the dVerse 2nd Anniversary Contest at Boston Poetry Magazine.  I’m thrilled to have had my piece be chosen.  Click here to check it out and read the poems of others who placed in the contest.  Thank you to all the judges and congrats to all the winners!  Great writing, all.

56 comments:

  1. mmm makes me think of a mother and their child learning to love apart from dad....the feelings toward the child i think you have spot on....and congrats again...well deserved...smiles.

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    1. Actually I wrote this from the perspective of a lover after the end of an unhealthy relationship...you know how the "ghost" of the other person can still linger and you struggle with that goodbye too. And thank you again for the contest Bri...dVerse has been amazing to be a part of...

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  2. "I was hiding who I was meant to be" I think we all get caught up in doing this at times. But hopefully we all eventually learn who we are and it's then that our lives truly begin :)

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  3. Masks cannot be worn forever. Eventually they do always crack, it seems. It is a good thing to learn to live without them, as you are, and to be able to discover who you are!! (As relationships with the self are the most important of all.)

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  4. The mask wore me ! Brilliant as usual. This one was a little high brow for me in parts. Too layered. Almost like inception. :)

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    1. Thanks R, I can appreciate your thoughts--we all have different tastes for sure.

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  5. ...there is always a ghost in us we can ne'er escape but only embrace for the more we run away from it the more it will haunt us & kill... dark & heavy write Jennifer... but the littlest of light still shines in between your lines & that's a good thing to note... smiles... congratz on your winning piece! smiles...

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    1. I hear you on embracing/facing/addressing something so it doesn't have the power to destroy us. And congrats to you too!

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  6. Nice poem, Jennifer....and the one that got selected, it's been my favorite of all yours...:)

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  7. Masks ~~~ we all wear them. Even when we believe we aren't.

    Congrats on your poem being chosen ~~~ what an honor!

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  8. Lovely piece and congratulations on your poem being selected for Boston Poetry Magazine. You deserve it!

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  9. "we vowed love through false teeth" - how brilliant. So many things i love about this poem, not least the courage and strength of the narrator. The last stanza has a strong and important message. Love this poem, love the one that was selected too. You write so wonderfully. Congrats on being selected:)

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    1. Thank you Sherry! I always appreciate your thoughts on my work!

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  10. this is LOVELY! i love how the line about the mask wearing you and the saddle. our hearts always long to be FREE! congrats on your poem. i hope you will consider submitting one to PilgrimsPoem.com too. ;) aloha

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    1. Thank you B, I agree, we do long to be free. I'll check that site out. Thanks for the heads up and for your visit here. :)

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  11. This is really a great piece – for many reasons – but, primarily, I think the way in which you have used language in a way that the reader does not expect it to be used:

    vowed love through false teeth
    sorry for the mask and how long it wore me
    this headstone you’ve saddled me with

    all serve to really drive home why this is a goodbye that is wrestled with: it is out of sync with what (at one time, at least) was expected. The poem is clearly, well thought out and masterfully pulled off!

    And congratulations on being selected for inclusion (and first place, no less) in the dVerse 2nd Anniversary Contest at Boston Poetry Magazine, Jennifer.

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    1. Wendy, thank you, your thoughts on my work always mean so much to me. Appreciate them more than you know!

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  12. Jennifer, congratulations for attaining such a wondrous publication of your poem! The weaving of your words is remarkable, with this...'I could never be the anesthetic for your terminal illnesses.'

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  13. I can live with your ghost no longer.= I love this line, it captures the whole poem, that feeling of wanting to leave, to sever but the regret of failure and separation. Beautiful.

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    1. I wrote that line first actually, and wrote the rest of the poem around it...smiles...thanks Alan, appreciate your thoughts as always...

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  14. Jennifer, congratulations!! That is great news and well deserved--you write amazing poetry. This is no exception--such great images and heart in this--love that phrase "I am sorry for the mask and how long it wore me" Great twist that, can relate to those relationships that were best left (though they do leave ghosts...)

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  15. Moving on is a process and acquires a thoughtful approach when the decision is not impulsive. Very well put here! Congo! again for being crowned in the contest!

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    1. Thank you Akila! Always appreciate your thoughtfulness!

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  16. nearly a rite of passage, Jennifer - to get to the point where one likes oneself, despite the glare of another

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    1. Getting there can be a difficult journey, depending on the obstacles, thanks M.

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  17. Congratulations on your win Jennifer.

    Sorry , but vowing love to each other through false teeth is an image which makes me collapse into uncontrollable giggles.
    Don't mind me ..it's an Aussie thing(also UK I think) We call dentures, false teeth as well.. Sorry still LOL.

    On a serious note, this is a good example of how cultural differences can change the context of a piece for an international audience .

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    1. I don't mind you rallentanda. We refer to them as false teeth as well...so it's not a cultural thing in this case but it is funny how each of us can interpret a poem! And thanks for the congrats :)

      Also the link you submitted at the Poetry Jam Battles prompt goes to your blog, but not to a particular poem...is there a specific poem you'd like us to read?

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  18. Very powerful piece! "I am sorry for the mask
    and how long it wore me." Aint that the truth.

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    1. Ha, all too true too often, eh? Thank you very much Sreejit, appreciate your thoughts.

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  19. A battle of immense proportion ... awesome writing!!!
    ~~ enjoyed this more than I can say.

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  20. Oh, how I love this! The honesty, reflection and directness embrace the reader. A really fine piece of writing. Of course it was selected as superior. It is.

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    1. Thank you so much Kim! Great to hear from you--hope your move has gone well! This one is a new one, but my contest poem is up on the Boston Poetry Magazine site (link provided in my notes). And thanks for the prompt as well!

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  21. Great work Jennifer on both of these. So glad that your writing talent has been recognised in this way.

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    1. Thanks so much David, hope things are well in your corner of the world!

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  22. So much in this, I have read it several times. And I did get the idea of lovers parting and the ghost that lingers.

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  23. "Vowed love through false teeth" and "hiding who I was meant to be" - powerful lines. Thank you for sharing!

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  24. A very profound poem written from your heart. Eventually those masks just wear us down.

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  25. I am sorry for the mask and how long it wore me...that speaks to me. Such beautiful piece about letting go. Congratulations on your work being chosen!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Susie, for all your kind thoughts!

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  26. Wonderfully shared - sweet and unique thoughts - I like the poem -
    A very nice blog dear talented friend !

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  27. Congrats, Jennifer, about the contest - well done!
    And congrats for being so wise. Another poignant poem from you.

    Wow:
    as fatally sorry
    for this headstone you’ve saddled me with.

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    1. Thanks so much Janet! So glad to have met you here in the blogosphere. Truly am inspired by your work.

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Thank you for your thoughts!