Thursday, July 8, 2010


milk white skin and hair like ink
bleeding in a bathroom sink
trying to exsanguinate
the wretchedness
the reprobate

why are all your
shirtsleeves long
why do all my
words sound wrong

turning inward, iron-clad
even each small smile is sad
downcast eyes that rarely raise
haven’t had a
meal in days

who has filled you
with misgiving
made you so afraid
of living

carved reliefs and pins and blades
losing friends and faith and grades
drops of crimson, wrung from clover
black and white and
red all over

forget I asked;
just let me sit.
these scars of mine
are testament.


Julie said...

I'm still blown away by last week's poem, and now I have the gift of this one. And yes, I meant every word I said last week. Awesome, awesome work.

This one also punches me in the soul, because it makes me think of a girl I knew who cut herself. She said she did it to "relieve the pressure." I tried to get her to write her pressures, but I'm not sure if she did.

What a powerful portrait you have written, Joaquin. The voice in the italicized verses is woven into the characterization beautifully. This verse seems to say it all:

"who has filled you
with misgiving
made you so afraid
of living."

That just breaks my heart. And the scars in the last stanza are poignant details from the one who has lived the life. Again, your words are powerful. It's a story that needs to be told again and again. Excellent work.

Karen said...

I've known some teenaged cutters and anorexics and bulemics and users and addicts and other children crying for help and too lost to accept it.

Today I went to the funeral of a young woman and her baby. Two small souls escaped these bounds and the drugs that held them captive. I am still sick at the sight of someone I couldn't help, even though I tried. Not hard enough. Not enough.

Surely this is crimson wrung from clover, scars a certain testament.

I'm very sorry to lay this here, but the events of this day and this poem brings it all home to me.

I am so angry at my generation of parents. You have captured why.

chiccoreal said...

This poem is so bangon! WoW! I guess you blew me away today...amazing Art Poem!

signed...bkm said...

Great piece Joaquin, I had a coleague a few years ago whose daughter was a cutter and a bulemic - he was beside himself trying to help her... your words capture so many images here - you always amaze how you can write life.....bkm

Sarah Hina said...

Even your starkest poems--and this one had me seeing the bleak and chiseled illustrations of a graphic novel--are never entirely hopeless. If only because your voice always carries a true empathy that never drips over into pity. The quiet of a knowing presence here is more powerful than platitudes ever could be. The blood connects them utterly.

Your work is always stunning. But I feel like these last few poems of yours have really raised the bar. You truly leave me speechless.

(Saw that video a month or so ago. Wow.)

Kits said...

Your words made my heart wrench. This is beautiful stuff. Very evocatively captured.

Terresa said...

Gripping poetry, fine stuff. I read a lot of blog poets, and I'm glad to have found you (via Julie!).

Bravo for this piece, the voice is spot on.

joaquin carvel said...

julie - i hope she did too. it's an awful and too-common affliction - and largely unnoticed, kept secret. thank you - seems a little more on the radar now than when i was a kid, but still, a lot of stories yet to be told.

karen - don't apologize. it turns my stomach, but it's real, and there are too many. i'm just glad there are people like you, reaching out to kids who need it. it's hard, because you can't help all of them. but something tells me you have helped more than a few. probably more than you know. thank you.

chico - thank you! hope to see you again.

bkm - you make me think - i bet there are way more people who can relate to this in some way than anyone would guess. thank you - hope things turned out well for her.

sarah - wow - thank you. maybe i hope there is hope in presence because i never know what to say - or maybe i've just found more comfort in it than in words. either way, thank you again.

kits - if it is a heart-wrenching poem, it's because it's a heart-wrenching situation. thank you.

teressa - one more reason i'm glad for julie. :) thank you - hope to see you again!