windows and how to open them



this is an old poem, turned and twisted and hopefully made endurable. for the windows challenge at PoetsUnited.

(still having formatting issues… this was perfect, and then i previewed it one last time and it had all gone awry… not sure what i’m doing that’s mucking up the works…)

when you’re done here, don’t forget to check out some of the other amazing windows-inspired words!



windows and how to open them

Here’s a story for you, children-
a little bedtime ditty.
A song about want.
(and what is want anyway? …nothing but a net to catch fear)
So listen close about this girl,
Mary or Martha or Mathilda,
                  (What’s her name matter anyway?)

and how she’d catch herself staring out windows,
afternoons in the slanting sunlight,
at windswept meadows;
and brooks in love with the blue sky,
gurgling and swirling to themselves in the flush of
at birds darting like glad comets, alighting on fenceposts;
at clouds like stepping stones,
layered in shades of white and grey.

And she thinks to herself – this MaryMarthaPersephone-
How bright and
how unspoilt.
wondering at its nearness;
just beyond the glass.

So, her fingers-
all of their own accord, mind you-
… well, she finds them reaching,
for a latch that isn’t there.

And suddenly she can’t breathe.
Like the air around her has suddenly been
sucked dry,
and she’s standing in a vacuum.
Deeper than space,
And infinities darker.

Out there, the dusk burns brilliant –
glowing embers of the day-
and fades into the blue mystery of the falling night.
But all the window shows her anymore
is her own face,
longing back at her,
trapped and flat and completely transparent.
hollowed-out by sadness.

If she could only get out there,
she thinks,
out to the wide,
and the wild,
and the sky so big it goes to  your head…
How the light would pour in,
                   (she is sure)
filling up all the doors of night,
bursting in on dusty rooms, and
tearing the tops off of all the locked trunks.

It would suffer no confinement,-
the light-
  (of this she is certain)
prison-breaking her scarred, bound gulag soul
like a photonic Che,
all olive beret and
wild, raw-feeling eyes.

Her heart pounds-
Our poor little Maid MaryMargaretSt.VincentMillay-
And she steps toward the window-shaped sun,
everything in her reaching for flight.
… and meets only glass.
Cold and insufferable.

The shining world only makes
the inside spaces

And she wishes for nothing so much as for
a blind to pull
a curtain to draw;
for the strength to close her eyes as she passes by.

But there is no denying
our own latent landscape.

What’s out there is only you, MaryMagenta,
mirrored, future you
and it calls
(demands) in incessant, insistent bugle notes.
It’s a train just pulling out of the station,
a door not quite closed,
a tributary path, all overgrown
and narrow,
and suffused with hidden light
(stars dangle in the pine boughs,
like fireflies
erratic and enigmatical)

staring and staring and
aching and aching
until, finally,
her body screams
against the glass.
(Our MaryCassandraCassat)

Until it strikes her,
That glass is nothing but
melted sand-
ten thousand grains,
stirred and heated and burned through to invisible.
And could she turn it back,
all she’d have to do
would be to take off her shoes
and walk through it,
…warm on bare toes
a beach of would-be windows.

And then wouldn’t she set sail
(this MaryMagdelineJoanoftheArgonauts)
out over the orange, oval universe
her wake a blackflashing trail of
ageless, eddying
windfull joy.


5 responses to “windows and how to open them

  1. Oh my beating heart, and yearning soul…..!! What a vision you have presented here, Shawnacy. This is magical realism on a philosophical level; this is art on the level of the human heart. I’d love to have the superlatives to say how much I admire this piece without sounding banal, so I’ll say it in a word:

  2. Getting out the confines of one’s mind into the outside. It is a sort of freedom, but one that takes courage to take the steps towards opening and going out there. Love the vivid imagery, the dreamlike visions in this poem.

  3. Powerful and moving… I love the symbolism of the names.

  4. What a wonderful story, filled with so much detail!

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