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by Elizabeth Jill

I dunno how to move my mouth to form a smile 
they took that away from me, see 

I dunno how it is this way 
still, it is, it just is 
one side is pretty okay
the other side
leather-monster-beast pain, don't ask 

I dunno I just dunno
except people can't hold my gaze 
like they did before the maul  
or, Day Of The Teeth 
if I were to name it Lakota-style 

I dunno how to uncurl my fingers 
they took that too, see
 
so I press these buttons with my wristbones 
and I'm getting good at it 
some days oughta get a prize 

You dunno the hows about some things either 
so I know you understand because 
you've been through your own 
Day Of The Teeth 

one side pretty okay 
the other side 
leather-monster-beast pain, don't ask 

and I can sense this about you, 
the struggle of keeping sturdy and steadfast 
you're getting good at it
I'm proud of you 
I'm telling you now you're flying strong 
it's visible to anyone who's just here

some days oughta get a prize



04/17/2011

Posted on 04/17/2011
Copyright © 2019 Elizabeth Jill

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Gabriel Ricard on 04/17/11 at 09:20 PM

"some days oughta get a prize"--That sums it up for me. Wonderful.

Posted by James Blaylock on 04/18/11 at 07:13 AM

To me this seemed bittersweet, but at the same time I saw some major humor within it. Go figure! And the "leather-monster-beast pain, don't ask" was simply an open invite for anyone listening to say, "What's going on in your world?" But I could be soooo very wrong. You really got me thinking. Great job!

Posted by Clara Mae Gregory on 04/18/11 at 09:37 AM

i feel this....i remember this... i like your way with words, Jill luv ya

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 04/19/11 at 04:38 AM

Putting it back together, many of us have been here. Day of the Teeth - I can imagine how this speaks to you - for me, other things have had the sharp bite. The visual of it is intense, the remembered chill is real. Great last line.

Posted by Jim Benz on 04/19/11 at 03:01 PM

Experience, empathy, half a smile, genuine pain, and the never-ending need to just keep taking another step forward to ... somewhere. Pressing "these buttons with my wristbones" is the image that really brings this poem home. But extending empathy out of pain (in this "I" to "you" interchange) wins the prize.

Posted by Jim Benz on 04/19/11 at 03:09 PM

What really amazes me is the contrast between a stated inability to smile (all physical) and the gentle smile of the voice in which this is spoken. Looking at this strictly as a poem, the compare and contrast of every element - beginning with the title - is striking and effective. Even the choice of language. This poem creeps further into my psyche every time I read it, Jill.

Posted by Steve Michaels on 04/20/11 at 02:49 AM

Totally love this, and I am the same way: I dunno how to move my mouth to form a smile they took that away from me, see

Posted by George Hoerner on 04/20/11 at 06:33 PM

A very fine write m'lady. It is life as it exists, two sides of the same coin, one with a smile and one with it turned upside down. Love it.

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 04/21/11 at 06:51 PM

On the surface, I'm not sure what to make of this piece, but am defintely impressed by its poetics, strong message. My gut instict tells me from the imagery, it might be about someone who has suffered a serious injury, and is still in hospital, therapy. The whole thing is great, but I especially like that third stanza, and the Lakota referece.

Posted by Elizabeth Shaw on 04/21/11 at 07:50 PM

tres bien

Posted by Lauren Singer on 04/24/11 at 10:21 PM

last line, for the win. great stuff.

Posted by Kimberly Bauer on 04/26/11 at 01:38 PM

Wow.. inspiring. What a great way to start my morning,with this unique poem :)

Posted by Ken Harnisch on 04/26/11 at 07:58 PM

As Chris says, on the surface, this poem begs questions I'm not sure I want to ask. On every other sub-textual level, this is just awesome work. And yeah, the last line nails it!

Posted by Glenn Currier on 12/11/12 at 03:13 PM

You sure do make me think with this one Elizabeth. How all of us have that ugly side that people do not want to gaze at. It is just as much us as the prettier side. Thanks for this wonderful piece.

Posted by Philip F De Pinto on 05/10/13 at 10:04 AM

the bully takers of this world can take whatever they wish, whenever they wish, yet are powerless to take away that which is your considerable spirit and gift which we are blessed to have you share with us.

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