MELINDA’S LONG SCARF SYNDROME
Melinda stores memories inside chickens – uncaring birds.
Eats. Cleans. Makes a cup of tea.
Sitting by her window she knits long scarves. Hobbies are a good thing.
It all feels like calling home and speaking in a foreign accent, or like a strange cat sitting on her armchair.
Melinda used to have her rooms full of nightingales. Sometimes she flashed them at people. Well, she is only human.
But counting nightingales before they sing all their songs is a cheater.
It comes as a missed train, as rain inside the brain; as unequal exchange, torn page, minimum wage. It comes as derealization, depersonalization, as minding the gap but still getting your foot stuck in it; as varicose vein, chest pain, not so sweet martha lorraine. It comes as blue, to paint blue the heart; as human factor, x-factor, max factor. It comes as grabbing hands, twisted arms, naked light bulbs; as consumable products, consumable contacts; as dropping leaves, dropping hints, dropping names (even her name has gone out of fashion). It comes as untied love knots, as mispronouncing your deepest thoughts. It comes as leaving, it comes as staying; it comes as anything, it comes as everything.
Some call it fate, say it spreads like butter on a staircase.
Others the biggest joke there is.
One day Melinda didn’t feed her oven.
She took no nonsense from dishes who claim the road to feelings is perplexed.
She gulped down all tendencies to be nice to herself.
First she had a tall drink.
The world was off somewhere, grinning at caged giraffes, taking pictures of quaint cottages or bloodsucking.
Millions of fibers clinging to each other, loop chains growing longer and longer.
Fate was Melinda knitting scarves, pushing the needle with a bruised thumb.
Making a big bad loop, she turned herself into a hanging ornament
while a ladybird was passing outside her window.
WRONG TWIN’S LULLABY
It said sleep / the voice said / slide into / me / like a fish / in water the voice said / dreamless / I’ll catch you / just sleep it said / you’re tired and / it’s time to / sleep.
Like this / it said / the voice said / close your eyes / slide / let go / see? it said / like this / come to me / easy / you’re tired / just sleep.
That time / it said / remember? / that time in the sea / the water closed over / so close to the shore / but that current / that sneaky tricky current / it said let go / the voice said / like fish / you’re tired / sleep / easy like this / don’t blink.
And you thought / why not / easy / the water quiet / like a sheet / it said now sleep / and the world will wash you by / stay still / finish it / go down / deep / a stone in water / so easy like this / like sleep / heavy dreamless / sink.
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow / it said like this / no more of this / just sink / slide / sleep / for a moment it was easy / to let it all go by / bead after bead after bead / meaningless string / remember? it said / you don’t but I / remember how wide-eyed / you escaped me.
Close your eyes it said / that time that street / remember? the voice said / it was me / slip of your feet / in the rage of its machines / don’t blink / stand still / and the world will crush you by / like a wave / like a current / in a sneaky tricky sea / don’t cheat / now sleep.
And I’ll catch you / said the voice / why not believe in me / it said tired / don’t think / slide / dreamless deep / ready? sink! / for a moment you were ready / but you cheated / backwards step / you caught yourself / quick / no sleep / through my arms you slipped.
It said sleep / the voice said silk / let go / and the night will pass you by / why not / easy / and I swear it’s not me / now and forever deep / just my twin / not me not me / not the voice in the sea.
Why not believe in me / in my arms / I’m my twin / like this: see? / easy / close your eyes / come to me / don’t think / sleep / never pushed you in the street / try me / the voice said silk.
To the voice I said like fish / through your arms I’ll slip like this / voice current / hair seaweed / I am wide-eyed / you’re no sleep / no end of cheat / to the voice I said don’t speak.
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow / I said I like this / yes! more of this! / be quiet now / like a sheet / I don’t know what it means / but I know how it feels / sun on skin / daisy fields / sitting idle by a stream.
Quick / I blink / backwards step / I catch myself / you can sing your lullaby / all you want but never me / never in your dreamless water / I slide / I slip / easy: see? like this / there are parties I can’t miss / if I’m late don’t wait / eat.
Always sweet / a sheet of silk / but your singing goes six feet / under daisy fields I think / so don’t speak / don’t sing / quit / here’s my finger / ready? Sit!
That emotionless tick,
that tack, like a wink,
I nailed you to a wall
but couldn’t keep you
Always that tack,
that same tick,
I wrapped you around my wrist
but couldn’t hold you
I clicked my tongue out of rhythm
danced off beat
sang out of tune
to confuse you,
but you always keep an eye against me
I took a screwdriver to you
to untick your tack, untack your tick
I ripped you open
but couldn’t kill you
That tick, unquestioning,
and tack unrelenting,
what will you gain from my ending?
Basilike Pappa is a bookmonger and a wordcubine. Her work has appeared on Intrinsick, Timeless Tales, Rat’s Ass Review, Surreal Poetics, Bones – Journal for Contemporary Haiku and Visual Verse. She is a member of Sudden Denouement – A Global Divergent Literary Collective. Most of the time she can be found reading near a window in Greece. You can see more of her work on her blog Silent Hour.
Melinda’s Long Scarf Syndrome, Wrong Twin’s Lullaby, and Watch appeared respectively in Rat’s Ass Review, Sudden Denouement – A Global Divergent Literary Collective, and Free Verse Revolution.