Well, I didn’t think I’d be posting this early in the day, but I somehow woke up about two and a half hours before I’d planned, and have dragged myself out of bed to blog and take care of a few things before we leave for Cambridge later. You’re the ones who win in this scenario — I’m exhausted, but at least a blog post gets written!
Today’s poem is a very personal one, and one that very closely links to the theme of Crossroads Poetry, particularly the idea of demon deals. For those who haven’t watched Supernatural or other TV shows of the sort, these demon deals are usually sealed by a kiss, a motif that comes up a lot in literature. The idea of a crossroads as a place of otherworldliness also transcends specific fictional worlds and comes up all over the place.
I wrote this poem in January 2014, only a few days after yesterday’s. By that point I was, to a certain extent, writing to a theme — I knew vaguely what I was planning to aim for in my collection, and I was writing poems that I thought would fit. But the theme came from the poems as much as they came from it, and so when I wrote this one, it was as much an expression of how I was feeling than an attempt to up the wordcount.
So here’s where it gets personal.
When I was fifteen, I had a friend who was a fair bit older than me, and one day he kissed me. I had a crush on him at the time, so I wasn’t too bothered by this, but I was very confused and uncertain about what to do because of the age gap, as well as complications involving a mutual friend of ours. After some dithering, I made it quite clear to him that I wasn’t romantically interested and would rather he respected my personal space.
Unfortunately, he didn’t quite get that message, and on more than one occasion tried to kiss me again or otherwise made me feel uncomfortable. The implications of this didn’t sink in until some time later when I realised how much he’d violated my boundaries, and after a handful of arguments, our friendship ended abruptly in late 2013.
However, that didn’t mean I was over it, and the more I thought about what happened, the more upset I got. This led to having panic attacks at the mere thought of him — I don’t think these had started in January 2014, as they came a bit later, but the emotions that triggered them were already there.
Breaking off our friendship was meant to be a chance to overcome those difficulties and reclaim myself from the person I perceived as having taken something from me, but it hurt a lot more than I expected, and continued to hurt for a lot longer than I expected, too.
This poem is about that: about the kisses he tried to steal from me, about my choice to end our friendship in an attempt to protect myself from all the angst and emotions I was feeling, and about how I struggled with those feelings. Add to that a heavy dollop of depression and anxiety (the winter of 2013/14 wasn’t a good time), and you can see how this poem happened.
But it manages to avoid being totally depressing, because this is before the bad feelings really kicked in. This is a poem about that reclamation, more than how I felt afterwards. So I hope you enjoy it.
— — —
Kiss At The Crossing Place
It’s a non-consensual crossroads deal:
a bright soul stolen with a burning kiss,
birthing a fractured, bitter muse
who carves hate-filled poetry into flesh
with a broken shard of bottle-glass.
It’s the two-year collection point:
to fight or run or surrender the spirit,
now blackened and marred by anger
but not yet fragmented into dust,
and step out into the crossroads.
It’s the doomsday battle with demons:
the ones inside the shrivelled heart
and the ones knocking on the door;
demanding payment for their services
and the part they played in murder.
It’s the incineration of every devil:
the flames consuming inside and out,
scorching lips touched by death’s,
destroying a heart filled with hatred,
and exorcising every memory of the kiss.
It’s a non-consensual crossroads deal
and a soul reclaimed from bloody hands.
— — —
On a more cheery note, I uploaded a vlog yesterday talking about my experiences rereading the Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke, so you can check that out here.