Hi! This year (2022), I’ve decided to share a poem on my blog and podcast and read it aloud. It’s all a part of my quest to be brave and apparently the things that I’m scared about still include:
- My spoken voice
- My raw poems.
Thanks for being here with me and cheering me on, and I hope that you can become braver this year, too!
Mean People Suck
She is driving, in her car, with the sticker MEAN PEOPLE SUCK
Stuck on the bumper. She hasn’t yet peeled
The sticker off, though she promised herself
When her dad bought her the car, she would before the week was through.
Mean people suck.
But as she drives the car, at night, down the curves
Of the Mud Creek Road, she isn’t thinking of the elegant statement
Stuck to her little, gray automobile, she is thinking
Of the boy poet in her German class, the handsome one, with hair,
And how, only a half hour earlier,
He gave her the best compliment she’d ever heard:
If you lived in Nazi Germany
You would’ve been in the resistance. I am sure.
Ah. She sighs at such a compliment, better by far than a litany
Of her attributes, of the color of her eyes, the beauty of her words.
Not better than the boy poet’s hand on her thigh,
Or perhaps, his lips on her instep.
You can only ask for so much.
This is what she thinks as something darts in front of her car.
Headlights turn the fur orange.
A cat, she thinks as she swerves. A fox?
The thud is as bad as she imagines
And for five seconds she keeps driving,
Five seconds before she pulls to the side of the Mud Creek Road,
Five seconds before she tries to find the hazards.
She can’t. She can’t find them and while she looks, her body
Shakes and she tells herself:
She does, watching the body grow large and clear in headlight beams.
Not a fox. Not a cat. No crying little girls tomorrow
Searching for Muffin or Smokey,
No pictures of cuddly kittens posted on supermarket wall or telephone poles.
Why did she think the fur was orange? Is she color blind?
Do you need glasses if you’re color blind, she wonders.
Parking parallel to the body in the middle of the Mud Creek Road, she looks.
God, he is beautiful, this raccoon, perfect mask and paws and fur.
Move him, she orders herself.
She opens the door, but the animal stirs… a slow, graceful lift of his head.
His eyes meet hers. And she knows, knows she can’t move him,
Knows she can’t take off her jacket, wrap it around his soft, bruised body,
Can’t bring him to rest in dignity by the woods. And she knows she can’t
Get in the car and run him over and over again and again,
Forcing tires over his furry bulk until the pain is over.
In her own hips, a pain like sciatica spreads, needles sticking and
Spinning down her flanks.
She shuts the door, puts the car in reverse.
The raccoon stares.
The raccoon watches the lights retreat and despite the increasing distance, despite
The roar of other cars coming closer, the rush of blood,
Despite everything, this raccoon hears the girl yelling to herself:
And he agrees.
Hey, thanks for listening to Carrie Does Poems. These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in Carrie, so thank you for your support.
The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Eric Van der Westen and the track is called “A Feather” and off the album The Crown Lobster Trilogy.