Monday, August 29, 2011

Cotton Candy On A Rainy Day

As an undercover poet, I love reading and listening to good poetry. To me, the power of a good poem is its ability to paint a unique perspective of those emotions and experiences that are most difficult to express. For the last few weeks (probably since my 28th birthday) I've felt this dull throbbing inside me that I can't really explain. Somewhere between anxiety and control, restlessness and satisfaction, frustration and contentment, doubt and assurance, and motivation and apathy is me. Its not a feeling I give voice to often, mostly because its so hard for me to find the right words to convey it. While doing some reading the other night, I ran across one of my favorite poems by one of my favorite poets, "Cotton Candy On A Rainy Day" by Nikki Giovanni. It almost brought tears to my eyes because it seemed to say all the things that I couldn't seem to find the right words for. After reading it several times, I felt myself sighing with relief. Once again, Ms. Nikki had hit the proverbial nail on the head, and reminded me of why she has a way with words like no other.

Cotton Candy On A Rainy Day
Don't look now
I'm fading away
Into the gray of my mornings
Or the blues of every night

Is it that my nails
   keep breaking
Or maybe the corn
   on my second little piggy
Things keep popping out
   on my face
    of my life

It seems no matter how
I try I become more difficult
     to hold
I am not an easy woman
     to want

They have asked
      the psychiatrists   psychologists    politicians   and
      social workers
What this decade will be
       known for
There is no doubt      it is

If loneliness were a grape
      the wine would be vintage
If it were a wood
      the furniture would be mahogany
But since it is life      it is
       Cotton Candy
            on a rainy day
The sweet soft essence
       of possibility
Never quite maturing

I have prided myself
On being in that great tradition
     albeit circus
That the show must go on
Though in my community the vernacular is
   One Monkey Don't Stop the Show

We all line up
    at some midway point
To thread our way through
     the boredom and futility
Looking for the blue ribbon and gold medal

Mostly these are seen as food labels

We are consumed by people who sing
    the same old song       STAY:
                                                  as sweet as you are
                                                  in my corner
Or perhaps                                just a little bit longer
But whatever you do                 don't change baby baby don't change
Something needs to change
Everything   some say   will change
I need a change
      of pace      face     attitude and life
Though I long for my loneliness
I know I need something
Or someone

I strangle my words as easily as I do my tears
I stifle my screams as frequently as I flash my smile
       it means nothing
I am cotton candy on a rainy day
       the unrealized dream of an idea unborn

I share with the painters the desire
To put a three-dimensional picture
On a one-dimensional surface

-Nikki Giovanni

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