Weekly Writing Challenge: the justice of ribbons

my heart is ribbons // and beating just for me almost unravels it

Today’s poem was written in response to this picture inspiration from the Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge. The poem’s title is the justice of ribbons.

Image from Cheri Lucas Rowlands

my heart is ribbons
once it stayed whole
a kaleidoscope of colour and light
blended till no one know who was anything anymore

by a physical blow made of words
the colours separate
i have to tie them together
hope they play nice

my heart is ribbons
tightly coiled
smaller than it was

when it was whole
it beat for the whole world
it contained multitudes

my heart is ribbons
and beating just for me almost unravels it
it contains only my sorrow and rage

my once-whole heart
has been braided into cords
twisted together
ribbons sliding against each other
silk saturated in blood

i guard it jealously
afraid to let it travel past the walls
of its bonewhite cage

you’re safe here
no one can hurt you now

but in my dreams
the trumpet sounds
and in my dreams i know the call
it tells me what i must do

i cup my ribbon heart in my hands,
hold it close to my chest
as if it were a small animal I must set free
from its blunder into my busy city life

I walk on moon-kissed floors to the window

far below
people writhe in a world of grey
stumbling through dark and fog
breathing despair and drinking fear

cracked and scarred, my feet
climb to the ledge
and I balance on bent knees, rocking back and forth

trembling, I am a bird afraid to fall from the nest
half-crouched as if the stars might burn me.

I tip my cupped hands out over the world
and watch my ribbon heart
spill away from me

from between my breasts
a rainbow of colour curls out
and around
wrapping itself into each and every life
ribbons wending themselves through homes and heads
bringing colour to the grey
bringing light to the fog

my heart is ribbons
it touches all lives
it contains multitudes
it binds me in love
to all else who suffer.

Katje the Chicken Chaser

This morning’s awakening was heralded by a soft, undulating call in the pre-dawn air. I thought at first it was a young coyote, trying out her voice, skating it across the frost that blanketed outside — then several more joined it, and I realized it was my friend’s chickens.

The cold that came in to my lungs as I took deep, waking breaths contrasted with the toasty warmth in my limbs, covered by an old sleeping bag. My friend, awake now too, stomped on his boots and headed outside to feed today’s velociraptors.

I’d slept on the couch, which was comfortable if drafty. Only a few hours, yet I was rested, which pleased me; this morning I had an appointment to get my laptop fixed at the Apple store.

Before leaving my friend’s house I got to take a bit of a walk in the cold air. The ground was covered in white, slick frost, that crunched under my feet and my cane. My friend had an earlier appointment and so left before I did.

As I stood and scraped at the frost on my windshield, my car running to warm it up for a winter morning’s drive, I felt beady eyes watching me, boring into my back, my soul. I turned.

English: A chicken
English: A chicken (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A chicken had escaped the fencing. She stared at me, bobbing her head to and fro, daring me to come after her.

I couldn’t leave her escaped. I had to put her back. Running late already, I hurried over to catch her and put her back over the fence.

She ran, weaving like a drunk ptarmigan over the cold earth as her head turned, right, left, right, left, her eyes trying to stay on me while she ran away.

I’m not fast on a good day and I’d left my cane in the car. I chased this chicken around for 10 minutes, yelling at her, telling her to come here godsdammit, calling her featherbrain. The rest of the chickens stared at me with cold eyes and suddenly I felt I knew what it was to be Link from the Legend of Zelda.

The chicken I chased spooked, eventually, and decided she wanted back into her pen. Yet she could not make the flight — however she’d escaped, it’d not been over the fence, and now she flapped up against where it met the bushes, trying desperately to get away from me.

I gained on her now she was in one place, more or less, and grabbed at her several times, shoving myself into the bushes as I tried to grab her gently but firmly. She panicked more and kept flapping away, squawking vociferously her protest at my obviously cruel treatment of her. Her friends joined in the chorus, henpecking me for daring to try and keep her from crossing the road to an untimely demise.

Finally I grabbed her without injury (to either of us, miracle of miracles) and tossed her back over the short but too-tall-for-her fence. She ran to her cronies and they crowded around her, muttering chicken versions of “There, there, dear, it’s alright,” before moving onto plotting my death.

I rolled my eyes and muttered: “You’re not dinosaurs. You’re dinner,” and picked the burrs off my sweater as fast I could before getting back into the car, now defrosted. It was time for my appointment.

Generations from now, they shall hail me:

Katje. Writer of Words. Chaser of Chickens.

Written for the Weekly Writing Challenge.


Dissociating to a certain extent can help me keep the pain at bay until I can deal with it, in small pieces.

And in the end I guess I had to fall.
Always find my place among the ashes.

I can’t hold on to me,
wonder what’s wrong with me.

-Evanescence, Lithium

I was going to do the Weekly Writing Challenge this week and post my story today. I was going to write it yesterday, actually. Or, failing that, early this morning when I got up.

I didn’t, because yesterday I suffered a trauma and have been spending most of the time since in a dissociative state. This is sort of half on purpose; dissociating to a certain extent can help me keep the pain at bay until I can deal with it, in small pieces.

I thought I’d write a story about what happened to me, and post it as part of the Challenge, but I couldn’t seem to make it happen. Sometimes writing a story helps. Not yesterday; I was in a bad state.

Perhaps not today either. I want to talk about it when it’s not so fresh, and today is still too soon. I slept terribly anyway; woke up late. Will barely have the time to finish my work before leaving for the weekend.

Being in a body that’s suffered trauma is never an easy thing to live with. For myself I don’t know if I’ll ever fully heal; I often picture my being as a shattered mug that’s been glued together so many times it’s now more glue than mug, and it functions, which is a kind word to describe its existence. But the scars never really go away.

I have to remind myself that I’m human, and that I regrow my skin. Emotional scars might not fade, but the physical ones do. I can get to a place where physical trauma is, at least, a distant memory; not a noxious cloud that occludes my vision and breathing, that reminds me everyday that I’m broken.

I often read and reread this poem by Brett Elizabeth Jenkins like a mantra:

363_900I don’t even know the title of the poem, but it’s one I keep on my tumblr, scheduled to post in 2017.

Now I suppose I can schedule one for 2020, as well.


And in the end I ended up completing the requirements for the Weekly Writing Challenge anyway, so this post is tagged accordingly.