ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the April 1, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] technoshaman. It also fills the "a crowd" square on my 3-6-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.


"Parts of Myselves"


Mira

The mirror shows me a face
that I wear but is not mine,
tinted skin instead of pinkish-fair,
golden curls instead of
straight white hair.

This is Maisie's face,
but I'm not Maisie,
can't even fake being her
as well as Maze can.

Maisie liked men
and I like women,
or at least I would
if I thought I could find
myself a girlfriend like this.

At least I'm a woman, though:
it's harder still for the men of us.


Ham

Every time I go to the can,
I have to remember
not to walk into the men's room.

It's always jarring,
and I'm afraid I'll forget.

I want to call one of the others
to deal with this, and sometimes I do,
but it's not always that easy.
We're getting better at switching
on purpose, but not perfect yet.

Sometimes I just have to
deal with the body I've got,
even though it looks nothing like mine
and the plumbing is all wrong.

I have to look at the stupid tattoo
that Keane got -- is still getting,
damn thing's not finished yet --
and what possessed him to pick
a lace garter is beyond me.

It's like he doesn't understand
we're all stuck sharing this body,
and that stings worse than the ink.


Clement

My fingertips trace the edge of the frame
holding the picture that Dace drew for me.
I wish that I could explain to him
how I feel, what I'm going through,
but it wouldn't make any kind of sense.

He sees me on the inside, somehow,
but he doesn't know what he's looking at
or why I am this way.

He doesn't know that I'm
a gay man in a woman's body,
with other men and women within
all tangled up in the parts of ourselves.

If Dace is straight, he won't want me;
if he's gay, he won't want this body;
and even I don't know what to do
with the fact that I only want
the romance and not the actual sex.

So maybe it's better this way,
better that I can't say anything,
that I just stay hidden.

But it makes my heart ache anyway.


Keane

Clement's melancholy brings me out,
and I wish I could make things better for him
but I don't know how.

I can sympathize with the dilemma --
I like women, but straight ones, not lesbians
and honestly I prefer darker skin to lighter.

It's a problem in more than just romance,
in ways that I don't think everyone sees yet --
how hard it is for us to keep Maisie's friends,
how hard it is to make new friends of our own
when we keep switching back and forth.

It's worst with Dace, because
Clement is getting a crush on him
while I think of him as a brother
and Maze barely knows him to speak to.

It's bad with Farce too, even though
she's an enemy instead of a friend,
the way Clement is compassionate
while Ham just about hates her --
that has to be confusing in a fight.

I do what I can to draw us all together,
to make the broken pieces -- if not whole again,
at least some kind of functional.

The tattoo helps, and they
don't understand that either,
the way the scratch of the needle
allows me to integrate what I feel
and what they feel too,
the design a symbol of the body
that binds us all together
and the tiny details that
make each of us unique.

I smooth my fingertips over it
where the earliest part is healed.
The newest section is still raw,
where a lightning bolt charm
dangles below the lace garter,
symbolizing pain and power.
That one's for me, just as
the knife is for Ham and
the theatrical mask is for Maze.

It's not enough, but this is
what I can do to hold us together
until we learn how to be ourselves.


Maze

There is so much to do,
it's difficult to make time for this,
but I know it's necessary.

Putting things into words
helps us to figure out who we are,
each of us alone and all of us together.
The journal was such a good idea.

For me it's easier in some ways,
because I have the most of
Maisie's everyday skills and memories.
I look a lot like her, especially the skin,
although my hair and eyes are lighter.

I'm not sure about men --
I think I still like them,
but not so much as a group,
more like I'd enjoy one man
if I got to know him first.
I don't like the thought of rushing,
and college guys are always in a hurry.

That thought makes Ham nod,
while Clement frowns and shakes his head.

It's hard to remember
that I'm not the only one in here,
that even the inside of my head is a crowd.


Clarity

It's my job to organize things,
to help people work together.

I'm different than the others, though,
neither male nor female, and in companions,
intrigued by mind rather than attracted to body.
Sometimes it's hard for me to understand
how somebody can be all one thing
and none of another.

To me the female body
fits no better or worse
than a male one would.

I look at everyone as a potential friend,
or more than that if our interests coincide.
How could I reject someone I don't even know?

I search for the common ground,
the walls and roof and floor
of the house that is our head.
I search for the connections
that tie us to the people in our lives.

We are none of us Maisie,
but we are still human
and we need people
around us as much as she did.

We are a crowd, and yet
still share a single life.

We must find ways of getting along
with our different genders and self-images,
ways of reaching out to new friends
who can relate to the life we lead now
even if they don't understand all of it.

We are Damask,
our many-colored threads
making up the tapestry of our tale.
Mindflare may have made us,
but it is up to us to decide
what to make of ourselves.

making and unmaking

Date: 2014-04-19 06:51 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Damask is beginning to form, but at the same time each of the individuals are strengthening their identities. They're coming to terms with the idea that this is long-term, if not permanent, but I'm still very sad that they don't have anyone outside themselves who will support each of them.

They need more external support. sigh.

Thanks for posting this.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-20 01:27 am (UTC)
thnidu: a G-clef crossed with a lightning bolt (clef)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
I'm appreciating getting to know Damask, as they get to know themselves and each other better. Thank you.

• where a lighning bolt charm
→ lightning
Edited Date: 2014-04-20 01:28 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-21 07:37 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Picture shows a red-winged angel staring at a distant blue star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
This series is entirely fascinating.

Have we met Clarity before?

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-19 08:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] netdancer.livejournal.com
Yes. This. A collective entity -can- adapt, even thrive, but there are struggles. There are always struggles. *Especially* about who you can really tell. Friendships are perilous, especially when the friends start noticing the elides between people as switching occurs. Relationships? A horribly dangerous minefield full of inner and outer perils. What do you do if you fall for someone who most everyone else cannot stand? Even little things like what to have for lunch can be a huge crisis.

Thank you!

Date: 2014-04-19 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> Yes. This. A collective entity -can- adapt, even thrive, but there are struggles. There are always struggles. <<

Yay! I'm glad this worked for you.

With Damask, I really want to capture the evolution from single to plural life, how hard it is to figure out what's going on and what new skills are needed to make this work.

>> *Especially* about who you can really tell. Friendships are perilous, especially when the friends start noticing the elides between people as switching occurs. <<

That's why Maze has the "Fake Being Maisie" skill, and why she fronts most of the time. People who knew Maisie before the kidnapping have noticed that something is wrong, but they chalk it up to the trauma -- which is the source of the change, just not the kind they're thinking about. That makes family life tense too.

People who have met Damask after the kidnapping are different, because they've only ever known a plural person, but they get more of the shuttling effect as the headmates switch. So far, Dan the ice cream man (who appears in "Favorite Flavors," not sponsored and posted yet) is the first to notice that 'Maisie' has moods which are telegraphed in her dessert choices. While he doesn't fully understand what's going on, he recognizes and can accommodate those differences. Which naturally scares the fuck out of Damask. Most people are seeing only one or two headmates. For Dace, it's usually Clement and Keane. For Farce, it's Ham and Clement. I think Jason has seen more different headmates because he's a good person to lean on when they're upset.

>> Relationships? A horribly dangerous minefield full of inner and outer perils. What do you do if you fall for someone who most everyone else cannot stand? <<

Yeah. Maze is hesitant about Dace, because he's not her friend yet; but if she keeps skating out of the way when he shows up, that's not going to change. Ham and Clement actively fight over how Farce is to be treated, which is liable to get worse.

>> Even little things like what to have for lunch can be a huge crisis. <<

Not to mention the huge fight over Keane's tattoo.

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