Tell Tale

I get nervous
as I see it drifting down my sleeve,
the tender tattered mess
I call my heart.

I call upon any artifice I can
in those moments,
when I fear all my dreaming and desires
are naked in an innocent display.

Every breath not filled with words
starts as perhaps, perhaps,
the most right and holy moment
to relieve myself of the burden,
and speaking
all the thoughts that gyre
underneath my flesh.

But moments pass,
and the sting of those wasted moments
is pitiless of the bruises already there
on my resigned heart
shoved hurriedly off my sleeve
and caged inside my ribs where it belongs.

Song Choice: If by Janet Jackson

This poem was inspired by the prompt given over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads prompt: Get Listed!, where we were required to use several words in our poem (I used tatter, artifice, holy, gyre, wasted, and pitiless). There was also a bit of inspiration from A Dash of Sunny's Edgar Allen Poe prompt last week. I had started something for that but I wasn't quite happy with the original direction I took. For some reason this week's Toad's prompt, plus memories of being a college girl with a crush on this sweet guy I knew (spoiler alert: we've been married 21 years now) perked up my original idea to play around with ideas around the phrase "tell-tale heart" and this was created. It is also linked to Poetry Pantry #339 over at Poets United. 



54 comments:

  1. A wonderful riff about wearing your heart on your sleeve -- love it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is gorgeously penned, Rommy!!❤️ Especially love "Every breath not filled with words starts as perhaps, perhaps, the most right and holy moment to relieve myself of the burden, and speaking all the thoughts that gyre underneath my flesh." Sigh.. love your waltz with words!❤️

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a great opening, the image of your heart drifting down your sleeve. You rocked this prompt. I love it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was caught by the idea of a "tell tale" heart for a few days, but didn't quite know how I wanted to play with the imagery. I'm glad that I kept on playing until I found a direction I liked.

      Delete
  4. I really love this Rommy! 21 years!! Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really like this:

    "Every breath not filled with words
    starts as perhaps, perhaps"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was hoping to get the feeling of hesitancy and fear across.

      Delete
  6. As the song sez Wonderful! Wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  7. It reads nice, asking for "hurry to the next line." Sticking ones heart out into the open can be risky for ones feelings. If this was you, then it worked, 21 years, Wow!
    ..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm very glad I could get that feeling across.

      Delete
  8. Composed like a true lyricist. Follow the moon to more of these delights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw! Thank you for your kind words.

      Delete
  9. Like the image of the heart drifting down the sleeve!!

    https://thotpurge.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/they-said/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I liked that idea too, that it wasn't something consciously you did, but there it is anyway.

      Delete
  10. So redolent of those breathlessly uncertain moments of a youthful crush. I'm glad that, evidently, somebody finally spoke up!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love the way you've used the words, Rommy, and especially love the first stanza. I also enjoy the following lines:

    '...I fear all my dreaming and desires
    are naked in an innocent display'

    and

    'all the thoughts that gyre
    underneath my flesh'.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Do tell, indeed ... I loved this, the runny yolk of a heart too much on display, too vulnerable, hot with hope, too open, exposed to what turned out to be fate. It is very much like crucifixion, being so nailed by one's own desire that one would risk such exposure to the other. So much better to be safe, squandered between one's own ribs. The poem is terrifyingly divine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love your description of a runny yolk of a heart! That's brilliant.

      Delete
  13. luv your heart metaphor, very apt very timely

    much love...

    ReplyDelete
  14. Your opening lines captured my imagination completely. You made excellent use of the list words and made me rethink what it means to wear one's heart on one's sleeve.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kerry! I enjoyed twisting the well known phrase a bit and seeing what I could make it do.

      Delete
  15. shoved hurriedly off my sleeve
    and caged inside my ribs where it belongs

    Very good way of expression in getting out of the trap before one gets caught in an unwanted love affair!

    Hank

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, there can be a lot of fear in starting a new love affair when one has been burned before.

      Delete
  16. This is a very sensitive piece and beautifully written .... great use of the chosen words. Opening two lines are excellent and draw you straight in

    ReplyDelete
  17. Low how you open up the poem, but also how you seal it with the caged heart... very well done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was an unplanned ending, but once I saw it written I down, I knew that was a good place to close it.

      Delete
  18. The power of imagery you invoked in your first stanza took my breath away. I see it all happening, red and real, bleeding into being... Showing us what the insides of the speaker are made of.

    And your integration of the words, wow... seamless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I had my doubts about what to do with those words, but after some play time with Kit, I had a notion to revisit the idea of a tell-tale heart and just ran with it.

      Delete
  19. Beautifully written, Rommy. To write so well the experience of heart sleeve living says a lot about how big yours is. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Your opening is so visual. Such a beautiful piece about being open, vulnerable and then the price it too often incurs.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I have to admit "gyre" drove me to my Webster's! Great word mastery in this piece.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Love the title and the sense of hesitation as the heart comes out, down the sleeve, and then backs up, caged inside the ribs again....so very well told!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad I was able to delineate the progression in such a visual way.

      Delete
  23. I loved the poem but I like the honesty of wearing one's heart on one's sleeve rather than bottle up emotions inside. I think the heart is stronger than one thinks and is quite resilient...after the flood of tears of course as they are excused.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, yes. There is a price to be paid for keeping things bottled up.

      Delete
  24. Quite a tale, almost sad until one reads the process notes,

    Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did intend to have a melancholy feel to the piece, but yes, there was a happy ending.

      Delete
  25. I really liked the phrasing in this verse. It's eloquent, heartwarming and throbbing with a dull ache that stays. No word hurts more than "perhaps".
    Well-penned. :-)
    -HA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Perhaps" can carry a heavy load of pain with it.

      Delete