I Cannot See My Face – A Villanelle

Whenever I enter a place
My insides search to belong
I cannot see my face

Can I take up this space?
There’s times that I’ve been wrong
And need to leave a place

Those times I’ve felt displaced
An unwanted tagalong
I paste a smile on my face

I try to handle it with grace
So the discomfort won’t prolong
When I need to stay at a place

But why can’t you embrace
The me inside that’s strong
Can you look beyond my face?

I will not be erased
I’m not one of the throng
I will not leave this place
I cannot change my face

This villanelle was written for Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt from a few weeks ago. She really has some wonderful, thought provoking ideas! This challenge requested poems about feeling like a “stranger in a strange land”. My two photos are both from my trip to Santa Fe, the top one was from a weird museum we went to called “Meow a Wolf” and the other is from the Puye Cliff Dwellings (is it an alien?).

This piece was originally titled “What It’s Like as an Asian Woman Living in a Predominantly White Community”.

I’ve often felt like the “stranger” – not because people haven’t usually been welcoming, friendly and kind to me – but because at some point in the relationship, I realize that they don’t see me as I see me. People usually see my Asian-ness first leading to reactions of surprise (“You speak English so well!”) or confusion (“How do you know about 4-H?”) since their concept of Asian-ness doesn’t intersect with their concept of American-ness. It’s similar to people’s reactions when a woman expresses opinions about sports or carburetors.

Since I’ve lived almost all my life in the USA and have lost the ability to speak the language of my parents, I see myself as an American first – that is my culture yet genetically, I am very much Asian. This disparity has led to that feeling of strangeness that I know will not go away until the concept of “What is American?” changes. And that will happen when…..??

I’m not gonna hold my breath….

I’m not gonna change my place…

I’m not gonna change my face….

©️ iido 2019

Mask of Metamorphosis – A Villanelle

Hiding in the spaces between
A wiggle, a flutter
A mask of filigree green

The dainty crunch of the munching machine
Slow moving like butter
Hiding in the spaces between

Bird eyes eagerly try to catch its sheen
It pauses, a stutter
A mask of filigree green

And then it wraps a blanket clean
In a special place to anchor
Hiding in the spaces between

This act of will that can only mean
The start of that process to alter
That mask of filigree green

When done, it emerges to preen
Finally, no longer
Hiding in the spaces between
Unmasked, that filigree green

This Villanelle incorporates Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #188 – Mask and Hélène’s “What do you see?” Picture prompt (see above – a caterpillar and the puzzle pieces of the leave reformed into a butterfly). I just realized that while Patrick and Hélène both provide photos, it is Patrick’s word and Hélène’s picture that makes sense to me to combine the past few weeks. Interesting (I say as I psychoanalyze myself)…

I’ve always loved the idea of metamorphosis, change, becoming something different but the actually process of changing has always been difficult for me, especially those changes that are lasting. I used to think that change just meant removing one mask and putting on a new one while what is underneath stays the same. But now I’m beginning to think that there also needs to be change under the mask. Not a change of the integral parts of the self, but a reforming of those parts into something different and hopefully better.

©️ info 2019

Good Night Fight – A Villanelle

A crackle wakes me from slumber at night
A million footsteps pitter-pattering overhead
Just snuggle me close, don’t put up a fight

My imagination rumbles taking flight
Forming shadows of that book we/I read
A crackle wakes me from slumber at night

Sparkling lines illuminate the storm cloud’s delight
I run to your room, my bravery shed
Just snuggle me close, don’t put up a fight

Under the covers, I crawl like a mite
Reveling quietly in the warmth of your bed
Away from the crackle that woke me this night

But the glare from your eyes, made me feel trite
Maybe I should have gone to Dad’s side instead
Mom – Please, snuggle me close, don’t put up a fight?

A rumble and sizzle, then glorious light
You pause, then with loving arms said,
“Did that crackle wake you from your slumber this night?
I’ll snuggle you close. Don’t put up a fight.”

This is my second attempt at a Villanelle – the poetry form of the month at dVerse. It’s still a hard form for me! Feedback would be very appreciated!

I was inspired by Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #181 – Night and this wonderful picture from Hélène’s “What do you see?” picture challenge. Of course, my mind went to all the times my kids have come into my room at night scared for one reason or another. We had also just see “The Sound of Music” and this brings to mind the “Raindrops on Roses” scene – one of my favorites!

One of my struggles as a mom is finding that balance between raising independent, self-sufficient children while making them still feel loved, cared for, treasured. Do I bring them back to their room or just let them sleep with me (which is what I know they want and sometimes need)? *Full disclosure – I am writing this with my 11 year old in the asleep bed with me. The struggle is real…

©️ iido 2019