Friday, November 5, 2010

November Poetry Challenge: 4/30: In Plain Sight

Here's poem #4 of 30, in my November poetry challenge. I'm writing 30 poems in 30 days, and posting them here to give me some accountability and keep me moving forward on them. Some of these will be pretty good, most of them will be mediocre, and I expect I'll come up with a couple of stinkers, too. But the goal of the exercise is not necessarily write perfect undying is simply to write. If you'd like to play along, feel free to post the link to your work down there in the comments.

In plain sight

I'm hiding
right here in plain sight.
I don't mean to, really.
But people see what they expect
and I blend pretty easily.
See, I'm a suburban housewife.
Two kids, the dogs and cats,
driving a minivan.
Quiet, white, middle
aged and middle classed,
with a part time job
to pay the bills
and a weekend hobby
to pass the time.
It is easy to pigeon-hole me.
At first.

Lets make job small talk:
I work at the local community college.
That's mildly interesting...
and then I'll mention
that I take all my clothes off
and pose for the art students.
And there's the first crack.
That...doesn't quite fit the image.
Oh, and my hobby?
I play dress up and lets pretend.
I'm going to be Medieval Nobility
this weekend,
and my boyfriend will be hitting
people with sticks
to try to make me Queen.
Um...ok then.
Wait, boyfriend? I thought you said housewife?
Aren't you married?
Yes, I live with two men
in a polyamorous triad.
Thats...wait, what?
What does that mean??

And suddenly they've stumbled
on the unexpected.
Folks kind of flounder,
head cocked to the side
not sure how to proceed.
Most of the time there's a snap
as they struggle to process
the shift in view.
I could never do that
they say.
Initial disapproval,
a distancing,
and only then
poking at it, perhaps,
a theoretical stretch to acceptance...

And then there is the occasional person
whose eyes light up
with the discovery of a layered reality.
That's fun.
And I wonder...
how many kindred spirits
am I passing by?
How much am I guilty of
the same
mental shorthand,
missing vast riches
of complicated, messy personalities
because I see
what is

What about you?
Are you hiding in plain sight too?

-Melissa McCollum

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