when words don’t work

it’s a slow rebellion.
versus life, aGainst the lies,
leaving dirty marks
on a thirteen year old soul &

i stop dreaming, black/White– white/BlaCK,
breadcrumbs on grey tiles, all the
birds—skies—trees lose
their shine, so colorLess, my cousin writes
a letter, RED ink—“try & eat again”

too much loss & Blood
shed in a war, fought with spoons &
emPTy plates, deep graves dug by
stainless steel knives–

win, wiN, WIN

this revolution, flying right in their eyes,
but no one sees mE–

there’s this pic: bro & dog & i in’a bikini–
bony– eyes on fire– yaThinkThey’re brown–
Nah– glowing red, killing those who
dare come close (& at the same time cry)

a rebellion with no allies &
no winners either, wounded soldiers
dying on the front line, i choose life
raise the white flag this time, though
i never gave up really–


over at dVerse, Stu has us exploring the art of rebellion, which can have many faces.. pub doors open at 3pm EST..see you then..


57 responses to “when words don’t work

  1. Claudia- so powerful, and what a great take on the prompt. To write about Anorexia as a war…Rebelling against the knifes, the forks, the people telling her toe eat…and a lonely rebellion at that – I could imagine (not understand) how it could be like this….the way you sap the colour out of all the imagery, almost like a war-time scene with all the mud and broken trees….and the letter written in red about eating. This captures a feeling about something that isn’t easily experienced, and it has real real power, and real feeling….fantastic

  2. Intense emotion intensely expressed, absolutely wonderful. Wordsworth said “poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotion,” I don’t always hold to that but this poem of yours feels like it. Well done and thanks for sharing. Kevin

  3. I’ve read a few poems on this subject, but this one moved me more than any. It says everything that needs saying, and mostly from an oblique angle, which makes it ten times more effective. So good.

  4. A great write… I see it as you do Anorexia a war, I love fought with spoons… the graves dug with stainless steel knives. A brilliant write.

  5. Yes, beautiful and evocative and precise
    I have (deep inner sorrow)
    I had a small brown dog, my brogue,
    poisoned, by neighbors

  6. this is so powerful claudia….the word play in it is marvelous….the story/message so hard…our sense of beauty can become so skewed and our pursuit of it become a bit of madeness…your images to carry it are intense and vivid and i am glad you shook it as well though it is something that will often haunt you forward…

  7. “A rebellion with no allies” — so apt for anorexia. This is one of my favorites of your poems in a while, Claudia. Personal, vivid details here. Glad you were able to wave the white flag. How very well I understand your ending…that you never really gave up. But perhaps you are a stronger person for the truce…..

  8. Yes, understand this. The very conflicted rebellion of the teen with eating disorder, wanting to be taken care of –seen– and definitely not. Well And subtly depicted, with those red eyes angry and tear stained. K.

  9. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of all illnesses in the mental health field, so your analogy of war with its deaths is apt. So much in this is powerful- the rebellion with no allies, the black and white thinking, the young girl as wounded soldier, the life- long struggle- whew! That which brings more understanding is a good thing so thanks for sharing this. Bless you.

  10. Yeah all that win win win crap should surely take a nap. Society tries to claim it should be this way or that, causing many a thing to go astray at our mat.

  11. a jaw dropping, heart wrenching write, Claudia. It is a war – the enemy palpable. win wiN WIN. I appreciate your ability and grace taking this topic on.

  12. This one comes from the gut, kitty-corner from the heart, the soul, and it is so powerful that on the third read one still feels the hair stand up on the back of the neck; teenage angst is never a time of peace, but when married to anorexia, it becomes a battle, like the daily one for those of us with disabilities. Like the line
    /deep graves dug by stainless steel knives/.

  13. because i have only popped in here a handful of times over the summer and creative words aren’t really working for me these days, the title drew me in. i never thought of it in that way, which is the very best writing:)
    i find the piece breathes with you unfurling something deep and wonderful from within, giving you more space in the world.

  14. I’m back Claudia. And I read your poem first and it left me feeling sad and glad at the same time. I am stunned by the beauty in you that can produce such honesty about something so personal. I could feel that rebellion in you that you yourself could not understand, perhaps still don’t.

    So glad that you chose life. Keep eating it.

  15. Oh, yes… battling eating disorders is a war with no allies as you have so openly described here… brings back memories. Heartfelt piece.

  16. “a rebellion with no allies” – there’s so much truth and untruth wrapped up in this line it’s almost unbearable. In any form of self-harm your allies appear to be fighting against you, trying to crush your rebellion and make you conform, but hopefully those who love you most are only trying to help you do what is best for you.

    Love the complexity of this piece – powerful, poignant and painful.

  17. This hits home hard to me. My late partner had a (denied) anorexia and in the end it’s what helped to kill her. It’s such a hard illness to cope with both for the sufferer and family an friends too. This is rough, real, and touches a cord deep in me. Powerful write Claudia.

  18. A sharp, rich description that resonates between war and death – the dark sides of realities! Like a living tragedy of a rebellion that knows no end! Just desperately seeking at least understanding nods!

  19. Live and let live! Carry the white flag! It’s not submission but maturity so that we live another day. No rebellion,no fights, life is too precious to waste on conflicts. Nicely Claudia!


  20. Wow, really horrid imagery Claudia, the young/old soul, the loss of shine, against life/for life(great contrasts), the crumbs and the bones. I’m glad for the bit of redemption at the end.

  21. great use of colors and image to stir the theme here Claudia. The red eyes lines is awesome. Thanks

  22. I have to echo on how powerful this is! The metaphor and the message is so profound! A teacher told my daughter one Monday: “You had better stop going to McDonald’s or you’ll be fat.” My daughter was six at the time and didn’t eat for a week. It was hard explaining to a child that wants to “be skinny like (her) friend” about weight and all these other issues. You expressed this brilliantly!

  23. The lump in my throat is exceeded only by the knot in my stomach! So powerful, I thank you for your bravery. So many scars are invisible or perhaps not so obvious. Those are often the most deadly.
    Bon courage et bon chance!

  24. Again you speak to me but because this experience was so much my own. A different place and time but I am here to day that the tides can be turned and the mirror once again a reflection of a beautiful soul. Thank You!