POETRY – 2 Poems by Emily Bludworth de Barrios

The culture oriented itself toward shopping

culture oriented itself toward shopping

The culture
invented a flat vivid world to sink into

As one sinks into a bath and closes the door and runs the warm water with a

or a glass of sharp wine

the white noise of water out rushes any immediate concern

Some lives have been scrubbed of immediate concerns
or mud
or weather

After work
some shopping

Running to the store
and picking up some food

hiring a contractor

someone for the lawn

Purchasing new clothes

might confer some attractiveness and dignity

which could convey

inner goodness, attractiveness, and taste

Having the best qualities and correct values

Best thoughts
are elaborately patterned

Worst thoughts
rise up as a self-righteous ego, scarlet and furious fuming into fingers

alternatively as a sheet of empty area

the personality goes when the activity ceases

it is neither buying nor preparing for a future purchase

In the car
the environment is leather and black and smooth sweet odor

is composed of quality materials

It has contours 
which are a pleasure to take note of

As the 
wishes rear up

On the way to or from some shopping

A little
appetite leaks out

obvious in fact it need never be discussed

feeling of perpetual lack

Is the water in the river we float down

I flow
from the lip of one day to the next

As if
lounging on a cool dark river that's

of what I might purchase

the mall the stores of horizontally stacked

Into discrete
dioramas of hypothetical lives

I sample hypothetical lives

I unwrap them
from the quality tissues paper and boxy bags with hard sharp creases

and gold and pink and peacock blue

I imagine
there is a certain kind of person somewhere

wears these clothes with grace

person could exist who carries grace in the chest like a warm affectionate orb

expected to eventually become

I've been
on the verge really of emerging into grace and ease


I like to be among the

is carrying the fierce fire of the souls

with some intentional or inadvertent packaging



80 to 90 percent of my awareness

80 to 90 percent of my awareness
Is a delicate ear turned gently toward my son

Which means I ignore
What would have previously torn me asunder

You may imagine motherhood as a funnel of sand
Into which one is pulled

You may imagine a wrecked ship pulling the inhabitants down with her
Into the water

Except in this metaphor
You are willingly rising yourself in sand or heavy water

It is ecstasy of familial love
Among the sand and water

Whereby you are erased but replaced with something new
Like a new skin or new eyes

And there is a new creature
Sleeping very gently as if in the curl of your ear


Women create people
And that is how humans continue

And that is how women are laid low

Torn asunder
Crippled  Leaking


Helpless to a helpless thing

Threads of feeling and attention
Binding or sewn

Women lavish their attention

Women lavish their emotion and then
They do not have some left

History is a 6,000 year block
Inside which women are torn asunder

Picture yourself in a room with smooth white walls
(No windows no doors)

That is the myth of motherhood

It says a motherhood may be a perpetual caring
Or a gradual erasing of the self

Or a sacred blanket
Or a devastating failure

To be a mother
Is to be a figure in a painting

Wrapped in a sacred blanket

Whatever the observer sees
You, the woman in the painting, you turn your head and continue

Being already busied with sheltering your small companion
Into the course of his life



EMILY BLUDWORTH DE BARRIOS is the author of Splendor, a book of poems from H_NGM_N Books, and Extraordinary Power, a chapbook from Factory Hollow Press. Her poems have most recently appeared in Sixth Finch, The Nervous Breakdown, Jellyfish, and New Delta Review. She received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and also holds degrees from Goldsmiths College and The College of William and Mary.

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