The Unraveling

The Unraveling

For years nobody noticed 
The Unraveling.  
Nobody noticed—
until the seams split and a naked 
marriage spilled out 
like a wet dream
on a clean sheet.
shocking the sacred.
Perplexing the prudes.

Shaken and stunned
and clucking their tongues
they blamed 
Artistic Temperament.
Mental Fragility.
An Illicit Affair.
Menopause.

The lapsed Catholics
those ignorant pathetic savages 
moth holed in their white trash 
threads said novenas swearing by
Priests.  
Mystics. 
Therapists.

But the fraying fabric was already 
shot with holes
and tears—
unfit for charitable contribution
long before the final ripping 
which commenced with cold dispassion
and the sickening finality
of a hardened woman mindlessly yanking still-warm feathers  
from the dappled carcass of some once-elegant creature
or a naïve child innocently treading an angry nest 
of red-winged insects designed to sting 
all the soft vulnerable places
with a single-minded ferocity.

My arms, struggle to cover the pale, vile scandal of 
flesh beneath ratty cloth that clings to one shoulder
with the tattered grace of a second hand shirt 
half slipped from a bent coat hanger 
its tail end dragging the dust-mitten floor. 

My hands, each strangely and suddenly dwarfed 
and ill-fitting, barely cup one heavy breast
or hide the angry tangle of pubic hair 
itching over the stretched triangle of canvass 
like Eve in her wet fig leaf
like Eve, who, forever saddled with the sin of feeding Adam
-somehow managed. 

© 2011 susan beck

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Comments 16 comments

saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

You definitely unraveled this poet with your unquestionably brilliant wordssmith and gifted eloquence. It tore at the very fiber of my being, I felt it, I felt the sweat on my palm, I swooned in your sweet nectar only gifted to you by the gods. You are simply one of a kind, unique and original. I am so happy your back to treat us to much more of your scribes..hugs


Tom K. 5 years ago

So personal, the emotions are on the surface and raw. Therapeutic to those of us that have been through this hell on earth. Keep writing.

Relaxed Knight


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 5 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space

This is great poetry. It gets to the core and is unrelenting and very open. The peculiar combination of raw sensuality and religious references is very striking and potent. You are a great wordsmith.


Poetic Fool 5 years ago

Wow, brutal and raw and honest! Kind of hit me between the eyes I can so relate. Great, great job!


Steele Fields profile image

Steele Fields 5 years ago from drexel hill,pa Author

Thank you from your grateful writer.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

It's just waiting there under the surface, so try to make it come out. Mind you i had an idea for a poem and dithered with it for years, then one day i wrote the first line and it came skipping out. Good luck from your patient reader.


Steele Fields profile image

Steele Fields 5 years ago from drexel hill,pa Author

Hey Keith! So happy to hear from you again and glad you liked the poem. It wasn't an easy one to write, as I'm sure you can guess. I really do appreciate your support--more than you know, especially when I'm letting it all hang out, like this.

I don't have anything else in the works at the moment, but maybe I'll force a few syllables and see what transpires...


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Hi SF you did say it took you months to write a poem. It's worth the wait of course as this is a supercharged jangle of spit, but not much polish. Gritty, grungy and packed with punch. I was thinking of alerting Randy but got beaten to the punch i just mentioned. Please write more as you have such a rare talent for it. Cheers from Keith.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Steele Fields! WOW. The imagery in all these lines is palatable - so real and I so relate to it.

"Nobody noticed - until the seams split and a naked marriage spilled out. . . " Then they looked for reasons out of their own limited experience, precisely because they'd never noticed the facts and truth. They didn't know how to notice or see. They didn't care or were too busy or too willing to ignore it.

You've created a masterpiece, I think.


Steele Fields profile image

Steele Fields 5 years ago from drexel hill,pa Author

Thanks Randy, so very much. I appreciate your kind words and would be honored to have you read another poem of a similar nature that I posted here called "hiding." I would love to get your feedback. All the best to you.


Randy Behavior profile image

Randy Behavior 5 years ago from Near the Ocean

Tom sent me. He knew I'd relate. I even, funny enough, wrote a poem called "long time coming" but it doesn't hold a candle to this piece. You could have written this for me. If you write like this on a regular basis I will have to dig deeper. Big hugs to you.


Steele Fields profile image

Steele Fields 5 years ago from drexel hill,pa Author

Thanks Wayne and Tom-- always grateful and happy to hear from you both and hoping you are doing well. Thanks so much for your support.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

Rich and elegant. Truly a pleasure to read.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

Awesome, absolutely awesome...you use words and metaphor as keenly as the executioner uses the fine edge of his gillotine blade to painlessly snip the heads of those destined to his charge. Thanks so much for sharing this one! WB


Steele Fields profile image

Steele Fields 5 years ago from drexel hill,pa Author

Thanks, No Clue. It was a long time coming...


No_Clue profile image

No_Clue 5 years ago

A gritty, real, emotionally intense write...nicely done!

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