Days and Nights and Nesting Dolls

We walked in that old thrift shop musty,
dingy light seeping around stacked shag carpets
and formica tables piled high with bakelight plates.
It smelled of dried rain and wet mildew.

It beckoned us luridly, promising hidden treasures
squirreled away in dank depths and skinny aisles
piled high and tippling.

Your eyes glinted with purpose and glee
like Sherlock Holmes on the case,
so I resigned myself, Watson-like,
to the chase and followed
your dashing red boiled wool coat
and white fuzzy stocking cap deeper in
to the belly of this lazing laughing thrift whore—err—store.

And sure enough your squeak of discovery
morphed into a squeal of delight
and you held up your find like Aphrodite
holding up her heart to Adonis’ ruby thirsty gorgeous lips,
and you possessed, moved demi detourné
and grinned gleeful in the tight aisle
when changement you spun to hand me
your thrifty trove plunder…wait…

Russian nesting doll?

“Oh Charissa!!”  You spoke softly
but your sotto voce rang in my heart booming
cus you know that place big and special
that only you live in and call my Lady’s Chamber…
“It’s soo you!” You cooed and fussed in total committed certainty
that this odd intricacy was me.

It was wood, golden glossy with painted folksy face

…and it was male??  Wait.  Whaaaat is…?


You saw me, my confusion in this
the only time in my living memory
you had paid this shell more than
the passing glance and haughty sniff

we all share at how uncooperative
our bodies can be, and your smile
more tender than all the leaves of every Beech and Birch under the moon.

“Oh Sweetie, let me tell you…these dolls…you…well,
there is a history here, right?
Tradition carves these, dolls within the dolls within the dolls
until the core and look!  Just open it up, ‘kay?”

My eyes were blurry and my nose felt raw
rubbed in rough coarse handkerchief flesh
oversized and clumsy and inside my lil toes
throbbed hard in hurt stomped ache
from what you had not done ever
and yet had brandished that day
in triumphant tinkling delight…

but behind your insistent excitement
I saw awareness, I saw your pleading strong
ask of my trusting heart open to you
there and waiting…

So I took it, I felt
its smooth warm grain
inviting and fairly singing
of mystery and glad discovery
and with a last foreboding look
at your face illumined I twisted it open
to find the waiting center was another doll like the first
and painted gaily and it was female…il_340x270.514347819_kdil

and when I looked inquiring
if I should open it too,
your fierce nod was
in time to the trembling
of my hands as meaning
washed me and when
I twisted it open
the skritch of the wood turning
sang together with your
smothered cry of joy in me…

..and I saw the small girl I am
but never was and inside
the baby whole and of one piece…
“See?? I told you, Charissa! It’s SOO you!”
And with that, you pushed past me
like winds pushing past the windmills
and me turning in your wake
to follow you to the place
of purchase and presentation.

I sit and stare at those dolls…
I remember that day when you were here
and our short time was forever and our poor spouses weary
from our fevered pursuits so fueled by that find
and so eager for our next parable-mystery tracked out…
and all the days since, and

who knew that so many dolls
could fit in so many days?
So many you’s in me and me’s in you
as we walked us the streets of life together
and laughed our way deeper inside
from me to you and back to me,
and us, nested there within.


15 thoughts on “Days and Nights and Nesting Dolls

  1. Oh how I wish I was more sophisticated and able to fully grasp beautiful poetry. I’ll admit, I read poetry with feelings and can’t always lay a finger on what speaks to me. I was right there with you in that thrift shop and I could smell the smells and see the sights. The notion of the dolls, nesting, the you’s…ahhh..beautiful, my friend.

    • Thanks mama… A quick googling of Aphrodite and Adonis will add a layer. And you got the rest… Just a poem machine to something that happened in my mind and now is. You have the main thing tho… That FEELING, that hurty good achy longing and just finished ice cream feeling.

      I am truly honored you read, and let my odd poems play

      • See…that’s what I love about this. The layers! You have lots of layers to you, Charissa and I love finding them!
        Speaking of layers…here’s a little more to me. At the risk of spamming and self-promotion, here’s a piece I wrote (today) on my less public site. No obligation to read or comment. Just a little something that goes below the surface of what you typically see. Thought you’d want to know. xo

        • Okay…so first of all, in your first comment? “I wish I was more sophisticated?” Yeah….no. nope nope nopity nope! Can’t say lies on Grace Notes, mama! I read it myself, over there at the link…so that means that I am not anything more but a series of 10ks, halfies and even a marathon or 2! Git runnin!! lol

          Seriously, that is my way of saying wowsa, and I am truly impressed. Your pieces have resonance, depth, point of view, and authenticity. You are unafraid to speak with the words that demand to be there…that is an act of courage. But you are also mature and experienced enough in life to know that giving in to the demands of words is tantamount to anarchy…and so harnessing them proper, well that is an act of sophistication.

          And there is material there that felt to me like tadpole poems, caterpillar poems…just needing a bit of music provided to them with rhythm and meter, and you will be shocked at how they stand up and dance!!

          I am so glad you stop in…for real. And you almost certainly underestimate the impact of other things that you say to me elsewhere…those things are vials of Aquafina in very dry deserts, unexpected aid stations.

          (Hey, given the use of the running metaphors here, I did want to mention that I am an ex runner, turned cyclist. If you are not already, cycling is a fantastic alternative to running and is so much easier on the frame and connecting tissues…that was in 1988. Once you adjust to the illusion that cycling is easy because your body isn’t screaming at you every step, you can begin to explore those exquisite limits between total brokenness and complete triumph over the limits of the flesh!)

          much love, and much MUCH writer respect!!

          PS: my comment back to you was so dang obtuse that I missed it myself upon re-reading!! giggles…a POEM machine???? wtf was I thinking?? OH!! Yeah…as contrasted to a TIME machine! That was it…enter into a poem and be transported to a place outside of time, but then once visited somehow takes it’s place in history as if it always was…like that black talking bird that sat on Poe’s shoulders and hollered in his ear…that bird is part of my history too…or the kitty-fogs of Sandberg’s Chicago, that still place in Frost’s woods, that small band of riders that my dad brought to me that plunged heedless into the valley of death and prolly rode right thru and out the other side…and Kipling. And others…and others…and others…

          • You, my dear, are good for my soul.
            I love reading your comments and replies almost as much as I enjoy your original writings. There’s even poetry in your conversation. I like free verse because it cuts out the extra words and just conveys what I want it to convey. I don’t know the rules or rhyming or rhythm, but the more I read/write the more I learn, right?
            Ah…a cyclist. I have a bike. I even raced in a duathlon. I broke my foot during the first leg of the race (5k), rode for the 20 mile middle and then broke my foot in a second place when I hopped off the bike. Oh yeah, idiot me then finished the final 5K on with a dual fractured foot. What was that part about me being mature?!?!?!
            (all healed up now, btw)
            My goodness, I’m rambling this morning. I’m taking a vacation day. Going to clean my house top to bottom if I can pry myself away from my lovely bloggy friends 😉

            • um….huge freaking giggles…and sobering admonitions from a few years down the trail, and hands and feet and elbows and shoulders that are now grumbling constantly cus I dominated them and separated me from them!

              I hadda smile my happy smile, cuz you remind me of my baby and how she will start smiling when I am just babbling away about something, and I come to myself and see her there grinning and stop uncertain, and she says that I just started talking in poems lol DANG I wish I could remember them! giggles.

              No, on the poetry thing? It’s not like that, right? It isn’t chem class or drafting, yes? Where you learn in advance the formulas and constants (tho there are some, they work better when you find them on your own poetic trails in the form that fits you)…

              no, poetry is a bit different than that. So what you do when you have your free verse? Read it aloud to yourself some first…you will be amazed at the things you layered in and hid from yourself, and you will see it there, and think omg, why did I put the couch in that corner?? I mean it looks fine, but omFg under the starburst clock is so much better, it just snicks into place!

              And so you take a word away and its like taking the mute out of the trumpet’s bell, or taking the bag off the singer’s head…you just unmuffle it, right? And occasionally when you read it outloud? Read it slow first, like you are reading it to someone who is ESL and you want to allow space for the head translation activity…and then after, read it fast as if you are performing it and putting in the allegros, and the retards, and the staccato and legato, etc etc…

              …you will be amazed at how your mouth just adds words that aren’t there! And you will go Drrrrr…hahaha!! Or anyway I go drrrrr…

              Some times you see my funny posts about how a poem kicked her legs and screamed till I either changed her didies or fed her or played with her till she cooed and laffed…what is happening there is I got a poem that I was super excited about and just slapped up there, and then…and then…

              So no…what you do with the poems is not wrong, or ineffective or any of those things…but think of them (the poems) as you would a mentee…and that will be a huge influencer in their clarity, their voice, their vibrant song.

              ok wow…something is in the coffee this morning. I am wordy but these babblings omfg…wtf???

              OH!! Yeah, I had poetry group last nite!
              🙂 ❤

  2. “I sit and stare at those dolls…
    I remember that day
    when you were here
    and our short time was forever
    and our poor spouses weary
    from our fevered pursuits so fueled by that find
    and so eager for our next parable-mystery tracked out…
    and all the days since, and
    who knew that so many dolls
    could fit in so many days?
    So many you’s in me
    and me’s in you
    as we walked us
    the streets of life together
    and laughed our way deeper inside
    from me to you and back to me,
    and us, nested there within.”

    **Wide smile**

    In Knowing ❤

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