Tinted – A Poem

Sometimes when I’m going through my amazingly disorganized desktop folders I come across something I wrote a long time ago and completely forgot about. First comes anxiety – What did I write about? Does it suck? I bet it sucked. Oh God, I’m a terrible writer. Then relief – This actually isn’t that bad. Then confusion – Why did I write this? What was I thinking? Was this me? Am I still the same person who wrote this? And then, of course, comes obsessive editing – This no longer represents me as a writer! I must fix everything!

The following poem is a piece I wrote for class, (though now revised). I was doing a series on self-image at the time and I think it fits well with the name of my blog – Dirty Broken People. I’m fascinated by this idea that despite how hard we try to smile and get through the day, we’re all a little bit broken inside and, often, too afraid to say anything about it. Yet this brokenness is what gives us our beauty and strength. It makes us who we are.

But enough rambling.


I saw you last night, though
at first, I didn’t know
that was you.
Dimly lit, too dark,
your face illuminated in gold aside
West Forty-Two
You know, that raunchy roadside,
resting behind
the Country Cabaret.
You were plastered,
your face distorted,
to fit five feet
by eleven feet, and although
you embody the entirety
of the billboard,
I didn’t recognize

you were smiling.
This morning over marigold
tea you had imported from
Venice or Paris or
wherever, you said to me,
that picture was fake.
You explained, exposing
the flaws. You said,
they held it together
with pins and needles
and tape. You said,
you think your burger’s gonna
look like that
when ya order it?
No, I didn’t think

I had ever seen you smile
like that, before.
Whitewashed, your teeth
are tinted marigold
now, you tell me
still the exhaustive
renovation of the recently
bison burger,
you affix your teacup,
empty, now drained,
carefully atop the stack
of teacups,
stacked unwashed and never
to be washed,
and the dishes
pile high in the sink, they block
out the window
now tinted with
marigold, they block out
the sun, they block out
the light and now the
kitchen bathes in glistening, glorious marigold.
Do you like the pattern?
They don’t make china
this fine these days.
No, it hasn’t been fine

since you said you saw me
in the shower, you saw
my silhouette shifting behind
tinted curtains
with the woman
who takes
your photos. You were cheated,
you said, out of a good
photographer, and you wouldn’t accept
my apology, until I had
teacups imported from Venice,
or Paris, or whichever and you said
they’re beautiful.
You sipped
every day until
you said
they’re all used up,
so I bought another
and everything was alright
for a moment, I thought

how you failed to mention
how they held your face
together, how
they removed the wavering hesitation
from your eyes, how
they pinned you a smile
long enough to take
a picture.


About Jessi

I love to create. I love to take things, break them apart, and remake them into something that they were never meant to be. Sometimes I use words; sometimes I don't. My blog is devoted to exploring storytelling in its various forms - from traditional, to experimental - and how creativity and storytelling can persist in everyday life. I am also fascinated by video gaming as a mixed-media art form, and would love to eventually develop my own indie game. I love to push the boundaries of what a "story" or a "game" can be. Twitter - @JessiTypesStuff
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