Soiled Clothes


We breathe under green threads
In measured time,
Pulling at our leafy skin,
Veined with sun and water, nourished from land.

While garden poets in potted sheds
Observe rules of life with fingertip eyes, thumbing color,
Watching the ripe earth slowly slip
From our soiled palms.

We do not see the weather lines,
The valley and hills deepen upon close inspection.
Our familiarity blinds us,
Complacent to flaws,
Our dresses, made of citrus rinds and
Lusty flowers, live inside coffee table books
With sweat-ringed jackets and weighted pages.

If opened, you will hear the click, click of our youth,
Photographs of snow drenched mountains
Examining beauty in a reflected sky,
While our vanities, lined with carbon and coal,
Toxic creams to rid us of wrinkles and human stains,
House dirty children,
Tagging walls with fragile limbs,
Leaving our wardrobe scattered about, thinking
How fun it is to play dress up.


18 thoughts on “Soiled Clothes

  1. Debbie

    ‘Our familiarity blinds us,
    Complacent to flaws…’

    Perhaps we’re all a bit guilty of that, right? At any rate, this dress looks like something one would wear for a Mardi Gras ball. And the beads and mask just add to that image. Fascinating poetry, DD!!

    1. desertdweller29

      Thanks, Debbie. I put myself in that catagory of being complacent. It is hard not to until more alternatives are available. Where’s the Back to the Future car that runs on garbage? πŸ™‚

  2. thefeatheredsleep

    this confirms three things for me. 1. You would have been my best friend at school 2. Adults should dress up more and not those pervy outfits but the fun ones of our childhood! 3. you do just as well when you write about things that are green and verdant as you do about deserts! you may remain my desert rose writer but you’re as versatile as they come and this is a lovely memory that brings me back to my favorite days also

  3. Don Royster

    I can see myself in this a lot. Years ago I made an attempt to do some amateur acting. Possibly because I wanted to be somebody other than myself. To play dress up and touch base with another’s emotional life. Now I do that with my fiction. I am able to identify and dress up as my characters. I am surprised at some of the things you poems call on me to remember. To touch base with. Maybe it’s just that I am not comfortable in my own skin. Although I do think that I have gotten better at it.

    I don’t know why but I sure love that line: “We do not see the weather lines,” Maybe we are just too damned close. Or maybe we’re just blind.

    One thing I would love to read is the process you go through in creating a poem. I do bet that it is an extremely interesting process.

    Anyway I loved your poem. Sometimes your poems make my head spin. And I love that you continue to explore your art. Each poem a step toward the light. Thank you.

    1. desertdweller29

      Thank you, Don! I am so happy to hear this has evoked something inside yourself and allowed you to explore it. This is what writing should do! But the comfort in one’s own skin is highly overrated. We read to explore other skins, to live a multitude of lives because one seems confining and, at times, boring. Reading/writing frees us from being boxed in and the result is rewarding. Sure there’s adventure, excitement, knowledge, but it also stretches the confines we allow ourselves, expanding our empathy and perspectives.

      Regarding my writing process, I feel it’s not that interesting. Many days I feel I’m wasting time with poetry (I should be producing something I can sell, like a novel), but I can’t help myself. My brain very much works this way. Phrases and thoughts stick in my head, repeating itself until I pull out my phone and record them in my notes. That’s pretty much it. Many times I’m in public just waiting and watching people. I’m sure it looks like I’m texting, but often times I’m writing poems. Then I sit down later to gather and thread them in a meaningful way. I always ask myself, “What am I really getting at here? Where did this come from and why?” Then I get to work deleting anything superfluous, indulgent or vague, trying to make it as lean as possible. Everyone has words they don’t like using. I don’t like “that” or “like” too much when it comes to poems. For example, “He was hard to hold, like wind through trees.” I’d change that to — “He was wind through trees, hard to hold . . .” I’m heavy-handed with symbolism, too. You picked up on one of my favorites: “It took me years to build up a resistance to lighthouses.” Lighthouses was weighted with meaning, illustrating one of my favorite sayings, “You’re not growing if you’re comfortable.” We each run to our lighthouses, all the places that make us feel safe and comfortable, but we grow roots there if we do not explore other environments.

      Sorry for this long response! I didn’t think I had enough for a post, or that people would even care about my process, but it looks like I had plenty to say! Lol. Thanks for asking. Obviously it got me thinking!

      1. Don Royster

        Thank you for sharing. And I don’t think you’re wasting you’re time with poetry. Have you ever considered writing a novel in poetry form. I did this one year with a series of poems about Eve of Adam and Eve fame. What happened after the Garden of Eden. How she felt about Cain killing Abel. Of those poems, this is the one I liked the best but who knows. I might try to rewrite the others one of these days.
        Any way it’s just an idea. And I do love your poems.

  4. ramonawray

    Our familiarity blinds us I’ll never get over your capacity to make such a tremendous impact using only the barest, understated language. Great job, DD.

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