The Key

from prompt/share over at Real Toads

The book I am currently rereading is Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I chose this quote from the last part I read to write this three-stanza poem:

(She’s talking about the story “Bluebeard”–the ancient foe of both genders and he represents a deeply reclusive complex that lurks on the edge of women’s lives, watching, waiting, opposing;Bluebeard is innate in all of us-it has no conscious origin. Also known as “the failed magician” related to other fairy tale figures that portray predators of the psyche: normative looking but immeasurably destructive. He desires submission, superiority, and power over others.  /the predators of the psyche and Jung’s Individuation process and Animus–the masculine strength that also appears in her dreams as specific symbols; the last initiatory step of the Profound Initiation into the Wild Woman aware…):

All creatures must learn predators exist–to understand the predator is to become a mature animal who isn’t vulnerable out of naiveté, inexperience, or foolishness.”

A woman must practice calling up or conjuring her contentious nature, her whirlwind attributes, whirling wind symbol–central force of determination (*focused, not scattered) which requires tremendous energy to her fierce attitude at the ready. She won’t lose consciousness or be interred along with the rest. She will solve, for once and for all, the Interior Woman-Killing, her loss of libido, the loss of her passion for life, while key questions provide the opening and loosening required for her liberation…without the eyes of the brothers {animus} she cannot fully succeed…masculine energy…”

“Asking the proper question is the central action of transformation-in fairy tales, in analysis, and in individuation. The key question causes germination of consciousness–the properly shaped question always emanates from an essential curiosity about what stands behind; questions are the keys that cause the secret doors of the psyche to open…if it is forbidden, it must be looked at, studied, and understood.”

It was a desperate thing–

turning towards any light offered,

as any flower turns to the sun. I thought maybe

maybe next time, the light will come from something I understand.

You smile, you nod, you agree…you keep your mouth shut and your eyes on me…

A posed doll, dreamed up like a doll and tossed and thrown about as such,

my painted salmon lips and brush-stroke lashes, trained to be tame, trained to give.

I could feel the strain and resistance in myself as I tried typing their script over

the pressed  hardwiring and design of mine. And all that I thought I had entertained grew old–

I, unchanging on the shelf. No identity to show? Then no identity to have. A nobody.
Tired, empty, but with a quiet something gnawing relentless at the corners of my guts,

when the lights went out and the room emptied, I summoned the light of the moon

and over a thousand nights I sought the question, the right wording to the question

that would open the back of the dress they stitched me up in, leading me out

and into my nudity, my body, my self. I conjured, casted, and picked apart

with the articulation of a mathematician over his favorite notebook

their script’s prescribed words in bold over the faint trace of the fonts beneath that were mine;

I chiseled, I cranked, I hammered–springs flew, nuts and bolts rolled away, in a sweaty-make-up-bleeding mess

I scraped up the first layer. My first sentence was the question.

I stood up and spoke:

“Who am I giving away when they demand to take?

and the seams came undone, the gingham falling away as I began to rewrite

over the faded words:

I scraped at their words over mine even harder.

It went on to another question. And as I read it, I felt my body growing in size.

Who am I?

and as I read it aloud, I broke through the tiny house and into the night

a thousand nights

under the moon transformed by light

and I turned towards it to bloom.





(featured pic by FotoFiction for Book Covers on Flickr)

11 thoughts on “The Key

  1. You’ve shared some wonderful lines, phrases that nudge the brain to think and imagine… Like the thought of being “Tired, empty, but with a quiet something gnawing relentless at the corners of my guts”… It makes one wonder about what such gnawing might do to a soul.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yourself (the poet) found!! I like the process, Amy. Realization of the demands by asking yourself the right questions. Sometimes it takes a little nudge or other times a big process to find the way. Main thing is that we weren’t made that way, the way another wants us to be. Find how we are made and then go be it. Sounds simple, many never make it.
    Lots of situations fall into this. Here, I envisioned a Harlot emancipated. Other times it may be to please a parent, a spouse, a teacher, an imagined person, etc. Lives ruined until they find themselves.
    Thank you for posting thoughts I hadn’t ever delved into.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jim a nice yet odd comment, lol. You envisioned a Harlot..hmm. But yes life taken into your own hands. I’m glad you read!! -amy


  3. I enjoyed this part the most:
    I chiseled, I cranked, I hammered–springs flew, nuts and bolts rolled away, in a sweaty-make-up-bleeding mess
    I scraped up the first layer. My first sentence was the question.


  4. Wonderfully powerful, a fitting response to the source – and in various ways an illustration of the way we live out what is in our psyches.

    Liked by 1 person


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