the lines

When you stay in the lines
you’re not alive,
just living by the numbers

When you’re done
matching patterns
to paint, you’ll be preconceived–
a flowerdrunk unicorn
or Elvis, grinning on black velvet
like whatever he sees
is a fluffernut sandwich
or 14-year-old Priscilla
in her wedding dress

and baby, tacky as that is
at least he was unique, himself
on sale for 50 cents
at a garage sale,
but who cares
if anyone’s buying?

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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15 Responses to the lines

  1. Trent Lewin says:

    Ah hell. That was brilliant. You’re the best when it feels like you’re not trying to do something, you just are doing something, know what I mean? Fantastic Susan. This is for me what poetry can do (and hey, no big words other than fluffernut, and I don’t have to go look that up). PS I hate Elvis. But so what eh?

  2. nelle says:

    Love these last two, have a nasty bite to them. It makes me wonder too… Elvis lived, for a time. Others started to shape his world, and his own view of what it should be took a poignant turn. And I wonder… what if he had embraced the changes afoot in the late sixties, rather than turn away from them? What if he grew, as the Beatles grew? What if he wrote music, from the eyes who saw quite a lot? What if he stopped living for the pretence?

    There are lessons there, a lesson I damn near missed, and on my hard turn, I took out half my world. Yet… I made it through in some way, with reparations due and alienation everywhere. At least there is no pretence.

  3. Following the bouncing ball is not always the simplest way ti read, lol.

  4. just when my dreams were going stale, you bring me flowerdrunk unicorns to revive them

  5. I love this poem! Very visual and a lot of good humor in it.

    It almost sounded like “Flarf poem” when I was reading it but when I re-read it the second time…it is wonderful written. 🙂

    What made you want to write about Elvis?

    • Thanks, Charlie. The paint by numbers thing reminded me of all those black velvet backgrounded Elvis paint by numbers kits. We can call it white-trash flarf if you like 😉

  6. BroadBlogs says:

    When you stay in the lines
    you’re not alive,
    just living by the numbers

    Just love that. And one of the reasons I think that what Eve did was a good thing.

  7. claudia says:

    when i hated one thing as a kid, it was painting by numbers… i thought that’s the most terrible thing the world has to offer…yep…it’s good to break free from the lines a bit and create our own numbers and breathe the fresh air of freedom…

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