Thursday, February 3, 2011

on being six

I watch her tip across
the street on morning toes;
her heels always miss the cracks
between the steps.

I hide in picture-window drapes
from her fish-eye, black
hair in uniform shape,
jacket loose, her arms free
of sleeves and children.

I skate soft-sock
back to bed, pull up the lone
sheet around my face,
feel no hostile
vibrations, but hate
her all the same.

“It’s that mustache of hers”,
I say out loud to the ceiling.

Tess Kincaid
January 2011

Would you like me to read it to you?

photo borrowed from Google images


  1. Thrown any dolls up on the roof lately...

  2. This is unsettling in a way I really enjoy, esp the last line.
    You're so very talented.

  3. I also enjoyed the last line and the statement that there were no hostile vibrations, but you hated her all the many of us have felt that same way.

  4. Really good Tess! Emotional with a touch of whimsy! I like it...

  5. Beautiful madness Tess. Soft Socked Genius!

  6. Oh, this one's fabulous, Tess! I love the line "her arms free of sleeves and children"

  7. I have to read this a few times... It's great imagery.

    (and I posted with a wee nod to your tartan and piping inspiration. )

  8. I remember that sliiiide, then hop into bed and under the covers.
    And your right, you don't need a hostile vibration, you just feel the way you feel about sombody.
    I love this.

  9. There's not always a rhyme or reason for a particular feeling.

  10. "tip across the street on morning toes"--like that! Like the whole poem, actually. Who's the observer and who's the observed? Full of whimsy, yet...not.
    Thank you.

  11. Love this... raw emotional tugs... tip across the street on morning toes... drawing each of us into this exact moment...

  12. Tess Kincaid, you just get better and better, or maybe I am reading better...but, WOW! You knocked one out of the park with this.
    Thank you!

  13. I've always disliked women with mustaches too.

  14. So strange and familiar. I could have been that child.

  15. You're the best, simply the best. That is all there is to say about it.

  16. Doing the familiar sock dance and then back to bed, cool.

  17. an eerie poem. perhaps partly due to the photo. tip-toed walking reminds me of a woman in college who always walked on tip toes.?? "Skate soft-socK back to bed." Very nice.

  18. Loved this.:-) Especially "her arms free of sleeves and children."

  19. What a poem, what a photo..oh to be a child again!!

  20. The fears we have when we are children.

  21. The image had me ready for spooky but I didn't feel that way after. Liked it very much, could imagine the whole scene.

  22. Self-deprecation takes on
    a whole new sheen here,
    and you are the observer,
    and you are the child,
    and you are envious
    and yet maternal, staring,
    reaching back to the lithe
    and limber, slim and energetic;
    yet she is still quite evident,
    that child you still are, or
    are in constant contact with,
    your creativity imp, one of the
    many muses. When I think of
    the strength in my body when
    young, the arrogance, the
    naiveté, I too love and dislike
    who I was juxtaposed to who
    I am, like wearing two skins.
    As an actor, as a poet, I did
    and do explore the many guises
    of me; as do you poetically.
    Lovely, sad, yet inspiring.

  23. I like my poems to be multi-layered. I'm glad you peeled one back and took a deeper look, Glenn.

  24. I would soak in my tub at the age of six and wonder if God would be so kind as to put my imperfections on the bottom of my feet. He wasn't, it seems he wanted them right out there for everyone! I love the picture, who is that in the photo?

  25. You too, Tess? *smile*

    Wonderfully expressive,
    succint and fluid,
    frought with perils
    only a six year old would sense.

  26. The masks we wear as adults hide both the joys and fears "on being six". Sometimes I look for that little girl again. I found her in your poem.

  27. I really enjoyed reading your poem and I listened to you read it, to see what your voice sounded like. I imagined your voice to be deeper. It was an interesting experience. I liked your impression of six year old reasoning. It's exactly how I think a six year old would reason. I loved the textures you included and the soft and sharp contrasting sounds. I wonder if her mustache matches her fish-eye black hair.... can I have a peek to see?

  28. Tess,

    It's important that you don't make plain who this is -- I dig filling it in!

    And the off-kilter psychology drives me look up old Val Lewton films!


  29. "I skate soft-sock." Fascinating. We've all done that. :-)

  30. TF, I'll never tell. But, I am adding Lewton's "Cat People" to my Netflix queue right now...

  31. Bravo.I Close My Eyes And See Her.

  32. your image brought back memories of when my sons were little and we collected Star Wars figures- I say 'we' as I was a collector even back then.. also I saw a Picasso exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum in Jan. and I am going to try that Coq au vin recipe- the chicken looks delicious.

  33. I enjoyed the unexpected last line. Lori at Jarvis House

  34. Tess -- soft sock skating -- could they have been wooleys. Very Nice! -- barbara

  35. The butler said, 'Could tell what subtlest parrots mean---

    I often absentmindedly count syllables in words looking for an even number, OCD I guess.

    Mustache did it actually. Bravo! Brilliant! Love the cracked plaster. Goodnight.

  36. I had to read this again to understand the connection I couldn't wrap my brain around, as I'd first had an image of the child on the walk deliberately missing the cracks. Then I saw it was the child looking out the window at the adult who did this, an adult with some authority - being there as an ominous presence but not overbearing. More like annoying. A very nice piece, indeed, Tess!

  37. i feel as if this poem and the last one go together somehow. perhaps it is the imagery of cracks, which is very poignant and takes me back to sing song childhood games.

  38. Tess, you tapped into the essence of a child's psyche for this one...brava!

    Not always logical, usually intuitive, kids get it right nearly every time.

    If she doesn't like her, I don't either...mustache or no.

  39. You are a master of how to use words to convey thoughts and feelings.

  40. LOVE the poem ... loved hearing you read it. And the photo made me smile. I'm 42 and still feel like ... still love star wars like when I was 9.

  41. "I skate soft sock" makes me remember exactly a feeling from long ago, although it could have been from today.

  42. So much better to hear you read it too. that is the first time I have actually got the player to work. msut do again. you are a wonderful poet. A true artist there, Willow...err...I mean, Tess. :)

  43. You read well. I like the poem. I don't understand it but I like it. You have a lovely voice, gentle and sensuous.

  44. Okay, I read some of the comments, read Glen's, then your response. I have an understanding I didn't before.

    "I am she and you are he and you are me and we are all together..."

    Just kidding.

    The woman looking back on the child. (I hate my mustache too).

  45. Another magnificent poem the image, and the gut emotion you have captured here.

  46. This is really beautiful Tess - you have a wonderful talent.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)