Poetry / Shevaun Brannigan
:: Narcissus Poeticus: a Redundancy in Parts ::
11. I’ve ruined everything. 12. It’s Spring & my flaws are emerging as daffodils. 13. Daffodils bloom from elbow crooks, from my vagina, my head packed with petals, sawdust in a cadaver. 14. A soft & common flower. 15. One mindfulness activity involves clenching my fist, then releasing it to feel the ease. The daffodil grows, blooms, dies & retreats to its bulb stasis, grows, blooms, dies & retreats to its bulb stasis. 16. My clenched fist is made out of daffodils & is crushing daffodils. 17. Fell one daffodil & dozens bud in its place. I scoop dirt and & each bulb’s roots beget another, digging & digging away, a woman’s form reveals itself composed entirely of such fertilized seeds. 18. I have daffodils in my past, daffodils the yellow of caution tape. 19. There is an objective truth about me as a person to which I have no access. There are times I close my eyes & see nothing; others, nothing but daffodils. 20. I’ve been told I take things to extremes & that’s utter bullshit. A female daffodil’s reproductive organ contains what botanists call a stigma. 21. What about the soil, I ask myself, to myself, the daffodils come from something. I hand people dirt, I say understand me by this, & pluck out a worm. 22. What about, I ask, choosing something beautiful to represent that which is ugly within me. What does that say about me. 23. That you’re conceited, my daffodils answer. 24. A word said often enough loses meaning, try saying sorry, & then, this is key, repeating the action for which you are apologizing. 25. The action is being yourself as a person: the daffodil and its constant trumpet.
From the writer
:: Account ::
I’ve not been in the habit of writing, not in a journal, and certainly not poetry. But I do make a lot of lists. This poem started as a casual list I was making of everything going wrong in my life that was my fault, as one does, and there was a 1 through 10 originally. When I got to 11, and wrote “I’ve ruined everything,” I thought it would be funny (not hah-hah) to use that as a starting point. It’s been pointed out to me there are 14 sections and perhaps this is a pseudo-sonnet. What isn’t a pseudo-sonnet these days though? It is a funny (ha ha) thing to submit poetry (an act which takes incredible self-esteem and self-belief) on the subject of self-loathing.
I’m grateful to The Account for publishing this poem, though it’s strange to re-read. I feel exceedingly distant from the person who wrote it, and her internalized rage. I enjoy the paradox of something so delicate and beautiful as a flower as the symbol for this anger, but then again, I’m not sure I’m supposed to praise my own poem—it’s un-demure of me.
Shevaun Brannigan’s work has appeared in such journals as Best New Poets, AGNI, and Slice. She is a recipient of a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant, and holds an MFA from Bennington College.