Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Cut You Out"

I am so honored that one of my favorite photographers, Jada Fabrizio, was inspired to create a new piece of art for my poem "Cut You Out" as part of the "Ekphrasis: Art & Words" exhibit.

Cut You Out

I am skilled in the art of silence.
Those who’ve done me wrong will figure it out.
I’ll close off, cut them out like a pattern and disappear.
It’s what I know.

My mother made it clear to me that she was upset by saying
“Don’t talk to me,” or simply by not speaking. 
Her quiet could last for hours and she would ignore
me like an ant whenever I dared to speak to her.

I didn’t always know what I did wrong and my mind
would question everything I said or how I acted. I’d exhaust
my emotions and then just wait until it was over
when she would let me back in and speak again.

I always wished she had chased me through the house
with a wooden spoon or belt. Released her anger
with a scream that explained what I did wrong
and why I shouldn’t do it again.

The pink skinned shine of a spanking will heal quickly
but the scars of unsung silence can last forever. 
I never learned a lesson from these unspoken arguments
except how to protect myself by bypassing communication.

In the past I have cut people out of my life.
I have regrets. Of not offering a proper goodbye. 
Of being too stubborn to give in and have that one
conversation that could have wiped the slate clean. 

But this is what I know. It’s what I’ve been taught.
As an adult I’ve worked hard to turn this pattern
around and discovered the gift of communication.
I say what needs to be said and let it go.

But today I find myself returning to my silence after all these years.
Find myself beginning to cut you out by not returning your calls
and answering your texts with one curt word.
Being aloof until you realize my silence.

You –– the person who has taught me more than anyone
the healing value of expression when something is wrong.
The elixir of words when the silence is deafening. The one
who grounded me when the scenarios in my head ran rampant. 

I’m still charting my way through this new relationship we share.
Through this transition from lovers to friends.
But I’m having a difficult time letting you move on. Watching you
blossom and find others who don’t take your enthusiasm for granted.

I’ve returned to my teen ways of protection
and burdened you with my unnecessary silence.
With my passive aggressiveness that has laid dormant
caged away and labeled “ways of the past.”

You don’t deserve my silence. You don’t deserve my detachment.
I don’t want to cut you out, so when your phone rings
and you see it’s me, please pick up. I’m an adult again.
And I’m ready to talk.

— Robert P. Langdon

poem copyright Robert P. Langdon. Poem may not be used without permission of Robert P. Langdon

“i cut you out”
Jada Fabrizio
Photography and Mixed Media
19.5” x 15.5”

Artwork inspired by the poem Cut You Out

Image copyright Jada Fabrizio. Image may not be used without the permission of the artist.

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