The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Slip and a Lie...a Pool Poem

        Although I hardly ever post poetry, I am today, and for several reasons.One, I got sucked in by a hilarious comment Brian Miller made on Fireblossom's blog, which made me want to a check out his blog. He has a poetry blog, was featuring poems about pools---any kind of pools--and I thought...why not?

      Secondly (and finally), this poem came about in an interesting fashion. I was trying to write a prose piece about when I fell off the side of the high diving board and broke my arm (a true story). The memoir (written in indented paragraphs) just would not work.

      So, I switched the genre, and it flowed out...

      Let this be a lesson, if it's one you have yet to learn: if at first you don't succeed, after you've tried and tried and tried again...try another genre!

      (And if you're still awake, here's the poem:)

photo by shanleigh 1973
A Slip and a Lie


defying the sandpaper grip
like a thread through a needle
I slipped
slid under the handrails
fell off
the high dive
half on the concrete
(my arm, stranded)
the other half in water

rising to the surface
one arm useless, damaged
two eyes searching, afraid

looking for someone who

(the lifeguard’s chair was empty)

all along the edges
stood skinny swimmers
layers of water slid off their browned bodies
their knees knocking together
in the cool summer breeze
and their tongues loose at both ends

my swan dive
(done for them)
ended up breaking a wing
suddenly he appeared…
a savior in a Speedo
lifted me up
rescued me

(the absent lifeguard—
never really absent—
had dived off his tower
cutting through the water
the instant
I slipped off the side of the board)

my head down
and refusing to take a bow
I left
left the diving tank
my feet propelled me away from the catastrophe
my arm dangled useless at my side

as I walked toward the exit
I spotted a few kids
(strangers to me)
who missed my fall
the graceless fall
my loss of face

huddled together
shards of frozen Milky Ways
formed brown trails down their chins
as the chocolate melted in their mouths
I slid into their circle
and became one of them
…just for an instant

I cloaked myself under the pretense of a spectator
instead of what I truly was
just a few moments ago—
the featured performer

“did you see what some girl did
in the diving tank” I asked
and left
wrapped up in my beach towel
and my lie


  1. Let me tell you something about Brian Miller. He LOVES awards, especially glittery ones with unicorns. It's like, he is this award magnet. So, back up the truck and just unload every award you can find, right there in his driveway. He'll love it!

    As for the Flying Wallenda mishap, you shrewdly recognized, even through the pain, that appearances and pride are more important than flimsy, uptight truth any day. And yet you continue to take Ms. Claro to task for her eensy rearranging of facts. So WHAT if she rents her child? It's trendy.

  2. Fireblossom---

    Does Lisa have you on retainer? She don't need no junkyard dog to protect her...She's got her rental units to do that.

    Have you gotten to read the latest issue of Garden and Gun? You won't regret it...

  3. Ooh, ouch! What we do to save face when we're too young to realise it really doesn't matter.

  4. Sioux,
    You are so right. The choppiness of this as a poem as opposed to lengthy prose is very effective. "Savior in a Speedo" I am giggling. I like the looks and layout of this.

  5. I know next to nothing about poetry. But I found that to be fantastic. My smartypants side says, "You certainly know how to make a splash!"

  6. Change genres! is good advice. Your poem made me an adolescent again, you poor broken-winged bird with an eye on the lifeguard. I've been there too.

  7. Great writing! You sure know how to keep a reader awake!

  8. I thought I was the only one who made a complete ass of myself in public! Yes, it is very important to either hide OR blame the mishap on somebody else. For example, when I was in high school, I fell down a flight of stairs in my school (I'm a dork and clumsy!)Luckily, my boyfriend was walking behind me, so I looked up at him from the bottom of the stairs and shouted, "Why the hell did you push me?!!" Hey, he deserved it-he was cheating on me!

  9. Wow, Sioux. You did a great job! You are diving right in with your writing. There is nothing shallow about your talent. Keep swimming towards the goal.

  10. good lord shay, you have me confused with another, haha...shay is a nut...dont let her fool you with that marvelous poetry...why i even heard she is a southern baptist preacher...

    but i am not here to talk about shay...

    really enjoyed you poetic romp...had me laughing out loud as i could have been there or done that...maybe...smiles.

  11. What a terrifying and wonderful (in a painful way) story and poem. With a great ending -- the embarassment more than the physical pain. I love it.

  12. Wow, a very intense poem. Painful. thanks

  13. Having been a diver in my youth, I relived many moments through your story poem...laughing...and crying at the same time! My sister, also a diver ~ though more awkward than I ~ hit her head on the board, ONCE, and quit ~ just like that. Oddly enough, my Poetry Jam is also about a diver ~ my son.

    I played this week for the first time. Hope you'll stop by: Free Fall.

  14. I love a good narrative poem, and this one delighted! Particularly liked the way possible endings were passed by, and more revealed as the incident unfolded. Very nicely done.


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