Recoverer’s Manifesto by Elly Finzer | Creative Non-Fiction | #thesideshow

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Recoverer’s[1] Manifesto

 

 

This morning smelled like French-pressed coffee, not a prayer to be found—unless you count the children, hollering for their plates of waffles and blueberries. I smoked so many Camel Turkish Royals, Bette Davis was jumping out of my throat before ten a.m. and my dead grandmother has lately been reminding me to go for a walk in the forest, though not as spiritual substitute for a kind of God—she was never that reductive. She understood that only the ground supporting fields of giant evergreens was enough to stabilize us too. We both enjoyed living hundreds of years after the supernova that likely killed the extraterrestrial beings our ancestors imagined they saw in the sky[2]

but I haven’t adjusted quite as easily to this world without her. I made promises before she left, only kept the one about growing out my nails. I use my talons to dig out avocado pits, imagining they are eyeballs bugging out of dangerous heads, imagining my then-courage could have matched my now-rage. But here we are decades later—Grandma is dead, Mother’s Munchausen by-proxy echoes in the twinges of my aging joints, and I’m re-reading the King James version of the Holy Bible,[3]

convinced that freedom lies in the careful categorization and naming of monsters.[4] My mother tops every list—a different crime each week, followed by a widely endorsed philosophy of female-as-subservient-property to Male, and father appears—a footnote/afterthought/I think he thought he loved me, but never enough to protect me from Her. There are too many others, so many I never told my grandmother about but the promises I could give her were spoken by a girl who hadn’t found her cherry loud mouth and before it’s too late to remember, I owe this to her, to us:

I will forget every New Testament verse I’ve memorized, past the Gospel of John, but not including the Book of Revelations.[5]

I will forgive myself for believing that picketing abortion clinics with homemade signs covered in bloody fetuses was a fun weekend activity for the whole family, but Pastor Morgan, I will not leave your judgment in my past and no Pastor, babies don’t die because their mothers sinned.[6]

I will live so frightfully different from how I was groomed that, when they see me coming, the women clutching their husband’s arms and potluck casseroles will cross themselves and sprinkle Holy Water in my direction, forgetting for a time that they aren’t even Catholic.

[1] n. as in, one recovered. As in, recovered from a smothering abundance of love, dogma, or other substances. As in, et cetera/fill in the blank [who has hurt you this time, little bird?]

[2] Kepler’s Supernova, 1604

[3] is it more fascinating or sad that misogyny in the days of Apostle Paul has evolved so little?

[4] Naming, not chasing so I can say: surviving, not becoming

[5] because who doesn’t enjoy a good revelation now and then?

[6] If so, then how would any of us survive under your exacting standards?


1 n. as in, one recovered. As in, recovered from a smothering abundance of love, dogma, or
other substances. As in, et cetera/fill in the blank [who has hurt you this time, little bird?]

2 Kepler’s Supernova, 1604
3 is it more fascinating or sad that misogyny in the days of Apostle Paul has evolved so little?
4 Naming, not chasing so I can say: surviving, not becoming
5 because who doesn’t enjoy a good revelation now and then?
6
 If so, then how would any of us survive under your exacting standards?

 


About the Author

Elly Finzer is a poet from Portland, Oregon and now lives with her family in Arizona with hopes of moving back to a greener place someday. She has a BA in Poetry and has published pieces with killpoet press, Citizens for Decent Literature, heroin love songs, In Between Altered States, and Sweatpants & Coffee. In 2016, Elly’s first book, Says the Speck, was released by Kleft Jaw Press, she was a featured poet in Flagstaff artist Elizabeth Hellstern’s Telepoem Booth, and she was featured on The Phoenix New Times 100 Creatives list. Recently, Elly has also been a featured speaker and performer for Arizona Masters of Poetry at the Thunderbird Arts Center and featured poet for the long-running Caffeine Corridor Poetry series in Phoenix. She’s currently holed up in an apartment somewhere in Scottsdale, working on her next manuscript and hoping it won’t take another 15 years to publish that one.

 

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