Poetry has always been a source of solace for me. Stephen Dunn, Pablo Neruda, Billy Collins can make me laugh, feel love's seductress, soothe a wounded heart or caress despair. So when a friend suggested that I think about participating in an open mike poetry reading, it also challenged me to put the poetry books down and put pen to paper.
My inspiration was my expanding nail enamel collection. I love the sense of humor and sensuality in each color's name and I love how each color has intersected with my pursuit of running a marathon. I structured my poem in stanzas of 13 lines (half a marathon for you runners), with four stanzas total representing the marathon I have run and the marathon of the future (yes, Boston I hear you calling).
A Marathoner’s Pedicure
by Kelly Hargrave Tweeddale
Luminescent shades of
Pearly enamel adorning delicate toes.
Soft fleshy feet
Pampered, lazy, punctuated with
Delirious hues, defying gravity.
The giddy Angel Kiss,
The iridescent South Sea Pearl,
Or the tipsy temptation of
Perfectly pedicured feet,
Slipping into summer’s sandals,
Carefree, optimistic, unfettered.
Such romantic recollections
Contrast starkly with
Faithfully won calluses,
A runner’s armor earned mile after mile,
Swaddled in promises of wicking,
Shock absorption, stability.
The ever deepening hue of polish
Masks brutal beatings,
The daily sacrifices offered to
Deities: Nike, Adidas, Fila,
Erasing the aftermath
Of countless collisions while in
Pursuit of the finish line.
Gone is the pink blush of infatuation,
Leaving in its shadow
A camouflage palette
Opaque enough to cover
The insidious bleed of blue.
Pink to mauve,
Eggplant to black.
Each brushstroke concealing
Evidence of pain, commitment,
Painting a drunken still life: Wine with Everything,
A lonely landscape: Midnight in Moscow
As the tawdry Devil Inside
Supplants Angel Kiss.
Eventually the dead gives way to renewal.
Pink, innocent, delicate membrane
Not yet thickened, misshapen or discolored
By roads traveled or races run.
Paying tribute to boldness
Found on lonesome roads
Accompanied by a marathon of music,
My brush no longer paints
Strokes of subtlety.
Instead the flirtatious red of
Keys to My Karma slip into
The mesh toe box as I tighten the laces
And set the stopwatch to zero.