No Satin Sheets


No Satin Sheets

We were innocent
or well-trained enough
to depict the torture doled out
to girl spies (us)
as the denial of sex
rather than its forcing.

Our captor, a spymaster on the other side (whichever
girl was made to play
that part), held,
in his (her) arsenal,
a one-handed glove to feather
our racked flesh–

Not the glove! we’d whisper,
enacting febrile anticipation
from the bed at the back
of the basement
or the bar of the shower curtain, which we’d grip,
as if manacled, our toes tethering
a balance on the beam
of the pink-mauve tub–

Our hips embraced a pitched charade
of rise and fall beneath the glove’s
hovering shadow
as we simultaneously refused to betray state secrets
and steamed for love.

(There was no glove, and yet there was,
for truly, it was all
in the glove–

as if we understood already
that the touch of flesh to flesh

was not a game–
as if we understood

The mattress was thin, and where our self-pulled limbs
disengaged the worn bottom sheet, hosted cowboys on
bucking steeds, its foam’s fabric sheathe–

but we knew nothing of symbolism,

only that sheets should be satin in this world
where to not be loved
was the worst torment
we could imagine– 

Very much of a draft poem for Grapeling’s prompt “Get Listed” on With Real Toads.    The poem is supposed to describe a children’s game of sorts.  I’m not sure that comes across; maybe a change of title in order.  The image manipulated/ doctored by me. 

Many many thanks to all of you who have made this year not only bearable but special.  I so appreciate your reading, your comments, and, in the case of those of you who are fellow bloggers, your writing and your prompts.  A special thanks to those who bought, read, or put up with the writing of, my book Nice!  

I wish you the happiest and healthiest of new years.  

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11 Comments on “No Satin Sheets”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Wow, there is a lot of intimate terminology in this poem. I felt like it was the inside thoughts of a woman spy during one of her escapades for information. In order to get the information she had to have sex, a classical weakness for men. I like the classical feel that this poem has; like a black and white film. Nice! 🙂

  2. It’s so very powerful to write the poem from in second person plural. The collective mind of we can mean so much. After reading your processing note I felt relieved…. It could have been something much more menacing.

  3. Brendan Says:

    What a great twist on the role-play, revealing that surrender is almost more delicious than possession, and that the promise of no sex is more torturous than that of deliverance. The contrast of buckaroo sheets (who didn’t grow up around them) and ones made of satin is like that feather — daunting either way. Loved it.

  4. hedgewitch Says:

    What an exploration of the backroad rodeo of the psyche, k. I remember the Cold War days when spies were under every bed–or in this case, on top of it–and children always seem to make a game of the thing that is haunting the zeitgeist. Here the glove is a perfect metaphor for the tantalizing release of acceptance and security as well as sensual gratification, as well as the price of it, which children see a bit differently I think, like a lithograph instead of cinema. Regardless, excuse my maundering interpretation–this is a fascinating poem that rewards re-reading. And a very Happy New Year your way.

  5. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    I read your poem earlier today and was really struck by your use of a children’s game to explore the less innocent games/tactics employed by adults. I know you have been deeply affected by images of torture in recent times and that is very evident here. Your poem strikes to the heart of social conscience.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks, Kerry. I was thinking of that, but also a lot about the stereotypes that my generation of women was raised with–stereotypes even of themselves. I do not think I conveyed that so well in the poem, but a topic worth thinking about. Thanks for your ever thoughtful reading. k.

      On Thu, Jan 1, 2015 at 10:56 AM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  6. Fascinating poem/image combo. Whether you made this up or not, it has the ring of truth. Some of these drafts of yours are so good I wonder what it takes for you to be pleased with a poem, or consider it finished.

    Happy New year!

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. Well, I don’t tend to think of something as finished if I have written it relatively quickly/recently, as I know that I tend to keep changing and revising until something has been around a while. So, I know myself well enough not to think of something relatively new as finished because of a certain level of indecision that I have. Thanks, Mark. Happy New Year to you too. K.

      On Thu, Jan 1, 2015 at 10:14 PM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  7. Susan Says:

    I wondered what it might be like to play with groups of kids, with girls as a child. These games, being tied up and love with held, I played with dolls and teddy bears and imagination–innocent of the real world of torture and rape as you point out in your poem. I did not always assign gender. I find the glove and the satin sheets intriguing–as if images from foreign films or foreign to childhood, while the broncos you picture above were on sheets, pajamas, wallpaper, etc. Intense poetry, mindblowing.

  8. grapeling Says:

    Hey, k, sorry for being so late. I’ve been working steady for 9 days (1 more to go) and now have lost my computer power cord, so have to be quick about it before losing all juice. Anyways, thank you for this piece. it’s certainly far more mature than a simple child’s play; you have convinced me the bucking bronco holds more in the image than the imagined innocence one might otherwise conform to. ~

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Hey M–no worried on my end! I am so sorry that you have been so beset by work during what might otherwise be a holiday. Best of luck in getting a break, and thank you as always for your thoughtful comments and wonderful presence. k.

      On Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 12:58 AM, ManicDDaily wrote:


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