The Shredded Paper Poem

By Carmina Gitana

This is my
long-awaited, overdue
elegy
for the page
that I tore into pieces
and threw into the trash
in a little apartment
in Buffalo, NY
on May 19, 2001
at perhaps 8 pm.

This is also
my apology
to myself,
two years later.
This makes it no better

but I remember
the words on that page;
I remember no other
journal entry
with such
cut-glass
clarity.

This is my confession
to the betrayal
of myself
and my c(o)untry
for the sake
of a man

who tried to use
my love's blue methane fires
to burn my own books;

who tried to use
my own too-eager kisses
to shut my too-loud mouth;

who finally broke
breaking me.

This is my admission
of guilt.
I did it. I
wept and wrote and
apologized for both,
while still doing the former
and apologizing
for that.

I did it. I
tore the sheet out
of the notebook
he gave me
(before he knew
I'd write in it),
shredded it
between my shaking
fingers, in front of his
implacable face,
begged, groveled,
ignored the inner
moaning
as I sprinkled the
pieces
into the can, watching
them mix with

exhausted potato and banana peels,
clots of congealed tomato sauce,
and snot-stiff, tear-stained paper
tissues,
before the lid
swung closed.

Yes! I did it!
I committed

self-abuse,
self-mutilation,
attempted suicide
in the name of
what I stopped writing of.

It was my terrible sacrifice
to love.

And every time
I look
at my books
of poems, my
folders, folios,
my fragile, fading empire,
I think
of that one
page, torn, tossed, trashed,
incinerated
in the name of love, love, love,
love, love, love, love, love
(until the very word
goes limp and meaningless),

on May 19, 2001
in Buffalo, NY
for the man
who broke
breaking me
and made me
THIS.

This is an older poem, as the observant reader probably noted :) I have never shown this to anyone - this is far less controlled than most of my writing. I am posting it because I am curious what kind of reaction it gets.

Unauthorized Copying Is Prohibited. Ask the author first.
Copyright 2005 Carmina
Published on Friday, March 18, 2005.     Filed under: "Poetry"
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Comments on "The Shredded Paper Poem"

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  • A former member wrote: Wow, you definitely had something to let loose here. It is very good, and delightfully disturbing too. Apparently, you had some demons to conquer-I think this piece of writing did the trick!

  • TropicalSnowstorm On Thursday, August 21, 2014, TropicalSnowstorm (1718)By person wrote:

    I still find this one of the best poems on the site. Love this one and I miss seeing you around the site. Ciao, T/S Scholar

  • infinitebeing On Saturday, August 2, 2014, infinitebeing (97)By person wrote:

    BRAVO!!!! I AM STUNNED!

  • McAahny On Thursday, February 14, 2013, McAahny (9)By person wrote:

    Wow. "my fragile, fading empire" is a line I will remember and admire for quite a bit.

  • SummerCoat On Friday, March 23, 2012, SummerCoat (34)By person wrote:

    stunning...

  • Secretly Bleeding On Thursday, September 1, 2011, Secretly Bleeding (23)By person wrote:

    wow. I really really liked the aura of the poem.

  • KuraiKokoro On Friday, February 25, 2011, KuraiKokoro (40)By person wrote:

    Wow, I loved the sense of closure it gave me. The emotion was really strong, and I loved the words you chose.

  • Bluegirl On Sunday, March 23, 2008, Bluegirl (181)By person wrote:

    This is just so real. So raw. So excellent. Keep the ink flowing...

  • Circe Avalon On Thursday, December 20, 2007, Circe Avalon (117)By person wrote:

    I loved this work. It has real fiery emotion and really screams. I loved it. I loved that "uncontrolled" sensation.

  • A former member wrote: I hope your curiosity is satisfied >;) who wouldn't love this? god damn..its a core poem. It's completely brazen with fevered cheeks. ~Much Respect~

  • Dancing_Monkey On Wednesday, November 30, 2005, Dancing_Monkey (1300)By person wrote:

    Powerfull and pure

  • A former member wrote: awesome write...

  • capt_funguy On Wednesday, September 7, 2005, capt_funguy (807)By person wrote:

    like killing the baby to feed the father ... this was devastating .. the page was truly raw and defenseless ... i mourn your loss ...

  • capt_funguy On Wednesday, September 7, 2005, capt_funguy (807)By person wrote:

    some hungers can never be satisfied ... im sure he has since become ugly , and obvious .. what a shame ... awesome work ... funguy

  • wannabe_rebel On Wednesday, September 7, 2005, wannabe_rebel (17)By person wrote:

    this is beautiful. i love the raw and natural un-flow of it. the reality of it all is so clear and unmistakable. it sounds like a transcript of thoughts unedited - as if they were put to paper just as you thought them. truly astounding.

  • abattoir On Sunday, August 28, 2005, abattoir (116)By person wrote:

    perplexed...this poem tears me in so many different ways its hard to follow one to its end before wanting to tackle another. I'm left to it to stutter...

  • A former member wrote: are you sure you haven't posted this before? I swear, I've read this before..I remember, because I loved it so much the first time I read it..maybe I'm losing my mind..

  • A former member wrote: or maybe I just read it the day you posted it and forgot about it until I came to read it again today...funny, how 9 days can feel like a long time ago...

  • TropicalSnowstorm On Monday, March 21, 2005, TropicalSnowstorm (1718)By person wrote:

    I think this is a fantastic piece, that conveys a sense of mystery in its vagueness about what was actually on the sheet...but a clarity in its sense of self-betrayal. Scholar

  • TropicalSnowstorm On Monday, March 21, 2005, TropicalSnowstorm (1718)By person wrote:

    I also appreciate the conversational way it is written and the sense of humour that comes out in it. Great piece! I also find it quite interesting (and see the lesson in this) Scholar

  • TropicalSnowstorm On Monday, March 21, 2005, TropicalSnowstorm (1718)By person wrote:

    that although you remember everything about the piece of paper, and, therefore, could easy duplicate it...that this was an opportunity that you have lost, because you "sacrificed" it the way you did. Ciao, T/S Scholar

  • Carmina Gitana On Wednesday, March 23, 2005, Carmina Gitana (161)By person wrote:

    Thanks a lot for the detailed comment :) The reason I didn't mention what was on the paper is that it is far more important what HAPPENED to the paper. Plus, what was on the paper is pretty much what's in the poem.

  • Sky Singer On Sunday, March 20, 2005, Sky Singer (157)By person wrote:

    rawness indeed. i love the line(s) about "attempted suicide in the name of what i stopped writing of" ...i can relate to that more than i care to admit. excellent write

  • steuss On Friday, March 18, 2005, steuss (94)By person wrote:

    I really really enjoy this poem. It is emotional flow of conciousness is invigorating, filled with saddness and regret, but touched with hope and strength. I'm glad to have read it, Well done!

  • A former member wrote: this was amazing

  • manywalks On Friday, March 18, 2005, manywalks (773)By person wrote:

    Ah, but this read as finely controlled power, masterfully staining the page.

  • Solace On Friday, March 18, 2005, Solace (1075)By person wrote:

    Brilliant piece, truly inspirational write...much to be gleaned from this piece of inner working...glad to have witnessed such talent...

  • A former member wrote: This is a terrific piece. I love the rawness of it.

  • The Crimson Queen On Friday, March 18, 2005, The Crimson Queen (929)By person wrote:

    holy shit...that was just damn good...it kept my attention the whole way through..i loved it!!

  • Lord Kalgalath On Friday, March 18, 2005, Lord Kalgalath (185)By person wrote:

    wow.... superb....=thumbs up=

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