mermaid blues

i.
the sea witch stole the voice of the nightingale girl
with her nightshade touch, poisoning
with the help of her undersea (not ground) mafia gang
toting black suitcases full of vials of song.
she kept it for her own
in her mother-of-pearl bottle
lined with black oyster hearts.
and the now the nightingale girl
with the anemones in her hair
can't get her voice back
and she gropes around colour blind in the ocean depths
calling out soundlessly;
won't you hear her?
as she echolocates, clicking her long-lost notes.

ii.
her best friends are trapped in your aquarium
with its Finding Nemo-esque corals
and its counterfeit sea.
she still waits for her playmates, you know,
the underwater fey,
to frolic with her among the technicolour sponges
and play peekaboo in the seaweed.
but they won't come back,
those in the display tanks and kitchens,
to be made into sashimi,
served on silver dinner plates;
(a fitting end, is it not?)
yeah, give her your condolences
as you consume your shark's fin soup with relish.

iii.
she sits on the rocks and brushes her hair,
perfectly coiffed in film-noir style,
while waiting for her prince to come
riding on his magnificent white stallion.
(a sea horse, no doubt.)
many a sailor has met his grisly end
on those jagged peaks,
straining to catch a glimpse of her,
radiant in a halo of pearly light;
the old wives' tales blame it on her.
all the merfolk admonish her,
"abort your silly notions, child.
man and mer can never be."
and she's sick of waiting,
sick of shipwrecks,
sick of dreams,
but she won't drown, no, she cannot drown,
so give her a gun, your whalebone rifle,
let her pull the trigger,
so her tears can mix with the salt sea spray.

iv.
she came onto land, muted by love,
she had traded her music for feet.
unknown girl, was she middle eastern?
so exotic, almost erotic, but so alien.
miscommunication, no one understands
the fluid sign language her hands speak,
so she paints out her mental landscape,
every crevasse and niche.
she is a boho-indie chick,
kind of a new age Monet;
adorning herself and her easel with shells and sand,
and fragments of her motherland.
she easily enters the avant-garde arena,
welcomed with warm contemporary arms.
but she cannot speak her mind and her sorrow,
and paint is chemical water;
poisoning her, she cannot breathe;
she lost her gills,
and she's floundering, that unspoken artist,
without a lifesaving ring to keep her above the surface.

v.
forgotten mermaiden's spirit floats among us,
voiceless shadow made of pain.
no, no, she won't forgive,
cannot forgive mankind and herself;
give back the pieces of her heart, please.
pretty please?
offer her your conch shells
with the echoes of the sea;
buy her cerulean taffeta swishing,
like a thousand yards of sea;
give her, you selfish young man, your undying love,
as she pines away.
yeah, she wastes herself away;
evaporating, evanescing,
leaving behind only pristine salt dunes
and an iridescent scale.

-kismet. 25th december 2004.

author's note: angst on CHRISTMAS? yes, be horrified. I wrote this very much on impulse, don't start scratching your head yet. turned out a tad longer than expected though. no matter. you can choose to interpret this as five mermaids or one, it's your choice. I feel like a weirdo today. bahh. don't you think mermaids are cool? after all, I nearly drowned in the bathtub today. no, I'm kidding. all the same, merry Christmas and may you receive a partridge in a pear tree.