Smiling

A narrative poem in free verse

Smiling through gritted teeth,
he nodded,
before his boss,
who plodded,
on his fat little hooves,
to his swizzle chair,
“swizzle on this”
thought Chris,
who held out an imaginary middle finger,
Only barely dared even in his mind,

Herman Parker General manger,
on the door,
cut in lettering,
that chained him,
fettering,
beneath,
no matter his belief,
of worth,
warranted,
that his mother spent years to impart,

A smile,
dialled in,
as if truly from within,
he writhed in pain,
to sustain,
the charade,
in ill regard,
he aimed his smile,
and nodded,
like a dog for treats,

Mr Parker,
who’s eyes grew darker,
sent a scolding,
A tirade that flew low and bold,
whilst holding an extended index finger,
capriciously,
dropping vicious words,
through the air,
lodging deep in Chris’ mind,
perniciously,

In the schism,
between nightfall and sunrise,
Chris’ bruxism,
wore him away,
as he analysed,
grinding down to the gums,
his teeth,
with stress and worry,
as bakers flour,
breaking down his happiness,
in his only sacred hour,

The sun rose,
but didn’t pry free of the clouds,
the microwaves ping was flat,
masticating on morsels of Herman Parker’s words,
he sat,
and ate his placid porridge,
which had no flavour,
or joy,
a degustation of his station,
in life,

The bus was late,
so, so was he,
he felt defenceless,
an amputee,
of his own bark and bite,
the elevator was out of order,
so he took the stairs,
with every step,
the hairs,
stood higher on his neck,

He rounded the final stairwell,
a place,
which captured the trace,
of a person,
where cigarette smoke shook itself from clothes,
sticky fingerprints layered the bannisters,
and low light picked out particles of skin,
falling through the dense atmosphere,
as petty life forms,
whom he imagined,
pitied him,

He slipped behind the computer screen in silence,
a quiet,
which felt uncomfortable and heavy in his tummy,
as if he had gorged on fried filth during a diet,
“Chris, my office”,
Herman’s voice,
Blunted across the no mans land of desks,
mangled spines and turned up ears,
through the mud,
he lumbered and lumped without choice,

Arriving at the lettering which reminded him of his place,
head hung,
emaciated and drawn,
almost instantly,
he was stung,
by the poisoned thorn,
which grew along,
the length of Herman’s tongue,
a razor sharp thicket,
dense and inescapable,

“Chris,
come in,
and shut the door,
don’t look up,
stare at the floor,
now,
unbuckle,
turn around,
I SAID DON’T LOOK AT ME,
LOOK AT THE GROUND!”

Or, something along those lines,
it was all the same,
to Chris’ ear,
it was Chris’ fears,
which held him back,
laid him down to be walked on like a mat,
whilst simultaneously standing up straight and smiling,
as a simple child,
and nodding,
the good boy he was raised to be,

Herman’s fat fingers gripped the desk,
as he rested on his weight,
in front of it,
petrol to Chris’ hate,
pendulous jowls,
let go the occasional speck of saliva,
which landed indiscriminately,
on Chris’ face,
his heart began to race,
with an incendiarism,

Chris bit down hard as he started to shake,
the shards of spit,
repeatedly hit him awake,
he clenched,
first,
his teeth,
his buttocks,
then his fists,
as yet another projectile barely missed,

Chris’ eyes began to tunnel,
toward the lathering,
of frothy white cannonballs,
which had began to pool,
at the corners of Herman’s mouth,
one struck Chris on his lip,
as his conscious began to dip,
in and out,
black smoke and twinklers choked the oxygen from the room,
breathing toxins into the edges Herman’s rotund mandible,

An emancipating volt,
put a halt,
to Herman Parker’s sentence,
as a sudden switch,
was flicked on,
in Chris’ brain,
a penitence birthed of electrical flame,
for all the years of stress and pain,
which connected in a precipitous strike,
lighting fast and precise,

The flash lit everything up,
emanating grace,
as Chris’ fist made a vivid slug in the centre of Herman’s face,
widening eyes were flabbergasted,
two rich rouge celebratory ribbons blasted,
twirling in spectacle across Chris’ new aura,
exotic dancers in red dresses lead a carnival of emotion,
unequivocally beguiling,
Chris nodded and walked out the room,
smiling.

Bonus tanka

A trio of sparks,
Manifesting differently,
Creativity;
Showing up previously,
Daily - now every three.

A busy first week back in the U.K, whilst making my adjustments, poetry has taken a momentary backseat. The inevitable overflow of pent up creativity has spilled out into a rather long poem. I hope you liked it, and the somewhat off the cuff tanka to compliment!

Thank you for getting to the end.

© Darius the Mate


Linked to dVerse midsummer live.


What is life without community? I would love to connect with other nicecissists out there. Reach out, let me know what you think in the comments, and of course, give me a follow for more – nice!

https://nicecissist.blog

Wordplay Pathway

25 thoughts on “Smiling

  1. Like it? I absolutely loved it! It is no doubt difficult dealing with bosses, especially if you are a lot more dynamic than him 😀 these lines caught my attention; “two rich rouge celebratory ribbons blasted, twirling in spectacle across Chris’ new aura, exotic dancers in red dresses lead a carnival of emotion, unequivocally beguiling, Chris nodded and walked out the room, smiling.” And oh, the Tanka is like a cherry on top! Gorgeous 💝

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel so many go through this, being walked on and yelled at until they’re pushed to the final point. I can resonate with that, and you depict this so evocatively; I could picture it in my mind’s eye thoroughly. I really loved this line:

    ““swizzle on this”
    thought Chris,
    who held out an imaginary middle finger,
    Only barely dared even in his mind…”

    I will be honest with you and share this: When I used to play in a band, my band member pissed me off when she thought I was playing the wrong chord (spoiler, I wasn’t), so in efforts to show her the difference between major and minor chords, I gently lifted my middle finger half-way.

    Beautifully, if not evocatively, penned!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😂 I love the anecdote – I suppose whether she picked up on your subtle retort, depends on how “in tune” she was with your personality.

      Thank you so much for your generous review and humorous story. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hooray for Chris! Such a well-painted portrait, I could just picture the scene. It’s a model society, isn’t it, with us all kept in our place and never dreaming of anything as emancipating as poetry 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ingrid.

      I’ve always felt the institutions of our society are structured to benefit some personality types and not others, some interests, skill sets, and talents, and not others – if you are inclined to favour the arts, it is undisguised that it is less distinguished whilst in middle education, than maths and the sciences, for example. I wish I was nurtured to focus on what I enjoyed whilst in school, instead of feeling as if I’d be stigmatised and stunted for my choices. I believe the system fails a lot of children, who get lost along the way.

      There’s many colours to a child’s personality – young adults, adults too – everyone’s.

      I’m glad to be celebrating poetry now. It’s never too late!

      Thank you again for your comment, Ingrid.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cackles of joy to the climax of “two rich rouge celebratory ribbons blasted,” The etched lettering on the door and the spit, so much spit, stand out for me. After serving 25 years in that kind of environment, the number of times I dreamt of doing just that…

    Poetry alive is at its finest.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Wow, Darius. It’s late, and I’m a little sleepy, so I’m not sure I can give the kind of comment this deserves. I applaud you for creating such a long poem with storytelling and rhyme — not an easy accomplishment. Perhaps, you will write a saga poem some day. 🙂 There were so many great lines and word choices here. Very well done.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Quite a flight you’ve conjured here Darius. Very vividly told, which gives it real bite. I’ll be back to see what you come up with next…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As I read this diatribe, I heard my mother’s voice —– “for someone to walk all over you, first you have to lie down ….”
    Shoulders back, chin up, look ’em in the eye, demand to be recognized! Niceness should not equate submissiveness.

    Liked by 1 person

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