The Rival

I’m linking this poem to the wonderful dVerse Poets Pub community. It’s Open Link Night, which means any kind of poetry form or topic goes!

The Rival

Google in grey-green dawn
search the directory for images of the rival
knowing only her profession and nationality
you stumble on pictures of doting mammas enclutched by wild-eyed bambini,
sunglass posers posting nothing but world travels and bliss
and Facebook status confirms indeed their elevation,
one splendour in tattoos and bikini against an anonymous beach background…
Which to choose?
Which one to spit?

You don’t know why you need to stick the thorn in deeper
or dig at the wound oozing with rank pus.
You let their names perform saltos on your tongue,
savour their multiple vowels, feel the firmness of foreign consonants,
their flesh, their purpose, their youth… and cry foul.
You cannot fixate on any one
so they form a togetherness, a ripple army
of seduction and accusation:
‘you neglect so he’s mine’.

Meanwhile your own dereliction
your ruin, your addiction,
howls night after night
in has beens, what ifs and too lates.

30 thoughts on “The Rival”

  1. I really like the way you depict that feeling when you see people apparently having such perfect lives, Marina Sofia! And Facebook and other social media are notorious for having those ‘my life is perfect!’ kinds of posts. You’ve captured it beautifully here.

    1. I suppose it’s to be expected that people only post things that are interesting/different/enviable, but there does seem to be a sense of competition. Especially regarding one’s children, I find.

  2. The social media has spawn hatred and devious trolling that are negatively impacting our lives ~ I try not to be on FB too much as there seems to be a competition of whose having better and richer lives ~ I specially like your ending stanza, it is an addiction of “has beens, what ifs and too lates.”

  3. This is so well expressed. I use Facebook now more often to read articles from places such as the New York Times, PBS, National Public Radio, etc. than to find out who is doing what. Actually I think people seem to be sharing fewer ‘perfect family’ things now than some years ago….at least those I am connected with. I do enjoy people’s vacation photos shared though.

    1. It can be a good way to keep in touch with those who are very far away – and I’m always glad to hear what people are doing/ exclaim how much their children have grown etc. I don’t use it much myself, though I do now administer the FB page of the Geneva Writers Group, so I have to log on more frequently than I used to previously.

  4. You’ve captured the dark side of google, the one where we feed our morbid curiosity and regrets by comparing our lives to those of others, known and strangers. You’ve shown that, many times, our googling only increases our pain. Well done.

    1. I heard from a friend whose husband was cheating that she searched for his mistress on FB – and was devastated to discover a gorgeous profile picture. Only to find out later that the rival had uploaded a fake picture of a model rather than her own. No good can ever come from finding out too many details about affairs… and yet our morbid curiosity adds to the pain.

  5. The best thing about coming to terms
    with one’s weaknesses and strengths
    and really really accepting themSELF
    and not hiding
    TO LIVE.. and for a ‘REAL
    PERSON’.. there is no jealousy..
    only happiness for the joy of
    others.. and accomplishments
    as well.. and there iS a further
    step of the potentiality of
    one Tribe.. where
    all accomplishments
    are seen as one
    AND that is where
    the genius
    the boy
    who creates
    FB does shine..
    There are drones..
    There are Queens..
    and there is US
    that can
    but i am a
    Queen that
    and i
    am DRonE2
    THAT makes me we..;)

    1. I’ve heard whining and I’ve heard triumphant crowing on social media, and a lot of fakery, but I’ve also encountered genuine stories and candour. Stay real!

  6. It’s very easy to find information on people and peek into their lives and for those with a jealous streak it sure could feed their “addiction.” You painted a picture of this character so clearly and your last verse summed up their life very well. Ugh!

    1. I knew someone who regularly checked up on her exes via social media, just to make sure they weren’t any happier than her… but sometimes it’s not done with malicious aforethought at all.

      1. I’m so interested in people’s behaviors. And I agree, there are plenty of people who have no malicious intentions…maybe just a little obsessive though. ;~)

  7. It is perhaps a natural predicament of present day quirks. It precipitates provocations unwittingly through the convenience of the social media. Very insightful take Marina!


  8. There are so many thoughts popping into my mind when reading this.. first there is what part do we really expose, the perfect image, the bragging, exposing of flesh for a like, and second that green-eyed envy in that googling (turning to ogling)… and we play detectives trying to find the clues from a name (the slip of a tongue or a glance)…

    The form of your poetry with assonance and consonances works to express that anger building up to an end of sorts…

    1. Anger more than wistfulness in this one, I have to admit, but also a recognition that knowing more about the other woman doesn’t bring any kind of satisfaction or closure. Still, human weaknesses drive us on into self-flagellation.

  9. It is certainly a modern poem on how we can inflict more suffering than we need to by social media. It certainly didn’t help a friend of mine when her long term partner left her.What we can’t see or follow or maybe then we just imagine. Maybe it’s more about being hurt than just jealousy. A great poem with those googling the dawn images.

    1. Thank you, Georgina. If we are sensitive souls, we certainly need to be careful just how much pain we let into our lives, don’t we, even if we like scratching the open wound…

  10. Love this one! Yes, indeed, Google, FB et al can be a terrible temptation to the old green-eyed monster – and as you point out, it rarely makes one feel better to see that everyone else’s lives seem so perfect… online.

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