Moving Beyond the Clichés

What is Love?                   

smells of linden-trees in bloom and girls in flower

the colour of the sky when you wear tinted sunglasses

taste of sweet-n-sour sauce at two in the morning

feels like repeated blows to your chest, strong-armed into breathless

sounds like the background buzz taking over the ear of the matter

What is Anger?                       

Sets in when love meets the acrid smell of hotel-room encounters

you bring back the scorched branding of cattle irons on my skin

the colour of migraine-inducing flashes of scarlet and indigo

sounds like hostile parrots trapped in a cage that’s far too small

feels like dim flickers of lightning about to flash from every pore

tastes of gravel mixed with ashes

What is Defeat?

semolina-pudding grey of school lunches

tastes like sand grains in your picnic

smells like clothes you’ve rolled into bed with for a day, a night, a day, a night

feels like pushing kettle-bells through mud

even the lampposts have been trained to catcall and taunt you

I’ll be away this evening, so am linking a bit early to Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub, where we are celebrating Diwali and you can enjoy many other poets’ offerings.

Angery by Kristin Elmquist, from
Angery by Kristin Elmquist, from

20 thoughts on “Moving Beyond the Clichés”

  1. I love the wonderful examples, using the senses and colors Marina ~ The lines of Defeat resonated strongly with me, specially migraine flashes and that line of the lamppost ~

  2. Love, anger, defeat — all tied together and laid out with its tastes, and smells, and feelings with very effective metaphors. An interesting technique really, a way to dissect emotions.

  3. The 3 elements very well expressed in the various episodes. Brilliant as you could compartmentalize the experiences based on your practical observations.


  4. I think it was clever and interesting to think beyond the cliches and give them a new meaning, a new outlook…very clever piece of writing.

  5. I do like how you separated the emotions and then dissected them with such insightful and vivid descriptions. Excellent piece of writing here – hostile parrots in a too small cage – wow.

  6. Such an excellent sensory & emotional trio of poetics, rife with truths, brutally banal & beautiful; so well done, you need to write another about despair, rebirth, & second love. I really enjoyed the depth & starkness of the piece. I like the line /tastes of gravel mixed with ashes/.

  7. “…hostile parrots trapped in a cage…”
    “even the lampposts…”

    Your metaphors tell a harsh story, the hope, the reality, aftermath. So deep.

  8. Human condition.. so varied
    and freed and trapped
    and tried and
    and burned
    until emotions
    and senses
    come under
    control and
    all peace
    of river
    and winds
    breeze.. Credit
    human written
    language.. collective
    intelligence and all of
    culture for drifting away
    from inner control.. without
    all the distractions that rarely
    change.. Nature changes and
    makes it harder to get stuck
    in associations of
    but sure..
    manual drive
    is possible too..
    where Diwali
    lives inside
    us shifting gears
    of light dark as all of we..:)

    1. Light and dark alternating faster than ever – or dark engulfing light, sadly, this past week. On Wednesday my niece left my house to go to Paris and celebrated Diwali with some Indian friends there in the centre, not too far from where the attacks took place on Friday. Luckily, on Friday, she stayed in.

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