Suburban succubus

The Bluebeards of today no longer lock
their beloved in a crumbling castle,
behind a high iron gate with creeping ivy.

No locked room, cupboard, shiny key
to tempt. Or bodies hidden,
except in dark recesses in his mind.

Instead an end-of-terrace, maybe a suburban semi.
Red brick patched up. Stones not quite matching.
Also, the roof needs replacing.

At night beloved stares at the drapes hanging
like wet sheets on a foggy windless autumn day,
listening to the quiet rhythmic snores.

The succubus on beloved’s chest, the heaviness
of well-meaning oh-I-know-your-mind’s,
wild streams of consciousness hemmed in.

They’re canals now, the little voice buried deep.
Pull it out of the dark crypt of beloved’s stomach cavity
where it was burning up in the acid.

Give it a paper boat and a river
that gorges itself on minutiae, the details
of goings-on revealed.

Let it sail under the portcullis
of gaslighting
and appear a little shaken but free


I thought I’d share this poem with you today. It’s an older poem that keeps getting rejected by magazines. I’ve revised and changed it, but still no luck.

I did receive some feedback from the last publication I sent this poem to. They said they liked it, but that it fell just short of really impressing them because of the lack of personal detail. They said they felt that I was holding back, and they are probably right. Some things are hard to write about. Especially if you don’t fully understand them yourself. But poetry is a means of working through difficult emotions and thoughts, so I think that this poem is valid in the way that it expresses just how difficult it can be to be completely honest and open.

Perhaps one day I’ll return to this poem and will be able to fill in the blanks.

9 thoughts on “Suburban succubus

  1. It’s good when people are detailed about their reasons; that doesn’t often happen, in my experience! I can’t say that “personal” is always the goal though. There’s lots to be said for the universality of an omniscient POV and this has some seriously powerful imagery!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that contemporary poetry is often very personal. That just seems to be the trend at the moment. It’s like a revival of confessional poetry, and I think it’s because we’re finally hearing the voices of marginalized people. Voices who were previously not accepted in the world of literature. But I draw inspiration from a wide geographical and temporal canon. I just have to go with what feels right for a poem at the time when I’m writing it.

      Liked by 1 person

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