**Content Warning:** This story contains depictions of and allusions to the abuse of vulnerable populations, such as those with disabilities, LGBTQA+, and children of abusive parents, and may contain content that some may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.
I am now an affiliate of The Happy Givers NPO, the store that supports The Happy Nonprofit. I receive 10% of the return from purchases through my website using my link. I don’t expect to make a lot of money off of it, but I do expect it to draw more attention to this organization.
I recognize that they are a Christian belief based organization. I do not believe partnering with them is in any way conflicting with my ethics. Good advice comes from many places and I agree with the messages that they are trying to spread. I have had additional sets of eyes examine their foundational values to make sure I did not miss anything. They promote the same values of inclusivity, love, and kindness I uphold and find valuable in uncertain times.
As of right now the majority of efforts are going toward supporting COVID-19 relief efforts in Puerto Rico. For those that are unaware, Puerto Rico is still suffering due to the failure of the U.S. Government to provide adequate disaster relief after the hurricanes that hit the islands. To find out more about what the organization is doing, you can visit https://www.happynpo.com/community-kitchen/.
Why Do You Not Donate Directly?
I do and I have been for some time now. What pushed me over the edge to accept an affiliate relationship was when I was looking at the phone case that I ordered a while back.
All of the products you will ever see are those I am actually using and wearing. You will never see a product mentioned that I am not personally using. I purchase these products without provocation. At the bottom of any article where a picture and link is featured will be a link back to this post and the notation at the bottom of the article that the post contains an affiliate link to their website. I like to put this in bold for the purpose of transparency. You will also see the “affiliate” tag and “The Happy Givers” related tags.
Will You Be Partnering With Additional Companies?
I only plan to be financially partnered and affiliated with nonprofit organizations, or companies that significantly contribute to nonprofit organizations, that I have thoroughly vetted on a case by case basis. These companies or organizations must align with my values. If at any point I find out that they do not, after accepting an affiliate relationship, I will discontinue said relationship and adjust my website accordingly. Part of my vetting process is to avoid that.
There are a number of reasons any website begins having affiliate relationships. I’ve been trying to find ways of making my website self sustainable without ads and it looks like affiliate links may be the best substitute. I’d like to remove ads again someday, so if this method is successful I look forward to an ad free experience to share.
I’m excited to share and feature 4 poems by Jordan Pace. You may know him by his Twitter or his new book Perfectly Imperfect. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jordan as a fellow author in the Writing Community and through Coffee House Writers. I love these poems, and found myself paying special attention to ASerpent’s Kiss as I broke down the complete experiences described. That said, I’m going to save my personal interpretation of each poem and what I took away from it until after. Without further ado, let’s begin.
We sat side by side It felt as if we were miles apart. Our cups dangled With our feet; We watched as waves crashed against walls. We talked for hours, Our words felt like whispers Was he hiding something? I couldn’t tell The breeze so strong The faint smell of salt air Losing my reason to care I leaned forward, my full intention to fall He caught me, his cup staring with an inviting glare I arrived at it, A feeling of curiosity washing over me Why does his coffee have no flavor? I look back again I wonder When did this space get so empty? Who was I talking to all this time?
The waterside imagery steals me away and I, too, am sitting on that retaining wall, feeling detached from the person I am with – wondering if I knew them this whole time. The metaphor of time and conversation to waves eroding the relationship and details of the scene overtime hits me in a soft underbelly place I haven’t thought about in a while.
Lonely, I am fine, quiet inside. a war rages on the other side. there are cracks in my armor, No perfect men wear armor. You, My imperfection, a variable I cannot account for. Your slithering, salty, sinking words burrow into me, like a bullet lodged in a dead man’s chest A bullet Cannot be pulled out without care. I keep it there. Holding fast to what remains of you, unaware of its effects. I see you in places you did not exist, a bad dream fades into reality. As I lay on the bed, there is nothing left to say. I knew the risk and how it would end. You watch over me, a serpent’s gaze. Has the poison taken effect?
The narrator first begins with a self assessment – he is an imperfect man: a perfect man would need no armor. Worse yet, his armor has cracks that left him vulnerable to abuse in this mind trick of self blame.
As the narrator continues to describe this ex-abuser as a venomous snake, it becomes obvious how appropriate the comparison is. Some relationships are toxic like venom, leaving lasting wounds in the form of trauma. He is holding it both intentionally and against his will.
But the narrator in the poem suffers the lasting effects of the relationship even if everything seems quiet on the surface. The lasting trauma is described as a “bullet lodged in a dead man’s chest” implying the depth of despair and destruction felt surrounding the trauma.
The last 3 lines may be the most impacting. “I knew the risk and how it would end.” The narrator describes the gut feeling paired with the inability to resist the relationship. It could be argued that with the comparison of the ex to a serpent, the narrator was hypnotized. “You watch over me, a serpent’s gaze.” The last line closes the poem with the hardest question of all – that of intent. “Has the poison taken effect?” Did the abuser intend this all along? Is this what they wanted?
Excuse me, baby, I’m tired, your hips swing with energy to light my world for eons. Excuse my language, But I think you’re a dime, a definite “jack of all trades” when it comes to working Excuse me for entering your life, Then exiting, by mistake
Apologetically, there are short lived relationships that can feel bought or traded. The narrator then mentions leaving unintentionally, apologetically, even though there is nothing wrong with the other party. There are many layers of guilt here.
I WAS CREATED TO BE YOU
You cannot relate to my pain- molded by fires, created through some ultimate desire. A mold, I was left to fill your desires and when it did not work, I was told to simply “get over it.” My world is torn asunder; my life unraveled.
Years of work and effort made to seem like less than the step forward it truly was.
All because it didn’t work for you? Was I never considered in your equation? Was I even ever a variable?
Lots of these things, I will never, ever know, but one thing’s for sure: I may have to spend the rest of my life defining myself.
To me, this poem screams of the struggles of the effects of a narcissistic relationship. I interpreted this as a parent-child relationship and what I call “bonsai children”. Bonsai children grow up with parents who carefully shape and mold every aspect of their lives so they are more like ornaments to benefit the parent more than individuals.
About Jordan Pace
Jordan Pace’s book Perfectly Imperfect is available for purchase here in paperback and on kindle. You can keep up with their writing on Coffee House Writers here. To keep most up to date, you can follow them on Twitter.
What did you think of these interpretations? Do you agree? Disagree? Did you find different meaning that I didn’t find? Let me know in the comments! Do you want to see more of these posts? Let me know by liking this post or commenting below.
As always, thank you for reading. Remember to keep supporting artists and authors during these crazy times.
As an additional layer, the content warning is as follows:
This story contains references and allusions to the abuse of vulnerable populations, such as those with disabilities, LGBTQA+, and children of abusive parents, and may contain content that some may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.
The specificity is important here. These topics are ones related to trauma.
As the first of 2 parts (parts 5 and 6) released during June 2020, I am planning these to be the big reveals of the main characters’ situation in this LGBTQ+ medical and legal Southern gothic horror.
There is a correction. There are two references to a slamming door (oops). This is being corrected by the editors. Only the second reference is correct. The first reference is going to be removed. If you only see one reference to a slamming door then it has been fixed by the time you have read this.
Let me know what you think of the story so far as the story of Dee and Madison continues to unfold.
Thank you for reading. Without you these would be words entered into the void of electrons/photons making up the internet.