These three poems by Megan Denese Mealor are stories of beauty, tragedy, apathy, remorse, and shame — the black pearl within us all…
by: Megan Denese Mealor
A Bathing Beauty Marvel Rea never stood a chance, not against the goons in the garnet truck, her glassy gypsy oxfords clacking along a murky sidewalk to pitiless echoes, her sculptured sandy spiral curls abstracting the sullen starlight scattered along Compton Avenue like shanghaied strawberry quartz. Her French Language cologne still cloisters the eucalyptus grove where her dainty two-reel bones performed their final curtsy that orthochromatic waning.
Unpolishing Black Pearls It is a sundance Sunday and I am penning a poem— well, trying to craft any ditty. All I can unearth to evoke is the euphoric screech of my son as he unspools mid-air, crashing back down on the silent mini trampoline with a nimble groove. It’s his spring break from school; his reduced teacher crammed Spring Mix Jelly Bellies into his Sideshow Bob backpack along with a bashful post-It cramped with timid scribbling letting me know that my son may be the best and only reader in that entire class of nine, but he also refuses the potty and can’t comprehend silverware. There was a chili-red A-B Honor Roll ribbon taped to his spiral Goofy notepad, so I considered the matter a wash and rewarded my disorderly son with a McDonald’s plush tiki Stitch. He cherished it for three exultant minutes before suavely dumping his untasted nuggets, French fries, and apple slices into the overworked trashcan. As I browse the grubby window, a garish group of skeletal girls donning lace-up ruffled eyelet cruise by like emperor angelfish, punctuating and escalating. Their earrings are glued together with neon-spirited feathers that shiver in the tower slide breeze. One of the femmes, glossy-browed, a sable-skinned Lady Macbeth, has embraced her dynamic hips and lets her boyfriend jeans downslide past her ass crack, thong-less and howling. Another gamine’s corkscrews stem gold metal alloy, shameless at the roots, more unreliable every daybreak. They gang up around the sundown swings, fists bundled in corset hoodie sleeves as the chestnut leaves quarrel about the politics of windstorms. My son pushes his snoopy little face beside mine, our Majorelle-eyed mirages running wild in the unkempt window. With a cherub’s split-second fickleness, my undone blonde son lifts his hopeful hand to wave devoutly at the wannabe pin-up waifs raining together at the swampy playground, sassy and seraphic sunlight conscious in his sinless sentiment. My pecan pie son’s nuclear carnival tinges my every present poem, its own retrograde circle of milk— even the overcast pieces I carve around zodiac. The jittery crop-top nymphs depart to lazily rummage the boneless block where shotgun houses are powered with warm white snowflakes yearlong, ruptured porches fawning with threadbare bucks in French Crop hairdos, Pumas sporting fat laces, off-the-peg hemp pendants exploiting lemon sharks’ forfeited fangs. My son is boogieing to the beat of a granular Iron Maiden video in his markdown Odie socks, swiping sips of my diluted Sprite between ruffly, contemptuous solos. This poem will be densely distorted, will forget to underline aftermaths, will decline to reinvent rainbows. But right now, my son is pointing to the mango pudding, giggling and unbending. I abstractedly persuade myself that the cherry blossom sky is mobbed with pollen and those weatherless maidens were never, ever damsels, anyway.
Reparations My out-of-date cousin surfaced twenty minutes late at Grammy’s eleventh-hour graveside service, enrobed in off-the-shoulder bubblegum, ruffles on her biceps, caustic aquatic notes scalding my whimpering eyes. Her faux mink lashes were uncoordinated, thickset, like jumping spiders grasping hopeless prey. She ankled up, barn-red comma heels drowning in the showered Civil War cemetery grass, chugging a coffin nail braided with marijuana like she was depleting a Corpse Reviver #2 under the layer rays of a chichi Reno lounge. Grammy’s seed pearl rope convulsed against that jutting collarbone, ruby halo ring detonating her pink taffy bandbox manicure, rawboned wrist overburdened with Bakelite bangles, a sterling bookchain panel wristlet, the copper leaf Bell Trading Post clamper imparted to Grammy from my hangdog father on her ninety-second anniversary at the service-enriched housing high-rise where her hummingbird-lit hobby loft was congested with metallic flamingo balloons, Black-Eyed Susans and Blue-Eyed Grass in canary crystal vases camouflaging the chaos of stems. My cousin, now perched like Lana Turner in a church-rented back row metal chair, never bothered materializing at that final bash, although my aunt, her incurable mother, bribed her to sign a pastel ice cream cones card stating “You are the Mona Lisa in my life” and taped it to a recycled cardboard gift bag stifling floating Butterscotch Brulee candles and a lacquered little handbook on origami. I wonder now if Grammy can finally see through my cousin’s ostentation, if she still considers my cousin the front runner, if she now regrets that red-eyed Christmas when she gifted my cousin a laser-cut dollhouse (picket fence, plywood chimney) and me a reborn vinyl doll with a simulated heartbeat that stopped functioning on the nine-hour junket home.
Megan Denese Mealor resides in her native land of Jacksonville, Florida. A survivor of bipolar disorder, she incorporates her kaleidoscopic emotions into her writing. Her poetry and fiction have been featured in literary journals worldwide, most recently Eunoia Review, Blue Lake Review, Penumbric, Bewildering Stories, and The Stray Branch. Nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, Megan has authored three full-length poetry collections: “Bipolar Lexicon” (Unsolicited Press, 2018), “Blatherskite” (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, 2019), and “A Mourning Dove’s Wishbone” (in the works). Megan is currently studying English at the University of North Florida while caring for her autistic son. She and her husband Tony, son Jesse, and three mollycoddled cats occupy a cavernous, yet cozy townhouse ornamented with vintage ads for Victorian inventions.