Headlock Press

Writing That Grabs And Holds


Aroma Therapy
Maria Tapia Morocho
I’m descending a crowded stairwell with strangers at each side, all eyes glaring at nothing specific as we share the same pace up and down the same cracked steps and grab the same scraped handrails while trying not to get too close or make unwanted contact with each other. Halfway down, my senses are taken from me by the sweet indulgence of women’s perfume. With great strength, I resist driving deeper into the sweet intoxication, refusing the temptation of another hit before returning to my mundane routine. My autopilot malfunctions as I step too close to the stranger in front of me, drowning my sinuses in half-a-bottle of cheap men’s cologne. Coming back to my senses, I stumble my way down the stairs and make my escape into the fresh air outside, only to walk into a cloud of vanilla smoke. I hold my breath and continue my way through the puffs, not daring to make eye contact as I follow the Marlboro bread crumbs that lead away.

Paul Agostino  commented on September 11, 2017 :
The pace and repetition in this poem emphasize what it is describing. The narrator just wants to get through the day and perform her mundane tasks with as little complication as possible. And the best way to achieve that, to her mind, is through mechanical movements which will keep her isolated and also from thinking too much. But in the middle of trudging through the drabness of her day and the shoddiness of her surroundings, the narrator is surprised by an almost otherworldly scent that lifts her and tries to draw her away. The perfume she smells speaks to her of possibility. But she can’t allow herself the luxury of even a brief indulgence. This is a march, and she’s got to get where she’s going and not allow herself to dream about the possibilities that might exist in the outside world. When she finally sees a sliver of daylight, she allows herself to look forward to a little breather. But not so fast. A cloud descends on her and she has to steel herself to the task again. She can’t afford to be sidetracked by temptations or discouraged by annoyances. Not if she wants to get to where she’s going. Wherever that is.

I see this poem as a kind of musical metaphor that appeals to a number of the senses. The piece is dark and rhythmic, but it’s not without its grace notes of hope, humor, and possibility. Excellent job.
Michael  commented on September 18, 2017 :
Don't touch me. Me state is better than yours. But I'm on disability and the man is not meeting me needs. I mean, I've worked for all these years and I'm a taxpayer and you suck. How's your daughter doing by the way? Do you have a picture? She wouldn't be that bad if you could afford to fix her teeth.
Domented  commented on September 26, 2017 :
I like the juxtaposition of the speaker's desire to avoid any physical contact on the stairs with the olfactory onslaught she experiences. Each smell enticing or repelling her on her way.

I love that last line, "the Marlboro bread crumbs." Great stuff.
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