Faint Praise Intense and Glowing

From the collection published in 2015, Catch Up With Summer.

Faint Praise Intense and Glowing

I am a little girl, not very old,
when someone says
Full of pluck, you are. You have spunk.
It does not sound like praise
and it is not meant to be
but I take on the description
anyway. I find it useful to remember
when I’m sitting on the train before dawn
on my way to work
and so I think
Pluck.
Spunk.
As time has passed I have had a vision of myself
Spunky
Plucky
like a little car going uphill on the highway
and then I
floor the gas pedal and I catch up and pass everyone
and I’ve gone beyond
Pluck
Spunk.
They’ve been everything to me,
spunk and pluck
though what I really wanted to hear back then was
Gorgeous, you are. You have glamor.

Mixed media, approximately 2003.

Mixed media, approximately 2003.

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21 thoughts on “Faint Praise Intense and Glowing

  1. Once again I find myself relating to your poem. I was always the scruffy tomboy and people used to enjoy telling me that. I knew it had a spiky edge to it but I took the term as a badge of honor and embraced the label I had been given. I’m still a scruffy tomboy and proud, to be honest. When I was in my teens, folks would say how I got the brains and my sisters got the looks. I tended to think that was a good deal. That deflected the insult. Determined was another somewhat negative adjective used for me that I made into a positive. Plunk and spunk are great qualities, ones I approve of.

      • Ha! I do wonder if parents were provided with the opportunity to engineer a child’s DNA what proportion would choose aesthetics over good quality personality traits. I did once meet someone who claimed attractiveness was more a determiner of success than intelligence so long as you weren’t sub-par IQ. She believed all her success came from being physically attractive. I didn’t know how to respond to that.

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