CAKE (a poem)


There was a movie called Flashdance
(stick with me).
The main character said,
“I’m not a dancer like that.”
She wasn’t trained, didn’t have degrees
on the wall (hung mostly to impress).
She could just…dance. No one knew how.
No one saw her sweating it out in her living room,
practicing behind closed doors,
away from human eyes.
She was also one of “those” dancers—
the ones that don’t call themselves strippers
since they’re still wearing a string of cloth;
she had bills to pay, and besides, it was the one place
she could shake without judgment.

Like her,
I am not a writer “like that.”
I just…write.
I don’t have a scroll of accolades
trailing behind me like a wedding gown.
I’m not hip to who is currently the “best” in the country,
nor do I have a clue about the New York Times Book Review,
perhaps because so much of what moves me
isn’t making it to the bestseller lists
(you’d need to buy your own copies for that)…
obscure mystics like Evelyn Underhill,
and whisperings from the past by Blake and Rilke,
Dickens and George MacDonald—
people who wrote in blood and parchment, ink and blotter.

So I took “stripper” jobs (there were bills to pay).
Or what felt like their equivalent to someone
who writes for the love of writing, the written word,
and the power it has to bring light—
like music, like film, when it’s done well.

And I wonder: if artists were paid for
sheer love of what they do—
for the doing of it with heart’s blood—
not for applause,
not for kudos and thumbs-up,
not for being deemed part of the new trend,
how many would be rich, and how many poor?

There are the rare ones who hit the jackpot
without selling their souls—
those who stay true to their core
regardless of others’ jealousies, despisings, and misunderstandings,
unmoved by the questioning expectations left and right,
(nevermind words like “marketable”),
the C. S. Lewises, the Woody Allens.
But many are pushed aside by the loudmouths,
the narcissists, those pretending to shine,
and threatened by those touched with fire.

Little do they realize
that the glow of the True cannot be snuffed out.
Darkness has a go, but cannot overcome them.
Theirs is the final conquest,
the limping triumph of those who have made mosaics
from the broken pieces of themselves and their lives.
It is not registered in anything but
the peace and tranquility
of authenticity.
If money comes in a rushing wind,
it is the frosting, not the cake.
The cake is a soul
at peace with itself.


© Monique Amado
written November, 2012


monet cake





Hi friends,

Take a gentle time out and listen as I read the words of one of my poems which honors change and seasons and autumn.

I hope it blesses you.

Thanks for listening…



What is it about autumn
that makes one want to write poetry–
compels one almost?
Or for that matter, what is it
about spring and winter…
and summer?

Seasons beckon change.
They rattle all that wants to
remain comfortable in us–
all our little issues
that need dismantling,
the way the trees dismantle the leaves
and toss them flippantly to the ground,
as if they will have nothing more to do with them,
as if they never knew them.

And then they disrobe completely
standing naked, bare
and unashamed
like Adam and Eve
before they wanted to know it all,
before they ran for cover…
and hid.

Seasons don’t allow for hiding.
It’s all out in the open–
light and darkness.
Both are needed
for the tumble of inner revolution
that reveals itself on the outside.
Both are needed
if there’s to be any growth.

Only after releasing the dried-up
dead leaves
and being willing to stand trembling and vulnerable
facing the unknown
in the crisp of winter
(clothed sometimes only in bitter frosts and white,
as if to add insult to injury),
only then are the new coats and dresses
slowly unveiled
and sent down the conveyor belts of nature–

once more wrapping the oaks, the willows
and birch trees
in the dignity of green
and shaking us alive
with Spring.

– Monique Amado

** Image credit: Ian Wang