The Mad Puppeteer

his fingers dancing, flicking
manipulating and twirling
the strings attached
to my cracked open heart

he made it look easy

his wrist barely moved and
I fell down at his feet
his thumb lifted and
I begged his forgiveness

I’m under his spell
this mad puppeteer of my soul

what he wishes, I perform
my own pen, attached to my heart
my heart, attached to his strings
his strings, attached to his whim

I am the doll, his very thoughts
written out and counted through
a filter shaped like me
a puppet, a mirror, a twisted shadow

that’s me

he drew up a fist and
I cowered scribbling furiously
his fingers trembled and
my pages filled with his words

in the end, I’m realizing
that the marionette who is me
is as much a part of him
as he is an extension of me


tara caribou | ©2021

Another in my series of using blogger site titles or tagline as a writing prompt. The poem has no relation to the blog or blogger other than using their title (in this case, “The Mad Puppeteer”) as a prompt. I hope you enjoy!

35 Comments on “The Mad Puppeteer

  1. I think of Mumon’s comment on the Zen story of Hyakujo’s Fox:

    “Controlled or not controlled?
    The same dice shows two faces.
    Not controlled or controlled,
    Both are a grievous error.”

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Oh, wow, this is a nice surprise! I love this little story. I am always amazed at how much feeling and how much narrative you can pack into such a short amount of words. Nicely-done.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey thank you, sir. I wasn’t sure you’d see this one, but it’s interesting because I’ve had your blog name on my prompt list for quite a while and never could get it out until the other day when I wrote it. 🤷🏼‍♀️ Funny how things work out like that. PS: in real life; I’d love to hear the story behind the name!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I just happened to be perusing WordPress right after you posted, and I am so glad I was! Also, you just happened to post this story on my birthday 🙂
        In real life, the name is a reference to the character Nessus in the book Ringworld. The character is a member of a race called Puppeteers, and he is referred to as being “mad” in the book because of some mental health issues he has. I identified with his character for several reasons, and some of the things he does to try and direct the other characters were metaphorical to me for things a writer does while creating a story. So, there you have it, in short!
        Anyway, again, I really enjoyed your piece, and I am so glad that my website name inspired you!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh man!! That’s awesome. Happy birthday, friend.

          Interestingly, I had a feeling it had to do with a book but I wasn’t placing which one. It’s been at least, oh goodness, at least 25 years since I read Ringworld, so the details are fuzzy. I do remember enjoying the book… I believe I only read that and the Engineers book after it. The library where I lived at the time didn’t have any others… you know, before e-books lol.

          Thanks for always inspiring me with your incredible storytelling.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you for the birthday wishes! And thank you for inspiring me as well.

          The book was very impactful for me in several ways. A show based on the book is actually in the works, but it’s still in the very early phases of development, from my understanding.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Oh! Huh. I had no idea. I have a hard time with awesome sci-fi turned into movies/shows especially these days because they always destroy them. I refuse to watch Ender’s Game for just this reason.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I am in agreement. I’ve watched a few scenes from Ender’s Game on YouTube just out of curiosity, and I was not overly impressed. The book is just so complex and mature, and it seems like that was diluted in the movie.
          I will say, however, that I do have high hopes for the new Dune movie…

          Liked by 1 person

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