Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Perfect Love

A Perfect Love

In the graveyard at night, the woman collects fabric rose petals scattered in the snow, red ones, gold ones and black ones. They whisper across the dark drifts like the remains of autumn leaves. She chases them through ever-deepening snow, fills her pockets with them. She takes some of each, but since her pockets won't hold them all, she favors the red and gold ones over the black. She carries them in her pockets for years, taking them out only to launder the pockets. When she does, they escape, and roam around the house, multiplying. Her husband kidnaps them, trying to rid the marriage of the curse of the fabric rose petals. Only he notices that the gold petals are turning red, the red petals are turning black and the black ones are getting blacker and blacker. Velvety with soot. The woman rescues them. She now sees only gold petals, shining, delicate and light as a ray of sunshine. "Love me; love my rose petals," she intones to her insensitive husband. Since he despises the black rose petals, he immediately files for divorce. The woman fills her bed with translucent golden rose petals. They caress her skin. That night, while dreaming of a perfect love, she drowns in petals clinging to her face. When the man returns for his belongings, he finds her dead in drifts of black rose petals, a look of quiet satisfaction still lingering on her face.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
090224-1249-1d; 090224-1237-1st

This is a brand new poem I just wrote today and then I made the sketch as an illo for it, it's in Peggy F's sketchbook. I may, if I have time, make a "broadside" of the poem and a painting of it. This is a prose poem and does not have line-breaks.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Surrounded by Sky 090223-1440

Surrounded by Sky

A woman imagines she has cholera and worries she will be eaten by a shark. She fears she will slip under the fence and be swept over the falls at Niagara. When she eats, her belly explodes and kills her and when she flies, she dies in a plane crash. Every snowy car ride turns into an automobile accident and every Ferris wheel collapses when she reaches the top. She collects clippings of people killed by wildfires, tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, escaped lions, burst appendixes, rabid rats, ice falling off church roofs, infected toenails, knowing each of these deaths is the one that will claim her.

One day, the once worried woman, who had already died a million imaginary deaths, lies dying. Dementia consumes her and she fails to recognize death's teeth at her throat. The reaper pulls the black hood off to his boney face and she only smiles. She dreams she is a child, and afraid of nothing. She climbs the tallest pine in the forest, a cabbage pine with branches like a ladder. Up and up and up and up, like Jack on the beanstalk she ascends, effortlessly, to the tippy top. It sways in the breeze. The sky surrounds her. The treetop bends, then breaks. She should fall. Instead, her body inflates with sunshine and she flies. She flies so high she can see the individual rays of starlight and each has a voice and a song. When the woman joins the song, a terrible rasping pours from her throat. No one at her deathbed recognizes the angel voices in the cacophony flowing like a fountain from her lips.

Mary Stebbins

090223-1440-2c; 090222-2135-1e; 090222-1756-1st

This, in case you can't tell, is a prose poem, which I wrote for Paul Roth, sort of. I may explain later. I think it may be the beginning, or the end, of a new chapbook. YIKES!

I'm doing this backwards, in a sense, posting the latest, newest version on my process blog when I've already posted an earlier version to The Smell of Sun, my poetry blog That was becasue I wanted to post it, unfinished though it was, to Creative Every Day.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My place at the dining room table at 3 AM

Today I made this digital painting from the sketch I drew last night
when I was insomniac at 3 AM. It took me all day to paint it, by
hand, not with filters, on my old computer using a MOUSE in PS7. (I
did use liquify to bend the brushes on the left to "match" the bed in
the water bottle on the right. I did not use either of my tablets or
pens, because I felt really terrible and wanted to do it the old
fashioned way, LOL! (slowly, slowly.))

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Living Inside my Words

I'm taking a poetry class that meets on Monday nights. I've been doing this off and on for several years, with Dawn McDuffie at the Scarab Club. Every Monday night, we get an assignment. Every Tuesday morning, God willing and the creeks don't rise (Forgive the cliche!), I write a new poem, based hopefully on my assignment. Every Tuesday night, I review and and revise. Every Wednesday morning I review and revise, and so on as the week passes until Monday. Monday I spend a good part of the day working on my new, week-old poem, and finally print copies to take to class.

The reason I do this is becasue I have learned that if I inhabit the poem, if I really live inside it, I make discoveries about myself and the world that enhance the poem, at least for me. And each discovery is a little joy, a little euphoria. Sure, there is struggle, panic. Sure there is the tedium of searching thesaurus for the right word and of changing phraseology, only to change it back, three, four five times. But then, there is that aha moment when something inside the poem opens to admit me deeper into its mysteries, deeper into myself.

The poem may still not be done, but it's one step closer, and there will hopefully be more ahas and more revisions. Not to beat a dead horse, but revision means to Re-VISION, to re-see, and vision involves awareness of the self and world, of the interconnections of things. And it applies to my prose writing as well. It's a glorious process. It's why I write poetry.

(The photos represent a first draft poem and a poem further toward completion.)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Pancake Day

It's Candlemas, St. Bigid's Day, Imbolc, Groundhog Day. A day to eat
pancakes, see your shadow, light candles, take down your Christmas

I made crepes:

1/4 c milk, i egg, 1/4 c flour for each crepe, more or less, whisk up.
I used whole wheat flour and some seeds and rice milk for mine--yum.

I wrote a poem about it, brand new today, for my class tonight.

How Geraldine becomes a Saint, Feb 2, 1961

One by one, with needles pricking and dropping
with lisping sounds like falling rain through
the drooping branches, Geraldine picks lengths of tinsel
from the browning tree. She turns the dull and shining
strands in the colored lights to see them sparkle,
watches small streams of color wash and wriggle
across the ceiling like eels in Uncle Jake's creel.
She blows at the tinsel, puffs gently on the filaments
draped over her fingers, watches the light ones rise
and flutter while the heavy ones barely move.
New sun filters though the lace curtains, adding
another layer of pattern to the patches of color
and the ghosts of branches on the walls and ceiling.
Mama calls her to come out and see her shadow.
"The woodchucks," she says, "the groundhogs,
are sleeping in the woods, under the snow,
they won't be seeing any shadows, but you
can see yours instead." Geraldine waves
at her shadow and laughs when the shadow
waves back. Laughs and laughs and waves again.
Watches the blue hand move against the pink snow.
"Bye, bye winter," Mama says. "Well, anyway,
it's half gone, and that's worth celebrating."
Geraldine celebrates by leaping up and down
and shouting, laughing again as her shadow leaps
along with her, silent as the watching sparrows.
They give the sparrows yellow millet and golden
corn. "Yellow and gold for the sun," Mama says.
"Yellow for the sun," Geraldine repeats.
"Pancakes for breakfast," Mama says. In the center
of each pancake, she makes the shape of a sun
with a smile and many rays. "For St. Brigid,"
she says, "for the happy, growing sun."
Geraldine eats her suns with maple syrup
and asks for a pancake with her shadow in it.
"Here you are," Mama says, sliding the pancake
onto Geraldine's plate, "St. Geraldine, goddess
of shadows." Geraldine waves goodbye
to the pancake and to her pancake shadow,
as she forks it into her mouth, bite by bite.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
For Geraldine and the High Priestess