Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Acting "As If"

Acting "As If"

"Sometimes," the woman says to her husband as she butchers a chicken for supper, "when I think about who I am, I hate myself and want to commit suicide."  She has set the butcher knife down to wrest the skin from a leg and thigh.  He picks up the knife, holds it handle toward her.  "Here, let me assist you."  He smiles slightly, but his eyes look serious.  A knife is too much pain, she thinks, afraid, and then for half a moment, considers stabbing him rather than herself.  Instead, she continues cutting up the chicken.  She says nothing, but inside, a pack of devils dance in her heart, laughing gleefully and poking sharply with their pitchforks.  The dinner is delicious but nearly wordless.  The man listens to his music, reads the CD covers.  Says something she misses but doesn't ask to have repeated.  The woman takes potshots at the devils in her heart.  But there are so many of them.  I will act "as if" I love him, until I do again, she tells the demons, but they only laugh.  She lies awake all night, her husband's words running through her mind in an endless loop, the fiends jabbing and jabbing.  In the morning, she gets up, fetches his paper and slippers, makes his coffee, his eggs, bacon and toast, places three dark chocolate kisses on his napkin and puts some Bach on the stereo, his favorite music.  She answers quietly when spoken to, but volunteers no words of her own.  After he leaves for work, she builds a recumbent snowman in the trees, carves her husband's features onto the head, and squatting alone in the spruces, pisses on his face and watches it melt into a yellow puddle.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
090311-1323-1c; 090311-1139-1st

Monday, March 09, 2009

Willow Waiting (tonight's workshop poem)

Here's my "Model Poem" from tonight workshop.

Willow Waiting

Slumped under the weight of snow-dense clouds, lacy,
fingered and blurring wetly into the roofs and fading ridges,
a clump of scrubby bushes clings to the outer penitentiary wall,
stunned, scrawny and rusty but glazed with white.
Even the few brown leaves twist and fill with snow.

One slender stem uproots and shuffles
among the others, blunders, furtive,
a dark shape growing paler, struggling
against the deep and bending branches. The shrubs huddle,
shrink into drifts that rise to swallow them.

Snow buries the periwinkle, the picris, the dock,
Reaches up the willow stems, biting, hungry, cold.
Tomorrow, the bushes might disappear entirely,
but for the rootless one, moving, pausing, stamping,
separate. The shrubs hunker into the snow and sleep.

The girl twists her scarf tighter around her neck,
feels the snow melt icy into her too-short boots,
listens in the fluffy silence for her father.
He raises his window an inch and sings
to her though the bars.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
090309-2241-1f, 090309, 1st
from a workshop piece in Dawn McDuffie's class.

I need to do a new image for it.

Of course, I completely made it my own.

It seems that everything I write wants to turn into a NOVEL!

This poem is called a "model poem" because the first draft was modeled after another poem. However, I changed it substantially.

The Casks

The Casks

The woman watches Jesus play with the sun. He tosses it into the air and catches it, throws it behind his back, bounces it like a rubber ball on the yellow pathway through the lawns and parks of Heaven. Through his body she sees trees, bushes and an odd black sky with unfamiliar stars. Jesus shines translucent white, bright, but not too bright. He bounces the sun, lifts his leg so that it bounces under to the other side. It passes through the light fabric of his robe unencumbered. He catches it, places it back in the sky above the earth, and turns to smile at her. He offers her his hand and she takes it. It is warm and feels like ordinary flesh, like her husband's hand. Like love. They descend a long series of stairs into the darkness. She thinks Hell, and when he opens the small oaken door and ducks inside, the scene there does not dissuade her from that
fear. Dwarfs, elves, and monsters. Wormy things sitting on benches and stools. The room glows red in spite of darkness; a huge fire burns in the fireplace. Gargantuan oaken casks rise behind the bar from floor to ceiling. Everyone talks, laughs, drinks. At the bar, Jesus orders them each a drink. His glows yellow and she watches it enter his body, which brightens and shifts to a yellower hue. She tips and rolls her glass, sniffing. It smells of chocolate, coffee, and raspberries, tastes like roses. It makes her terribly sleepy, and she awakens, of course, in bed. Her husband snores loudly. She wants to rouse him and tell him her dream, but knows he will dismiss it. 'Just another dream about death,' he would probably say. She might elbow him sharply for that unspoken comment if it weren't for that glowing hand on her shoulder. Instead, she accepts another drink and goes off to explore the future.

Mary Taitt
090309-1012-3a, 090308-2236-2a, 090307-2110-1c, 090307-1122 first

This is a new PROSE POEM from two back-to back dreams. (See dreams here).