Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gift Economy

Back home, at the computer, searching images and writing poems and having a smoke. Comforts. Almost got sidetracked by the Vanity Fair with excerpts from Marilyn's diaries. I loved her poem about her then-husband Arthur Miller, watching him sleep and seeing his mouth return to the shape it must have had when he was a little boy.

Gotta admit, that's one nice mouth.

So here are a few poems from my special camping trip. I'll put some notes and backstory on my art project page when I get a chance.

The Goddess Pose
When you are the One
For so many
Your face becomes worn.

You can rely only on yourself
For light. You must illuminate yourself
Not only for yourself, but for others' sake.
You know these are the rules in this place.
Yet in the evening, the lamplighters come slowly
Down the road. They carry a gentle fire,
Its swing and crackle subdued in their stately pace.
Have patience, and they will make your way simpler.
At home, where light is at your fingertips
Flicking a switch, my daughter sings in the bath:
This little light of mine,
Let it shine, let it shine.

Three Necklaces

I. Ceramic Bead Fair Trade
Those bold round jawbreakers
Cascading down her neck
To a dollar-size disc
Enlivened with painted runes,
Glowing between buds,
Gold skin, no cleavage--
Why should such a big piece suit
So well the delicate frame
Of the little massage therapist?

II. Pearl
Well, there is some advantage to age,
To having had at least a few lovers
With a brain in their heads, readers--
What woman of my experience wouldn't know
The significance of "42"?
My prize for knowing the answer
Pulled from the salty neck
Of the young poet.

III. Sodalite
The smith in the desert
Hammered the silver into
A notched arrow and placed
The blue yoni-shape stone
Precisely in the center.
A gift, for now, for me alone.

Second Harvest
The second harvest comes at the end of this month.
The grass crackles under my feet. Grasshoppers,
Fat and heedless, spring up as I put down my book.
In every conversation, I seem to hear myself sigh:
"I don't know how I will get the time
To get everything done." Anything left in the field
After Samhain can be food only for spirits,
If you try to eat it, your mouth will close
Around ghosts' hands, harvesting.
I reach into the crate for an apple
And he stops my hand, puts into my palm
The last pear, saved aside for me.
Its skin astringent as persimmon,
Its flesh sweet, dripping juice.


mark said...

Very nicely written... all of it. So, er, the young poet...another notch? And I know you won't tell me what it is, but I am enticed by the "42".

Anonymous said...

Love this:

In every conversation, I seem to hear myself sigh:
"I don't know how I will get the time
To get everything done."

Good, earthy poems for a city girl. I wrote a song years ago called "Lamplighter" and you made me want to go find it.

Darkness falls all around him/he's humming a song that's gone/

that's about the only line I remember.

John S.

Soulaye said...

Thank you for the lamplighters poetry! I will be amping up the lamplighters invocation next burn and hope you don't mind if I use this!

Don't Panic. Glad you got a pearl!

Maria Padhila said...

@soulaye: all yours. thanks for inspiration! @john: go find it....what's more important/ ;) @mark: a "notch" is never how i would see it. if anything, even the simplest encounters have too much meaning to me. those three are influenced by japanese forms.

Slothrop said...

Jackpot! "Lamplighters" was bouncing in my head all during my headlamp run in the woods. Cars' headlights thru the trees kept blinding me, which seemed appropriate.

Aeons ago when I thought I could make it in a band I wrote a song on this subject - different people's lights, which ones you should follow, & the dangers of relying only on your own. Only part I can remember (b/c it came from a bad dream): "Don't want to be blind, don't want to be blind / Blind would not be light for me / 'Cause if I were blind I'd have to see / The things that go on in my mind."

Nightmares often tell you things you need to listen to but don't.

I remember Thackeray describing the "linkboys" who would lead gentry through the (unlighted) London streets w/ torches. Chimney sweeps' equally crucial yet forgotten cousins. Strange, b/c there's something wonderfully Promethean about a youth w/ a torch.

Especially loved "Second Harvest"...October being my favorite month & Samhain my favorite holiday. (Pronounced "Sorren"?) Poem beautifully teases out both the ominousness & generosity of the season, & the earth.

Maria Padhila said...

@slothrop: dude! you are driving me nuts! you are like the mirror image of a troll--everything you write is welcome and insightful. but too flattering. do you ever read in baltimore? i think i'm going to a reading out there oct. 29 (just to watch).

Slothrop said...

That's funny, b/c I lived in Baltimore for 4 years, but never read at a slam. Friends would try to get me to do so at the old Ottobar (or another place near the Hollins Market - Metsaluba), but the poetry I heard was very hip hop in attitude. I would've come off as Gerard Manley Hopkins.

And, you're the flatterer - it makes me feel valued that you put your work up for us to read. You gave me much better words than I ever gave you.

Anonymous said...

OK, flatterers, knock it off. . .

"haiku at one a.m."

the rush of the leaves
brittle brown wind whisperers
in the fall twilight

should I shuffle home
bundled up with collar flipped
or kick at the piles

remember this night
as days turn into skin layers
we shed and regrow

John S.