This is a short and (for me) experimental piece, mixing fiction and non-fiction. I haven’t written much creatively in a long while, and this baby just wanted out, so here … Continue reading Variations on the Theme of Sadness
The Pyromaniac and the Salamander
You burn me. They say
if you die in flames,
your shadow burns
with you and so
you may not
I am heaven.
I burn you because
I am incandescent,
in me you have
your greatest wishes
fulfilled. Desire scorches
but it does not
crease the soul.
You are the blinding,
one may not love you
You feed on homes
and ships alike.
I taste but to learn,
I consume but to
restore. My tongues
are tongues of wisdom,
and their venom
Hopefully, this will be the last time when I have to make up for one “skipped” day in the NaPoWriMo scheme.
For yesterday’s poem in Sapphics, a sequence inspired by this rather uncanny 1951 New Yorker cover:
With a jump, the monster was there, beside her:
in their seats, the viewers were dancing shadows,
her ballet transformed into danse macabre
in less than a second.
Lips upturned, the curtains fell down in silence –
all the songs had changed into gruesome dirges –
turned away, the hands had no more applauses
to counter the stage fright.
And now, for today’s prompt to describe a favourite thing, I decided upon a favourite scene from a favourite movie: the dance scene in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. (Yes, somehow both poems ended up withe dance as their main theme.)
Brigitte Helm as Maschinenmensch
Her hips twist
on an impossible orbit
cutting the air like blades
grating the edge off time.
Every man’s shoulder
is a throne
for her heel
and when she puts
her foot down
she is unapologetic
to leap and bite.
Neck thrust forward
she is a bird
crowned with the bones
of her ancestors.
she pulls down the divide.
Finally, the inevitable happened: I skipped a day. Which, considering it was the first time in 39 days consecutive days of writing a poem on a postcard a day, it’s not too bad. I am, however, making up for the blip today, with both a calligram for day nine of NaPoWriMo, and an abecedarian poem for day ten. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I’ll be on the road tomorrow with probably no access to the internet, I’ll have to skip another day. But I will make up for it on Sunday!
So, then. For yesterday’s “visual poem” prompt I decided to make a little butterfly calligram. Unfortunately, however, it appears that the original doesn’t look much like the butterfly poem I had in mind (more like a misshaped fly, perhaps). Ooops!
So I tried to recreate it with the Word Art function of Word, to make it more legible, and also to give you a better idea of what I actually intended to make:
I have a special obsession for lepidoptera, and it so happens that Vladimir Nabokov also had a soft spot for the little fluttering creatures. As I was thinking about how best to make the calligram, I was reminded of his poem “In Paradise”, which, although not of the visual kind, features some really striking imagery (I mean, come on, his angel is “a semi-pavonian creature”!) which I adore.
And today’s prompt – to write an “abecedarian poem” – reminded me of Edward Gorey’s emblematic “The Gashlycrumb Tinies”, which is possibly the best alphabet poem I’ve ever read. Here’s my own (and I have to apologise again for the fact that the scanner decide to cut out some of my handwriting):
The Writer’s Primer
A is the steeple of the church where my thoughts enter unarmed
B is the shape of your lips, wordless and unguarded
C is retreating in the shell of my dilated nights
D is a convex mirror wherein my selves are reassembled
E is the rack upon which destines lie embalmed
F is reaching for hope when no one is around
G is the chair that rocks me to silence
H is the step just one foot too high
I is the wicker man too heavy to carry
J is the tail shed before I was born
K is the shadow I often recede in
L is the seat with a view to the sea
M is my name when I exit pursued by a bear
N is the bend of my knee
O is the shape of a breath drawn in winter
P is the white flag whenever I falter
Q is the trace of my lingering doubts
R is a kick in the sand
S is the body twisted in languor
T is the gate between worlds
U is the fosse where Atlantis is hidden
V is the base of your throat
W is the knot of illicit hands under tables
X is the rage to be deeply alive
Y is the spin of the phrase
Z is the roundabout journey of lies
Charon Was Never a Child
in its folds.
In a language
of the blur
Buy and Sell
to keep the congress
of our masks in place –
one only puts so much
wealth into heartbreak
as one can afford to lose.
Behind the treasure,
little dark slits
mark the uselessness
of looking, and noticing.
Like indigenous puppets,
whose bare eye sockets
so we place our bets
on hollow icons,
and lock our chests
to spare the nothing we own.
For day six of NaPoWriMo, of course.
I could have chosen to close my eyes
against the budding sun,
to plunge back into the sedate
chaos of improbabilities fuelled
by your nest-like warmth.
But I could not ignore the expectant
taps if your heart, so clearly audible
with only the thin calls of
morning birds in a moderate climate
to outweigh them. The fluctuations
of your sleep intimated my intrusion:
I had to check out before breakfast, or else
pay for another night (and you always claim
the blood and the bone with the flesh).
So adieu, my love, I am not fond of debts.