Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Coal Black Challenges Izy (redacted)




from government file A7YT Gazelle Panda.  Proof of lampost, in reflection.  Copyrighted, Isadora Gruye Photography.

From government file A7YT Gazelle Panda 
Proof of anarchic sub culture: article 1764
From the personal gmail account of Isadora Gruye, August 11, 2012.
From:  Shay
Re:  personal challenge

(though large portions of the original message were redacted in the interest of national security, beekeepers, and cartographers, the context of message remains whole and intact.  For the first time, this authentic message is presented to you, the Real Toads community)

Hi, Izy! It's my turn to issue someone from Toads a Personal Challenge. Here is my challenge for you, though you have the option to decline. If you can't do it, please let me know so that I can challenge my second choice

Here is your challenge girl: Feel The Burn. I want you to write something that has to do with fever. You could write about a personal fever, either physical or otherwise, or about a wider fever such as an epidemic or a panic

You up for it, lady? Let me know. :-) (end of message)

Government sources deeply embedded in the “poetry” counter culture confirm that these sorts of renegade challenges are commonplace.  If you read the response below your personal safety and moral well being cannot be guaranteed.  The freedom of information act requires it is provided to you in its entirety.  Reader beware, the following piece of propaganda attempts to intertwine the ideals of fever from childhood to sex to melancholia.  Though not contagious, per say, its ideals are wavering at best. 


knocking honey in her comb

I.  

The night John Lennon was shot,
her fever set on quickly
from an untreated ear infection.
(she was a good baby and never fussed,
  how could momma have known)
Her tiny body convulsed,
and pearly white spittle
rose from her blistered breast fed lips.
Momma set her in an ice bath
until the ambulance arrived.
She spent a week swaddled 
in hospital issued diapers.
She would have to relearn how to walk,
how to babble the words
she had spoken so clearly before.

II.

The plain boy from the coffee shop
taught her phrases, eloquent and brutal:
knocking honey in her comb.
The leather restraints rubbed her wrists raw,
but afterward he kissed them profusely,
bowing in worship of her
shoulder blades
her knees 
and her breasts.
The heat off their backs
brought a soft sweat
which made her IKEA sheets 
smell like nutmeg.

III.

The water smells 
of saffron and urine,
and the roughness of the riverbed
bites her bare feet.
She is not Ophelia
not Persephone
not Anne of Green Gables.
All the same, the embankments
are shaking with sadness
and her forehead is hot with worry.
She wades a bit further into the water, 
dipping her wrists across the currents.
She’s trying so hard to forget
how to babble
the terrible thoughts
she knew so clearly before.

16 comments:

Isadora Gruye said...

just want to give a shout out to Shay...aka Fireblossom aka Coal Black....this challenge summoned something in me: I don't know how I went this long without writing about infant me in the hospital with fever when my mother was suffering the loss of John Lennon. for everyone else who had a read, thanks for making it this far, hope you leave a comment.

Stacey said...

My favorite parts are:

"knocking honey in her comb" (gooooorgeous)

and

" The water smells
of saffron and urine,
and the roughness of the riverbed
bites her bare feet.
She is not Ophelia
not Persephone
not Anne of Green Gables."

The invoking of the trinity of Ophelia, Persephone, and Anne of Green Gables is turning over some feelings in my brain I can't really articulate. About these three models of young womanhood and how the woman in the poem isn't any of them even though she has her spices and her despair and her river.

See? Your poem provoked thoughts in me I'm not up to unpacking right now, so I'd say it's a pretty effective piece overall.

Fireblossom said...

I have to run off to the salt mine right now, but I'll be back this evening to read and comment!

Mama Zen said...

This is just incredible work. I am totally wowed!

Susan said...

I am moved, my holy trinity followed the same pattern, but mine own. It lives in me like the lamp in shadowy silhouette and I am guessing it would like to speak. Yours:
" She would have to relearn how to walk,
how to babble the words
she had spoken so clearly before."
"The plain boy from the coffee shop
taught her phrases, eloquent and brutal:
knocking honey in her comb."
She’s trying so hard to forget
how to babble
the terrible thoughts
she knew so clearly before.

My motto: follow the image. POW!
BTW, yesterday I asked a young woman at the neighborhood pool why she had eyeglasses tatooed on her inner arm. "They're John Lennon's" she gleamed! Sure enough, when I looked again, I saw the smash and the spread spatter of blood, I heard the shot. ANd she had not even been born! "My mother," she explained. Were you in Philly?

hedgewitch said...

The light surreal feather of fever sometimes makes the shadows too bright and the light too dim--this poem shines its own sort of light into the corners, and deals with the long terminal illness which is life, and for which we take so many medicines(not always in vain.) I love the middle stanza, but all of them are important and strong. Fine work, Izy--and leave it to Shay to get the creative juices flowing.

Kerry O'Connor said...

When I read work of this calibre, on this forum, I know that I am the luckiest person I know.
Izy, I hope you know what an inspiration you are to me as a writer. I read your work and wonder how I could improve my own and I strive to match an impossible level of brilliance.
This is everything I love about poetry, and the art of writing: the peeling away of the multi-facets of personality and experience, memory and commonality, and here we have the added measure of fever..
This is the hundred of the 100%.

Helen said...

If you are indeed contagious ... I will gladly stand close, hoping to contract even a tiny bit of this disease! Amazing writing, truly.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

I love the details in each of these - especially the scents described. I'll never forget when Lennon was shot - I was a senior in high school. Uniformly excellent!

Susie Clevenger said...

Izy, I agree with Kerry. Reading such a fantastic piece as this is only fuels my desire to strive to improve my own work.

You have an incredible gift to communicate strong visuals and emotions. I tried to choose a favorite part, but I was stumped because all of it is brilliant.

Ella said...

I agree you made me feel feverish and the scents allowed us to replay our own fevers~ So many taunt emotions at play! I loved so many lines, but this one really took me by surprise and I loved it.

"knocking honey in her comb" :D

Outstanding!!! @>-----

Fireblossom said...

Let's try it without the Typonese...

You did the challenge proud, Izy. (though I am tempted to be a (w)itch and redact large portions of my comment)

The first section is so sad. The mother in me feels so bad for that baby girl. Her bravely relearning things just about breaks my heart.

The middle section is a wild one. Who has the power here? She would seem to have none, but who ends up worshiped and kissed? In D/S they say the submissive has the real power. Then again, the submissive pays the real price, too. It's a tricky, dangerous, risky, exhilarating dynamic.

The last section breaks my heart again. You've already said it is spun from melancholia, so the wrists and the desire to forget worry me. It's a circle, this poem, but such a hard one. One pays a certain emotional admission just to read it. (and so, of course, I admire it)

Thanks for accepting my challenge. I knew you would write something striking.

Margaret said...

Thank you for three powerful versus... each actually evoke a feeling of protection in me.

Hannah said...

I SO love a cyclical poem!!! Izy!! This is awesome...I love the approach with the layering and the way it all ties together. Yes, very well done!!

Shay great challenge and unique and entertaining post!!

Excellent work!!

Marian said...

yes, sigh, melancholy for sure. i'm drawn to river scenes like a bee to... something.
john lennon. i too will never forget that moment of learning. and how horrid and horrifying, i'm reacting most especially to how your mother must have felt in that moment, a very scary time, wow.
interesting and excellent, of course.

Grace said...

Great challenge and response ~

I like all three segments specially the middle one ~ Very well done ~