Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Toads in Tandem: Creature Comforts

Image copyrighted Isadora Gruye Photography
Greetings Toads,

Kim and Izy are here to unleash our Toads in Tandem piece for 2017.  We can’t wait for you to read it. But first, a few words of introduction.

Kim says - The only signs I was aware of, regarding distance in miles and culture between Izy and me, were one or two phrases or spellings. Not knowing much about her, I decided to look up Izy on the Internet and was impressed by her poetic activity, which was somewhat daunting. However, once we got going, it was more like working with a version of myself in a different universe and we riffed on each others’ ideas and fragments with ease.

Izy says - I was so excited when Kim was announced as my toad in Tandem. I  loved the idea of working with a poet whose style is different than my own. Where I tend to be stark and obscure, Kim is color and concrete. When I want to burn the page down, Kim brings beautiful form and word architecture. I gotta say, I was so impressed with how fearless Kim is in her writing.Thanks so much for the tango, Kim!!!!

Toads in Tandem bonus: we’ve included audio files of each of us reading the poem in full. If you have a few moments, you can listen to how each of us chose into interpret and read each line a little differently! Also....our accents!!!!

Creature Comforts
Your lover drapes me on your shoulders,
sunlight strays through crinkled linen,
tickles your unblemished skin.
I protect your sensitivity,
remind you of marmalade
and flyover territory:
fat ants marching on clothes lines
hung tight between windows uncleaned
and chipped by gossip houndstooth.
I am imbued with pepper scent of grass cut
before the heat,
before the thick of summer
leaned over the typewriter
to ash its cigar across the whole of July.

You had me on loan
the day autumn mist rolled in,
shrouded everything,
left cold droplets in your hair
and smeared its sheen on bare skin.
Now you touch my woollen fibres
to your nose, inhale the scent
and I’m matted with tears.
There is a silence so quiet,
it cuts sharply.
The cables are knit so tightly
breathing becomes labored
in the lemon dusk.
Have the signals got crossed?
Is there no one poised and ready
to decipher these dashes and pauses?
Tomorrow, newspaper ink will be thin
and wash away in street puddles.
And here, the coffee stains on my cuff
will sing boldly on their own.

Winter rattles dust
from window panes,
and you still bring me to bed,
despite my jersey stretched nine years thin
and twisted torn at the hem.
The flat scent of last night’s fire
falls on cold sheets,
falls on your cold, freckled knees.
You sweat through the night,
happily cocooned
in your empty bed,
dreaming of a lover’s gift
infused with perfume, the bottle lit
by flames and fairy lights.
Faces merge in shadow,
bask in afterglow,
buffeted by music -
an old long-playing record
by a favourite band
crackles on the deck.

When the spring breeze coaxes
leaves to bud and rain
lifts worms to the sidewalk
to bake on the concrete,
you pull me over your feet.
You stomp proudly through mud
and dropped blossoms,
each step a drum beat
louder than you ever imagined.
Your toes curl and flex against the solidity
of our rubber-soled security,
a comfortable pairing against puddles
and slippery situations –
galoshes for all seasons.


brudberg said...

This is beyond impressive, a marvelous set of images and still keeping it within a narrative that feels familiar. I can feel that you have let each other be influenced by each other. Also great to be able to listen to each others reading. I can feel the joy of the two of you working together.

Kim M. Russell said...

Thank you so much, Bjorn. I can't speak for Izy but I am delighted with our tandem poem. :)

Angie said...

this is marvelous! the reading is perfection and definitely a comfort. a gorgeous tango

Fireblossom said...

This is original and a pleasure to read. The first line threw me...I had to go back and read the first half of the poem over to get it, but once i did, I saw what you did there, lol! Beautiful language, and very sensual in its details is this poem, and it reads as a single voice. I've ben impressed this time around how the tandem poems have really been a merging, not an alternating.

Thanks for this delicious trip through the seasons. Wonderful work, you two.

ps--Izy is poetically active? Not here at Toads. We'd love to see her more often, hint hint.)

Vivian Zems said...

Now this was a treat. I listened to two different voices reciting the same poem- and got 2 poems!
Like I said- a real treat

wishfulpennywell said...

what imagery meshed in musicality! a very pleasing read!

Susie Clevenger said...

Oh I love this! This is poetic art at its finest. I am so thankful to be able to hear it read in both of your voices. Kudos to both of you!!!

Marian said...

Watch out, those ants are going to get in!
Love this. I am a snuggler in all seasons and my favorite, beloved quilt needs mending before winter sets in. Appreciate this ode in your two voices... meshed beautifully.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Izy, having known you for 7 years or more, I am amazed that I have never heard your voice before. It made me smile so broadly! I also loved, your reading, Kim. Your pace and emphasis is immaculate.

Also, I loved that we got to engage with the poem 3 times and each gave a new level of understanding. The writing in second person makes the story so much more intimate. Really wonderful work. (I note the freckled knees as an Izy-ism but everything else fits seamlessly together.)

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow. This poem is steeped in the most marvelous imagery and does read seamlessly. I especially loved the nine year old frayed jersey - it rings so true. A wonderful collaboration!

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Lovely work ladies!💕 I loved how you guys shared audio poems with us .. allowing us to hear you both recite it!💕

Margaret said...

Thoroughly enjoyed the individual readings - thank you! Whether this is a quilt (as some have noted) or a "boyfriend sweater" or whatever - I love it. I have both that I treasure - for memories, for comfort. I like the nod to writing in journals or poetry - the "wash away in street puddles..." Freckled knees, marmalade and flyover territory... step a drum beat... Wonderful.

Kim M. Russell said...

Thank you very much for all the kind comments. I really enjoyed my very first collaboration and can't wait to have another go!

Anonymous said...

What a superb collaboration this was and once again two voices become one ( aside from the readings of course) Wonderful stuff. said...

Creature Comforts was a joy to read and listen to. Congrats on some fine writing, Izzy and Kim.

Gillena Cox said...

WOW!!! and the voiced version too. Marvelous you two

Much love...

Magaly Guerrero said...

I love the poem and I'm in LOVE with your voices. Reading it was wonderful, and hearing you guys read it to me was a twin miracle.

Kim M. Russell said...

Thanks Magaly!