Saturday, April 28, 2012


There's no need to go all medieval on my ass.
No need to fetch out your thumbscrews if my hemline's a little high.

Suit yourself, summon your churchman, he's a fine one.
He's fit to burst, and all I've got to say is that a tonsure and Latin texts
Never made any girl give it up.

Yes, I was at the May fair.
My little son ran ahead of me, laughing at the stilt walkers
And the fire eaters.

Later, I held him by the hand,
Until he begged to be carried. When I settled him against my hip,
He was as hot as a dying star.

I ran home, calling to my husband to bring water,
But he was already dead upon the straw bed,
And my other darling did the same under a red moon that night.

Heave your battle axe and split this stone--
Inside, you will find my heart,
For all the good it will ever do you.

I have been with a thousand men,
Including your churchman, who I made pay me double.
You, I'll do for free, just to give you the French disease.

There's no need to go all medieval on my ass.
I am already damned for all time, not because I've whored,
But because I loved.

for Real Toads photo challenge, featuring the fab Mama Zen. The photograph is hers.


Anonymous said...

Wow. This is really sad and strangely poignant for my day.

hedgewitch said...

The mix of modern language and medieval circumstance and feel is a jolt that makes the happenings in this poem intensely real--more so than if you'd used a more conventional structure, I think, because the whole point is that despite wearing different outfits, everything's the bloody same as it ever was. Last lines are piercing as a lance, red as the red death.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wowzers, kiddo. Blisters on the screen, this one sizzles.

Susie Clevenger said...

This hit Hedgewitch said I too like the mixture of medieval and modern speech. I think because there are those who still have that attitude.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Times may change but people don't, nor does a tragic life story fit into any particular century. These words resound from past to present in their intensity of human pain.

Grace said...

Very nice Shay, I specially like the last 3 lines. The scene of the little son, dying on the straw bed, tore my heart.

Sioux said...

Hedgewitch said it perfectly. This poem captured so well the (modified) saying: Same Shit, Different Century. It was a real bitch being a woman then, and it's still a bitch.

nene said...

Shay, I always feel wealthier after reading you.

Do your butterfly wings flutter rapidly or slowly depending on the creative piece your heart and mind, your soul, depicts?

Do you hover and foat while you write?

Sabroso, mi belleza amiga

Mama Zen said...

Those last lines. Wow, Shay.

De said...

This is utterly breathtaking. Those last lines, especially.
I did one for the Toads photo prompt. The link below is NOT it, but one I think you may like, since it's in this knightly vein:

Anonymous said...

Love the story - your words really led me on... and the conclusion like a sudden smack in the third eye (or thereabouts) - of course! it's love that damns us every time

Kay L. Davies said...

Ruth is right, if we don't love, we never feel that kind of pain.
Your poem is shocking and sad at the same time, Shay, you do that sort of thing so beautifully, and I'm always impressed with your skill.

Lynn said...

Very cool and yes, shocking.

Mary said...

Past and much stays the same!

Hannah said...

"When I settled him against my hip,
He was as hot as a dying star."

I really enjoyed this poem, Shay and this bit really made me stop, a unique way to express here. Thank you!

Daryl Edelstein said...

love .. its occasionally like ripping off a scab .. other times its soothing aloe on scorched skin .. either way its amazing

Herotomost said...

I think you just went medievil on our ass...whew. I just love the "churchman" that conjures up some great images and is an immediate piss off....oh and the French, you rocked it.

Lydia said...

You, woman, have surely lived other lives. This is so story-like, yet so real. "He was as hot as a dying star" has to be one of the best lines ever written. Brilliant, Shay.

Lolamouse said...

Love the mix of old and new. You even managed to take the phrase "going medieval on my ass" which I've gotten so tired of hearing, and turned it on its head! I kneel at your feet, dear.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Sure, pick on the religious hypocrites! That's just shooting fish in a barrel. Loved "hot as a dying star" - and yes, there is much good in you - and if you are damned then we is all damned too, as we have all whored and loved in our own not-so-secret ways. Shay-shay- you are the rill thang and I luvs you for it - your pal, the modest mosk