Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Millicent Jarr

Some women fall apart, like old barns.
They go grey, they bend, and then
over they go
in a little cloud of dust,
annoying the poultry, who scatter.

Millicent Jarr wasn't like that.
What she did, my googly-eyed friends,
was to take stock.
Doesn't a human being deserve at least the dignity one gives
to a row of preserves in a cellar?

She set her feet on the path to another life.
Literally.
She stacked her limbs in the back of a tiny flatbed,
as a logger might.
Her neighbors clucked.
She gave them the finger.

She rolled her heart in meat tenderizer,
and hung her spleen in the smokehouse.
As she cooked,
her hands got into everything,
and her fingers she laid aside because
Goddess knows where they'd been.

Millicent Jarr played cage-the-bluebird with her ribs,
and the thing sang like it had lived forty years on the Delta.
Pleased, she released it
after giving it her eyes as earrings.
The things she saw, from then on!

Her teeth she turned loose--
they had always smiled only when they felt like it anyway;
and her tongue she tossed into the fire.
After that, men resented her, each hoping to catch her alone
in order to show her the error of her ways.
Women clipped her burning tongue to their ears,
then, blushing, locked their bedroom doors and stayed in there for hours.

Millicent Jarr does what she wants.
She's everywhere,
like Jesus,
like kudzu.
She's not the barn, but the animals that left it
to turn feral once again.

If you men go out onto the plains to catch her,
rotsa ruck.
She will see you first, and start running,
hell for hopscotch
on Tuesday,
and out there on the flat lands,
you will still see her happy ass on Friday,
but too far ahead of you
to shoot.
_______

20 comments:

Lynn said...

She rolled her heart in meat tenderizer. Great line!

Kerry O'Connor said...

Doesn't a human being deserve at least the dignity one gives
to a row of preserves in a cellar?

To me, this is the pivotal question, I have seen many women fade away like that old barn, and what a great antidote you have provided: the feminine equivalent of "Do not go gentle.." and just so stylishly wrought.

hedgewitch said...

Amazing poem--literally a steamroller for me, all the body parts that make us a human machine instead purposefully altered from physical to spiritual assets as age makes physical obsolete--that fifth stanza is beyond anything. *throws keyboard on floor and stomps on it* You set a high standard here to live up to, both in the writing and the resilience of Ms Jarr herself.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

I love you and your courageous, authentic heart. It is the challenge of every person living in a society to find who their authentic self is and to honor that self. You have done it with more style and self-awareness than most and my life is the richer for it. This man would seek you out in the field only to hug the hell out of you in gratitude. - Your Pal, Mosk

TexWisGirl said...

really liked this. wish i had her balls.

rosemary mint said...

Oh, Millicent. This is one of your best poems.

These are my favorites:

"She stacked her limbs in the back of a tiny flatbed"

"hung her spleen in the smokehouse"

"her hands got into everything,
and her fingers she laid aside because
Goddess knows where they'd been" (chuckle)

"the thing sang like it had lived forty years on the Delta"

"Pleased, she released it
after giving it her eyes as earrings"

"Women clipped her burning tongue to their ears,
then, blushing, locked their bedroom doors and stayed in there for hours."

"but too far ahead of you
to shoot"

Funny the things men hunt. Have I told you that you are a magnificent writer whom I look forward to reading daily?

Sherry Blue Sky said...

OH! MY! GODDESS! I so enjoyed every word and line of this. SO many fave lines: especially women falling apart "like old barns". Yup,that's me! The laid aside fingers, the eyes as earrings, the tongue and blushing women - how do you DO it day after day? Love the feral animals and the "rotsa ruck". FANTASTIC writing, and imagining, here, kiddo.

Sioux said...

There are too many wonderful lines to note, but a couple I loved especially are "hell for hopscotch"
and "rotsa ruck."

What did you put in your Bolthouse to inspire this? I want some. ;)

Titanium said...

Hot DAMN. This is good. This is BEYOND good, woman.

More, please.

HermanTurnip said...

Millicent Jarr is a force of nature, and not one to be tamed. Great work!

Mama Zen said...

You are amazing.

gabrielle said...

Hell of a twist on wearing purple. Far be it from me to annoy the poultry.

Hannah Stephenson said...

I'm scared of her, but I'm also rooting for her.

Daryl Edelstein said...

Team Jarr here!

Helen said...

I want to BE her!!!

Tammy said...

Wonderful.

Mary Jane Bane said...

Lord, I love this poem. I don't have words for how much. It's amazing. I've only just discovered your blog and read only one other poem; you are exploding with wicked talent. I am in love.

Fireblossom said...

Mary Jane--

Thanks so much for the visit and comment. I visited your Google+ page and tried to comment back, but kept getting an error message.

Lydia said...

As for Hedge, this was a "steamroller" for me too. What a brilliant, totally captivating, fully entertaining poem. From Doesn't a human being deserve at least the dignity one gives
to a row of preserves in a cellar?
to Her neighbors clucked.
She gave them the finger.
to Goddess knows to this whole stanza:

Millicent Jarr played cage-the-bluebird with her ribs,
and the thing sang like it had lived forty years on the Delta.
Pleased, she released it
after giving it her eyes as earrings.
The things she saw, from then on!


to She's everywhere,
like Jesus,
like kudzu.
to
rotsa ruck.
She will see you first, and start running,
hell for hopscotch
...it all simply sparks my entire being. Oh, and did I mention I love her name?!!!

Lolamouse said...

This was fantastic and even made me look forward (a bit!) to getting older! M.J.'s tricks sure beat the hell outta just wearing purple! I'd like to hang this one on my wall, Shay.