Monday, August 20, 2012

Texas 9 To Utopia

On the road to Utopia that night,
You pulled ice house ambrosia wrapped in a napkin out of your clasp purse,
And a plastic flask of nectar from the air
Like a master magician.

"That's quaint," I said through a smile, and gave myself the indulgence of
Straddling you and sucking on your ear.

I wish I had a photograph--
I could have used our thick buzz for film.
I miss your slant look
And your penchant for burning down whatever begged for a match.

These days, I dress for work, keep a schedule;
I menace truants and make inquiry over matters of no consequence at all.

You were the field botanist in boots and boho.
Your herbarium could have gotten us five to ten--
I'd have had no reluctance to do the stretch and ask for nothing more than your kiss-this laugh,
A little taste,
And one more hour on the road to Utopia.
______

for Flipside's word list #7: penchant, reluctance, slant, menace, clasp, master, indulgence, distraction, utopia, inquiry, quaint, photograph, herbarium

jargon note to non-Texas speakers: an ice house is a party store.

confidential to STWIASD: I used the picture I found for you. I cannot be trusted!

 

19 comments:

flipside records said...

I am completely enamored with this poem. I will read it at least 38 times. It is perfectly extraordinary, what you've done with these words. I will point out favorite parts, but genuinely I say I this works so well as a complete whole.

"ice house ambrosia" ... This makes my ears happy and my mouth water. (The drool problem only gets worse from there.)

I thought the sounds in the words I chose worked really well together, but you've masterfully added all the right ingredients to churn this potion into something I can taste from here. What I mean is that your sound is extremely impressive. People don't always realize the work that goes into selecting just the right words to draw out the magic of sound. In your first stanza, for example ... /p/ and /m/ alliteration and short /a/ slant rhyme (a favorite technique of Emily's, I believe).

Here are some examples:
road/Utopia
night/ice
wrapped/napkin/clasp
pulled/purse/plastic
plastic/flask/master
master/magician

A lot of these words probably popped into your head because of their sound connections, not just because you've imagined this scene. Creative visualization and auditory prompting work together in writing poetry like this.

"flask of nectar from the air" ... beautiful

Love the surprising, tantalizing second stanza. Your unexpected transitions make this great fun to read. (Like "I wish I had a photograph...")

"I could have used our thick buzz for film" ... Shay brilliance at its finest.

I love that you are good enough to break the rules. In the third stanza, you stack three statements beginning with "I"---a big no-no in the writing world. But you did it on purpose and did it well, so you can get away with it and make it work.

When I made the list, words like "slant" and "penchant" begged to be bumped up together and your ear told you to do it. This is so key in writing poetry that is pleasing to the ear---being able to hear the words sing to each other.

"I menace truants and make inquiry over matters of no consequence at all." ... Fantastic sentence.

Love the first sentence in the fifth stanza ... again, such an unexpected change of direction

How apropos that you are an enforcer of rules and she leads you to break them.

botanist/boots/boho ... Happy ears. :)

"I'd have had no reluctance to do the stretch and ask for nothing more than your kiss-this laugh" ... One of my favorite parts.

"A little taste" ... So many delicacies packed into three little words.

I love that all this bliss is just "on the road" to Utopia. What on earth would happen if you got there?! Could you even handle it, or would you both explode into the atmosphere?

I am from Texas, so I am quite familiar with ice houses. :)

Fireblossom said...

^^^What a great comment. Thanks!

Full disclosure: it was actually ice house tamales, but I took a little license. We had a presidential visit while I was living there, and I remember it cos he had to be told not to eat the corn husk. But I forget which president it was.

Sioux said...

Oh, this is just everyday Shay. Get with the program, Flipside Records.

Brilliant? Yes. Mercurial voice? Yes. Artistic phrasing? Vivid images? A rhythm that perfectly matches the piece? Yes, yes and yes.

Far Beyond The Ridge said...

Isn't it enough~shouldn't it be?~to believe you're on the road to utopia? Isn't that moment, those moments, utopia enough?
I've been to utopia many times, but never for long enough to hang a hat. But maybe it is the journey, after all, and more than one utopia.
Rick

hedgewitch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lydia said...

Your poetry is rocketing through the stratosphere these days. No more of that plain genius stuff that used to hang around the o-zone....
This is amazing!
(And your tags are hilarious.)

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Re the corn husk - must have been George Bush - or possibly Reagan? He was getting forgetful.....

I so enjoyed every perfect line of this poem, and clever tale. Sigh. My shot of romance for the day. Thank you.

HermanTurnip said...

"I menace truants and make inquiry over matters of no consequence at all."

Ah...so you work in the IT field as well? ;-)

It's funny how similar so many of our jobs really are...

Laurie Kolp said...

Amazing, Shay! I especially like the beginning...

Mama Zen said...

Hey, I remember Ruby!

myheartslovesongs.com said...

now i want tamales!

goes without sayin' ~ love this!

Hannah said...

"People don't always realize the work that goes into selecting just the right words to draw out the magic of sound."

I agree here that you play magically with words, Shay!!

I've been outta the loop and am SO glad to be back and reading this!!

Excellent on so many levels my poetic friend!! :)

Daryl said...

what can i say after flipside .. other than you rock, mama

Archna Sharma said...

I love the nectar and magic and the seductive scent from the beginning. And the qualities that are missed, "burning down whatever begged for a match", awesome. Great little taste.

Kerry O'Connor said...

This brings to mind for me, how our lives are filled to the brim with inconsequential moments, days, conversations, events and that one can probably add up the few Utopian instances on one and a half hands. And your poem brought a few of mine to mind, along with the pain of knowing they can't be relived.. so thanks for that.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Beautiful, winsome, potent and visceral - the poem and the poetess! Love, Mosk

manicddaily said...

Lovely poem - I especially liked:

I wish I had a photograph--
I could have used our thick buzz for film.
I miss your slant look
And your penchant for burning down whatever begged for a match.

punnypalaver said...

You've made me want to get on the road once more. Great phrasing, keen crafting, excellent.

Lolamouse said...

Reading your poetry again makes being back here (almost) bearable! What a great piece to come back to!