Monday, September 3, 2012

Sustenance

The thing is,
I have paws the size of frying pans.
When I lived in Paris, and frequented the local cafes,
I often found myself stopped, mid-poem,
Overcome with an electric, instinctual desire
To pounce upon the odd slow waiter
And devour him.

Service became even worse.

Gendarmes questioned me, but carefully,
From behind large heavy wooden desks.
Tired of this treatment,
And filled with a terrible ennui,
I went home to my garret, threw away my dainty white gloves,
Put on my crimson scarf and went to buy a train ticket.

How was I to know that you would be there, at the station?
You always had small, strong hands,
Sure words,
And a way of leaving me as undone as a dropped parfait.
Porters and passengers smiled in passing
To see us, meant for each other, in transit, in love.

There is nothing else, no study in oils,
No natural scene,
More heart-catching than you, becoming naked in a slant of sun.
There is no fountain,
No creamy frosted trifle being passed on a plate,
As familiar with the feeling of eager surrender-in-motion as I was,
That day.

The thing is,
Even under the fingertip touch of such a bold and female knight as you,
I could not keep the muscles under my fur from waking;
I could not sheath my claws,
Nor deny my nature forever.

I hadn't meant to kill the landlord,

But he knocked on our rented cottage door just as you were at my throat
The way I loved for you to be,
And before I knew it,
He was shreds and bones.

Now, I live high in the steep rocks, where no trees grow.
The snow is my cape;
My heart hides deep, beating slow.
My days are long periods of remembering and regret,
A little writing,
And occasional furious bursts of blood and feast.

Please forgive me, Darling,
For not being able to sustain paradise.
It was there,
In your body,
In your deep-water eyes,
And in the things you said, that stay with me still.

Isolation is my natural way. I've made peace with it,
But I never forget you, because
Even those alone
Need sustenance.
_______

for Flipside's word list 10, Hannah's Transforming Fridays #2, and Real Toads Open Link Monday

 

25 comments:

flipside records said...

Holy cow. I think I might be speechless. This is certainly on my Shay Favorites List.

You've written one of the best endings I've ever read, and likewise, the most well-structured, well-thought-out storyline. I will comment more later once I've composed myself.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh my God, this one stopped my breath and very nearly stopped my heart. Incredible writing, which goes to the very heart of love.

Sioux said...

I agree. This one of my top 100 of Shay's poems. Brilliant and powerful and restrained--all at the same time.

Mary said...

Just loved this. That ending stanza takes my breath away. Perfect ending for this poem! You rock!

Mary Jane Bane said...

wow...I love the last few lines.."Even those alone Need Sustenance"...hits home. All your poetry does. love it

De said...

OhmyWORD. This is a fantastic piece, Shay.
"And a way of leaving me as undone as a dropped parfait."
"becoming naked in a slant of sun"

Too much her to love, and list. I'm speechless.

hedgewitch said...

I was smiling at first as I read this, thinking about your flair for creating prototypical and engaging characters, but somewhere along the way, this became more than just a tale, more than just the perfect image to create recognition, and turned into a revaltion of the inner world laid bare in all its longing and brutality. I especially like, for some unknown reason, 'the snow became my cape...' it just seems so quietly real.

I'm thinking of starting the Bald Poet's Society. Please contact me, ladies, if after reading this, rending your garments and denuding your scalps, you have the strength left to join. (We will have wigs in the concessions area.)

Grandmother said...

Goddess help us I'm with Hedgewitch. I admire your courage in revealing yourself this way- you're magnificent in your love. Bald poet's society it is.

Herotomost said...

BaMMMMMM!!!!!! Wow, that was amazing girl. I could read that one a thousand times. What power and emotion. You knocked it outta da park.

Cloudia said...

Shay-riffic!



Aloha from Honolulu,
my friend
Comfort Spiral
=^..^=

flipside records said...

Okay, so I'm all put back together now and can talk.

1) That girl with the button-up is seriously hot. And the tiger eyes (back up at the top) are hypnotic.

2) This is where I knew you were upping your game: "I have paws the size of frying pans"

3) Very telling: "questioned me, but carefully" ... Everyone knows to watch their step around you.

4) This makes me smile (big): "Put on my crimson scarf and went to buy a train ticket"

5) Damn, I can feel this: "And a way of leaving me as undone as a dropped parfait" (love your /p/ alliteration in that section)

6) Excellent transition into the arts: "There is nothing else, no study in oils"

7) Really? Are you for real with this? So good: "As familiar with the feeling of eager surrender-in-motion as I was, That day." (incredibly powerful, demanding rereading several times to let it sink in)

8) I love this as an introduction to a paragraph: "The thing is, ..." No matter what, it always works, especially for you. Fantastic. :)

9) This is like a line of out-of-body-experience shoved in a bottle (drink twice a day): "I could not keep the muscles under my fur from waking" ... So hot and so surreal, anyone could immediately identify with this imagery. It is unfortunate, the reality of atrophy.

10) "I could not sheath my claws,
Nor deny my nature forever." ... Of course not.

11) You would have to make yourself cold to live in the mountains: "My heart hides deep, beating slow"

12) This whole section is a gorgeous embracing of pain, because what else is there when you are where you are: "For not being able to sustain paradise.
It was there,
In your body,
In your deep-water eyes,
And in the things you said, that stay with me still."

13) Love the ending, as I've already said; I like the idea of using the final word of a poem as the title. Lovely framing and sense of completion, the illusion created by this poem ... as if you could really be at "peace with it" knowing she is out there.

14) I know this is an absurdly long comment, but I simply couldn't help it. I've waited all day so that it would be last. Thank you, as always, for contributing such lovely work, Shay. You are an inspiration, my dear.

HermanTurnip said...

Okay, I thought I'd skim this one, but when I saw the line "I have paws the size of frying pans", I stopped, re-read it, then sloooowly began to savor this piece. Awesome work!

Susan said...

I too am the hermit at times, encapsulated in a half-smile, both provocative and forbidding--but you reveal the fire inside isolation with infinite proof that your loins still burn, and you make us feel that as an enticement, a torture--"naked in a slant of sun" "eager surrender in motion" "you were at my throat"--but the perfect romantic hero could not stay civilized for long, not even with such gifts. Sustain the one or the other, as the two halves never reconcile. (Forgive me, Shay, if this is more than a poem. I have responded from my tower as if it were archetypal whereas, in real life, anything is possible.)

Margaret said...

No creamy frosted trifle being passed on a plate,
As familiar with the feeling of eager surrender-in-motion as I was,
That day.

That is just incredible. Passion THAT strong doesn't come 'round every day :)

Susie Clevenger said...

Fantastic Shay, there is such passion throughout the whole piece. I think it is one of your best!

Lynn said...

Shred and bones. My goodness this was cool.

Daryl said...

delicious .. i would go into detail but everyone else has used up all the words

Kerry O'Connor said...

I read this yesterday but despaired of finding the right words to express how affecting I found your story: the Paris setting, the cat-woman's passion, the self-imposed exile... I still have no words, except 'Thank you' for keeping your own words coming, and allowing us to share in your gift.

Jessica Maybury said...

verrrrryyyy nice. Your poem slapped my brain about a bit. I'm so glad to have found this blog :D

Mama Zen said...

I could go on and on about the many lines that make this exquisite, but it's the offhand offing of the landlord that makes it genius and unmistakably you.

Now, I'm off to sunscreen my bald head; it's 105 today!

AmyBird said...

Wow!! :O This is amazing! You are such a good poet! :D

Far Beyond The Ridge said...

To add anything at this point, could only take away. I'll just say i agree with all.
Bravo!
Rick

moondustwriter.com said...

Shay
they have all said it
"magnificent"

...some of us have to
be sustained in our eerie of isolation but the memories are always there
and so is the tell tale crimson scarf
love
Moonie

myheartslovesongs.com said...

one of your best, SP!

Hannah said...

"Now, I live high in the steep rocks, where no trees grow.
The snow is my cape;
My heart hides deep, beating slow."

Your last two stanzas...great way to close.

Your opening though...you always gather my attention fiercely, Shay.

Awesome writing as always...

I apologize for not getting here sooner...I've taken some unexpected breaks lately.

Smiles to you and thanks a bunch for writing to this challenge! :)