Sunday, February 3, 2013

Chickamauga Sharon

Chickamauga Sharon was a licensed mortician--
she could rock a back-tied smock
and cook the books, too.
Her lips left long enough to the ear of a stiff
would have them up off the stainless steel and gone to the liquor store,
picking her up a snort
to get her through the afternoon.

Sweet little me and Chickamauga Sharon--
what a hot mess that was,
both of us all over the place and warm to the touch.
No telling where one began or the other left off--
just us
setting the drapes on fire,
filling the flaming heart of the best June on record.

Chickamauga Sharon stayed sweet until July--
that's how I learned that what starts out hot
doesn't last very long.
She got cooler, and came back to herself
like a candle burning backwards,
gathering its wax skin and going out,
down Lee-Gordon Mill Road
to a meeting.

Every night at 8,
she sat at a table in a church basement--
straight and cold as an unlit taper,
with only the tip of her tongue to play
the innocent wick;
not telling who she really was,
or where she'd been--
just a jasmine-scented girl
waiting for the right red-head to smile and be
her next struck match.
_______

21 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

like a candle burning backwards... you always amaze me.

TexWisGirl said...

(even when your poetry is so highbrow, i can't understand it!)

hedgewitch said...

Delicious--the anti-romantic, yet full of romance--and these books are definitely cooked ultra-well-done with each little twisty, knacky metaphor and simile on the barbie of this grillwork mistresspiece. Gathering its wax skin--straight and cold as an unlit taper...such a showoff you are, sashaying up to that amazing last line all innocent and all.

Sioux said...

I'm partial to poems that are about matches, Shay.

lily said...

I like the multiple meanings in the last word. I'm sure she rarely, if ever, "meets her match," if you know what I mean. There is something special about a fiery red-head though.

I had to look up the word "chickamauga." What a fascinating title. It ends with "agua" (water) spelled backwards, begins with "chick," and holds "am" in the center. So somehow I think this girl is water and fire at the same time; she must put herself out.

This is a fantastic poem---definitely one for the sidebar list of favorites. Here are some of the best parts:

"she could rock a back-tied smock
and cook the books, too"

"what a hot mess that was,
both of us all over the place and warm to the touch"

"filling the flaming heart of the best June on record"

"that's how I learned that what starts out hot
doesn't last very long.
She got cooler, and came back to herself
like a candle burning backwards"

"with only the tip of her tongue to play
the innocent wick"

"not telling who she really was,
or where she'd been--
just a jasmine-scented girl
waiting for the right red-head to smile and be
her next struck match"

This poem is packed with multiple meanings, like "play," for example. Excellent work.

Cloudia said...

You do always amaze. Seriously, your mind comes up (channels?) SUCH awesome words, concepts. You are so much more than just another person writing poetry in their spare time...
You know beauty, proportion, and the street's grit. you da reeel deeel





Sending YOU Aloha
from Honolulu,
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° >

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Another wonderful tale of intriguing characters.....I liked the "snort" - my mom used to call a drink that.......

Mama Zen said...

Oh, hell. I just love this!

HermanTurnip said...

"Like a candle burning backwards"

Ah yes, I've had my share of similar romances. But you live and learn, I guess...

myheartslovesongs.com said...

"like a candle burning backwards"

"straight and cold as an unlit taper"

"her next struck match"

yes, yes! i know i'm just copying everyone else's quotes, but DAMN, girl! that's some southern belle!

LOVE this!

nene said...

I liked (phew) the ...setting the drapes on fire...

I'm always atuned to those types of double entendres

fills life with that verve thingy

Daryl said...

redheads have all the fun

Kerry O'Connor said...

You have given life to another iconic female character here.

She got cooler, and came back to herself
like a candle burning backwards,
gathering its wax skin and going out...

I thought these lines (quoted) are some of the best I've read to describe the awful falling off of passion we all know from bitter experience (at least most of us do) and yet find so hard to put into words. You got it.

TALON said...

"straight and cold as an unlit taper," - it's lines like this that make me adore your writing, Shay :)

Susan said...

I enjoy this character, another lovable rogue in your gallery of those whose matches would be hard to find! And she's a "licensed mortician"!! That is so cool, for where else could she bring dead to life and her life to the deadened?

G-Man said...

Didn't she have a sister named...
Antietam Annie...?

Nice story, now hows about fetchin me a Mint Julip.

Kim Nelson said...

Brilliant, these images:
candle burning, played in reverse, cooling
setting the drapes on fire
the basement meeting
the duplicitous match

Marian said...

damn, why does that always have to happen? just when you've managed to set the curtains on fire. sigh.

Poet Laundry said...

You know how to sketch a character with formaldehyde and flair. This whole piece rocks the asphalt of the Lee-Gordon Mill Road. Whoever says poetry isn’t fun, hasn’t read you.

sharplittlepencil.com said...

Shay, your portraits of women and relationships always have the right amount of self-deprecating humor and a pinch of snark. Also, the name, Chickamauga Sue, I mean, where do you get this stuff? You have one whizbang whirligig boobs-out mind, and I love it. Rock on! Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.com/2013/02/04/cinquains-for-real-toads/

Susie Clevenger said...

Nothing like a mortician to spark romantic thought..you are always so creative...you have so many snippets of books in your pieces...you leave us wanting more.