Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fireblossom Friday: my favorite poem

Dear readers,

Over at Real Toads it is Fireblossom Friday--or will be, a few hours after I post this--and I have asked everyone to select their best or favorite poem from their own work. I really had a hard time deciding. I finally couldn't decide between these two. One is more truly poetic, but the other is a story poem and as my readers know, I love to write that way, too. Please forgive me for trying your patience with so much babble, but I couldn't find any haiku in my notebooks!


"The Far Garden"

When I was young, I asked,

Why are my arms made of blackberry vines?

And why do I

Most love to sit

In the far garden filled

With strawberries and mint?

And why do I have

Cat-tail colored hair?

Why is the thunderhead

A black mother bear?

Why is my skin filled with restless blue lightning

And the pull of the moon?

You dreamed it, child--

Is all that I

Was told, and it's

A sin to lie

A sin to lie.

When I was young, I ran

Away through the wheat under bright summer sun

Until I was alone

Save for sparrow and crow

With south wind for sign post

And further to go

I sang to the quicksilver

Dead in the earth

Who lay with the bear's teeth,

The strawberry red,

And the sweet things that were

You dreamed it, child--

Was all I was told, but the

Far garden called and we

Grew up wild

Grew up wild.


"The Far Garden" is included in my poetry book My Mad Love, available from Amazon.

"At The Aviary"

There is a woman screaming.
She snaps her compact shut and asks, "How did I get so fucking old?"

"Cry me a river," says GorgeousCrazyGirl.
She and the World's Most Brilliant Unemployable Violinist are sitting on some concrete steps at the bird park.

"My fingers hurt," complains the Violinist. She has arthritis in her joints.
"Quit bitching, darling," says her companion, serenely.

A peacock calls.
oh OHHH, oh OHHH.
His spread tail makes the Violinist think of a Japanese fan.

"I played Tokyo once. They loved me. I played them a program of Bach and Vivaldi."
GorgeousCrazyGirl says, "Are they the ones who bind their feet? 
How do they get to their seats? They must be like Weebles."

"You need treatment," says the Violinist, sitting hip to hip with her.
"Treat me, baby!"
They kiss. There is nothing wrong with the Violinist's lips.

The Violinist says, "When I was young, I didn't know there were lesbians."
"There weren't," replies GorgeousCrazyGirl, as calm and smooth as new snow. "There were just dinosaurs, and covered wagons and shit."
The Violinist smacks her on the shoulder, then says, "Ow" and inspects her hand.

It has been a long time since the World's Most Brilliant Unemployable Violinist was able to perform in a professional venue.
It has been almost as long since GorgeousCrazyGirl has been socked away in the bin, or gotten her pretty ass arrested.
They are arcs,
moving in opposite directions,

GorgeousCrazyGirl is wearing a ginormous cowgirl hat, a white tee shirt with a quote on the front, and cut off jeans. 
Her bare legs could stop an army in its tracks.

The Violinist is wearing dark glasses and a Burberry rain coat. She might be attending a funeral. 
"What do you think happens, when we die?" she asks her friend.
"Don't be morbid, honey, "advises The Girl, untroubled as a blue sky in May.

Once, The World's Most Brilliant Unemployable Violinist was reasonably famous, financially well off, and as lonely as the last Great Auk, if it lived on a precipice surrounded by a shark-infested moat.

Once, GorgeousCrazyGirl got her dinner out of dumpsters, and believed the wacky shit her head told her. She didn't have a nickel, or a clue, or command of her own mind. She knows what terror is.

There is Aleve, and Wellbutrin. 
At the bird park, most of the birds are paired off, making babies like Detroit once made Packards.
"They have wings. There's nothing to stop them flying away. Why don't they?" The Violinist is looking up, into the April sky, as if it were the steps to a stage.

"Maybe they like it here," suggests The Girl, as zen as a zebra in a hay factory. "Maybe they have everything they need."
"You really are awfully beautiful," says the Violinist, playing tenderly with The Girl's long black hair.
"That's the rumor," she says, wearily.
"No," the Violinist continues, "you would be beautiful in the dark. To a blind person. With no hands."

GorgeousCrazyGirl snorts loudly, then laughs, a sort musical braying. "You're crazy."
"So was Mozart." The Violinist looks quite young when she smiles.
Then, they are intertwining their fingers and saying nothing at all, 
and everything;
like rests and notes,
which, together make peacocks and people go oh OHH...
oh OHH.

Dedicated to Dana, wherever she is, the first charming crazy girl I fell in love with.

I bear this in common with The Girl: I frequently wear an old cowgirl hat.

Linked to Real Toads Fireblossom Friday.


Cloudia said...

*Clap * CLAP * Applause*

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
=^..^= <3

Marcoantonio Arellano said...

what a wonderful ride from the young to the old yet both in the same moat. brought me in and out of their world with the reality of Detroit



Kerry O'Connor said...

These poems are both deluxe products of Shay Caroline's pen. I love the whimsical beauty of the first - and the poignant counterpoint of the refrain gets me every time I read it.

The second has some of my all-time favourite lines of poetry:

They are arcs,
moving in opposite directions,

Thanks for giving us the chance to read them again.

Lynn said...

I can see why it was difficult to choose between the two - both great in different ways.

TexWisGirl said...

i love the 2nd one. i believe i've read that one of yours before and loved it then, too. :)

sreeja harikrishnan said...

I loved the first beautiful!

Susan said...

Wow, twice. I paused to pull myself out of the first which so echoed my own middle-child experience of growing up--tho it took me so much longer to go with the wild. I thought, no other poem will override this today. And then I read the second and while in its tendrils, completely forgot the first. Love a gal in cowboy boots and hat. Soooo, It will be a while before I plunge into my own poems today. See ya later, Shay.

Sam Edge said...

A great showcase of your deep and diverse talent while I eat glue and laugh too loud at at my own jokes...

You make our beloved language come alive and I love that.

You poetry has some of the most romantic and passionate lines I've ever read. Such as:

"No," the Violinist continues, "you would be beautiful in the dark. To a blind person. With no hands."

Anonymous said...

I love them both, for different reasons - the poesy and ethereal imagery tinged with sharp memories in the first, and yes, the story-line and deftly woven tropes through the second. ~

hedgewitch said...

You know the first one is one of my all time favorites of yours, Shay--it's hard to believe that any poem could be more perfect in itself, but so many of yours are, I have to. I don't remember reading the second before (but may have--you know my brain cell problem)--it's a sublime example of how you create totally believable, real characters that jump off the page with a life of their own. I especially love the way your weave the birds in, as symbols a bit separate from the story of the two lovers, yet also as something greater and more enduring that their love plugs into. Wonderful work, and so glad you posted them both. (Also,that is a cool hat, especially on a city girl;_).)

Anonymous said...

LOVE revisiting both poems ~ since ALL your poems are excellent, you could have posted any of them.

REALLY LOVE the cowgirl hat! ROCKIN' BABY, ROCKIN'!!!!!

{and NO i did NOT post a haikū!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh my heart is just so FULL of these poems. Especially the second one.......what a wonderful, heart-filling tale. Love the Weebles reference. And "zen as a zebra in a hay factory"....and the Great Auk! And the arcs moving in opposite directions, together. I feel like I have just enjoyed the most delectable feast. My compliments to the cook!

G-Man said...


Housecoat with a Cowboy Hat?


Susie Clevenger said...

Both poems are great. I feel a little of my experience in the first one. Love your storytelling. It is so fantastic that a first love left you with so many wonderful things and to still be your muse is really something...I know I will never be disappointed when I stop by here to read!! Love your photo!!

Hannah said...

In your first, I love the voice...almost childlike in the purity and imagination. I really enjoy the thunderhead-lightening-portion and the opening with blackberry vines for arms...excellent writing, Shay!

I love these, "as calm and smooth as new snow." "untroubled as a blue sky in May" and the like...

Great use of dialogue as usual!

Wonderful challenge...thank you!

Ella said...

I am smitten with your first poem! It is like breathing Alaska air-I use to live there-glorious and peaceful, with those blackberry vines, the bear, the lightening...gorgeous!

The second one has this layers of life feel to me-like a decadent wine.

I love the smile you wear with that hat ;D

Helen said...

I could never tire of reading your poetry. Loved both poems for wildly differing reasons, you know how to reach us down deep where it counts.

Helen said...

PS ... That hat perched atop your head? Priceless image.

gabrielle said...

I’m with Susie. We grew up wild. In spite of the duct tape lies that tried to bind us. We grew up wild.

Anonymous said...

Reading you is like taking in a Western vista - raw and primal with dancing cowgirls, too. The first poem is the myth inside the second, what comes after our personal story goes to sleep & dreams. Always great to read you though I'm not always sure I should. - Brendan

Anonymous said...

i can see why they would be hard to choose between as both so different and both wonderful - the second is a story as much as a poem (though so is the first) - both entirely absorbing and uplifting. k.

Grandmother (Mary) said...

I love the first one with all it says so magically about growing up female and wild. I read it in your book and go back to it as both something I relate to and would never have thought to put that way.

Marian said...

love, love that first one. of course.
am i wrong or do you have a GorgeousCrazyGirl series? just love the story and the easy flow of both conversation and observation in that poem, which maybe i've read before, though my addled brain feels like i read other scenarios featuring that stellar character. i'd love to read them as chapters (or maybe you should write more chapters if i'm wrong about this). lovely!

Herotomost said...

Yeah every time I read your stuff I am reminded how in love with your style I on Shay, I could read it forever.

Mama Zen said...

At the Aviary is a favorite of mine. I find it incredibly moving.

Loving that hat, girlfriend!

Peggy said...

Kudos on both!! I enjoy story poems too. I liked this challenge you gave us though I could not pick a favorite. But nonetheless I posted!

Jannie Funster said...

dinos and covered wagons and shit. One of the lines that made me lol. Packards, hay factory, more lols.

"Treatment" that's so cute! :)

Good nite! I'd read more of your wonderful words, but it's a school night, so I best be a turnin' in!!