Sunday, November 16, 2014

The World According To Madame Zygansky

Madame Zygansky put ideas in our heads--
that much is true.

But to say that she turned us into what we became,
is to say that one woman can feather the crows,
toss them into the sky,
and turn day into night, like a parlor trick.

Investigators,
keen-eyed sirs,
wearing ties that your wives switched out this morning
in replacement of your own unfortunate choices--
question us,
fall in love with us,
betray those wives.

Solve nothing.

We were girls born as a lesson in biology,
mailed by our mothers to Madame Zygansky's doorstep,
aeropost, naturally.

Arriving as witless nightjars, we underwent a lustration
inside our tiny birdskulls.
Madame Zygansky sent books into our brains like secret police,
and music through us to denounce the gray futures
escaped with every second spent under her tutelage.

Dance with us, detectives.
If you keep your little notepads tucked between your palms and ours,
you may still be able to keep our faces--
and the sound of wing beats--
out of your dreams tonight.
Otherwise, in the morning, you will have to report and jail yourselves,
fondling the bombs we gave you as the trains take you away.

Madame Zygansky put ideas into our heads,
cobalt blue on ivory white, with a few flecks of black.

If she turned us into what we became, we bless her for it--
Only a Gypsy knows how to feather the crows
and toss them into the sky,
her flock alive and aloft, with all directions open.
_______

for Kerry's mini-challenge, and dedicated to teachers everywhere.
 

 

19 comments:

Sumana Roy said...

It's much better to be different, free and courageous than to follow the moribund herd...

Björn Rudberg said...

Yes.. sometimes you can change the ways sometimes you can put the feathers on the crows...

The is true.

Debi Swim said...

I agree with Sumana. Interesting write.

lotus blossom said...

This is beautiful. Perfection. And I'm nuts over the image! These are my favorites:
the name "Madame Zygansky"
"Investigators,
keen-eyed sirs,
wearing ties that your wives switched out this morning" (especially "keen-eyed sirs")
"Arriving as witless nightjars"
"and music through us to denounce the gray futures"
"you may still be able to keep our faces" (my favorite part)
"fondling the bombs"
"cobalt blue on ivory white, with a few flecks of black"
"Only a Gypsy knows how to feather the crows
and toss them into the sky,
her flock alive and aloft, with all directions open"

Kerry O'Connor said...

Resounding applause from me, Shay. What a marvel this is in describing the special tuition for girls - much needed in the world of detectives. I love the way you expressed this:

Arriving as witless nightjars, we underwent a lustration
inside our tiny birdskulls.

Not all birds will take to lustration at the hands of a teacher but it is a kind of magic when it happens.

lotus blossom said...

I forgot to say that your last label leaves us with a bit of a hidden message: You are the teacher, waiting for those who are ready, to come and sit at your knees to learn the ways of birdery. Actually, it's the other way around. All we have to do is be ready to accept you into our hearts, and you will bring the lessons to us. I must admit, I'm a little bit tempted. But I don't think my husband would appreciate it. ;)

Seriously, I'm left picturing the wives of these boring detective types becoming bird women, under your tutelage. But then what? Are they destined to the "greatness" of having to go back into the field empowered, but only to woo the same types of men again? Surely there's a more substantial reward for their efforts.

Kathryn Dyche Dechairo said...

Love the imagery of 'feathering crows'. Thought provoking piece.

Vesper said...

I love this idea of tossing crows into the sky to create the night... Amazing!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

A brilliant write, and the last stanza totally lifts off. Love the entire idea of feathering the crows.

Outlawyer said...

A wonderful image of turning day into night with a sky full of feathered crows--crows/crones -- I don't mind which I might be! A wonderful poem for teachers who can be fortune-makers, not just tellers, and of course, I'm not talking of gold. Thanks, Shay. k. (Manicddaily)

Cloudia said...

"Dance with us detectives"

Wish I had skill enough to explain your perfect melding of word/meaning/cadence/snark/knowingness/poetry/iambic/talent/the personal and unique tho shared




ALOHA from Honolulu
ComfortSpiral
=^..^= . <3 . >< } } (°>

Joanna Jenkins said...

Oh, good lord, that was fabulous!
"...mailed by our mothers to Madame Zygansky's doorsteps, aerobats, naturally..."
xo jj

Ella said...

I am part crow and I love your poem!
Magical!

my heart's love songs said...

i want to learn how to "feather the crows and toss them into the sky."

LOVE this, Sis!

Marian said...

that explains it... lustration! of course.

Mama Zen said...

This is beyond exquisite, Shay. Really.

Daryl said...

'… all directions open'

amen sistah

grapeling said...

this is way cool ~

Susie Clevenger said...

Amazing piece. I love "witless nightjars"
I could have used Madame Zygansky when I was about fifteen.