Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Rosary

I wear a rosary, five decades long
around my neck--all summer, all winter. 
I keep it close--you can't touch the beads without touching my skin
or occasional sidewalk seraphim.

I've got a thousand faces, wigs on wire stands
kept at the bottom of a duffel--in the closet at the back of my skull.
Choose one, kiss me, wrap a strand around your knuckle
and behold me--raving beauty, former flame, ordinary uggo. 

Water, blessed, still and calm
for angel or centurion--
bless dawn, bless noon, bless sprays of stars
and all that were and all that are.

I've got a lineage, five mothers long
around my neck--all summer, all winter. 
I'm the little girl made of snow, the bride in the vestibule gartered, veiled,
given away--then gone through a dream door, armored, mailed. 

I speak a thousand tongues, Latin and patois
tell scalding truths--in solitude, under storm and palm--
I'm the girl next door, a holy whore, a musical prodigy without instrument
or tenets, a wild child--your pass around pack, your sacrament.

Water, blessed, still and calm
for angel or centurion--
bless dawn, bless noon, bless spray of stars
and all that were and all that are.
_______

For Brendan's multiplicity prompt at Toads on Day 4.

16 comments:

Kerry O'Connor said...

Well, hell, sign me up for the whole bang shoot!

Loved it, Shay. You are all these things and many more to those of us who get free tickets to the magic show.

;-)

Anonymous said...

A varied collection to behold. The thousand tongue stanza really cements the poem for me.

hedgewitch said...

You never disappoint with your command of image, Shay--here you combine them on the rosary string with the beads of repetition and ritual, still strangely wild for what they are. The whole poem is an entity of great force and coherence, but for me it really starts cooking at the fourth stanza, which is just flawless and mind-bending. The way you repeat the chorus haunts as it frames it perfectly.

Sherry Marr said...

What Kerry said. I especially love the stanza that is repeated. But then I love every word and line you write. This was just excellent to read.

annell said...

"Water, blessed, still and calm
for angel or centurion--
bless dawn, bless noon, bless spray of stars
and all that were and all that are."

A beautiful write for sure!!
_______

Toni Spencer said...

What Sherry and Kerry said. I'm on the waiting list for admission to the magic show.

brudberg said...

I so love this... so many images... the unexpected measure of the rosary is just one example of something adding to my thought.

Brendan MacOdrum said...

You take Ameirgin and Whitman and roll them in a sowhat doobie. Nice blend, but who'd what to go there when we can read you? Thanks for all of it.

sarah said...

Love that procession of images and identities. Grows gloriously.

L C Folks said...

Love the images that make up this delightful write. The rythum brings all to life, :-)

willow_switches said...


I love the power of the words, of the startling couplings you make, that attract and detract (in great ways) in the juxtapositions. And like Hedge, for me, the 4th stanza just really smokes - it kinda pulls it all together, a total baptismal immersion, then we're left standing, weak-kneed, to dry off.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Choose one? No no, I choose them all!

Rommy said...

The gloriously heretical imagery here called to the ex-Catholic in me, loud and clear.

Mama Zen said...

Wow. The repetition is fabulous; it gives the feel of an incantation. Gorgeous spellcraft, girl.

grapeling said...

you weave magic, Shay ~

Susie Clevenger said...

I can hear those rosary beads drop with each word. "I speak a thousand tongues, Latin and patois tell scalding truths--in solitude, under storm and palm-"- Love that line.