Monday, December 15, 2014

The Love Letter

Cradled lightly in her gloved hand,
inside her raincoat pocket,
folded carefully within a cream-colored envelope,

a love letter lay nested.

Though no bigger than a minute,
and kept closely by a private sort of girl,
in the way of small things well loved it could not help itself,

and took over the world, 
quietly, 
in ascension.

_________ 

My first effort since before I got sick. Be nice.

for the mini challenge and open link Monday at Toads.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Sick As A Dog

With apologies to Miss Skittles, I have been absent because I am sick as a dog, and have been for several days already. I have some incredibly ucky flu bug.  Skits does try to help by pouncing on me and barking, but I am worthless as a playmate. 

I will be back when i finally feel better.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Data Not Commonly Known

Neil never came back.
What is she supposed to do now? Dust?
She can't--
the task seems too monumental, 
and with him gone, who cares anyway?

He came out of the blue, fell from the sky,
a knight in shining armor.
She should've known he'd have a wife.

He went home to get some things
in 1969.
Now, here she is alone--
losing her mind,

getting older,
and wearing his stupid flag around her face
like a wedding veil.
______


Friday, December 5, 2014

Bells

Quasimodo hefts himself onto the handicapped bench of the cross-town bus,
then takes the newspaper crossword puzzle out of his backpack.

"This metal object has a tongue." 4 letters.
Quasimodo smiles and squirms in his seat because he knows this.
Bell!

"A set of tuned metal bells or tubes." 6 letters.
Chimes!
Quasimodo looks around to see if anyone has noticed his success.
No one has.

"Alexander Graham ____." 4 letters.
He doesn't know this one,
but he's arrived at his stop anyway.

At the Office For Americans With Disabilities,
Quasimodo has a desk. 
On it is a telephone which converts voice into text.

His friend Guy, at the next desk, waves at him.
Pointing to his phone, he signs "drunk asshole again."
Quasimodo's laugh is surprisingly pleasant, though of course, Guy can't hear it.

Quasimodo's phone lights up, indicating a call.
Guy has transferred the drunk dialer to him,
and can be seen hurrying off toward the break room with a bag of Doritos.

Looking at his screen, Quasimodo reads what the caller is saying:
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
                     How it swells!
                     How it dwells
                 On the Future! - how it tells
                 Of the rapture that impels
             To the swinging and the ringing
                 Of the bells, bells, bells -
      Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
                     Bells, bells, bells -
   To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

"May I have your name?" Quasimodo types in.
"Eddie," comes the reply. 

That evening, at O'Brien's Tavern, 
Quasimodo and Eddie sit mooning over a pretty Gypsy girl.
"Go say something to her!" urges Eddie,
but Quasimodo just grins and shakes his head sheepishly.

At nearly two in the morning, Quasimodo hoists Eddie onto his misshapen back
and carries him back to the apartment he had mentioned.
All the while, Eddie mumbles rapturous boozy verse about the Gyspy girl.

Catching the last bus to the group home,
Quasimodo thinks of the girl, and of Eddie's beautiful poems.
"So...lovely..." he says out loud, but no one hears, 
not even the driver perched like a raven in his high seat behind the wheel.
_______

for Fireblossom Friday: mash-ups.  The quoted poem is, of course, by Poe.


      
    
    

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Book Review : "Dickinstein: Emily Dickinson--Mad Scientist"

Dickinstein: Emily Dickinson - Mad ScientistDickinstein: Emily Dickinson - Mad Scientist by Shannon Yarbrough

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A friend sent me a book I had won in a drawing and, knowing what a huge fan of Emily's I am, she slipped this one in with it. What a treat! Even though I had some quibbles, nonetheless this is the most imaginative, wild, unexpected, and entertaining book I have read in some while.

Yarbrough does something that few male authors seem to be able to do: he gets the women right. He has a real ear for how women talk to each other, and best of all, he brings Emily Dickinson to vivid and intimate life here. Her poems appear at the beginning of each chapter, and the descriptions of life at the Homestead made me feel like I was walking next to Emily every step of the way. Having visited the Homestead myself, and felt Emily there, this was pure joy for me.

So, naturally, Yarbrough then turns our girl into a mad scientist! Truth be told, she is not mad at all, except in the way of much madness being divinest sense. A friend sends Emily a copy of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein", and that sets the wheels rolling. (I'll have more to say about that book in a minute.) Emily manages to create a machine that can restore life to small dead creatures. She starts with a damselfly, then a chipmunk, some bees, and a Labrador duck. All the while, she adheres to a set of rules she invents for herself, to keep her pursuits good and right. How long will *that* last, you may be wondering. Not long.

An alliance with a charismatic preacher she comes to call her Master takes Emily down a dark and disturbing path, involving grave robbing, reanimation of a corpse, and the whole hearse-load of Gothic stand-bys. But just when I thought the book had spun away from a believable Emily and straight into late night movie cliche land, it righted itself and stuck the landing.

I did have problems with some things. The author admits beforehand that he altered the timeline of when Emily attended school, for purposes of his story. No problem there. However, there are several other time snafus that just don't wash. One chapter is headed "1845", but then references, in past tense, an event that happened in 1856. That's the year Amherst's new train station opened, and Yarbrough has it electrically lit. He also has a motor car take Emily for a ride home, all in the mid 1850s, a quarter century before the earliest automobile, or electric lighting. The electric lights I could overlook, because it furthers the story, but the car just jarred, in my opinion.

Then there is the business of the "Master" fellow. One minute he is a new, if intriguing, acquaintance, and the next he is her Master with a capital "M". This is not the spirited redhead I know at all, sitting still for that!

I doubt that a copy of "Frankenstein" would ever have made it into Emily's hands. In fact, she was advised to avoid the poetry of Walt Whitman as "unsuitable"! (Too bad...I bet she'd have loved him.) However, the introduction of the Shelley book sets the story in motion, so let's just go with it!

Despite these hiccups, the novel never flags, Emily lives and breathes again (without electrodes!), and this is simply a gorgeous and singular humdinger of a book, if you love Emily (and creepy tales) as much as I do. To make it all even better, the soul of who Emily was stays true right to the end. Even the cover art is way cool, though uncredited. Five stars!



View all my reviews

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Devils

There are devils--
never doubt it.

They are in the details,
and they lounge on the brass cross-piece at the foot of your bed
all through your decumbiture.

Decarnate devils fuck with your read outs
and your precious little decastich.
This little devil screwed the meter.
This little devil scotched the poem.
This little devil cried we we we 
will goose you at your desk
at our will
and all the way home.

Here's your désobligeante 
with a devil on the box beneath the moon.
Here's your digitorium
with a devil to call the tune.

Forget what you've been fed
about doromanic deities.
All there is is devils,
all over,
all in,
all red.

Die now. Why not?
The devil gonna getcha anyway.
Maybe tomorrow.
More likely today.

But what about redemptive grace?
What about angels?
Oh, grow up.
To shelter?
To save?
The devil you say.

_____

thanks to march debzati for some devilishly darling D Words.

decarnate      denied or deprived of physical bodily form
decastich      ten-line poem 

decumbiture      the time spent by an invalid in bed 
désobligeante      carriage for one passenger 
doromania      obsession with giving gifts
digitorium      silent piano for practicing

 
 

 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The King of November

Turn up the collar of your coat, King of November,
and keep talking. Coffee fresh from the pot couldn't warm me any better,
or make my cat eyes betray me and follow any more closely.

This is not my usual haunt. I do most of my waiting
high in the sharp black branches, stuck on a thorn and seeming to sing.
If I go silent now, Majesty, please don't mistake my mood as so many always have.

Would the world end, if I brought my kiss out from shadows
where I have stored it against claw-cut strangers and foggy, distracted loves?
It would at least stop me from talking, this once, eh Highness?

King of November, ruler of a random moment,
turn up the collar of your coat, and by your leave, I will curl myself there,
smaller than usual, an ornament of warmth and pretty utility,

maybe even content, too, until the next breeze arrives
to remind me of my penchant for Queens
and the sweet impossible joy that cats can never claim.
_______

for Get Listed, with grapeling