Above the cacophony of a whirlwind trip to Saskatchewan, home finds me pondering an unexpected gift. One uninterrupted day, spent not with an 80 year old blind woman, but with Margaret – poet, author, artist and philosopher, who happens to be my mother. Her poem Case Histories languished in faded mimeograph purple, forty years of solitary card-board box confinement. A sheet of yellowing paper atop hundreds of short stories, poems and drawings. “Read it to me” she said, “I wrote it without punctuation”.
I cant stand this too splendid too pale believe me Ill leave him I mean it all this marble this alabaster these pearls these sly opals winking weak colors through their milk the food we eat pale splendid food white asparagus tips bleached almonds blanched endive shoots seedless grapes fiddlehead ferns like pale green fetuses on porcelain plates ugh he would faint if he knew how I feel he is so pale and splendid he wont give it a thought his fine chalky hands his long slender back his high arched nose his buttercup hair did you know his hair is thinning what a joke mine is black and thick as ever funny it shames me I tie it up in this snood cant do a thing with my red ladyapple cheeks I frighten him he would like to coop me up my crystal case take me out every six months for that butterfly brush he calls a kiss he is the sick one strokes that fool milk eyed steed leans dreaming against its flank splendid pale
and so I do not think I will ever have a child what will I do what will I do my mother had a trick with a needle prick prick prick snow ebony blood and presto she had me Ive tried it nothing so far I hate embroidary
not a little girl I want a little boy nut brown hair russet skin dark merry eyes blunt hands sturdy legs blustery laugh yes yes yes I know where this comes from what of it
in my dreams Im in the forest the cottage glows with lamplight Im cooking vegetables decent turnips in an iron pot roasted potatoes chickpeas gravy a haunch of venison all juice blackberry wine mulled cloves cinnamon nutmeg the little men come in hooded happy I bend for their rough kiss beards tickle breath warm innocent they open their pockets rubies garnets sardonyx hematite cairngorm all still in the matrix all unpolished all glinting
oh doctor I was rich the night dark as amethyst the firelight like toast no sign of the witch no sign of the prince
Margaret waits til I finish then asks me to keep her writing when she’s gone. “I know you’re the one person who’ll appreciate it”. I’ll make sure nothing happens to it, but believe me – my appreciation has company.
Protest woke to the silence of tears dropping on the floor. Unable to move or feel her body. Familiarity steadied her enough to find a point of reference. Breathing slowed as she recognized herself; twisted in drenched bed clothes, her once beautifully sculpted arms lashing at the night beneath muffled cries. Struggles to comprehend the image of herself, immediately overshadowed by a blinding light.
Protest gasped as oppressive heat choked her lungs, acrid stench uncurled as dusty roads gave way to city streets, music filled the air. Songs of hope, freedom and purpose invited her into homes, corner stores and coffee shops. Her steps quickened; swirls of conviction laughed as they placed soft grass beneath her toes. Millions of voices buoyed her passage – she swears she saw a rabbit dance the jig.
Sharp pain stopped Protest in her tracks, blood pooling beneath stubbed toes as she stood on a bed of glass. She hadn’t noticed the ominous skies, stoked by icy winds, now taunting her with their cackle. The streets were silent, as if under a spell of darkness – opaque voices snickered, Protest managed a wobbly defiant walk, peering into cafes and shops once filled with promise. Thousands of mute heads cast downwards at flickering screens, fingers tapping keyboards assaulted her senses. One brave little puddle of reason wailed a hasty goodbye as it disappeared down a greasy drain.
Protest bolted upright, her dream vibrating taunts, her lobotomy complete. Protest wept; not for herself but for those who had forgotten her.
In keeping with the A – Z poetry challenge; I offer Pink. Penned 40 years ago by my mother, an example of `pink prose` offered to students in her English class. So bad and unlike any of her published prose, all I can do is laugh out loud. I`m certain she`ll crack a smile when I call her tomorrow to tell her `Pink`is public.
The summer I finally got laid, was a summer of pink lemonade.
With pink geraniums in the gin,
Pink fireflies flitting out and in.
Pink planets plunking banjo stars, with Jupiter as pink as Mars.
When rosy Venus opened up, my blushing petals like a cup,
I laughed like strawberry jello to think,
Even the panther invader was pink.
We combed our hair with pink shell combs, sunrise was pink when we went home.
I write it all down with my pink pen, because pinks been my colour ever since then.
Obviously this is not a `P`poem but a `Pink`poem; chuck me out of the A – Z challenge with apologies for trying to slip it in. I needed a laugh and this horrible prose makes me smile.