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La Maddalena: Cantos III and IV

12 Oct

III.

 

in vain you have bent your body to the sun

for twenty years, knees growing rough

as ash bark,

your palms upturned, two blinded doves.

 

the gilt is gone from your skin

men no longer kneel at the fortress of your feet

or press their fingers to the stony walls of your body.

 

you look for meaning

in the shifting of sand dunes –

the slaughter of the fatted calf,

the brush of lips to cheek

in starless gardens –

but you will not find it there.

 

each sunset finds you unchanged

eyes shuttered, ribs stark and slotted

against the clothing of your feral hair,

mouth moving with the taste of a name

you do not recognize

nor have ever known.

 

IV.

 

we are not so different, you and I.

the wood-carved desert stretches before us.

 

we have come so far

and still we do not know where we are going.

 

Like this poem?  Then check out the others in the series:
La Maddalena: Canto 1

La Maddalena: Canto 2

I’m always interested to see how other people interpret the story of Mary Magdalene, so if your opinions differ from or even match mine, I’d love to hear about them in the comments section.

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La Maddalena: Canto II

3 Oct

…you know when I said I’d get back to a regular posting schedule?  Well, that was a terrible, terrible lie.  However, from this point onwards, I’m hoping to post at least weekly.  But any of you who have been to college can probably attest that there’s just so much going on all the time.  And I am easily distracted.

But I am nattering on, and that’s not what you want to read about.  Here’s some poetry.

All rights to *MartaSyrko of www.deviantart.com

liberated,

you spent your time writing

sapphic odes to spiderwebs and salt air.

you slept on the streetcorners of jerusalem

and collected the tears of men

in lead-stoppered bottles.

 

you were

a king among women,

a red-lipped wild thing:

 

wise as solomon, smooth-faced as david.

when you cast your hands into the air

you caught fistfuls of moon hues and metaphor,

a net dredging fish from ocean silt

 

until the man with ground-glass skin

and baling-wire eyes shaded your doorway,

two rough-skinned figs in his hands, offerings

which you took without hesitation.

in the torpid warmth of june he cleansed you

of seven demons, unhurriedly

carefully

while a transistor radio played on the windowsill

and grape shot peppered the alleys with broken glass.

 

by day your lover preached to vicious-eyed masses

while you took pine pitch

and adorned your body with it,

a stroke for every parable:

the fleshly geography of bridegrooms and mustard seeds

 

here a coil of black lines around the arms

there a river delta of contours

in the hollows of the spine

(for this they would call you

a painted woman).

 

by evening you drank sparrow-colored wine

with twelve barefoot men

and scythed your hair off root-deep

to wash the feet of the thirteenth.

 

then the night of the skull:

broken bread and bones,

the clamor of pharisees.

at last the rifle shot.

the earth ruptured like so many

veins.

 

three days tautened, rope-tight,

to months

but there was no stone to roll away.

 

this time you spent weeping on the steps

of the grand cathedral

waiting for your hair to grow long again.

 

Like this poem?  Then check out the others in the series:
Canto I

Cantos III and IV

I’m always interested to see how other people interpret the story of Mary Magdalene, so if your opinions differ from or even match mine, I’d love to hear about them in the comments section.

La Maddalena: Canto I

8 Sep

Well, I did promise that I was going to get back to my regular posting schedule (Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays).  But then my residential college held a game of Infection last night, so I spent the evening sprinting around the engineering complex, whacking zombies with automatic nerf guns and oversized foam swords.  (Priorities, you know.)

So here’s the post I intended on sharing yesterday.

Maria Maddalena, also known as Magdalene Penitent, is a sculpture carved by the Renaissance master Donatello in 1453.  It resides in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence, Italy.  After seeing it on a trip last summer, I couldn’t stop thinking about the image of Mary Magdalene that it presented and (as I usually do when I don’t know exactly how to answer questions pertaining to art) wrote this series of poems  about it.

Mary Magdalene is so often cast as the whore, or as the token female follower of Jesus.  But that image never satisfied me.   What is her significance, this woman whose name means ‘tower fortress’ and who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears?  What were her seven demons, and why did they have to be cast out?  Why was she the first one to witness the Resurrection?

I may not be a Christian, but her complexity has always made me curious.

 

I.

the way you writhed to those old jukebox tunes

as if you had come out of your mother’s womb

with those legs sinuously twisted –

 

you could drive all the boys who idled

in their rusted chevys by the dumpsters

and back alleys

mad.

 

at night they carved your face on pieces of driftwood

and set them loose like prayers

on the sea of galilee

 

but you laughed and twined your guitar-string limbs

into olive trees and sucked on lemons

until the sores in your mouth

cracked and bled.

 

sour red rivulets

watered the roots of burning bushes

and you said nothing.

 

Check out the other poems in the series:

Canto II

Cantos III and IV

A Song for Emma Mariah

6 Sep

All right, dear readers, I’ve finally started to get this whole college deal straight.  After a week and a half of shying away from (and finally giving in to) finicky laundry machines, rousing myself at 8:00 A.M. for anthropology lectures, and learning how to un-stick stuck doors in 90-year-old dorm rooms, I’m beginning to settle in at Mr. Jefferson’s fine institution of learning.  Which means that soon I’ll get back to a regular posting schedule – probably starting tomorrow.

The gorgeous front cover of the latest {tap} issue.

In the meantime, a poem of mine entitled A Song for Emma Mariah will be appearing in the 24th issue of {tap} magazine.  You can find it here (just click ‘expand’ on the homepage).  The project of another young writer and thinker, {tap} is a comprehensive journal with some fierce photography and quality poems/articles, so I highly encourage you to check it out!

Ars Poetica

23 Aug

Ask me to paint you a picture

in sweeping lines,

a malleable and downturned Degas

or a stark Picasso in moon hues –

at this I am useless, nothing,

a child, my hands utterly without

skill –

 

but give me paper and a stub

of slick candle-wax for light

and I will shade the angles of your

face in metaphor;

pencil in your ash-tree eyes

with pearly alliteration;

daub in the shadows under your

cheeks with black-tipped

assonance –

 

let me draw the earthen thorn-curls

of your hair

in hyperboles and oxymorons,

bring you to life on a canvas woven

of seething anastrophe.

 

I dug up this poem from my old files – it’s maybe two years old.  Not the best in terms of technique, maybe, but it really expresses how I feel about writing in general.


I’m moving to UVA in two days, so my posts probably won’t be regular for the next few weeks!  Wish me luck, WordPress.

Six Little Red Caps: Epilogue

17 Aug

Young Grandmother

in the forest

ivy grows thick over an unmarked grave

where six red sisters sleep with eyes open

dirt in their mouths

feathers where their hearts once were

and the howl of a wolf in the night.

 

That’s it – that finishes up my series on Tale of Tales’ “The Path!”   Many people interpret the game endings as meaning that all six sisters died.  However, that’s not how I see it – I believe that each sister has to pass through a sort of trial in order to mature and pass on to the next stage of life.  What do you think?  Do Scarlet, Carmen, Ruby, Ginger, Rose, and Robin die or not at the end, and what do their ‘wolves’ signify?

Written with the permission of Auriea Harvey.  Other poems in the series include:

Six Little Red Caps: Prologue

Six Little Red Caps: Scarlet

Six Little Red Caps: Carmen

Six Little Red Caps: Ruby

Six Little Red Caps: Ginger

Six Little Red Caps: Rose

Six Little Red Caps: Robin

Thanks so much for reading!

Six Little Red Caps: Robin

10 Aug

gramma gave me a coat today!

 

It was red, and soft like momma’s hands in the summertime

and a little small for me

(the doctor says i’m having a growth spurt)

but scarlet said i shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth

so I smiled and smiled and said

thank you Gramma this is real Pretty.

 

It’s to protect you from Wolves she said.

Don’t you believe me Robin?

I said yes Gramma i believe you.

but I didn’t.

i am Seven Years Old and

the forest doesn’t scare me anymore.

 

sometimes weird things do happen in the forest, though.

like this one time.

I found a baby Bird under a tree

with its wings squished up kind of not-normal

and it made my heart feel like it was full of sand, so

I took it home.

even though it smelled funny.

you dumb shit this bird is dead, said ruby,

which made Rose cry.

 

i didn’t cry though.

I just Stared and stared at that little dead bird

and finally i asked Ruby what death really meant.

it means they put you in the ground

cover you up with a coffin lid and mud and flowers

so you can’t get out. it means you’re nothing

forever and ever the end.

 

that’s what she told me

and then I did cry.

 

dear Lord, please don’t make me lie in the ground

forever and ever Amen.

 

Note: This one is a little different from all the others, simply because I was trying to write a poem the way a seven-year-old might.  Thus the change in tone and voice.  Whether I succeeded…eh, who knows?

Written with the permission of Auriea Harvey.  Other poems in the series include:

Six Little Red Caps: Prologue

Six Little Red Caps: Scarlet

Six Little Red Caps: Carmen

Six Little Red Caps: Ruby

Six Little Red Caps: Ginger

Six Little Red Caps: Rose

‘The Path’ is an incredibly complex game with a lot of different interpretations.  If you have views regarding the meaning of any of these characters, especially Robin, I’d love to hear your comments!