vertigo

Nov. 25th, 2010 11:32 pm
cedarmyna: illustrated image of a white bird on a branch at night (Default)
vertigo

fiona says you know     some people are afraid
of heights     cliffs     tall buildings     those places
not because they think they'll fall     but because
they think they'll jump

i saw some photographs of sylvia plath     in every one
she's smiling     soft face     quick bright eyes     ted
with his arm around her     and her long dark braid
like a snake down her back

all you can think when you see her     is why
did she do it     but then why did virginia do it
why did frida do it

plath     woolf     kahlo     clever women
with five letter names are cursed     with men
husbands     brothers     doctors     editors
who want to tell them what they can and can't do
with their bodies     and don't want to listen
to their minds

worse     cursed with bodies     that don't listen
bodies they can't control     the bodies decide
when they bleed     when they breed     when they don't
when they die

of course they plunge into ovens     and rivers     and sleep
what else can you do

tall buildings     bridges     train stations     those places
are safe     that stone in your stomach     that knot
in your throat     is your body admitting
you might be in control

yes fiona i know
cedarmyna: illustrated image of a white bird on a branch at night (Default)
Victory

Paionios could not have known,
massaging his Nike into being
like a lover, like a mother giving birth.
The paint must have come off first,
golds and greens peeling away
like a hand being degloved,
Then her wings, crumbling
in an earthquake, her triumphant hand
severed as a spoil of war.
Her other arm went in pieces,
a series of small accidents
taking it away over time,
and her face was defaced by - who?
Some faceless, angry enemy of the Greeks.

In the Olympia Museum she stands
with a dozen other fallen gods,
held together by wire and glue.
She resembles a giant child's push puppet:
press up on the base of her pedestal
and she will collapse.
cedarmyna: illustrated image of a white bird on a branch at night (Default)
April 15, 2:27 a.m.

It started as a struggle.
When the ship sank, Collapsible Lifeboat B
was set to sail, but not yet boarded;
when the last ghastly sound ended
and the ship was sucked under, she floated free.

Two dozen men each saw her first.
Some had been trying to board the nearest lifeboats,
ladies be damned, but were beaten back
by officers with oars. But Collapsible B had no officers,
or at least none already aboard.

She overturned quickly, with fifty arms
tugging her in different directions.
Her sloping underside was slick, slippery,
water turning to ice in the cold air.
A mad king-of-the-hill scramble ensued.

As the water slowly stopped feeling cold, the men knew
they were dying. Jack Thayer was atop the boat then,
and instead of pushing the men off, he began
to help them all on. They all stood, front to back -
they had to, to fit. Then they waited,

soaked and shaking, holding their collective breath
as the water around them got quieter
and the darkness got dimmer, struggling not to shift
their weight, waiting and looking toward the horizon,
waiting for the next bright thing to cross it.


----
I've just realized I should have been doing all of these completely differently.
Revision is going to be extensive.
cedarmyna: illustrated image of a white bird on a branch at night (Default)
This monument

serves to commemorate the sixty-fourth anniversary
of the beginning of the Great Birth
(1946-1964).

It has been erected in honor of those
who gave their lives
(literally or figuratively)

for the benefit of the future.
We remember their sacrifice.
It means as much as any war

and creation should never be eclipsed
by destruction (in our memory
or otherwise.)



-----
("poetry" tag used loosely)
cedarmyna: illustrated image of a white bird on a branch at night (Default)
April 15, 01:05

Lead violinist William Hartley gazes at his left hand,
watching his fingers tap across the strings
as he has for the past four days, not looking
for the right placements, but at his ring finger;
not thinking of the next note but of the next time
he will see Maria - and of the last time he saw her

on the dock at Southampton, wringing her hands,
the way he kissed her fingers and promised
this would be the last trip.
cedarmyna: illustrated image of a white bird on a branch at night (Default)
April 15, 00:30

The architect and the captain are the first to realize
they aren't going to make it to New York.
Music and voices drift in from the deck, amplifying the silence
on the bridge, where they stand together staring
at the plan of the ship, unmoving, unspeaking, like ice.
Two simple facts are blindingly, immutably clear:

The ship can remain floating if four of the front compartments are full,
but the water has flooded five;

The lifeboats can fit 1,178 passengers if filled to capacity,
but there are 2,240 aboard.

The architect stares at his hands and lies to himself
that there's some small, cold comfort in the knowledge
that at least he won't be around to feel the shame
of his mistake revealed to the world in the morning.
When he speaks, he means what have we done?
but he says, "What do we do?"

The captain looks away. "Tell them to lower the lifeboats,"
he says, "and tell the band to keep playing."
cedarmyna: illustrated image of a white bird on a branch at night (Default)
April 14, 23:30

The ship doesn’t hit the ice
so much as scrape alongside it,
making a noise like a shriek harmonizing with a groan,
which resounds across the empty Atlantic
for a good thirty seconds or so.

In her first class cabin, Miss Marguerite Frolicher sits up in her bed
and stares into the dark, wondering why
the ship is docking so suddenly, and so late at night.
Men in the smoking room put down their cards
and wordlessly walk over to the starboard window.
Somewhere in steerage a baby starts crying.

In the moonlight, the ice mountain looks otherworldly,
beautiful and ominous all at once. It tears a hole
in the hull and pops out twelve of her rivets,
flooding five of the forward compartments,
but on A Deck the most spectacular effect is the snow
that suddenly starts to fall, a brief blizzard
of shaved ice – most pieces a fine mist, but several
large enough to fill a man’s hand, and a few
the size of buckets and bowler hats.

After a long pause, a ripple of applause breaks out.
The band, which had been ending its set, begins
a lighthearted reel, and a few couples resume dancing.
The men from the smoking room pour onto the deck
and pick up a game of foot-ball, using a larger chunk of ice.
Mr. Benjamin Guggenheim gazes out across the water
for a moment, then scoops up a round, flat ice piece
the size and shape of a pocket watch.

“Do you think,” he asks, turning to the nearest steward,
“That it would be possible to have this shipped home, as a souvenir?”
Page generated Sep. 25th, 2017 03:00 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios