Friday, December 01, 2006

2 Poems - Violets for Your Furs and The Cinnamon Peeler

I have 2 poems I am thinking about, remembering them both from my last English class.
I love this first one, definitely not a raw poem.. but very colourful and passionate. I did an oral presentation on this poem and an essay on a few of the poems of George Elliot Clarke.

Violets For you Furs

I still dream the steamed blackness, witness, of you in rain;
I talk about that – pouring living fire on guitar strings,
And suffer Cointreau’s blues aftertaste of burnt orange.
The torturous bitter flavour of the French in Africa,
The crisis of your long black hair assaulting your waist,
Your small, troubling breasts not quite yet spoken for,
Your spontaneous mouth unconsummated with kisses,
‘Cos you cashed in your pretty Negritude and gone.

Ah, you were a living S, all Coltrane and Picasso swerves;
Your hair stranded splendid on the gold beach of your face,
So sweet, I moaned black rum, black sax, black moon,
The black trace of your eyelash like lightening,
The sonorous blackness of your skin after midnight –
The sadness of loving you glimmering in Scotch.
Now, this sheet darkens with the black snow f words;
In my sheets, a glimpse of night falls, then loneliness.

I can’t sleep – haunted by the sad sweetness outside the skull,
The hurtful perfume you bathed in by the yellow lamp,
Three-quarters drunk, your rouged kiss branding my neck,
The orange cry of my mouth kindling your blue night skin.
The night blossoms ugly, I down gilded damnation.
I’ve been lovin’ you – more than words – too long to stop now:
The moon tumbles, caught in fits of grass, seizures of leaves.

He came in to give a presentation one day near the end of the semester unannounced. I had just had a dream about him the nightbefore the dream he came to give an oral presentation and I had figured out why he was writing these poems.. what it was he was searching for through them.. the connection he was looking for & where to find it ( I think Paul had told me earlier) and when he actually came in after class I told him about it.. It seemed very relevant to him.. and he signed my book. He’s from the east coast also, NS, think we relate.

This second poem I didn’t remember so much.. just a haunting memory from that same English class.. but it’s here & I can c&p it. I actually typed out the one above (I like it that much! : )

The Cinnamon Peeler

If I were a cinnamon peeler
I would ride your bed
and leave the yellow bark dust
on your pillow.

Your breasts and shoulders would reek
you could never walk through markets
without the profession of my fingers
floating over you. The blind would
stumble certain of whom they approached
though you might bathe
under the rain gutters, monsoon.

Here on the upper thigh
at this smooth pasture
neighbour to your hair
or the crease
that cuts your back. This ankle.
You will be known among strangers
as the cinnamon peeler's wife.

I could hardly glance at you
before marriage
never touch you
- your keen nosed mother, your rough brothers.
I buried my hands
in saffron, disguised them
over smoking tar,
helped the honey gatherers...
When we swam once
I touched you in the water
and our bodies remained free,
you could hold me and be blind of smell.
You climbed the bank and said

this is how you touch other women
the grass cutter's wife, the lime burner's daughter.
And you searched your arms
for the missing perfume

and knew
what good is it
to be the lime burner's daughter
left with no trace
as if not spoken to in the act of love
as if wounded without the pleasure of a scar.

You touched
your belly to my hands
in the dry air and said
I am the cinnamon
peeler's wife. Smell me.

-- Michael Ondaatje

Great sensual, playful love poem.. love the expression of how love lingers on the body even when away from a loved one.
I was smelling them grinding cinnamon at work and remembered this poem.. a bit more sensual than I remembered.. I just remembered the smells.
When Kaiya was little she always said her feet smell like cherry pie. I think I smell ike apple sauce.. even though I haven’t made it yet.. I am going to do that right now, to bring to work.. love that last recipe for apple sauce posted a few days ago!

It’s pouring out.. have a sensual, scentual day!

Painting detail of Picasso's Le reve, private collection, NY, 1932

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