Sunday, November 14, 2010

Beauty Breathes: Field Notes from a Mean Person, and A New Draft in The Pig Series

Beauty Breathes: Field Notes from a Mean Person, and A New Draft in The Pig Series

My friend Frank recently e-mailed me about two incidents, which he agreed to let me share as long as I credited him with the title of The Mean Guy Who Pisses Everyone Off. Frank and I had a recent, er...difference of world view, but we worked it through, mostly because he's the generous sort who is quick to apologize, and not grudge-hording, brooding, and self-righteous like me. Here are the stories he told me:

"A Sunday afternoon--partly cloudy. I saw a girl in a purple top hat with a peacock feather in it. That was it. Others were so much more made up, but I was mesmerized by her costume--her hat. She noticed me staring at her. She looked away--embarrassed. The bus pulled away and I despaired that we had communicated so poorly. "No," I wanted to say. "You are perfect. That's why I stared. That's why I will always remember your outrageous feathered hat." Even now, one-half hour later, I have no recollection of her or what clothes she wore--only her perfect purple top hat with a peacock feather in it. Does beauty breathe, or do we breathe beauty?"

"I rented a car because I had a couple of meetings and I had to go to a bunch of out of the way computer suppliers to buy things and so on. When I turned to get on the freeway, there was a truck in front of me. Suddenly, yellow leaves started billowing out of the back of the truck. I assume it had been sitting under a tree. At first, and just for a second or two, I thought, "Great! A bunch of shit hitting my windshield, blocking my view!" But right away, I noticed how beautiful it was. The leaves looked liked yellow rose petals and I almost had the feeling that I was being seduced. It was beautiful. And it was beautiful that it was beautiful."

I feel that I should probably write my own paragraph instead of just leaving it up to Frank to fill in my post for me: On Saturday I attended Joannie Kervran Stangeland's "Writing Poems in Series" workshop--and I have not written that much in such a concentrated time in ages. I have enough raw material now to finish the chapbook I've been plinking away at for months. I get into this ongoing shame spiral in which I think that I am stuck, and my brain freezes up, wholeheartedly buying into the "stuck" concept, and that's what I accept. I buy into to lie of the block, when in fact, I think that 98% of the time, the block is just an illusion. It doesn't exist. It's just my own brain lacking the fuel and tools it needs to get going. I find this discovery immensely calming and freeing.

Pig Series Draft: Field Notes from the Herd

Each night under the lusterless moon
She slices a plum eight ways.
With each nibble she owes herself
a punishment, a rough pinch on her concave belly.
Her flesh is negligible:
We feel the welts ourselves.
She is hungry beyond fathoming.
She suckles the juice from each violet grin.
She does not hold
her offering to the sky
or think to toss us the pits.
Her hands tremble. She will not lick clean the plate,
but carries it inside, her face
a dead orchid in it's cold flat depth.

--Kristen McHenry

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