Friday, March 4, 2016

Reena Prasad writes

How to be murdered 

(i) The long way
First you stop in your tracks
talking earnestly to street cats
sunbathing on the rims of metal bins
and peel yourself clean
Sweeter without skins
you turn every box into a confession booth
and smile giddily at the indifferent stranger in the lift
You chortle at blank walls
follow the laughing dove’s
crazy hopping patterns
and clamber onto wet park benches
to watch parakeets lip lock
deaf to calls to get you back into line
Before you know it

someone gets infuriated
because you don’t seem upset any longer
The yoke seems to be slipping
off your capable shoulders
as you learn to pedal once more
your feet pulled up
from their stupor
by invisible helium balloons
He sees you about to break
the ‘not free to breathe’ contract
and to keep you safe
from the consequences
of these unprecedented liberties
kills you.

(ii). The short cut
When he stands before you
all male
commanding you to return to bed
you bargain for a minute after twelve
and in the space of an angry breath or two
write a poem in air
about “a lone nose hair
peeping out, quivering in the steam
from a reddening, dilated cave”
and hear the laptop smash against
the silence of the night
and splinter itself
into two.

--Anne Anderson


  1. The Aarne-Thompson system classifies Cinderella as "the persecuted heroine" [510A]. Julius Krohn and his son Kaarle developed a historic-geographic method of comparative folkloristics; their student Antti Aarne further developed it; his initial of what became the Aarne–Thompson tale type index for classifying folktales, first published in 1910, and when the American folklorist Stith Thompson translated Aarne's motif-based classification system in 1928 he enlarged its scope. In 1961 Thompson revised Aarne's catalogue a second time and created the AT-number system. This system was updated and expanded in 2004 when Hans-Jörg Uther published "The Types of International Folktales: A Classification and Bibliography." The ATU indexes are used to organize, classify, and analyze folktales. The earliest :Cinderella: story was published in 7 BCE, concerning Rhodopis, a Greek slave girl who married the pharaoh of Egypt. Around 860 Duan Chengshi published the story of Ye Xian, a hardworking girl who befriended a fish which was actually the reincarnation of her mother who had been killed by her stepmother and sister. Ye Xian saved the magic bones, which helped her dress appropriately for the New Year Festival. Recognized by her step family, she lost her slipper, which the king found. He fell in love with her and rescued her from her cruel stepmother. The first written European version was published by Giambattista Basile in 1634. The name "Cenerentola" comes from the Italian word "cenere" (ash, cinder). Charles Perrault later retold various Basile tales in 1697; he introduced the pumpkin/golden carriage, the transformation-of-animals-into-servants, fairy-godmother, and glass slipper motifs to the "Cendrillon" story. In the 19th century Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm brought out their darker version of the story of Aschenputtel ("Ashfoot"), in which the step sisters cut off parts of their feet to make the golden slipper fit and were eventually blinded. The most popular telling of the story, however, is the 1950 animated film by Walt Disney, based on the Perrault version. It was the first Disney film that combined the talents of all nine of the "Nine Old Men" -- animators Les Clark, Marc Davis, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson, John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman, and Frank Thomas.

  2. Wow! Thank you Duane Vorhees for the fascinating trivia behind the origin of the Cinderella story and also for publishing my poem once again.

  3. As always, all thanks belong to the creator of the poem, not to its presenter.


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