Saturday, September 17, 2016

Jack Scott writes


[Part I]

Time was needle-sharp when new
to separate skins.
Each longs for unadulterated blood:
the fresh pink veins of childhood’s girl,
the blue of childhood’s boy
when love flowed sweet
as milk from mother
directly from each lover to the other.
Love is heroin to the spirit,
which could have lived without it
well, and less expensively.

Untoughened by the skin’s abuse
withdrawal strikes like rusty nails
bent double back and forth by rival hammers
until fatigued and broken off
bluntly flush with wooden skin.
The appearance of surfaces
as smooth and even
is far preferable to stubble
and the risk of others
grading you and keeping score.

The nurse who ghosts her station,
lingering last on call,
polishing perfection dull,
scrubbing at the germs,
taking secret inventory
long after sister angels
have flown back to their nests,
self-medicates against
her homeward journey
and what lies at its end:
second morning of the day.

Prince-less Snow White,
prepares for solitary exodus
pulling out chin whiskers in acned mirror,
brushing her lackluster hair,
sniffing smells that won’t wash off
clinging to the uniform
she’s dreading to take off
and expose her image
to possibility of eyes,
especially her own.
Withdrawal is lidless snake
coiled into a question mark
lying deadly
in the sentence of the trail
interrogating all who try to pass:
Why me? Why me?
Wordless password,
resonated deeply,
statistically asleep,
though no one knows for sure,
is lying in the middle of the only path
between what never was
and what will never be,
clogging it for others.
Though the snake may seem asleep,
the fangs remain awake.

1 comment:

  1. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were 19th-century philologist/lexicographers who collected and published German folklore. Their first collection, “Kinder- und Hausmärchen“ (Children's and Household Tales, but usually called “Grimm's Fairy Tales” in English)was published in 1812 and included Tale 53, “Sneewittchen.“ (They continued to revise the story until 1854.) It is representative of type 709 in the Aarne–Thompson folklore classification system. In its final version, a young queen pricked her finger with a needle, causing three drops of blood to drip onto the snow which as gathered on the black windowsill, causing her to wish she had a daughter with skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony. She gave birth to a baby, whom she named Snow White, but died soon afterward. The king remarried; the new queen; jealous of her stepdaughter’s beauty, tried to have her killed, but the murderer spared her life. Seven dwarfs became her protectors. When the queen learned what had happened, she disguised herself as an old peddler and gave Snow White some laces and used them to die Snow White so tightly that she became unconscious, but the dwarfs rescued her. Trying again, the queen presented Snow White with a poisoned comb, again causing her to faint when she brushed her hair with it; again, the dwarfs rescued her. Finally, the queen disguised herself as a farmer’s wife; she ate the harmless white half of a apple herself and gave the poisoned red half to Snow White, who collapsed. The dwarfs placed her in a glass casket. A traveling prince fell in love with her beauty and persuaded the dwarfs to let him have her’ when he lifted the coffin to carry it away, a piece of red apple fell from her mouth and Snow White awoke. At their wedding, the queen died in a fit of rage, and the prince and Snow White lived happily together. In the original story, and in other variations, the villain was Snow White’s jealous mother, who abandoned her daughter in the woods; she was forced to dance to death at the wedding. Usually, the huntsman sent to murder Snow White convinced the queen that Snow White was dead by presenting her with the heart of an animal he slew, but the Grimms sometimes had the queen eating the lungs and liver presented to her by the huntsman. (In the most familiar modern version, Walt Disney’s 1937 animated film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the queen died when she fled from the murder scene, and Snow White was revived by the prince’s kiss.) The story may have been embroidered from real events; for example, in 1549, Katharina of Hatzfeld, the wife of Philip IV, the Lutheran count of Waldeck, sent her 16-year-old stepdaughter Margaretha to Brussels, where she fell in love with the future Felipe II of Catholic Spain; five years later Margarete died, apparently having been poisoned, perhaps on the orders of his father, emperor Charles V, who had abdicated as king of Naples and Sicily in favor of Felipe the year before and was about to abdicate as king of Spain; Felipe married his cousin Mary I of England the same year that Margaretha died. In 1833, Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin wrote his own poetic version, “The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights.”


Join the conversation! What is your reaction to the post?