Thursday, October 26, 2017

John Doyle writes

America, You Give Me Your Daughters
Playing Tiny Dancer on a small-town juke box
for the 19 year old girls who didn't make it home, 
mom and pop raise a glass to Gaia, 
as the mane-sheared Bundy struggles in choking smoke.

A crackling drive-way
crumbles stone as a killer's bones spark and detach, 
curtains teasing their slit open;
a baseball cap/

dicky-bow combo 
boy called Scott 
calls her to her parents - 
"evening, Sir and M'am".

I think of Laura Ingalls Wilder,
sitting by a stream in Maryland 
thinking of boys
for the very first time;

the water slips cool, 
uncharted - 
and tricking in the breasts and finger-gaps of Goddesses;

I think of each one's skin 
glazed in that grace of waters,
the smoke that dips behind a snow-caked mountain, 
girls in ankle-length dresses, tripping and laughing, running to mom,

and their faces 
break the chain of haunted ripples,
their living 
is the gift returned, their flesh un-burned
Image result for gaia paintings
 Gaia -- Corne Akkers 


  1. Gaia (a poetical form of Ge, Greek for "land" or "earth") was one of the primordial deities, the ancestral mother of all life. In the “Theogony” Hesiodos wrote how after Chaos, "wide-bosomed" Gaia arose to be the everlasting seat of the immortals who possess Olympus above and the depths of Tartarus below. Then "without sweet union of love" she brought forth Uranus (Heaven, Sky) to "cover her on every side" and to be the abode of the gods, Pontus (the sea), and the hills (Ourea) and islands (Nesoi). With Uranus she bore the Titans (including Okeanos, the world-encircling river; Koios, the celestial axis who was also the god of intellect; Iapetos, the god of craftsmanship and mortality; Huperion, a sun god associated with watchfulness, wisdom, and light; Themis, the goddess of divine order, fairness, law, and custom; Theia, the goddess of glory; Phoebe, a moon goddess associated with prophecy; Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory; and Kronos, time) and the Cyclopes (Thunder, Lightning, and Bright). To punish Uranus for hiding the Cyclopes in a secret place within her, she created a gray flint sickle with which Kronos castrated him; from his blood she produced the Erinyes (the deities of vengeance) and from his testicles, Aphrodite (love). Oaths sworn in her name were regarded as the most binding.
    Ted Bundy was an American serial killer, rapist, and necrophile who confessed to 30 homicides between 1974 and 1978 but may have been responsible for many more and once hinted that it many have been around 130. He decapitated at least a dozen of his victims, keeping several of their heads as mementos. He also groomed and performed sexual acts on the corpses of his victims until putrefaction made it impossible to do so. He was executed in Florida in 1989. Before he died he claimed that the victim “becomes a part of you, and you are forever one … and the grounds where you kill them or leave them become sacred to you, and you will always be drawn back to them.”

  2. Laura Ingalls was born in Wisconsin in 1867 but moved to Missouri and Kansas and back to Wisconsin by 1871, then to Minnesota and Iowa, back to Minnesota, and then to the Dakota Territory in 1879. Two months before her 16th birthday she began teaching school, though she never graduated from high school. In 1885 she married Almanzo Wilder and bore a daughter Rose in 1886. After years of hardship (the death of a 12-day-old son, the partial paralysis of Almanzo due to diphtheria, the loss of their house and barn due to fires, and severe drought) they moved briefly to Florida and then settled in Missouri. In 1911 she began writing columns for the “Missouri Ruralist,” and from 1924 began to collaborate with her divorced daughter Rose Wilder Lane (who had begun writing professionally in 1908 and became a full-time editor/columnist for the “San Francisco bulletin” in 1915; in the late 1920s she would be one of the highest-paid female writers in the US). After both women were wiped out by the 1929 stock market crash, Laura began writing her recollections of growing up on the frontier. In 1929-30 she wrote “Pioneer Girl” but could not find a publisher (it finally came out in 2014), and Rose advised her to rewrite it for children. She submitted “When Grandma Was a Little Girl” to Rose’s publisher Harper & Brothers and then expanded and retitled it “Little House in the Big Woods” on the advice of Harper in 1931. This was the first of her series of 9 “Little House on the Prairie” books and generated an initial $500 royalties check (worth nearly $9,000 in today’s currency). The series has been continuously in print, translated into 40 languages, and was the source for a popular American TV series from 1974 to 1982. After 1932 Rose continued to help with the series by correspondence, though her role as ghost rider progressively declined, but her own most popular short stories and novels (“Let the Hurricane Roar/Young Pioneers” [1932] and “Free Land” [1938]) were based on her mother’s family tales; “The Saturday Evening Post” paid her $30,000 (= over a half million dollars) to serialize “Free Land.” The last “Little House” book in her lifetime, “These Happy Golden Years,” was published in 1943, but the unfinished “The First Four Years” was published posthumously in 1971. Laura died in 1957, 3 days after her 90th birthday. Meanwhile, in the 1940s, Rose mostly abandoned commercial fiction to write a weekly column for the nation’s most widely read African-American newspaper, “The Pittsburgh Courier,” and developed libertarian/individualist views; her novel “The Discovery of Freedom” was published in 1943, the same year as Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” and Isabel Paterson’s “The God of the Machine” – the tree women are regarded as the founding mothers of the American libertarian movement. She kept busy writing and traveling; in 1965 at 78 she traveled to Vietnam to cover the war for “Woman’s Day and died in 1968.

  3. Tiny Dancer

    Blue jean baby, L.A. lady, seamstress for the band
    Pretty eyed, pirate smile, you'll marry a music man
    Ballerina, you must have seen her dancing in the sand
    And now she's in me, always with me, tiny dancer in my hand

    Jesus Freaks out in the street
    Handing tickets out for God
    Turning back she just laughs
    The boulevard is not that bad

    Piano man he makes his stand
    In the auditorium
    Looking on she sings the songs
    The words she knows the tune she hums

    But oh how it feels so real
    Lying here with no one near
    Only you and you can hear me
    When I say softly slowly

    Hold me closer tiny dancer
    Count the headlights on the highway
    Lay me down in sheets of linen
    You had a busy day today
    Hold me closer tiny dancer
    Count the headlights on the highway
    Lay me down in sheets of linen
    You had a busy day today
    (Elton John/Bernie Taupin)

    Taupin later talked about the origins of the song: “We came to California in the fall of 1970, and sunshine radiated from the populace. I was trying to capture the spirit of that time, encapsulated by the women we met -- especially at the clothes stores up and down the Strip in L.A. They were free spirits, sexy in hip-huggers and lacy blouses, and very ethereal, the way they moved. So different from what I’d been used to in England. And they all wanted to sew patches on your jeans. They’d mother you and sleep with you -- it was the perfect oedipal complex."


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