Poetry

~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~

News Item: Tanya's poetry books:
"Tarot Haiku"
"Celestial Animals"
"A Sampler Of Poems"


~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~

ˇ For Mary Burmeister
ˇ Dusk at the Bookstore
ˇ Dream, January 10, 2004
ˇ Alameda Lilacs
ˇ Marina Village
ˇ Mother
ˇ Full Moon
ˇ Gas Station, Orange County
ˇ Wet Boots
ˇ Scrap Book
ˇ At The Tea Garden ~and~ For You
ˇ Divorce
ˇ A Letter to the Dead
ˇ Portrait of Dorothy Van Ghent Listening to Glenn Gould's Bach
ˇ The Singel
ˇ Spring Rain
ˇ for jg
ˇ Idea
ˇ Is It For You
ˇ Autumn Diptych
ˇ My Computer Doesn't Like Poetry
ˇ Bill ~and~ Inland Mendocino

~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~

A Letter to the Dead

The human intellect is little
more than a pimple on the huge
corporeal nature of our beings.

- Dorothy Bendon Van Ghent,
  literary critic


Dear Mrs. Van Ghent,

I am writing again
Writing from the anger
And fleshiness
You first imposed upon me
Like the pimple of intellect
You thought
To have some brief, eruptive spot
On the huge corporealness of our beings.

In St. Louis last month
Many people
Haggled over your death,
Fought for a scrap of it.
Who was the first to have heard
That you were dead
In Rome?
We pinned our pomposity on us
Like badges

To show that even the most provincial among us
Had had some connection with you.

You would have run from that
The way you told us
You read mysteries in Kansas
Volumes and volumes of mystery stories
To protect yourself
From those
Who had no mystery of their own.

Defensively
To keep a scrap of you with me
I stiffened my back
Stuck my chin in the air
Said
"I know!"
When a man across the table
Blurted out
Clutching at the very scrap of you I wished to hold
That he knew / you were dead
In Rome.

Because you are alive in me
I spoke of you as living
He thought to correct me
To tell me properly
That you are dead,
Feeling
That since he is an academic
And I am not
That he has more right to you
Than I.

He wished to pull out of my grasp
That scrap of you
I stiffened
Straight-backed on my straight-backed chair
"I KNOW!"

I said
Like the small town matrons
Who were jealous of your tininess and your wicked tongue.

Certainly,
I did not know that you had died
Until long after it had happened.
I wrote to you in Rome
Having
Rodent-like ferreted out the address
It would seem
You did not care for those of us who knew you when I did
To have.

There was no answer

But for the dying shock
Of memories
That blossomed out
Before my fuzzy eyes
The day a classmate
Told me
You were dead.

You once told us
Children terrified you
Then, with the extravagance of feeling
That made us always full of joy in your classes,
You told us your son
Roger
Who was tired
Of the fact you could not cook
Tired of living on
Sirloin steak and Hydrox cookies
Taught himself to cook
And cooked for you

From the time that he was nine years old.

Who would have known Roger as you made us love him
Hulking and square backed
He came with his wife to your Christmas party
Warm
And protective
Like a mountain.

In my trusted bookcase
A simple sentence reads
"And to my son, Roger Van Ghent,
for his loyal endurance,
his sustaining trust"
The last acknowledgment
In a small green
And purple paperback.

I am writing again.

Across the lilacs
And the stacks of themes
Glenn Gould playing Bach
Your Newport cigarettes
You complained
About a girl with ribbons in her hair
Who wrote badly
Who wanted boys
And came to writing class
So she could
Be motherly
With poets
And would give up writing
When she got one.

"And you"

You turned on me
Like an eagle on a rabbit
Like a festering pimple
On the consciousness
Of a child who
Even a child stood
Rodent-like and matriarchal
Hid in her bedroom writing poems
Of distant implication

And you knew all that
And looked at me to say you knew all that
And were about to assault me with it
Like an eagle on a rabbit
To tear open the staid, New England skin
That held me mute

Motionless
Under siege
Stupid and full-handed
Fearing discovery
Like the good girl local matrons
Carved me into being
I met your eyes
And the eagle went out of you
And I saw only the lilacs again

"And YOU"

You spoke to me full-eyed
And terrible like a fortune teller
"Are too involved with art to quit."

I am writing again
Writing from the anger
And fleshiness
You first imposed upon me
Like the pimple of intellect
You thought
To have some brief, eruptive spot
On the huge corporealness of our beings.

~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~

<Previous ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ Next>

~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~

Info:
ˇ Home 
ˇ Exhibitions  
ˇ Biography  
ˇ Résumé  
ˇ Copyright  
ˇ What's New!  
ˇ  
Writing:
ˇ True Stories  
ˇ Murals  
ˇ Poetry  
ˇ Middle English  
ˇ Her Books  
ˇ  
ˇ  
Highlights:
ˇ Overview Highlights  
ˇ "Ancient Figures, Timeless Dancers" Highlights 
ˇ "Ancient Figures, Timeless Dancers" Animation 
ˇ Walden Pond Highlights  
ˇ Buddha Highlights: Pictures & Poems 
ˇ Grounding Cat Buddha, Etc. 
ˇ Tarot  
Galleries:
ˇ Current Work  
ˇ EBOS '06  
ˇ SFOS '04  
ˇ SF & HPS  
ˇ Early Work  
ˇ Timepieces  
ˇ Walden 2  

~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~ ˇ ~