Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cornucopia



I'm heading into a Thanksgiving week chockful of riches: I'm intending to be in an evening "gratitude" sweat lodge, followed by a friend's birthday celebration; the kids are coming home; Oakley's friend Kayla is arriving from Chicago; my in-laws are coming over; Flan and I are preparing the feast; I'll be consuming that feast, then cleaning up after that feast (with plenty of help from the co-consumers, mind you); then we have one of the year's busier weekends at the gallery beginning the Friday after Turkey Day.

I am feeling overwhelmed, and in the very best way. Rather than write something new to express what's within, I'll post a poem I wrote several years back for my friend A (initial changed). She had hit a particularly rough patch in a life that had been particularly rough by almost anyone's standards. In respect of her privacy, I don't want to reveal that much. I'll just say she's a woman of daunting gifts who's experienced equally daunting setbacks.

Many, many years ago I published a fair amount of poetry in respected literary magazines. When I sent this poem "Cornucopia" to A, she showed up, out of the blue, at the gallery and gave me a hug whose warmth I can still feel. "You know more about me than I do," she said, "and that's good." That was better to hear than any acceptance letter I ever got from any editor of a literary magazine.

When I was younger, my poems were of the lean, mean, sculpted variety. The older I get, my poems, like their author's body, are succumbing to middle age spread. This one could definitely be thinned down, but hey, it's Thanksgiving week! This week's all about excess, and I simply do not have time to wield a blue pencil.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who will be observing the holiday. Itemize those blessings in your personal cornucopia. Take stock, and express the proper gratitude. Whatever you do, remember to shine, and know that you shine.


CORNUCOPIA
for A, who’s ready for more

1.
While you were sleeping, a prosperity elf rolled back the odometer
in your battered, army green Volkswagen van.
When you wake up, that cream puff, like magic,
will have been driven eighty-eight miles in 18 years.

As you slept, a crew of grease angels descended in coveralls.
One of them, who looked a little like your father,
stuck his head under the hood
and topped off the fluid levels with Dom Perignon.
From now on you are entitled:
to Happy Hour 24/7.

Another of the celestial mechanics, the dreamy-eyed one, got busy
hefting a large aluminum hammer.
He began plumping out the bashed-in driver’s door
with marshmallow Bondo,
siphoned down from cumulus clouds.
As you slept, mischievous cherubs, holding funnels,
smiled down on you from that great detail shop in the sky.

Still another worker, who resembled your great-great-grandfather,
rolled under the engine.
Stretched out on one of those little wheeled contraptions,
he replaced your master cylinder
with a system of pie tins and miniature pulleys
connected by a spider’s thread to your future.
From now on, you will know just where you are going.

Even as you were sleeping, the new car smell drifted from the parking lot
and into your nostrils. You sighed.
Now you were in the driver’s seat, your hands on the wheel.
An enormous stretch of fresh blacktop waited to be traveled.
You heard the engine turn over.
You turned on the lights, looked into the rearview,
and saw the back of your father’s head disappearing into the stars.

2.
While you were sleeping, an enchanted plumber,
with a crooked smile just like your younger son’s,
tiptoed into your bathroom. Lifting your tank lid,
he made subtle adjustments in the attitude of your float ball.
The next time you flush,
you will look down and observe the faces of ex-husbands
made palpable, going down.

The faces of husbands
will spin round and round.
The faces of husbands,
with a slurping sound,
will spin counterclockwise,
and under the ground.

Each night, as you lie down to dream,
your sorrows, like so many digested meals, will begin their journey
down 13 miles of pasteboard pipes.
13 miles of pasteboard pipes,
a thirteen-circuit, glittering spiral, a sorcerer’s path of glitter and glue
dreamed by 13 wizards who resemble you.

Even now, as you are dreaming,
wee alchemists, just beneath your bathroom tiles,
have begun to whirl away your sorrows with miniature rotors.
While you sleep, your troubles turn into dollar bills,
meringue pies, lucky pennies, new wheels, amazing sex.

Little wizards cast their spell,
wave their wands at your gates of hell:
Cast your sorrows down a paper chute.
Abracadabra! Presents to boot!



3.
A small naked fertility god has risen
from a trap door on the dark side of your brain.
In place of a cock, he has a horn of plenty,
and he is dancing a little fertility dance,
back and forth, over your corpus callosum.
He spills his blessings, this way and that,
into the dark rivers of your dreaming hemispheres.

Allow please, your closed eyes to dance back and forth.
Follow with your eyes the movements of your fertility god. Back
and forth.
Imagine that your eyes are connected by spider threads to the future.
Your eyes moving can move the future.
Moving your future can move the past. The past moves back,
and forth to the future.
Now dance with your future. Dance
with your past.

Imagine please, a small cornucopia that spins in front of your eyes.
This cornucopia is your present.
You make it spin by being still and opening your eyes.
Now open your eyes please.
Watch your cornucopia spin.
Spin it please, and don’t move just yet.
Don’t close your eyes until your prizes spill out.



4.
Shiny hubcaps,
sorcerers’ caps, cups
of coffee,
coffers full
of lucky pennies,
pieces of pie to go around.
One for you.
One for you.
And one for you.
Peace, gossamer threads,
float balls,
new car smells,
miles
of fresh blacktop,
boyfriends who can drive it.
Yes! One for you!
Winking cherubs
in the rearview,
twinkling wizards
in the sideview.
Headlights, taillights--
they look like you.
You shine.
Your face,
beamed back
from any mirror,
smiles.
You look
like you.
You’re shining too.
Like a penny
you shine.
Can you see
you shine?
You’re lucky
you shine.
It’s plenty
to shine.



50 comments:

Lee said...

That was a very loving thing to do for your friend, San. She is lucky to have you. As am I. I particularly like the last 2 lines, "It's plenty to shine." But I loved the fantasy of the entire piece. Exquisite!

That's an interesting picture. I get different views depending on how close I get to the image. One question I had was, "Is this Rumpelstiltskin's barn?" I probably need to study this some more. I don't think my brain has finished analyzing it.

Glad you are going to have such a great week.

Peace! Hope! & Joy!

San said...

Thank you, Lee. One of these days I'll get around to paring it down, but for now, I thought I'd just let 'er rip.

"Rumpelstiltskin's Barn." That would be a great title for it!

Seems my life is "feast or famine." Like the gallery business. This week we feast. Then back to famine. One of these days, I hope to live a more balanced life. Right.

self taught artist said...

sans,
I'm not one to 'get' poetry and honestly it's easy to lose my interest. I made it halfway through all of this...I will come back and try more later.
what I did read, what I absorbed from it was a feeling. And it reminded me of your paintings. The words in these poems, them selves as words don't mean anything to me, but I get a cloud of something from the bulk of it if that makes sense.
don't over extend yourself on turkey day. i will be making art and doing the same old same old, just another day in la la land.

david mcmahon said...

That is so evocative because it is so ``different''.

You write poetry too, San. Now tell me, is there ANYTHING you cannot do?

Your fan ....

David

San said...

Paula, I send you my best wishes for a great art-making day. Keep on keepin' on...

San said...

Hey David--

What I CAN'T do? That would be a post that would use up all of my alloted space.

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Ooo! That reminds me! Mummy had a poem published this month! She hassent got the complimentry copy ov the book it's in yet. I shall hav to remind her.... hehehe!

Is it troo that Thanksgiving is bigger than Crissmoss over there?

Gosh.

All that terky.

Do yu hav terky for Crismoss, too?

Do yu get a whole month ov eetin choklit?

WOW!

:@o

San said...

B.T. Bear, Esq.--I am most pleased to make your acquaintance and honored indeed that you have seen fit to pay a visit to my humble neck of the woods.

Congratulations to mummy! I will drop in on her.

Thanksgiving isn't really bigger than Christmas here. Christmas is way bigger. But the meal we eat on Thanksgiving is bear-size. No chocolate though. : (

Celebration of Life said...

Hello San! Loved the tribute to your friend. As I read it, I could imagine fairys dancing around her as she slept as they do around me while I sleep; sprinkling healing fairy dust upon me!

Hope your Thanksgiving is great!
Jolene

San said...

Thanks, Jolene. We all need a sprinkling of that healing dust from time to time. I need it A LOT.

Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

murat11 said...

What a lovely rondo (I do not mean this formally, just like the sound of rondo, and it rhymes with Bondo) for "A." I have no idea what Bondo is (actually, I think I do, but I don't want to), but "marshmallow Bondo / siphoned down from cumulus clouds" is exquisite.

The second movement of your rondo is a delight, with the spinning faces (lovely play on its near-anagram, feces): marvelous invention.

And I love the spider-threaded eyes.

"The Alchemist's Dream" crept into my Joni musings this morning, it's Santa Fe/Taos blue door at center, usually the centerpiece of languid adobe sand, but in this case, the eye of a blazing, world-burning storm. There is a painting at the McNay Art Museum here in SA entitled, I think, "Cassandra's Dream." In the foreground is the back of woman in Renassance dress, looking into the rest of a world that is burning down: Troy, no doubt, but all Troys. Your painting put me in mind of Cassandra's vision.

Thank you for the Thanksgiving blessings to us all. May yours be one of peace and family shining. And may that Friday street be an avalanche rumbling with folks hungry for CONVERGENCE.

Question: is Sussan Afrasiabian Armenian, by any chance? I see she is Iran-born, which does not negate the possibility.

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

ooo! A Bear size dinner? I'm comin over!

San said...

Paschal, Bondo is like Botox for cars. Or at least it used to be--stuff to fill in the surface of vehicles that have been "rode rough and put up wet." In the town where I grew up there was a stretch of highway packed with used car lots. Everybody called it Bondo Hill. There's another poem idea, come to think of it.
Glad you liked the flushed faces/whatever.
Yep, I was proud of the spider-threaded eyes. That has to stay.
"The eye of a blazing world-burning storm." You should be an art critic. Maybe I'll take some of your quotes and put them in my bio and attribute them to you. Your name does have an artful, cosmopolitan sound...
Thank you for your Thanksgiving/commercial wishes. Will it be the three of you? Or will there be others with you? We've done both--the cozy immediate family thing, also the larger get-together. I have good memories of both.
To my knowledge, Sussan is not Armenian, but my knowledge is limited. I know I love her paintings. That much I know. Sometimes when I open the gallery in the morning, it's just plain fun to soak up the energy emanating from all of the art.

San said...

B.T., the more the merrier, sweet. The more the merrier.

CHEWY said...

San,
Woe, what a long post today! To give this a proper read I shall print it out. Since today is World Toilet Day, I shall sit on the throne and give it my full attention.

San said...

Chewy, you are gonna be in the right spot when you read section 2 of the poem. Must be a destiny kind of thing.

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Tumbling in to this place, I had no idea how happy it would make me. I reitterate - you are quite a lady. Sorry, out of breath; cavorting in here has knocked the wind from me. I'll return when I've caught up with my thoughts.

San said...

Here, Ms. Scream, take a sip of this tequila. It'll revive you.

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Ha! Now you've really pandered to all of my senses! The poem is a wonderful partner to your painting. I am a poor critic, I will try to convey what my tiny mind sees. The poem - benign mischief with a kind sparkle; magical and joyful in a soothing frenzy to kiss it all better. The painting - fizzing and frothing, popping and sparking, surprising with potions hidden lightly to burst from just beneath and within the surface.

('Course, I've probably cocked the whole meaning up, I never ever do "get" what the proper critics see, but to me? This is magical - just magical!)

San said...

Ms. Scream,

And now the wind's knocked out of me. Absolutely love your take on both pieces. Thank you for looking so closely and with such kind eyes.

"A soothing frenzy to kiss it all better." What a description!

"Potions hidden lightly to burst from just beneath and within the surface." "Potions"-- it's a great word, isn't it? I will come up with a painted something just so I can use that in the title.

"Benign mischief with a kind sparkle." That sounds like you, Ms. Scream.

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Oh san, you make me dance! (Toes are curling..)

Easybreathingfella said...

hi San,

Cornucopia,a horn of plenty, your poetry evokes the wellbeing in catering to your friends needs.

Don't cut it down just let it run and run.

Regards

Keith.

San said...

Ms. Scream: I hope it's not Restless Leg Syndrome. I wonder if people suffer from that in the UK.

San said...

Hey, Keith.

You say, "don't cut it down just let it run and run. " I'm inclined to take your advice. You may have created a monster.

Thank you for the encouragement. Hug.

K M F said...

nice

jsd said...

There's something about this image that for me says come in enter me see where I'll lead - and it's been quite a while since a painting has moved me in that way - thank you for sharing your art.

San said...

KMF, thanks for the visit!

San said...

JS, what a lovely thing to hear from you--music to my tired ears. Thanks much! I'll see what's happening over at your place...

Celebration of Life said...

Hi San! While I am staying in Arizona, I feel like we are neighbors living next door! Gotta cup of sugar and two eggs I can borrow? LOL

Gary is someone I met in the waiting room of my chiropractor; we have only been going out for a short time but at my age and with my life experiences, it didn't take me long to figure out that I was wasting my time. His ideal woman in skinny and blond (something I will never be) and will shack up with him and take care of his goats (something I could never do). It's best to say bye, bye now and remain friendly.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Jolene

San said...

Hey Jolene--

Mystery solved. Thank you. G. doesn't sound like the brightest addition to your personal cornucopia, especially with those goats in tow.

Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Hmmn. I happen to like goats, and (smug, smug, smug) am skinny and blonde. Hubby might object though..


Grin.

San said...

Well, Carol, if hubby misbehaves, just tell him your Prince Charming, the goatman, awaits you in a chiropractor's office in Wyoming. One transatlanctic flight away.

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Tee-hee. I can always blame it upon restless leg syndrome..

San said...

Carol--restless leg, wandering eye, whatever--chiropractors treat all kinds of things these days. Wander what Gary the Goatman's there for. Besides hitting on Jolene.

kate said...

That was a lovely poem ... although Canadian Thanksgiving is in October, I seem to be getting in the spirit of the time all over again through blog reading. There is always much to be thankful for ... and often I don't stop to take stock of the blessings.

I'm hoping this upcoming weekend is a good one for you and your gallery!

QUASAR9 said...

Wishing you a great Thanksgiving
full of chocolate & riches

Celebration of Life said...

LOL @ Shrink and San!

I have nothing against skinny blondes, Shrink, it's just that I will never be one. I have a large frame and am naturally brunette. I can't see changing who I am and what I am for any man. I feel that either they take me as I am or just leave me alone!

Gary is probably hanging out there to find a sturdy Wyoming Goat Woman! LOL I have nothing against goats either it's just that taking care of them and cleaning their pens was not on my list of things I want to accomplish in my life!

Jolene

Daphne said...

I'm thrilled to read your other creative work. You've really got it going on San!

I really enjoyed your poem. Somehow,for an unpracticed poetry reader like myself you painted your words in a way that I could see beautifully.

Have a happy holiday.

indicaspecies said...

San,

Gorgeous painting and beautiful poetry in one post. Brilliant work.

I've posted a poem on my space today that I had composed about 3 months back.

Have an overwhelming holiday, in the very best way.

celine

david mcmahon said...

Have a great Thanksgiving, San

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

BOO!

Hehehee

Happy Thanksgiving Nose Hugs!

San said...

Kate, we have snow today! Not a lot, but we were glad to see it, since we've had unseasonably warm temps of late.

Thank you for sending the good wishes.

San said...

Thanks, Quasar. I'm getting back to you the day after Thanksgiving. We had a good one. Hope yours was too.

San said...

Jolene, I guess I won't knock goat-pen cleaning until I've tried it. I just don't intend to try it anytime soon.

San said...

Thank you, thank you, Daphne! As ever, your comments make me glow. Of could it be the margarita. Just kidding--I'm at work right now.

San said...

Thank you, Celine! I look forward to reading your poem.

San said...

Thanks, David.

San said...

Nose hugs back at ya, BT!

b2 said...

I love the richness of this painting, San, and wish I could see it "actual size." It must be stunning. The reds , golds, and layers are in perfect harmonious contrast, and the whole feels like a loving embrace.

San said...

b2, I too wish you could see it in person. That would mean you were here!