Mon 22 Sep, 2003 04:56 am
GET IN LINE, DAMN YOU!
Yells a woman between sobs
To the cluster of seagulls
Framed in my viewfinder
She laughs when I ask
What kind of ducks they are
Then curses the setting sun
(there ought to be a name
for that glowing pink-gold color)
She holds out her hands
Stained from making
(I didn't catch the Inupiat word)
Yesterday with her friend
I ask if it is made from berries
IT'S CARIBOU she shouts
Disdainful of the ignorance
Of cheechako tourists
They sliced it up to make jerky
The meat will last longer
Than her girlfriend with AIDS
Who is dying in the local hospital
Shunned by her village
And an inscrutable savior
SHE IS BEAUTIFUL!
Wails the friend who loves her
And drinks in the glorious sunset
To numb the pain of ugliness
We watch seals catch their breath and dive
Into an ocean of pastel
Speaking the universal language
Of women: kids and cooking
Fried smelts, geese and God
Babying saplings in a land
Seared by arctic winds
FVCK YOU! FVCK YOU ALL!
30 is too young to die
The seagulls line up
And silently swim away
From the fading sunset
She flails her limbs and sings
DON'T LET THE SU-U-UN GO DOWN ON ME
Her bottle tips
The last of the amber liquor
Flows into the sand
like a razor terry, I mean that as a compliment
Terry, I had a wee bit of trouble following your piece, but I did get the general idea. Who is the "lady" to whom you refer--the young woman dying of AIDS or the angry mourner drinking herself into painless oblivion.
The one line that impressed me was "..there ought to be a name for that glowing pink-gold color...." because it is the strange thoughts that drift in and out of one's mind in times of acuteness, that seem to be perfectly acceptable.
Beautifully written - searing.
Great, Coming from SA the line about AIDS hits home, too many girlfriends boy friends son mothers fathers and children are dying here...
Spoke to the core raw like the subject
you have a real gift terry
I dont say that to kiss your ass because we disagree on some things
like youre still searching for God, Ive given up
i wish I could write as powerfully as you.
I agree with bogowo, we want more.
you ever think of getting your work published?
What they said....shattering piece.
wow! never have i read a more moving peice that was truly amazing.
no wonder the ice caps are melting!
Well, sheeeze, Terry, Did you get carried away with all the accolades? Hmmm. Hope things are ok up there in the lofty heights.
Sorry for not responding sooner, but I have very limited internet access here in Kotzebue. I will be home Oct. 1 if all goes well.
Thanks to all for your comments. I do not write much poetry, usually only in response to a very emotional event such as sitting for an hour and a half with a very drunk woman on a cold beach.
Letty, the lady in the title was meant to be ambiguous: the grieving friend, the dying woman, me, and any other woman who confronts death, ugliness and senseless beauty.
Terry, I offer not only my heartfelt regrets, but my empathy.
It is quite difficult for me to write anything when suddenly confronted with the finality of things. When my mother's only brother died, she told me that she did everything that she could to make herself cry. She broke apple blossoms from a tree and put them on the coffin in hopes that the gesture would bring tears. I only saw her cry once in my life. And it is the esoterica of your poem that brings us all to our knees, a John Donne sort of thing. I do hope that you're not just a one poem person, because you certainly have a feel for it.
Death is always bad whatever form it takes leaving us with the guilty feeling that we should have done more. Great poem.
A moving piece. You have the gift.