Thursday, July 23, 2009

one word cannery: paws

cypress woods
Atchafalaya basin

your curdled eyes

risen flame

down this neck of the woods

peril flashed

missing was conjured

the rest of us were


in the guessing
of the game.



Anonymous Teresa said...

Well, I guess all those jumbo shrimp and crawdads brought out the Cajun in you. But no self-respecting good ol' boy from Nawlins would eat from the cannery, not even paw paws. Oh no, he would set out in his pirogue in the Atchafalaya basin (what a resonate, rhythmic name), paddling with eyes peeled till they curdled through the knees in the cypress woods, and he saw the peril flashing through the water, the water snakes and other dangerous beasts lurking, just beneath the surface, ready to flip his little flat-bottomed boat, his last thoughts were of Unca' Billy missing these past fi' yars, and in the instant the beasties struck, he knew he had abandoned his mama and granny and the rest of the clan. they were left guessing what had happened to lil Tommy and the shrimp for the jambalaya.

Definitely, a horror movie here. Maybe the peril flashing is the creature from the Black Lagoon. Maybe it eats little boys and their redneck uncles. Or maybe the paws belong to a panther up in the limbs of the cypress trees, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting Cajuns paddling their pirogues through the Atchafalaya Basin... so many perils, so many places, so many great "p" sounds.

7:09 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Teresa: That's quite the movie you done put on, cher. This poem is actually first cousin to an old old poem of mine entitled "magdalene gone hunting." I, too, love the name Atchafalya - seeing it and saying it. I've always figured the peril there, more than anything else, was - naturally - human.

8:15 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Well, what was the creature from the Black Lagoon but a human gone totally wild (mind too twisted to extract itself from the blue in green of the soldier psyche)?

I think "magdalene gone hunting" was one of the first poems of yours that I read. I believe Richard linked it on Chris's blog, and I followed the cyber spore, so to speak. It was well worth the effort to slip from tree to tree along the slopes, tailing the magdalene... if i recall, it was long and haunting and somewhat horrific, yet you claimed your devotion was most concentrated through the virgin. Of course, the most ferocious beast of all is a mother protecting her young (of any species). So perhaps extreme love is not so far from horror and hate.

9:49 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...


I like the synthesis. The poem you are thinking of (itself easily a cousin) was "Just Yours."

"Magdalene" was written eleven years ago. Here's the text. "Post a comment" won't preserve the format on the page; I was experimenting with Charles Olson's "poem as field," so the visual spacing on the page was important (and here, lost).

[magdalene gone hunting]

a walnut shell road in louisiana

new orleans st. bernard parish chalmette

smell of your white dress in bayou water



my heart my 2 suns my angel turned

me in a descent beyond the window

not ever.

ask me yesterday if i cared

if what was bared had anything to do with your

convenient labors
your choice poverty
your acid turns of passion.

we’ve all climbed a
mountain & come back
unknown by brothers, those
who’ve lied to us & those
who’ve wept.

walk a street, hair turned white, & your father/mother/sister/dog
will wonder how & why you got there.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Richard Wells said...

Murat: "abandoned in the guessing of the game" is a very fine line. Teresa: Magdalene is a fine poem, I'm a huge fan of gospel allusions.

9:30 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Richard: Thanks, as always, for your calls. I find that gospel allusions crawl into my work all the time, whether I intend them or not - especially if it's Mary or Magdalene or one of the those down on your luck folks the usual exegetical suspects are always picking on in the parables.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Thanks for posting Magdalene. It really is a fine poem. And I, too, enjoy your less-than-orthodox gospel allusions. The keep the reader on his or her toes.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Dee Martin said...

This was all hair plastered to neck sweaty, mosquito slapping, red bug itching, wading in brown water to pick up crawfish nets good. Comments and all. All sorts of things could go missing there and in that heat (it's the humidity!), anyone would abandon guessing. I can hear Zydeco in my head and I'm wishing for a shrimp po-boy from New Iberia.

11:55 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

You are welcome, Teresa. I can still remember writing "magdalene," as it spread across the page. Believe me, it ain't easy keeping you are your toes, with your Nabokovan facility with languages, your big heart, and your laser-like Bobby Fischer chess-mind (not his politics, mind you; just the quickness and your ability to the see the boards).

6:04 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Ms Dee, get out the swamp, girl! No soft-shell crab po-boy for you, cher? By the way, I've been loving your _______________ (fill in the blank with all kinds of wonderful, viscerally allusive language, then follow it with the word) good comments. Lovely gems to pick up and put in my pocket and feel all good about. Muita obrigada.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Hey, Murat, I will take the comparison to Bobby Fischer as a compliment then. I guess better akin to Fischer than to Boris Spasky (just the name makes me want to roll on the floor with laughter there...).

And we can always get a petrine allusion out of Fischer playing with his little men... So it even fits into the conversation.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Dee Martin said...

You're very welcome LOL I prefer the shrimp po-boy nowadays because I only waded in swamp water when I was young, silly, and in love. Couldn't believe I was actually doing it - me the yankee hippie girl. Filled a john boat with the critters, had a crawfish boil and ended up taking my native Louisiana husband to the er - allergic to crawfish. Ha, never mess with a yankee hippie!

7:15 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

And Murat, your blog is the high point of my day. Like I said, my cotton candy or ultra dark chocolate. The best part is that it makes me think with a capital T!!

9:40 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Teresa: And the allusions just keep on falling. The owner of that fancy adjective of yours is probably my least favorite apostle, though I recognize fully that he and his archetype are probably more like us than any of the rest - the whole point of his being chosen. Least favorite probably overstates, as I am wont to do, but he certainly does make me nervous.

Back during my bus riding days here in Tres Leches, there were always regulars you got to know: one was a vociferously begrimed man who I would see coming up out of all kinds of nowheres around town. I once stepped onto a bus: beside him was the only empty seat, but I made myself sit next to him as some form of primal ecumenicism: I wore his smell for the rest of the day.

I dubbed him Peter, after his anxiety-inducing apostolic twin; he later morphed into Bedros (Armenian for Peter) and then Mr. Bedrosian in a lengthy poetic rant. The story of Peter's insisting on an upside down crucifixion is the story about him that keeps me from just seeing him as a big old goofy dog, darting about erratically. That and the fact that Son of Man had such love and faith in him.

11:21 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Dee: After months of visits to Mandina's in New Orleans (and LeRuth's and Bozo's and Mosca's), I too showed up in a Louisiana ER pronounced allergic to shellfish. It's my theory that it was a result of losing my appendix at the age of 33, that allegedly "useless" organ.

Northern hippie girl, I am damned impressed with your swamp-wading.

11:26 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Teresa: Mil gracias for the props from your later comment.

11:34 PM  

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