Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tuesday Poem: an earlier version published by Umbrella in 2010

Frida Holds A White Rabbit

like a baby. She doesn't 
smile for the camera, 
as she cradles 
el conejo blanco,
como un bebe, in her arms,

the white rabbit of her longing
like the infant she never carried to term,

the fat white conejo of infidelity,
little effigy of Diego, its flat contented face
so much like his: the barren 
moonscape of his apology.

She looks tired.
She rests her head on her hand,
her mouth a small horizon in the shadows

She is thinking about the engorged 
conejo of his politics,
the fuzzy impersonality of his vision,
the little female comrades in his murals.

Where is her anger? 
Does it leap through the agave now
swift as the jackrabbit of Tehuantepec? 
Does it burn in the desert?

No because el fuego de Frida’s
resentment is gone for good.
No more galloping around here,
keeping up with the horses.
No more bites on the cheek
for you, you selfish rider!

Frida’s just plain worn out.
She’s taken el conejo back,
and she’s holding him like the baby he is.

Frida squeezes him so close
he’s short of breath. Come on,
smile for the camera, Frida. Smile,
as two crows fly above your eyes.

After the photograph: “Frida Kahlo With A White Rabbit,
Blue House, Coyoacan, Mexico City”
1949 by Hector Garcia


Ben Hur said...

Such a very rich poem. You obviously know a great deal about the life of Frida Kahlo.

Michelle Elvy said...

I really like this a great deal, but I stumbled at the last line -- it seemed too obvious a reference to her eyebrows, something that does not match with the other more subtle details of the poem. I like the metaphor -- such a great image. But I wonder if it could be placed elsewhere in the poem? I liked that the poem took me to places with Frida that were not as expected, then I felt this came on too strong in the very last line.

Does that make sense? I am sure others will disagree, and I know this is a poem already published. But I like commenting in a way that create dialogue, if something strikes me as out of place in such a strong poem.

Only my opinion - and possibly not worth very much.

Eileen D. Moeller said...

Thanks Ben and Michelle,

I have been fascinated by Kahlo for a long time, and read an excellent biography of her by Hayden Herrera. I wanted the image of the crows at the end, to suggest quite a bit more than merely her eyebrows, though the fact that she is so known for these increases rather than diminishes my commitment to the image, since this second interpretation leaves her seeming like a sad dis-empowered cliche. The notion of her feeding on herself, of her being carrion, of her attraction to Diego and simultaneous desire to devour and/or kill him, make the crow image a must for me. Sorry it bothered you. As I said, I hoped it would open out to more.