Friday, February 26, 2016

Tuesday Poem: Another from the Witch Series

History: The Immolations

Imagine fifty thousand
women on fire at once,
illuminating the shifty
landscapes of time.

Fifty thousand queens
on thrones of cord wood
drenched in oil, then set ablaze,
as they gaze at the men who despise them.

Watch their feet blacken, then their legs,
pudenda, bellies, wombs, their breasts
and hearts, their mouths agape, screaming
into silence, arms with match head hands alight,
hands adept at catching babies, making balms,
tinctures, poultices, offering small comforts, spells
for rekindling hope, draughts of blessed forgetting.

Smell their hair burning. Know them
for what they were, and still are: grandmothers,
mothers, wives, daughters, spinsters, lesbians,
midwives, nuns, saints, wise women, healers,
inventors, women who speak up for others,
who have little care for obedience any more.

Take the ash of their sacrifice into yourself.
Understand it as the benediction,
you need right now, to carry on.
Imagine them strung across the horizon, 
brighter than all the stars.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Tuesday Poem: Another from The Witch Series

               Collage by Romare Bearden
Conjure Woman

She’s got them all teetering on
the tips of her fingers, tiny as mice.
One flip of the wrist and all the men,
who ever tasted her; then turned 
their faces away, and all the men,
who drove them to ruination, 
go flying to who knows 
where, and who cares?

She holds them up in yellow
curtain light, watches them shift
their weight to keep from falling.
Each one of them knows what he’s
done or not done. It’s chilling them
to the bone to see she’s wearing her
haint blue dress. No more feathers,
no Adam and Eve root. That’s how
very much danger they’re in.

Outside, her bottle tree glistens,
as she squeezes them for good measure,
rolls them between her palms, before
laying them out like sardines
in the bottom of her reddest meanest box.