To the Bone

7 Jan

I lived on an island where Patriarchs rule

yet still fear their mothers.

In a town built by travellers,

in the image of their home.

Where the sun heats stones

and snow caps mountains.

Where olives fall from trees

and lace is bought by tourists.

She showed me lace, made by her grandmother

sewn along the edge of her bridal sheets.

She pointed to the mountains wearing snow-flake bonnets,

though the sun turned my skin pink, down here in the town.

She tutted at girls riding on their motorbikes

as she stroked the linen in her lap, whispering,

“They don’t make lace.”

“They don’t make lace,” this time looking at her hands

carved from olive wood, stained by the years.

Criss-crossing threads tied onto bone,

following old patterns

making pieces,

sewn together,

so to make the whole.

“Like marriage,” she told me,

“like family,

follow the pattern.

This one is your husband,

this one your mother,

this one your children,

this one your home.

Move this one and this one

cross this one with this one

you follow the pattern

and make your life.”

Now I live on an island where Patriarchs try to rule

and no-one hears their mothers.

In a town built on commerce,

and long gone trades.

Where tentative sun warms pavements

and throws shadows on the buildings.

Where raindrops fall from a sky mirror

and lace is bought by tourists.

Criss-crossing threads, wrapped around my fingers

following old patterns

making pieces,

sewn together,

so to make the whole.

Like marriage,

like family,

follow the pattern…

Criss-crossing threads wrapped around my fingers

this one is my daughter

this one is my son

this one is their father

this one is my job

this one is the house

this one is the car

this one is the laundry

this one is the loan

this one is the shopping

this one is the cleaning

this one is the dog

this one is a laptop

this one is a friendship

this one is a lover

this one is the school

this one is myself

Criss-crossing threads, wrapped around my fingers

take this one across that one

and that one across this one

twist that one under this one

so many threads

criss-crossing threads, wrapped tight around my fingers

cutting off the circulation

cutting to the bone.

by Anne – first, first, first, draft – any thoughts?

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One Response to “To the Bone”

  1. mouthypoets January 29, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    Hey Anne,

    I have given you slightly less feedback on this piece than the other one as I think the other one seems closer to being ready for SST. I love this one too but it seems a little bit less developed in your mind as the writer. I might be wrong! In which case I can try and give more feedback, I just didn’t want to force a direction for this piece when it looks like you are on the cusp of finding one yourself…

    LOVE
    -“ She pointed to the mountains wearing snow-flake bonnets,”
    -I love the repetition of language and lines and imagery leading into the last line I think that words perfectly. This actually reminds me of some of Patricia Smith’s work in that sense – in the way that it gives me a really strong sense of ending but at the same time there is so much room for personal interpretation and engagement. It makes me want to read it again and again and again.
    -I love this new, fairy-tale style of writing I am seeing from you. I think you do it really successfully. Particularly drawing up a new world and the characters within it.

    SUGGESTIONS
    -I really struggles with the narrative in this piece. I couldn’t tell you what was happening. I think a large part of this was because this seemed like a Fairy Tale land and I think in Fantasy the rules of a alien worlds need to be set out from the beginning. Yet here, the rules and abnormalities kept appearing; the abstract landscape, the Patriarcal rules of the land, this strange woman with a wooden hand. Saying that, I think all these things would be fine if I knew who the narrator was, if I knew there journey and what they were seeking. Really at the moment I think that is what is missing? Tell me who they are and what they are looking for and then I can understand everything else with my connection to them.
    -I think you could really work on the verbs in this poem. Play – thesaurus! Go! How do you want this poem to be driven forward?
    -End it with the last time you say “follow the pattern…” it feels cleaner. If you want the other stuff in there I think there is space for it to be suggested and shown throughout the rest of the poem as you develop the presence of the narrator.

    I hope this is helpful?
    Debris

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