I take back what you have stolen and in your languages I announce I am now nameless.
My true name is a growl.
Margaret Atwood

20 April 2018

untitled (de la mer, mère, I am of the Mare)

I come from a place, named -
where the Rs are hard
no sweetness in street frontage roses
where the district carried the Lady of Grace
in a cathedral, duplexed for its duplicity
peopled by saints, who were priestly black for their sins
as shrouded by country-cottage polyster lace
curtains in these urban kitchens
as flammable on any day, as any other
as Sunday school sanctimony match-tipped
struck and spit hotter than the French-kissed envious tongues
re-naming of  the acronym "you're   N.o D.amn G.ood"
so what of a name, then -
or a sacred place

I've traveled and curried wood and coins
traded furs for my pelt
war-painted my scars
climbed sledged hills
fallen from escarpments
rocked to sleep under deep mountain midnight stars
baked my brains in a sunflower Prairie oven
swum naked high in its cerulean ocean sky
groped myself wideopen
in strangers-to-me women's covens
in lake and townshipping wine districts
as tadpoles and waterlilies kissed the east morning sun
rocked west to mountain hip drink of fresh water
swaggered and shadow slipped urban
bored myself stupid in slumberous suburban
dropped to dust ingesting country miles wide
in the middle of no.where.now
- so what, of a name, then?
what of a sacred place

tongues twist in the naming-
free-ranging or cluster-fucked spaces
some call home
but I'm my own map
unnameable to you
fetlock kicked
salt licked
sweet scented
wild rose
moon-sea scrubbed free
in\of embryonic ash

for: Real Toads: April 20 - Say the Names of the Places you Love

Sherry hosts and offers us as point of inspiration, a magnificent poem by Al Purdy ~ this is my version of "the naming of names and spaces" - hardly a love story, but for its own blessings, cached.

Roman Gilt bronze horse's hoof and fetlock
public domain image


  1. I find this somehow very sad... wonder at the rage and hurt.

    1. thank you for your honesty Margaret.

      I don't do Hallmark.

  2. WOW!!! A fantastic poem! I especially love the lines about the Prairie, the tadpoles and waterlilies kissing the morning sun. I LOVE "I'm my own map....sweet scented wild rose.....moon sea scrubbed free"......thank you for writing such a weighty and wonderfully wrought poem to the prompt.

    1. thanks for the amazing prompt Sherry - and for sharing your thoughts, of course -
      as for the Prairie? nothing quite like that expanse, is there?

  3. whereas, I find this refreshing, unfettered. after all, who was it that named these places, anyways, and why *can't* you claim the places back to the unnamed, or for your own? ~

    1. thanks!
      and to quote Margaret Atwood:
      I take back what you have stolen
      and in your languages I announce
      I am now nameless.
      My true name is a growl.

  4. I too wonder at the anger and pain in your poem. You don't do Hallmark but I gave to think that somewhere you found a modicum of happiness from there to here. An interesting tongue twister of a poem just in itself.

  5. You have worked emotion in to the poem, but under a firm literary hand, so I marvelled both at the outpouring and the superb phrasing and word play. The middle section was particularly riveting, as you reveal places inside yourself, while contemplating the middle of nowhere. It is dark, but that makes the light places brighter somehow.. the image of naked bathing in cerulean ocean sky is my favourite thing of all in the poem.
    Your authenticity is a breath of fresh air.

    1. thanks for the wonderful compliment Kerry. And I'm glad you were able to see and feel the pull between light and dark.

  6. Yes, but it's still an amazing poem.

  7. I love the harshness in those roots, the second parts seems like you are seeking something better, but if the roots grow in such bitter soil the sap will never be sweet.

    1. thanks Bjorn - and soil,like soil, can be re-conditioned

  8. I love this poem so much! I love the way you approach the linguistics of the place 'where the Rs are hard' and the religion, a place 'peopled by saints, who were priestly black for their sins'. My favourite lines:
    '...Sunday school sanctimony match-tipped
    struck and spit hotter than the French-kissed envious tongues'
    'tongues twist in the naming-
    free-ranging or cluster-fucked spaces
    some call home
    but I'm my own map
    unnameable to you'.

  9. I love it. It's like a tattoo to you that covers your whole skin, inside and out. You are your own map for sure and a story of a life lived it tells. Hallmark doth not become you.

    1. thanks Paul - gorgeous compliment - truly appreciated

  10. Liking this, W.S. My mind doesn't visualize well, but I was trying to place the churh/cathedral/back in town location. I placed it in the French Quarter of New Orleans but seeing your profile have decided it's probably Montreal. Quebec City is pure in my mind. Have been to Montreal four times, Q C. for almost a week once, had two visits. Driving at all.
    Hallmark? We have both channels, one we pay extra. Both are sticky entertainment, no news and weather. Monk and Fraiser.I watch most. Way too much Cristmas.at Christmaa.time.
    Thanks for reading me and leaving your nice comment.

    1. you are well traveled Jim - yes, my hometown is Montreal. And clearly, well, you caught me off guard, with the comment of Quebec City being "pure" in your mind - as opposed to Montreal, but then, Montreal is is one of the world's "sin cities" ... so this is definitely a new dimension that is now just hovering in my mind, to let lie for perhaps another time.
      Ugh. I so don't do Hallmark. Maybe once in a blue moon, just to zone out and remind myself why it irks me for its shallow marshmallow fluff.

      thanks for stopping in - and cheers!

  11. What a sweeping, starry, weeping thing this is. The catalogue of life moments, stages, phases of the mental moon, the swim to self-awareness, always there but so often holed and sunken to a depth our lungs can't dive--and a beautiful and sonorous write as well. I especially love the sad lilt of the refrain, and the word-working in the title.

    1. thanks Hedge. Your comments are so generous and complimentary, and rich and full - they are poems within themselves, like an echo or re-affirmation in my ears and spirit.

  12. That ending is some sweet writing--the whole thing is.


thanks for sharing your thoughts, I greatly appreciate it.