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

8 April 2018

untitled (peel me an apple, by any other name)

you claimed Lily of a Valley as Name
birth-erupted from flame of the Madonna's loins
dragged yourself a thousand steps to wear a crown
invoked God's wrath for a painted face
puppeted a death shroud for a head scarf
coy-wolf cried foul in a sheep's skin
as the pomegranate seeds shivered delicious delight
jewlery-box dancer, shattered on a pin

Oh the beast reared its three-pronged face
roaring a sermon begot on a mount
reached for the peach in breach in cyanide's feast
as the wind dipped far below the breasts
traveling southwest, homeward bound
as the plague of patriarchs enslathered gathered in the Halls of the anal
the Monarchs fluttered their painted eyes wide-open-shut orange
jewlery-box dancer, bitten below the navel

strings strung themselves in a collar once upon an awkward breath
as the wasps forbade a taste
of the blessed quest to finger-dip honeyed figs
until dessication in a desert storm was the only fruit
left to cross parched lips
the Sun cruel in the lies of "owe me"
but Moon mother replied in full swell
Coy-SheWolf, in jewels, dance your rightful skin-name, Salome

after: Real Toads: Poems In April - A L' Arora

(The A L' Arora, a form created by Laura Lamarca consists of eight lined stanzas. The rhyme scheme is a, b, c, d, e, f, g, f with no syllable count per line and the minimum length for the poem is 4 stanzas with no maximum length stipulation.) 

inspired by: John Santerineross


  1. Wow! I read this before seeing the picture. At first it was difficult, dense, obtuse. Somewhere around the pomegranate it broke loose (or I dropped my resistance) and it flowed well. But by desiccated, I was also lost in the desert, parched. What a great ride, thank you!

    1. thanks for your thoughts Eric - I really appreciate them.
      Initially I toyed with placing the image first, because it was something I culled before I even read the day's prompt - but I wasn't sure I was going to use it for anything in particular, or even in the moment. It turns out its influence was sitting in the shadows and ended up being the primary "resource" - but I made a very deliberate decision to leave it for the end, to see, how the words themselves would fair. I suspected that an immediate reading would be, as you said, a sort of "what is going on here? wtf?" thing, but for me, this was mostly about "exercising the form" - so if eventually, in some way, you and anyone else, were able to "muddle through" and actually extract some "message or impression" - then that is actually a bonus.

      Thanks again for your honesty in commenting, it is truly appreciated.

  2. I am in total awe right now. Your method of giving voice to womanhood has reached a pinnacle of achievement in this three stanza masterpiece. So often form replaces function in poetry, especially when written under pressure, but here you have put the form to work and it does your bidding with a series of high octane images... I could feel the sweat gathering on my brow as all the delicious pieces came together (the pun may be intended). Anyway, I'll have what she's having, pomegranates, peaches, figs... let the patriarchs all wither in their deprivation. Amen, sister.

    1. thanks so much Kerry -

      I don't do "fussy forms" because I don't consider myself a "poet" (for whatever that means; I have no personal idea of this in relationship to myself) - even though they are or can be invaluable learning experiences etc. I do appreciate the introductions, and deeper understanding of form meets function and sets a foundation etc. and so, from time to time, I will try and experiment, and make a true effort. In this case, this was all rather "tongue" in cheek, and yet, some ideas and threads were enough, it seems to pull some coherence and cohesion through out it. And if anything, this startles me, and also offers me a "potential ideas/topic, word-phrase cache" for later use.

      So thank you - I really appreciate your thoughts and comments, and yes, personally, I'll have what she's having too - let us feast! And Amen, sister.

  3. Oh my goodness, how you've played with the form and referenced Shakespeare, the Bible... and illustrated it all with an amazing image! There's a great gush of language in this poem that calls for multiple readings.
    In the first stanza, I love the lines:
    'birth-erupted from flame of the Madonna's loins';
    'puppeted a death shroud for a head scarf';
    '...the pomegranate seeds shivered delicious delight'.

    In the second stanza, the phrase 'three-pronged face' stands out, as does the line:
    'reached for the peach in breach in cyanide's feast' - such rich sounds.

    I love the way you have left Salome's name until the end of the last stanza, which starts with the astounding line:
    'strings strung themselves in a collar once upon an awkward breath'.

    1. thanks so much Kim

      I appreciate that you've enjoyed this as much as you have, that you've found a story within it, for all of my resistance to "form" - and that somehow, if I may quote Kerry, taken it, and made it work beyond its constraints.

      So many of the lines you've noted, I admit - I really like them too - and consider them as noted for perhaps future use, in some other work or as points of inspiration.

  4. I too read it before seeing the picture. But it seems to me the picture is a jumping-off point for many other things – patriarchal Gods, for instance, and Monarchs who might be human and might be colourful butterflies ... and perhaps her name is really Lilith? Anyway it's riotous and searing and altogether wonderful. And my first response, too, was Wow!

    1. The image certainly is of a world in itself. And can be used and interpreted as an inspiration for all kinds of avenues. I think I subconsciously just pulled several strings and chose not one particular focus, just to see what would come of working this particular "poetic form" - and so out of the "mesh" or perhaps Butterfly Net - emerged this. And I'm glad you caught the butterflies reference - that's wonderful. And yes, maybe Lilith is her true name. That's a great reading too. Black Lilith/ Lilith Fair.

      thanks for sharing your thoughts Rosemary, greatly appreciated

  5. Intriguingly well-penned! :-) :-) :-)

    Oops, sorry, must have been another fugue state. "Reached for the peach in breach of cyanide's feast" recalls the stunning and immortal work of Lamarca, though you might want to consider adding harpoons and goons from the moon who shyly shimmy a short shocking samba. However, friend, it seems to me that even when you're mocking, you can't help but write better than most. Peaches, foxglove, belladonna, all the usual teas we witches offer deathless poets for their harmed hearts, are beyond the capability of just any schoolgirl.

    I recently visited Drs. Kervorkian and Morganthaler at the asylum where they sat holding hands on a fainting couch in the fine foggy mists of morning, their sighing hearts stuttering after an unfortunate harpooning. I offered them figs but they only sat with vacant smiles.

    All folly aside, I really love your final two lines. Salome, like Medea, is always up for inclusion in some crackerjack poetry. I'm reminded of the line from "Visions Of Johanna" (imo one of the greatest songs ever written) about jewels and binoculars hanging from the head of the mule. But these aren't mules, these are chicks out to burn down the patriarchy, and I'd love to buy them a latte or else read more of your words about them.

    Mixed with the exquisite mockage here, there is anger, times that are a-changin', and a poison pen letter written by a woman to be reckoned with. A jewelry box dancer turned Sarah Bernhardt. Nice platter, dear. Where did you get it?

    1. from one fugue state to another (new) one .... follies away! I believe I needs must continue to sit with the good doctors, and I will gladly accept an offering of figs.

      thanks for your well-rounded and absolutely wonderful comment, including of course, the "lets cut the crap and cut our teeth" in the heart of the steak dinner, as well. Always appreciated.
      As for the platter? I have a favoured nook, hook and cranny great-granny shop where tea and scones are served amidst the heap of antiquities, chintz, and hoodoo voodoo hi-jinx dolls, and assorted other sundries, BUT tea is never served on fine china. Oh no.

  6. I feel I've gotten an education reading your poem and these comments! Obviously well crafted and deeply thought out. Excellent

    1. thanks Margaret -
      in some ways, the experience sets out/starts as one thing, in the actual process, attempt at "form" and then blossoms into something, perhaps not really focused and pointedly "together" or "complete and satisfactorily polished/finished" - but it is a wonderful dimension to the process itself. As are the comments, and in this case, the wealth and depths of the responses.


thanks for sharing your thoughts, I greatly appreciate it.