this piece is still in progress
When I was three, my mother took me to funeral houses to watch strangers be buried, mourned. So I'd be used to death. So I'd know the smells, the colors.
My mother to herself, meaning to everyone, "I don't like meat. It's eating dead animals."
My mother to everyone, meaning everyone, "Chicken for dinner tonight"
My grandfather died in 1993. His last two words were "Jesus. Elvis." My mother and her sister and their mother sat shiva, ate cold chicken, covered their mirrors. This was in California, where his friends were. He was buried in a graveyard in Seattle, where his daughters lived. They got a discount on a double plot, so my grandfather will someday have company.
Milk = white cow pus; veal = dead baby cow; beef = dead cow. Beef = what's for dinner.
Every time my gerbils died, they were resurrected. Even after I was old enough to notice, they came back the next day, from cold to warm. Patricia would get a dye job, a new haircut, wouldn't know me.
People in black mourning their great-aunt; a poorly dressed 3-year-old and a mom in a fake fur coat in the back pew. My Little Ponies played on the floor while people sobbed and elegies were read; I got a cookie from the table while black-stockinged ankles couldn't eat. Afterwards, McDonald's. A ChickenMcNugget happy meal.
things I don't know: how to bring it together; it doesn't feel done but I don't know how to make it finished up. i don't know what it needs yet. thoughts? what works? what doesn't? what do you want to know more about?
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Thank you so much for sharing. so, re: your piece in progress, I definitely like the matter of factness of the first part. I'm interested in the notion of how a mother teaches her daughter about death and I'd like to see you do some more with that (but maybe not in this piece...but maybe?)
I'm not really sure what's driving the fourth stanza(?) -- I definitely feel the connection between death and food, but
I think the inclusion of this stanza makes me think of death as an impermance. Even through the death of cow, something has been created - an ad slogan, meal for human consumption... I don't know. I think most of my confusion lies in the "milk=white cow pus" part of the 'syllogism'. Milk is so much more than that reduction to me(sustainer of life; 1/2 of milk and honey; first gift from mother to child...)
I feel a very strong sense of woman (elder-ness/ history) here and become somewhat less interested when it's not there. For example, in stanza 5, I somehow want it to come back to mother's mysterious way of teaching her daughter about death. I am intrigued by and I like the idea of the gerbils, but why was Patricia being 'resurrected'? What lesson has been learned from these replacements. Why did these impossible renewals escape the cold permanance of death that exists when grandfather dies?
The last part does the least for me. It takes too huge of a step away from the personal and the images and rhythm fall sort of flat. I think you can tie it all together with a tightening up of the gerbil part. I don't know though. Though, I do really love, "Afterwards, McDonalds. A ChickenMcNugget happy meal." Maybe you can work this in somewhere else?
I'm not really sure how it ties together either, but I think it's something surrounding death not actually being permanent. Maybe it's my lens, but I can't help returning the concept of resurrection. Jewishness and the absence of resurrection. A grandfather who calls Jesus' name and then Elvis' (dude, that's totally brilliant). Animal resurrected into meal. "cold to warm." Yeah, I really like this. Sorry, I'm incoherent...I'm just thinking thinking about this. I hope I'm making sense. thanks again.
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