Friday, April 13, 2012

Driving with pink angels


Driving with pink angels

Pink of the dissolving petals, pouring out of the tree
and pink in the palms of my hands. Pink dangling
tongue over lips,
coffee spilling into my throat;
spring and pink allergic eyes
tearing in the presence of fragrance.
Sing for us, Joni,
with packed pink linens
in your traveling bag.
I do not move
here in this weighted world
but only through our music.
Your pink sunset is my sunrise
ahead of the weekday road, what lowers
my feet into slippers
morning by morning; black crow
wings and a beak tearing pink breakfast;
rise again, pull again, lift the
pink-skinned sun across the sky
into night as satin as your wings.
April in wind, April in rain.
April pansies and hyacinth;
phlox, quince, alyssum;
crystal vase on a black piano,
pink tulips opening, floating
like windblown hair, or
jet trails from California
to Michigan, traveling on
a blue string song.
My body pink under
freshwater pearls; the painted stripe
on rainbow trout in my rivers,
wiggling like ribbons;
hands spilling over ivory stones
in your memory, every song
a fish swimming into my next poem.
Mother, where have you gone,
pink woman of the keys,
white and even like your teeth?
My poisoned hands play jazz
out of your hymns
in this sobbing flesh of ours. Pink mother
with fragrant goodnight lips,
pink moon of hearts
cracked in crater-places
healing under black-winged nights
that rise with the crow
every time I pass.
An angel in pink walks up to me
in my satin wedding gown
with pink ribbon ‘round the waist,
her pearlescent high heeled shoes
bright as the diadems of her eyes,
pink lipstick and raven hair.
The rush of her wings says
Poems live.
Flesh from soul.
Sing, body.
Play the fractured song,
pour Brandywine and redbud,
maple fringe and weigela,
pink as a baby just out
of her mother’s bleeding peony.

April 2012

Poetry should be heard.


Barb said...

I loved listening to the podcast and hearing the cadence of your poem. Your poems are spirit manifested through words. Memories (of a very individual nature - each different and unique) are born and reborn through them.

Kathleen said...

Enjoyed reading it and hearing it (and learning how to pronounce weigela!)!

Louise Gallagher said...

LOL -- yes, the pronounciation of 'weigela' -- very challenging!

Your imagery is incredibly vivid and open -- and that last -- 'pink as a baby just out/of her mother's bleeding peony.'


Thanks for the spring-like colour on this wintry looking April day in Calgary! (It snowed yesterday!)

Ralph Suarez said...

WOW Ruth...we are thinking alike and in PINK!!!! Check my original short story on my blog called Pink Dreams in a Small Town. You really got me with "your pink sunset is my sunrise ahead of the weekday road..." I just lOVED that and thanks alot. You inspire and encourage me.

GailO said...

this is certainly the pink time of year isn't it?! Lovely poem Ruth...and you know I adore Joni:)

Ruth said...

Barb, thank you for listening to this long-ish poem (for me) and for feeling the memories and inspiration.

Thanks, Kathleen, and I'm not positive I'm pronouncing it correctly! :-)

Louise, thank you for reading, I'm glad you liked the ending.

Ruth said...

Ralph, yes, pink everywhere! I love your short story and how you show how easy it is to miss a thing's beauty right under your nose. I am going to share the link in case someone else might want to read it, because I was unable to get to it through your name here. Here's the link:

GailO, I'm interested in how spring colors are predominantly pink and purple, and fall colors are orange and rust. Thank you for reading.

Anonymous said...

If one has listened to Joni MItchell awhile -- a 40-year road - then this poem travels a long way with that songbird, great distances of the heart, acute and fresh, sweet and strange, folkie to Mingus wed. So much gathers up in this bouquet of memory and praise, all lustrous personas of womanhood, I think, mother and goddess and singer and poet, grandmother and child of wonder. There's a pause on a 70's vintage live album of Mitchell's (Miles of Ailes), LA Express backing her up, when some adoring fan yelled out, "Joni, you have more class than Richard Nixon, Mick Jagger and Gomer Pyle combined!" Amen -- and so do you ... Thanks for the reminder that there's more to pink than what's printed on the backsides of young girl's sweatpants. - Brendan

ksam said...

Hmmm so maybe that song was actually, Pink Paradise? :-)

The Solitary Walker said...

Oh, wow, your reading brought this alive. This brought Lorca to my mind, at his most sensual and baroque.

"Hejira" is one of my favourite Joni albums.

ds said...

How fresh and alive this is (yes indeed poetry--real poetry--lives), even with its hints of sadness, mortality: sunset, crow eating pink flesh, poisoned hands (& I agree with Brendan about the aspects of woman honored here)...But oh, my friend, that final stanza, how it soars, blazes. Thank you.

(And "Turbulent Indigo" now among my faves. And you read beautifully.)

Cait O'Connor said...

I used to own that Hejira LP.
Pink is very special isn't it? I love rose quartz which is good for grieving, any type of comfort.
I digress - I enjoyed all the pinkness in your poem. I loved it.

Ruth said...

Brendan, I started out with "For the Roses" which was my brother Bennett's album. I listened while ironing the family laundry when I was in high school. (I guess that's appropriate, considering her song "Magdalen Laundries.") No matter what dearth of words I find myself in, I can listen to one song, or sometimes one line, of Joni's, and be inspired. Talk about personal mythology! To combine music, poetry, story, beauty and intelligence as she has done for so long is pure genius. Thanks for reading and for such kind words.

Ruth said...

Karin, could be! :-)

Thanks, Robert, for that generous remembrance to Lorca. As for Hejira, I never take it out of my car and find myself listening on many back and forths to work. It is stellar. The bass harmonics of Jaco Pastorius take me to a special place of listening.

ds, thanks so much. O "Turbulent Indigo" is one of my favorites too, and of course it is one of yours, with its allusion to van Gogh! :-)

Cait, I can't get rid of my Joni albums, even though we don't have a turntable now. Thanks for reading and I'm glad you enjoyed the poem.

Miss Jane said...

Lovely musing, Ruth. This really took off for me when you got to the pearls and the trout and Mother. And then the naming of those blossoming. I was reminded of a passage from Dr. Zhivago where Lara takes a walk:
“Lara walked along the tracks following a path worn by pilgrims and then turned into the fields. Here she stopped and, closing her eyes, took a deep breath of the flower-scented air of the broad expanse around her. It was dearer to her than her kin, better than a lover, wiser than a book. For a moment she rediscovered the purpose of her life. She was here on earth to grasp the meaning of its wild enchantment and to call each thing by its right name, or, if this were not within her power, to give birth out of love for life to successors who would do it in her place.”
There is something magical for me about the names of things. This comes across especially in your reading of this. Weigela--hmm, we seem to pronounce this differently. I say "Y-G-La" with the emphasis on the second syllable. You seem to have a clipped British way of saying it as though it were a wriggling trout. No matter, 'tis all beauty, like Jeremy Irons saying "baroque" as we would say the first name of our president. Ah, and such baroque pearls you've strung here ending with the lush peony. Wonderful.
P.S. That Brendan is such a cheeky lad!

Sandy said...

Beautiful post Ruth.

Ginnie said...

All of that and Mom! I bet she has a twinkle in her eye now when she sees you playing jazz instead of hymns!

Ruth said...

MJ, I love the passage from Dr. Zhivago. If all we ever did was name things, with attention and love, it would be poetry enough.

And so my pronunciation of weigela is a bit embarrassing. Thank you for correcting me. I mistakenly pronounced it the way I pronounce my Finnish friend's last name Weigela, but now I see in the dictionary that it should be as you say, or alternately with the emphasis on the first syllable, or WAY-gee-luh. If I ever read it in a reading, I will correct it! It's unfortunate that it comes in that last stanza, where it must be a distraction rather than a revelation. But I do like how any pronunciation is so like wiggle. :-)

Thank you for your kind words.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Sandy!

Boots, I am still playing jazz in my head, not with my hands, but maybe it is enough. I purchased a book of Miles Davis piano music. :-)

hedgewitch said...

Symphony and a bit of lament, in pink--turning the color inside out and sideways, never more so than in that finely imagined final line. There is rhapsody and misery in spring, and both are part of the song of remembrance. Lovely, intelligent and piercing poem, Ruth.

Stratoz said...

I spent the last weekend finishing a piece with three pink butterflies for three babies who left this planet way to early after leaving their mother's womb