January 11, 2008

The Stake

My spine is a naked dusty tree

designed to splinter me inside,

and leave me juicy.

I, the sail of this creaking mast,

move nowhere,

ripping the vast winds apart.

My face leaks into the sun.

I am a cracked human, so tortured

I have lost myself.

Once I spun miracles

like wool from my sleeves,

but even Lazarus…

Complaining, complaining,

always whining.

Only my mother sits

weeping and sighing,

heaving and crying

at my last drips of life.

Leave me, leave me to drip.

Don’t bother with your worship.

This has been a hopeless body,

from its slippery beginning

to its squealing end.

Could I buy freedom from it?

Take my soul, a thousand pounds!

A hundred! Ten!

No takers.

I feel anger.

I am jealous to all who love and live.

I am starving.

I am too tired to move.

I am afraid.

On the stake,

I have been broken.

My skin flaked,

my brain ached.

My defecation,

my urination,

dripping, dripping

to the pool at my mother’s knees.

She whispers ‘please’.

- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. George Ttoouli

    Hmm. I get the feeling I’m missing some kind of context, but the opening tercets are too interesting for me not to want to comment.

    I don’t think there’s much salvageable after “Complaining, complaining…” beyond a couple of nouns. It becomes far too emotional for my tastes, in a theatrical way, rather than through building context – e.g. through a more narrative style, as in Porphyria’s Lover http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/browning/section1.html) or other monologues of Browning.

    I’d be inclined to try and strip the voice out of this entirely and examine the images that are left, see if they can be threaded somehow into another piece. Opening image was evocative of Frieda Kahlo; might be worth trying to get hold of some of Pascale Petit’s work, e.g. The Wounded Deer.

    12 Jan 2008, 17:16

  2. Gwen

    Thanks for the advice, George – I was blown away by Porphyria’s Lover, and will look into Pascale Petit asap. I agree with you that after ‘complaining’ the poem totters away into nothing very much.

    As for context, it was written as one of David Morley’s exercises, in immitation of Plath’s Lady Lazarus. I tried to stick with the Bible theme by adopting the voice of Jesus on the crucifix, so it was always a dodgy starting point!

    13 Jan 2008, 11:09

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