Alice and the Chinese Jar

Last Thursday night, there was another gathering of the Tweetspeakers for a Twitter poetry party. This time, the prompts all came from Neruda’s Memoirs: Poems by Maureen Doallas, who was one of the tweetspeaking participants.

Below are the first three poems from the jam, edited by someone named the Poem Weaver. Actually, someone else (cough – L.L. Barkat – cough – cough) named me that, and I decided it was the best job title I’ve ever had.

Alice and the Chinese Jar

By @doallas, @llbarkat, @mmerubies and @jejpoet

To make the hours race
she put elixir into
the Chinese jar, precious
oil, a garden of Eden scent,
those swirls of liquid
in the clear vase,
blue liquid, dancing
bubbles, purple stars,
asters from behind
rusted cars.

Dancing blue
she thought of you
and the asters
and the scent of Eden.
Tide in and tide out,
she knocked the vase
and watched it splash.
She beat her fists
in the blue and screamed.
But no one heard.

When the liquid grew still,
she moved instead, dancing
around the waves, wishing
for quiet inside,

When Rage is Silence

By @llbarkat, @mmerubies, @LoveLifeLitGod, @jejpoet and @doallas

The Ocean

The ocean
rages, begs for calm,
yet when a land is silent
as an empty vase
who rages, does anyone
And when the land breaks
from drought and shatters man,
what then of rage,
rage as stars might rave?

The Land

The land I traversed two days ago
was rich with dark black soil
and my roots were reaching
down to drink, when the silver car
drove me away and now the vines
are tearing at my flesh, begging me
to go, back home again,
home to secrets
home to stars and vines
and Mississippi lands.
But I cannot go back home again.
Will it be a home?
I am falsely anchored to Mississippi
lands, with husbands hands and
children feet, clawing and curbing me.

The Ocean

The water is my home.
Pay to sip it
pay to hold it
pay to be silent?
Will the Chinese jar
hold the silence
will it fit your lip
if you try to sip
the darkness inside?

Last Secrets of the Chinese Jar

By @mmerubies, @doallas, @llbarkat, @jejpoet, @LoveLifeLitGod and @lauraboggess

Curbing my hands, my feet,
curbing my ache for home,
for its last secrets ,
plantation dreams
and old twin oaks,
I chose my trap,
my mama bear paws eagerly
taking on the silver spikes
and begging him
to close in ranks.
He did.

Who can keep a secret
when our walls are flung
into the gulf
and the gulf cries
like the hollow jar,
elixir gone,
mixed long ago and spent?
Dark water still swallows tears
and dimples light at dawn.
silence might be darkness;
darkness, temptation’s ghosts,
names of the forgotten,
and remembered.

I see a piece
with a Chinese symbol.
I don’t know what it means.
And now I pop white pills
in the new dawn, hoping
to keep the demons at bay,
the demons born in eastern hills,
with names that whisper
in my nights:
Mary Jane
and Willie V.

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  1. says

    I was so relieved when someone guessed the source of the prompts. He said the giveaway was the line “Hazardous Duty: Ode to My Kitchen”. It’s always interesting to see what sticks in the mind.

    The jam was fun. I think about a half-dozen lines were RT’d.

    Thank you for dipping into the jar.

  2. L. L. Barkat says

    I love the way the first poem shapes down to silence. I also love the end of the last one. It was Heather, wasn’t it? I’m so glad she brought those names to the party. Especially Stella :)

  3. says

    Yes, the names were me. Struggling with the worst possible thing to have inherited from Grandma Stella. Visited home (eastern KY) just before the party. Hence, Obsessive thoughts.

    I love how our words wind around and through one another. This concept never ceases to amaze me.

  4. says

    The poem weaver made magic with these threads! (I love “poem weaver”. So very you!). These are wonderful. Such a fun party! I wish I could have stayed through it all. Looks like I missed some good stuff ;).


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