As promised Tuesday, here are the last six poems from our recent Twitter poetry party. The tweets that became this final group of poems were prompted by references to salt, chains – and an unexpected, unprompted toast. All the prompts were taken from The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems by Pablo Neruda.
As I noted Tuesday, editing the tweets into poems is work — but it’s fun work. You take a mass of material, wade (or dive) into it, find what fits together, and then sort it. From there you work it over, sometimes more than once or twice, trying to retain the sense (and sensibility) of the original tweets but also trying to combine them all into something understandable.
If you haven’t participated in one of the TweetSpeak Twitter Poetry parties, you should. You’re even allowed to lurk and observe what’s going on. You will occasionally see a confused tweet or two enter the picture, with someone asking what is going on with all these crazy tweets. And some people (non-participants) are occasionally so taken with individual lines that they will retweet them — which is fun if a bit confusing for the editor (“Wait! Someone tweeted that already! Where did that come from? Does it fit? Maybe repetition would be good.”) Yes, we improvise.
Fields of Red
Salt spills on grass, on ants, on words.
It seasons. It kills. and yet, it preserves,
this salty rain.
Salt wonders, how long?
Salt is tears, is pain, is the worst sort
of seasoning for a heart hungry for love.
Salt is a question, is it not? Each crystal
Salt is a statement, crystalline and defined.
A statement, yes. Like this: Love I you.
And a question: love you I?
Crystallize my love; let every molecule
cling to your morsels.
Pepper is exclamatory, the grand punctuation.
Chain link by chain link fence
she told me it is a necklace made
of stars but really it’s iron bars
they try to hold me
Chain by chain, the children ring,
around the roses drunk on scarlet.
Pretty bracelet barbed wire tattoos
me black with pain, wrists clasped
too hard, cannot get away.
Hold me, try. With bars.
I will plant them like seeds,
and they will begin vining.
And the golden threads fell.
And the ambrosia drained
from my soul.
Ambrosia and goddesses,
carcasses and madmen.
Only here would you chain
them together with golden
wire. Chain the golden wire,
lift the carcasses. Shout,
“Love, love. It must have
Goddess trapped, cage bars
growing up from stony earth
barren womb of rocks;
wounds scraped raw, held open
by dirty nails, salt poured direct,
heart screams, silver cold corpse
of who she was, spirit stands up
freed from iron bars, rib cage that
held heart hostage from soul is
Let the screams punctuate.
Let us be done.
We hold the cup together
Hostages no more, we hold the cup
together. I bring the salt, you bring
the honey. And we free our love.
Wild honey bees sprinkled
by a sweet girl lover, words
dripped from wet fingers
and soft mouth, cat curled
asleep by the door. Honey
flows freely, feeds my hunger,
sweetens the sounds. Underwater
grains are always trembling.
I will bring you water,
if you will bring a crystal cup.
And tilt it to my hand.
This trembling cup of sunrise
Wavers, swilling on the brink,
then spilling scarlet and golden
sunshine. A tiny tinny acorn
shines silver in the light and I
plan to plant it when the sun
goes down tonight.
More salt, please. Keep your honey
Trembling, I lift my cup.
A toast, a toast!
To salt and honey.
To the cat and the poppies.
To the acorn and the ants.
A toast to the golden thread.
A toast to the drunken roof.
And to the drunk whose words
A toast to the two bodies.
And the one honey. A toast to me
sitting by the edge of the field.
The well is dry but the lake flows
with wine. I lie there in the scarlet
and golden morning sun, dreaming.
Rumpelstiltskin liked golden thread, too.
The power to inflict
Love hostage, you bind yourself
in chains of unrequited love, trembling
at your own power to inflict the punishment,
to inflict desire.
Red sky, pure wine, and a language
I am still stumbling to speak.
Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $5.99— Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In March we’re exploring the theme Angels.
- Poets and Poems: Laura Mullen and “After I Was Dead” - January 24, 2023
- “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” – An Old Poem, a New Artwork - January 17, 2023
- Poets and Poems: Nancy Murphy and “The Space Carved by the Sharpness of Your Absence” - January 13, 2023