Thursday, June 30, 2005

blog slacker

so typical...almost a week, and i haven't blogged. i've walked and read and written in other venues but haven't blogged. the week in poetry has been productive. i'm involved in an online, two-month workshop with jimmy bacca! he's great--gives fine critiques and inspiring assignments. all i want to do is hang out and write poetry. think i'll post another selection from my chapbook, _southern girl gone wrong_. enjoy the weekend. ciao, rhoda

Summer at Thirteen

Anna Claire and I never like tall grass
afraid we’ll step on a cottonmouth.
But water the color of indigo
waits for us the other side of danger.

We shed jeans, shirts, underwear,
mark our place at the edge,
hold hands like Ruth and Naomi,
wade into the deep.

With each step, water moves higher,
chills our new breasts.
I throw my arms around Anna Claire,
press against her for warmth.

She pushes away,
plunges deep beyond,
surfaces, arches,
plunges again,
swims under me,
cradles my back in her palms,
lifts me to the air
so I float on her fingertips.

Her hands move gently
touching my shoulder and thigh,
quickening my flesh.
I feel different, immortal.

She kisses my lips quickly,
uncloses my eyes with her tongue.

We don’t say a word
before we reach the point of mooring
before we venture back through tall grass.

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

salvation on sand mountain

finished. covington's book traces the writer's journey though an infatuation with the snake handlers to a new awareness of who he is. descriptions of the handlers are disturbing, while covington's language often captues the ecstasy of religion.
also read a short story entitled "snake handler" by catherine ryan hyde. quite charming! don't want to give away story. ah,
i'll post a poem from my chapbook, _southern girl gone wrong_. enjoy! respectfully, rhoda

The Picnic

When the heat hits 90,
Mama calls for a picnic
and heads for Double Bridges.

We pitch a quilt.

She kicks off her sandals.
A ballerina in flight,
she talks of infinite beaux.

They called her a knockout,
prettiest girl in Nashville.

"So little four eyes, know
why I’m stuck with your dad?"

The ending never changes.
She got knocked up.
I’m proof.

I wish the water would flood,
suck her back into ooze,
make her scream for me.

Then I’d toss her sandals
off the bridge and watch them
float downriver.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Snake Handlers in Alabama

reading _salvation on sand mountain_ by dennis covington (reading, mass: addison-wesley publishing, 1995). creative nonfiction. a sympathertic rendering of snake-handling congregants of "the church of jesus with signs following" and how the preacher was convicted of trying to murder his wife with snake bites. covington treats these handlers with respect and awe as their faith tells them to "take up serpents and drink deadly poisons." the church is located in scottsboro, al, site of the sensational trial of the scottsboro boys, charged with raping two white women. (the verdict was later overturned by the Supreme Court.)

Covington writes: "By the late summer I was feeling comfortable among the handlers. In fact, I was getting restless in my home church in Birmingham, where I'd occasionally want to put my hands up in the air. I didn't. But sometimes I'd tap my feet during the choir's anthem or mumble an amen or two. And I was pretty much obsessed with snake handling, though I had not, in fact, handled one myself" (81).

respectfully, rhoda

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Another Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

this place originally was a nineteenth-century spiritualist community set in the hills next to the pacific ocean. now a funky beach town with bougainvillea and morning glories, lemon trees, and breezy days. never gets hot except when desert winds blow on occasion. mornings smell of eucalyptus and evergreens, and evenings of the neighbor's barbeque. cats, rhoda and t wilson, thrive in the ocean air from behind porch screens. cayotes too hungry and near for the feline kids to rove. impishly, i once told my niece her grandmother's spirit returned in my white cat. over time i've wondered how much truth was in that comment. wise zen mistress says: breathe in the moment. respectfully, rhoda

Monday, June 20, 2005

creating a blog for the second time

i realize that blogging is self publishing. as a poet, any poems i publish here will have been published previously. so, today, i think i'll include "natalie," the favorite of she who would be listened to--my friendly blogger. rhoda


While Natalie Wood twirls in the Tennessee night
suspended above trucks
Billy pushes me down on the seat
fumbles with my bra.

He’s heavy and clumsy
wants me for his steady girl
leaves a hickey on my breast.

I know how to hide traces of sex
with powder and perfume
how to please penis and mama
at the same time

go through a string of Billies
settle out of state
for one of them.

Years later Natalie falls off a boat.

I dream I’m treading water when
she reaches for help.
Afraid of going under
I watch her drown.

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