Monday, April 14, 2014

Liz Solo

I Will Dance

You will fail
And I will grow wealthy

Your hair will drop out
And I will laugh all day long

Your house will fall into ruins
And I will sunbathe in my garden

Your children will run away and beg to be given to foster families
And I will feed my grand babies crumpets and jam

You will be lonely and friendless and even dogs will avoid your door
And I will flourish and grow flowers

You will choke on your own bloated rage until you pop an artery and keel over
And I will write songs of celebration

You will die and be buried in the dirt where you belong
And I will wear a velvet dress and dance

agnes pratt

my mother has a black eye
they called on the phone
they said there was an accident
they said a bottle of hair conditioner
flew out of someone’s hands
during bath time
and hit her in the eye
they put makeup on it
to try and hide the bruise
but it does no good
the bruise shines through
purple and mean
brown around the edges

my mother is propped up in the bed
her hands are rigid
yet trembling
clasped in front of her
on the royal red bedspread
hands that were once
always working
sketching and making
sculpting and painting
pulling landscapes and faces
on to the blank page
filling emptiness
with secret messages
and flower gardens
and moments captured
in graphite
and watercolour
daily chronicles
in oil and clay

next to the bed
are esther’s lotions
made from newfoundland berries
and essential oils and essences
extracted from native plants
you can smell the forest
the juniper and the moss
the chamomile
it creates a shield
against the cloying stink
of the agnes pratt nursing home

i work rose geranium
and lavender
into her hands
pushing them gently open
her fingers still narrow and fine
her skin
thin as paper
her veins
narrow faded threads
pink and fragile

today her hair is down
she says
when it was being brushed
she looked up
and her mother was there
holding the brush
running it through her hair

i massage the clary sage
onto her forehead
rub her temples
smooth out her worry lines
stroke her cheeks
and wipe the cheap drug store makeup
from underneath her eye
apply a cold cloth

she is looking over
into the other world
she is not sure
it is me who is here
but she knows
i am someone to her
someone close

she starts to tell me stories
and her sentences trail off
but i know that the endings
to most of them
will tell of the bad man
who torments her at night
and the woman
who sabotages her meals
and puts glass in her bed
so that she can’t sleep

heart murmur
the edge is in front of me. the edge of the world. whatever lies beyond is enshrouded in a shifting grey mist that shimmers with mysterious glinting light. i can taste salt. sweat dribbles down my back. there is the sound of the cold ocean churning far below.

you and i stood here many times, on the edge of these cliffs. we’d climb up here along the bluffs, after hours spent exploring the length of the beach. a favorite old pass time. i would pick up white beach rocks when they shone among the round grey ones, collecting them as they led me in a meandering path along the shoreline. white rocks for healing. sometimes I sought black rocks to bind my enemies, or coloured ones to amuse the kids, or rocks with fossils or formations that contained magical symbols.

we walked along many other beaches, too - all those summers when we did long tour runs. before you became old overnight. before you gave up. before you were not there anymore. back when we were still fearless. back when the people would come from miles around to see the shows, and when, on our precious time off, we would follow unknown roads to find out where they led.

we discovered many shorelines to wander over those distant summers. there was a beach where big hunks of lime coloured talc had been strewn, out of place on the grey rocks. there was the beach of only red rocks and one of pure white sand and another with small polished ovals of grey and green. we walked the coastline of the island, exploring every nook and cove and bay.

one afternoon we traveled through three rock cove and lourdes and winterhouse to a rarely run road at the edge of black duck brook and we decided to follow it as far as it would go. we travelled for miles along a headland until reaching the end - the bottom of a steep gravel hill.

there we found an abandoned cove where fishermen sometimes lived during the crab season – a few grimy work gloves hung on lines strung between the bowing shacks. rusted out crab boats listed on the grumbling harbour, and we got out of the car and sat on the rotting wharf and smoked. the beach was a pile of jagged maroon shards and you named the place he cove. driving up out of the deep incline, the wheels skidded in the gravel and we couldn’t gain traction. we feared we might have to spend the night in he cove until finally, haltingly, we lurched up and out and made our getaway into an orange-purple sunset.

isle aux morts, the isle of the dead. margaree. foxes roost. st luniere. griquet. englee. great harbor deep. bear cove. savage cove. cape ray. burnt islands. rose blanche. bay d’espoir, bay despair.

we drove past scores of derelict villages and towns, each with its own church and graveyard still standing, defiantly marking the places where generations had come and gone. we walked among the headstones, looking for clues etched there. we visited the ruins of the viking settlers, their reconstructed grass houses lining the plains by the wide ocean. we searched the flat shale beaches for the ancient fossils preserved there and walked together on the rim of the pre-historic seabed.

that night i dreamed i was a great queen, dressed in gold, set upon a high seat and holding a crystal wand. it had been so real that i felt strangely different about myself the next day. it’s a sign, you said. maybe a past life or a vision to decipher. you said you were sure it was significant and i did not doubt that you were right.

when we saw the rainbow we hopped into the car and decided to follow it, to see where it began, or ended, to see what was really at the end of the rainbow. we drove madly, criss-crossing roads, chasing the rainbow for a half an hour. when we finally found the end we drove underneath it and the colours dissipated above our heads. i looked back and thought i could see the rainbow's edge bathing at the lip of the ocean. we got out of the car and tried to see the colours, to touch them, but only the mist caught the light and made our faces glisten. make a wish you said and i closed my eyes and wished for money.

we walked the shore for hours one afternoon and found a hidden beach where all the stones were in the shape of ragged hearts. a lost beach of distorted stone hearts and that day we devised a magic spell to drive out old hurts and dispel bad things. we casually wandered to our own separate places and i picked up a stone and hurled it into the water. then another and another, eventually filling a dozen knurled rocks with my aches and casting them away. down the beach i could see that you were doing the same.

on the way back up the path to the road a bright red rock stood out in the mud. i picked it up – a small and perfectly heart-shaped stone, symmetrical and light. it had been flung up from the beach away from its misshapen relations. i washed the dirt off in a puddle and it grew soft and pink as the water evaporated from the surface. that one is for you to keep, you said, and i put it in my pocket.

now i am standing in the clouds. seagulls bawl and plunge into the haze, their voices rising in long melancholic wails. i am holding the perfect pink heart and warming it between my hands. I breathe on it and the surface blushes slightly and i know that it was never for me to keep. no thing is for keeping. i open my hands and throw the stone up into the glittery mist and watch it arc and fall out of sight.

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