Rattlesnake Point (August 14)

Orange sun blazing through tree limbs: leaves shimmering in the evening light. A perfect family approaching- Mother pushes one stroller housing a small girl with pale curls; Father pushes another stroller with twin boys. The sun keeps blazing. The perfect family is headed through Death Valley to Rattlesnake Point. The after-dinner family stroll is just another name for this journey, though they don’t know it yet.

Further on, a crippled butterfly struggles to flutter off the sidewalk: her left wing is broken. It has a piece completely missing: imagine a part of you that is that is completely missing. Absent. Could you survive? One wing, pale yellow with black spots, is perfect; but that wing in its entirety can’t perform the magic trick needed to allow the butterfly to fly again. I guess she’ll die tonight.

Houdini never appears.

Houdini as God.

Imagine this: his greatest trick.

For it was October, the birth of the year…

“The Autumn wind blew over England. It twitched the leaves off the trees, and down they fluttered, spotted red and yellow, or sent them floating, flaunting in wide curves before they settled….There was mist on the woods. Near at hand the stone ladies on the terrace had scarlet flowers in their urns. Thin blue smoke drifted across the flaming dahlias in the long beds that went down to the river. ‘Burning weeds,’ she said aloud…The wind blew the smoke- for in every back garden in the angle of the ivy-grown wall that still sheltered a few last geraniums, leaves were heaped up; keen-fanged flames were eating them- out into the street, into windows that stood open in the drawing-room in the morning. For it was October, the birth of the year.”

(Virginia Woolf, The Years)


On a frozen beach at the beginning or end of time…

On a frozen beach at the beginning or end of time: distant murmurs of a carousel on the next pier. No children but ghost children sit on the painted ponies- mint green and rose- chipping and faded. No children but ghost children: motherless, sleepless, dreamless, endless haunts. Orphans. Exiles. Whispers and Fragments: Never Heard and Never Whole. Ghost children covered in ash, endlessly humming the only song they know: the mourning song of the carousel, the muffled screams in the cellar, the sizzling of hot metal on cool flesh. No children but ghost children, the distant murmurs of a carousel, and a frozen beach at the beginning or end of time. This was the dream.

The Mind is Concious But Conscious of Nothing

"I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre, 
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away—
Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen
Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;
Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing—" 

                                    -From T.S. Eliot's "East Coker" of Four Quartets

Leaves That Talk

For my first post, I figured I’d just include the poem by Anne Sexton from which the title of my Blog comes (“My Green Ladies Are Leaving.”) It’s entitled “Leaves That Talk.” And I can’t find it anywhere on the internet, so I suppose I’ll type it out. It’s a remarkable poem, but try to forgive any typos.

It’s May 20th and the leaves,
green, green, wearing their masks
and speaking, calling out their Sapphic loves,
are here- here- here-
calling out their death wish:

“Anne, Anne, come to us.”
to die of course. Come when listening
to the voices of the doves
that burst in them and out of them.
I mean their veins, their hearts
who scare you and beguile you
with their woman apron lives,
their doves’ arms flapping
from their cage, their brown stick branches.

I told someone once how they called to me,
sang to me, and that someone fled.
Now I will tell a priest
or is it a priestess?
Both, one and all and the same.
They call, though I sit here
sensibly behind my window screen.
They call, even if I’m pinned behind bars.
They call, they call their green death call.
They want me. They need me.
I belong lying down under them,
letting the green coffin fold and unfold
above me as I go out.

I flee. I flee.
I block my ears and eat salami.
I turn on THE song of THE LADY
but the leaves’ song crawls through
and into it and mixes like a dream in a dream.
I confess. I confess.
They steam all summer,
calling dark and light and moonstone
and they do not shut up.
They do not.

It is bad for me, dear confessor,
and yet I am in love with it.
It has a body.
It has many bodies.
I do not believe in ghosts
(very much)
but I wonder if they aren’t my whole past-
the generation of women, down the line,
the genealogical line right to the Mayflower,
and William Brewster and his woman
who rolled herself sick unto death
until she reached this promised land.
Oh well- whoever my green girls are-
they are.

I dream it’s the fourth of July
and I’m having a love affair
with grandfather (his real birthday)
and that the leaves fall off,
clank, clank,
crashing down like stones, New England
stones, one by one,
and in my dream
grandfather touches my neck and breast
and says, “Do not be afraid!
It’s only the leaves falling!”
There are one hundred thousand woman cries,
tree by tree, and I scream out in my fear
that my green ladies are leaving,
my lovely obsessions,
and I need them.
I sob.
I wake up.

And, dear God,
I am Rip van Winkle.
It is six A.M.
July 5, 1974,
and the branches are bare.
The leaves lie in green mounds,
like fake green snow huts.
And from the window as I peer out,
I see they have left their cages forever-
those wiry, spidery branches-
for me to people
someday soon when I turn green
and faithless to the summer.