Sunday, May 31, 2015

Poem of the Day Double Feature: “Kahlo” and “Two Poets in a Veterinarian’s Office” by Marge Simon

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Kahlo” and “Two Poets in a Veterinarian’s Office” by Marge Simon.  Ms. Simon edits a column for the Horror Writers Association (HWA) Newsletter, "Blood & Spades: Poets of the Dark Side," and serves as Chair of the board of trustees.  She is a former president of the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA) and a former editor of Star*Line, the journal of the SFPA.  

She was awarded the Bram Stoker for Best Poetry Collection in 2007 and again in 2012.  Both of her 2010 poetry collections, Unearthly Delights and The Mad Hattery were Stoker finalists in 2011.  She won the Strange Horizons Readers Choice Award in 2010, and the Dwarf Stars Award in 2012.  She won the Rhysling Award for Best Long Poem in 1995.   

In addition to the frequent appearances of her poetry in the Songs of Eretz venues, Simon's poetry, fiction, and illustrations have appeared in:  Strange HorizonsNitebladeDaily Science FictionPedestalDreams & Nightmares, and Jamais Vu.  She has published two prose collections: Christina's World (Sam's Dot Publications, 2008), and Like Birds in the Rain (Sam's Dot, 2007).  Elektrik Milk Bath Press published a new collection of her poetry with Sandy DeLuca, Dangerous Dreams, in 2013.  Dark Renaissance Press published a speculative dark poetry collection, Sweet Poison, in 2014 coauthored by her and Mary Turzillo.  

Marge Simon is an active member of the HWA, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), and SFPA.  Find more information about this remarkable lady at www.margesimon.com.

Kahlo
Marge Simon

The artist 
spit on her finger, 
moistened her palette,
chewed a cocoa leaf as she worked,
a dark shade here, a brighter there.

Diego, ravenous,
an appetite beyond hers,
his big voice, his lips
on her mouth, on her breasts
tequila, sweat
bruises, passion, pain.

Still there was sorrow,
so she sharpened it with her teeth,
made it bleed on her canvas.

What came first was flesh,
she gave it to the world
over and over.

Then her vertebrae,
her severed womb.
Roots. Veins. Arteries.
The ties of heritage.
Parrots.
Flora.
Mirrors.

Poet’s Notes:  This is kind of a dedication poem. As an artist and a retired art teacher, of course I know of Kahlo's life and works (besides what was in the movie about her.) I was fascinated from the start by her paintings, especially her self-portraits, so boldly candid and direct. Those eyes. I've written more than one poem about Frieda, inspired by her passion for bright, surreal settings created even though confined to bed most of the time due to a car accident that left her a semi-invalid. I don't feel a need to explain the reference to mirrors, once you've viewed a selection of her amazing works.

Editor’s Note:  Readers who know a little about the life of the artist should really enjoy this poem, even as its words consume them. However, even those who know nothing of the details of the life of Frieda Kahlo and her violent marriage to Diego Rivera should still have no trouble appreciating this piece as a passionate, poetic life story, or even as fantasy.   

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Two Poets in a Veterinarian's Office
Marge Simon

He is a big man, with a big voice.
His t-shirt proclaims ZOMBIES RULE.
At his feet a small cat carrier.

The woman is very small and very old. 
She wears a wig that she fancies makes her look
like Sylvia Plath or Emily Dickinson. 
At her feet is a dog twice her size.
From time to time she pats his head.

Both of them are writing in notebooks.
Both of them are writing poetry.

His:

"The sky is dirt,
it holds my blood!
My feet are angry,
I grind the bones 
of enemies beneath."

Hers:

"Up from darkened tombs 
they rise to meet the moon,
hands outstretched, 
nostrils flared, seeking living flesh."

His kitten mews,
Her dog whines.

Poet’s Notes:  No, this isn't about real people with pets--but wait!!  Yes, it is. Pets say a lot about their owners without speaking. Also a wry comment on "you can't tell a book by its cover". Different strokes for different folks?  I imagined this scene, of course. I've never seen anyone at a vet's office writing poetry. Myself included.

Editor’s Note:  Simon sets the scene beautifully with just the right amount of irreverence.  The poems that the characters write--his after Plath, hers inspired by his tee-shirt--come as a nice surprise.

“Kahlo” and “Two Poets in a Veterinarian’s Office” first appeared in the January 2014 issue of Songs of Eretz Poetry E-zine.  The beautiful art accompanying the poems are some of Ms. Simon’s original illustrations. 

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