After Chagall’s The Birthday Here in the fresh hangar of their private cabaret, the cinnabar lane gathers up the dusty dreams of the dessert she had planned and shakes them off. He is into speleogy and she, in soft pink-tinged, handmade camisole, close to the skin, admits to being an Epicurean, a never satiated gourmet. The epic Coq au Vin she just prepared, has hit the spot, and for dessert – Millefeuille, presented on her best Bakelite, filled with sweet, somewhat thick Kumquat jam, fresh from the tree just outside the window of their romantic Mediterranean hideaway, a stones throw from the Orange Coast. Home to Our Lady of Loreto, this has become their Balarean Island, where they conjure nightly bonfires in her velvet boudoir flush with ju-ju. Tonight she serves up a mean Baby, Baby, Baby, just a jigger of Stoly, a little less Grand Marnier and half a jigger of Baileys, swished and swirled over cracked ice and strained into a pony glass that glistens like the black patent leather and chrome stool–modernist, slick, a bit uncomfortable. Both so tired of being propped up like that, he makes her a Woo Woo all peachy and tart with cranberry. They unpack the theremin and begin a slow dance. Soon the calyx, campanula and baby’s breath bouquet begins to emit sounds all smooth, spooky and innocent. They both whisper mon cherie and yes, even the cicadas chime in. This is no mare’s nest, they’ve hung up the magic carpet and their bathysphere is complete. No joke. Their jouissance unfolds and they float, flesh swaying so gently, they even forget to take off their shoes, so deliquescent they are with delight.
Tidal Today, when the ship arrived, while unloading the cargo of spice tea, limes and onions – I rolled up my sleeves and let the skin on my arms burn. The ropes held for once and maybe I’ll eat something with a thick sauce this time tomorrow. I guess I wasn’t really sure it was coming, even though the birds behaved badly, in unison for nights on end, making a racket with their squawking and me just striking rocks together for spark. They smell it coming, even if I can’t, and am deaf and dumb to the even tide, that has been trying all along to teach me to listen with my skin, to the change in the temperature, that signals some change in the pitch of her sails, bringing her home to the long sightless shore, with no end, to my empty bowl.
Talk about writing poems. It is like a disappearing act or the magic of slight-of-hands. It is art, it is science, it is none of the above. A blind person can do it, even the deaf and dumb. A kind of intelligence is needed, but like too much salt, will ruin the dish. There can never be too much heart. Wishing for a certain outcome invariably leads to blind alleys. At the same time, getting lost, good and lost is advisable – up a creek even. If you can put on a cloak and pretend you’re an ancient eardstapa, that helps too, even if you have to look up a word or two. Somedays the recipe is very difficult to follow, many ingredients unknown, or very hard to find, or way too expensive. The hunger is strange and impossible to appease. If the plums appear magically, eating them immediately is not advised. It is best to gather them into a bowl, a blue or yellow one perhaps, and set them on a table near a window. You might also leave them for a day or two, practice remembering their smell, while in some other room. While in this other place, take out a deck of cards and build a card house, nothing fancy. You might also blow it down for fun. When you’ve run out of games to play, take down the dulcimer and sit for awhile playing, even if you don’t really know how. Then, as the afternoon light is giving way to twilight, you might go polish a plum, then, when you’re ready, bite a sweetness will fill your mouth, sometimes with a touch of sour. Notice how wet the inside of your mouth then feels. And if you keep on like that, soon you’ll reach the seed, which can be thrown away or planted. I advise the latter. And, whoever said there is a way out of this mess was wrong – there is no way out. The trick is in reversals, trial and all – it is worth it. There’s a trail of sorts afterall, that is made in the walking. Step by step a new land. Lost and found, arriving and leaving. Or maybe, it is a kind of circle dance with words, danced to a music only you can hear. So, become a magician, cook up a storm, wander, linger, enjoy the changing weather. Take shelter here.
Carole Standish Mora, MFA, PhD is a writer, scholar, and educator with poems published in Two Hawks Quarterly, The Prism Review, Red River Review, The Caterpillar Chronicles, Moronic Ox Literary and Cultural Journal, Between Literary Journal, Flint Hills Review, and The Seventh Quarry. She received a Pushcart Nomination in 2011 and in 2014 won the West Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Competition judged by Peter Thabit Jones. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing (poetry & fiction), a Ph.D. in Depth Psychology, and enjoys gardening, cooking, textile design, art-making, photography, travel, and research related to Jung, the creative process, and the arts.