Friday, August 28, 2009

Like Kerosene - More Olena Kalytiak Davis

I can't help myself, I just love Ms. Davis's poetry, so I chose another of her poems from her book, "And Her Soul Out of Nothing" today. I did discover she has a new book out, actually, a chapbook, "On The Kitchen Table From Which Everything Has Been Hastily Removed" which is available at I just ordered it and can't wait dig into it.

Olena was born in 1963, in Detroit, Michigan, and is a first generation Ukranian-American. She graduated from Wayne State University, the University of Michigan Law School, and the Vermont College MFA Program. She now lives in Anchorage, Alaska. She is divorced and the mother of two children. I found the photo of her below while 'Net surfing. Now, is this not a stereotypical photo of the torturned poet? From the ciggie to the tall coffee and those ass-kicking boots which I coveted, well, I wanna be her in my next reincarnation. Not really, but I do like to have a face to put with the poetry I read and this is an amazing photo.

Like Kerosene
By Olena Kalytiak Davis

Yes, it’s daily
that we move into each other—but this morning
I was separate even from myself—
my hands were shovels, I had mosquito netting for hair,
and the insect beating against the night
was my heart. My name was hallow
and the sky was made of shale when

I walked into a part of morning
I’ve never seen: the sky still heavy, still
smoldering with the nightmares of others,
the drunkenness and sorrow rising like dew, like fog,
like smoke back into the clouds. Suddenly,
my face was wet with it. I wanted to lie down
with it. To rest against the almost exhausted night.

Uncertain of what to do there
I started dividing the layers, the sediment,
thinking: Usually I sleep through his sadness.

And the morning asking: Why do you keep track
of the middle of the day when you should be
waxing the moon? How can these young fragile branches
be left out in the darkness, and who set that darkness
wandering inside your heart? Who can your love ignite,
like this, like kerosene?

And then the sky lit the morning.
And then I went in to set my own house on fire.
And then I lay down next to you:
a body filling with feathers or with snow
asking: and who are you that my love can light
like this, like kerosene.

University of Wisconsin Press (November 1997)


Wishing you all a peaceful, relaxing weekend. Blessings!


"Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason." ~Novalis

"The smell of ink is intoxicating to me -
others may have wine,
but I have poetry." ~Abbe Yeux-verdi


Wine and Words said...

Jeeze I want those legs, to hell with the boots. Nice poem. I hope you have a wonderful weekend Marion, dear, sweet thing!

Marion said...

Thanks, Annie. The problem with long legs is finding pants long enough. Not so much a problem now, but back in the day they didn't make 'tall' sizes. I wore lots of shorts, mini-skirts or high water pants. LOL! You have a wonderful weekend, too! Love & Hugs!

Kelly said...

Very good!!

Enjoy your weekend. Little chance of rain here, but should be decent temp-wise.

Marion said...

Hey, Kelly. We've had lots of clouds today, but no rain so far. Quite humid. Typical August in Louisiana weather. I'm eager for September. Blessings!

Kay said...

Just beautiful, all of it, the mind of art is just thrilling!

Marion said...

It is thrilling, isn't it, Kay? I love it when I find poetry that redefines the ordinary like this does. This line I loved best:

"And the morning asking: Why do you keep track
of the middle of the day when you should be
waxing the moon?"

Thanks for stopping by! Blessings!!

Margaret Pangert said...

Wow! Just one incredible image after another! That's how Leonard Cohen writes/sings, too (do you remember Suzanne and Sisters of Mercy?). I've walked into a part of morning I've never seen. She seems a good match for Steve Kowit: her boots up to here, his Levi's on those slim hips... For once, louisiana is spared by a hurricane: looks like it'll hit land up here tomorrow... Love xxox

Brosreview said...

Just beautiful! I read this more than just once!

Marion said...

Margaret, yes, she does remind me a bit of Leonard Cohen. Oh, yes, I have many of his CD's and books. He's a poet/songwriter extraordinnaire! I love "Suzanne". It's one of my favorites of his many songs. I hope y'all don't get much of the bad weather. It's been an eerily quiet hurricane season this year, but it's still got a ways to go. Thanks for stopping by. I've missed you! Blessings!

AJ, it's a fabuous poem, isn't it? I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. Blessings!

Phoenix said...

Ok. Seriously. First of all, I am obsessed with poetry (Rilke, ee cummings, Bukowski, Frost, Hughes, just to name a few) and I absolutely love photography. Your photos are gorgeous.

So I come visit your blog after your very kind comment and notice that we chose the same blog layout, yay for water and wind and surf and sunshine... and then I note that your name is Marion, which is my middle name, and you and my grandmother (whom I was named after) are the only two people I've met named Marion. (Okay, there was that one Maid from the Robin Hood stories. But I never met her, alas.)

Yay for serendipital things! I'm officially a follower. :)

Phoenix said...

Also, not to get all stalkerish, but just noticed you have W.C.Williams' poem ON an actual red wheelbarrow!! What's the poet equivalent of geeking out? Um, because that's what I'm doing...

Marion said...

Wow, Phoenix, that's amazing about the names. (I was named after an aunt and don't know any other Marion's either). I did notice you had the same layout as my blog and you're the first one I've seen besides mine. Total synchronicity! Oh, listen, if there was a 12 step program for poetry-aholics, I'd be a member. I own over 200 books of poetry, not counting the two I ordered today. Thank God for used books. LOL!

Yes, the poetry wheelbarrow. I am hard core to the bone when it comes to my poetry. I couldn't resist that... It was old and rusted and my husband was going to trash it and I said "NO! I'll paint it RED and put a POEM on it!" He gave it to me and I spray painted it and wrote the poem on it with a magic marker and he filled it with dirt and I plant flowers in it. I would name my favorite poets for you, but I love them all. (Well, except for this little quirk I have about Ted Hughes....I hate the man for what he did to Sylvia Plath AND his girlfriend---who both committed suicide...I won't even read anything he wrote...) But other than him, I love them all. Come by anytime. I won't think you're a stalker, really. I've made such great friends since I began blogging and all of us have poetry in common. It's fabulous to have like-minded friends! Blessings!

Renee said...

Now you. Well you, I love.


Marion said...

I love you, too, dearest Renee. You're a warrior. Hugs & Blessings, friend of my heart--

Woman in a Window said...

What I like here is that she walks into poetry as she does this day and it is as alien to me as Marshians. New language, new perspective, and damned hot boots! I like her, Marion, a lot!

Rikkij said...

Marion-Love the attitude she wears so well in all she seems to be. Wish I had her confidences. ~rick

Marion said...

Erin, yes, she really has a gift. I'd heard that she quit writing...I hope it's only a rumor because she truly has a gift. Glad you enjoyed it! Blessings & Love~

Rick, I wish I had that, too. Just once before I die I'd like to have some cocky confidence. Love and Blessings!