Wednesday, January 13, 2016

R.I.P. Ms. C. D. Wright

   “It is a function of poetry to locate those zones inside us that would be free." C. D. Wright


By C. D. Wright

has been written in mud and butter 
and barbecue sauce. The walls and 
the floors used to be gorgeous. 
The socks off-white and a near match. 
The quince with fire blight 
but we get two pints of jelly 
in the end. Long walks strengthen 
the back. You with a fever blister 
and myself with a sty. Eyes 
have we and we are forever prey 
to each other’s teeth. The torrents 
go over us. Thunder has not harmed 
anyone we know. The river coursing 
through us is dirty and deep. The left 
hand protects the rhythm. Watch 
your head. No fires should be 
unattended. Especially when wind. Each 
receives a free swiss army knife. 
The first few tongues are clearly 
preparatory. The impression 
made by yours I carry to my grave. It is 
just so sad so creepy so beautiful. 
Bless it. We have so little time 
to learn, so much... The river 
courses dirty and deep. Cover the lettuce. 
Call it a night. O soul. Flow on. Instead.

C. D. Wright, “Everything Good between Men and Women” from Steal Away: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by C. D. Wright. 

Ms. Wright died today at age 67.  RIP, sweet Southern poet.  So little time, indeed...

Our Dust

C. D. Wright

I am your ancestor. You know next-to-nothing
about me.
There is no reason for you to imagine
the rooms I occupied or my heavy hair.
Not the faint vinegar smell of me. Or
the rubbed damp
of Forrest and I coupling on the landing
en route to our detached day.

You didn’t know my weariness, error, incapacity,
I was the poet
of shadow work and towns with quarter-inch
phone books, of failed
roadside zoos. The poet of yard eggs and
sharpening shops,
jobs at the weapons plant and the Maybelline
factory on the penitentiary road.

A poet of spiderwort and jacks-in-the-pulpit,
hollyhocks against the tool shed.
An unsmiling dark blond.
The one with the trowel in her handbag.
I dug up protected and private things.
That sort, I was.
My graves went undecorated and my churches
abandoned. This wasn’t planned, but practice.

I was the poet of short-tailed cats and yellow
line paint.
Of satellite dishes and Peterbilt trucks. Red Man
Chewing Tobacco, Black Cat Fireworks, Triple Hut
Creme Soda. Also of dirt dobbers, nightcrawlers,
martin houses, honey, and whetstones
from the Novaculite Uplift. What remained
of The Uplift.

I had registered dogs 4 sale; rocks, dung,
and straw.
I was a poet of hummingbird hives along with
redhead stepbrothers.

The poet of good walking shoes—a necessity
in vernacular parts—and push mowers.
The rumor that I was once seen sleeping
in a refrigerator box is false (he was a brother
who hated me).
Nor was I the one lunching at the Governor’s

I didn’t work off a grid. Or prime the surface
if I could get off without it. I made
simple music
out of sticks and string. On side B of me,
experimental guitar, night repairs and suppers
such as this.
You could count on me to make a bad situation
worse like putting liquid make-up over
a passion mark.

I never raised your rent. Or anyone else’s by God.
Never said I loved you. The future gave me chills.
I used the medium to say: Arise arise and
come together.
Free your children. Come on everybody. Let’s start
with Baltimore.

Believe me I am not being modest when I
admit my life doesn’t bear repeating. I
agreed to be the poet of one life,
one death alone. I have seen myself
in the black car. I have seen the retreat
of the black car.


Kelly said...

Oh, how I love that photo of my favorite bird!

Please keep praying for Pam. It's been (and still is) a very critical situation.

Marion said...

Oh, Kelly!! I didn't know our Pammie was ill!!! I'll be sure to pray for her & the family. We all had so much fun together in Natchitoches!!! Love & Blessings, my friend. xo

Jonathan Chant said...

These are very fine poems. Thanks for posting.

erin said...

i have to stop myself after the first one. how happy i am. happy that this is a new one for me from her. (i've seen so many of the same ones repeated.) but this one is such life. such here. such now. such - all of us. thank you for that, marion:)