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Beatrice Chancy

George Elliott Clarke
From:   Beatrice Chancy, 1999.


Beatrice: (Monotone) I pinned a viper's eye to something that
           hurt.
His blood gusted across my palm.
I stuck a coffin smack in his neck.
           Consider that I was never free,
Never safe from an invoice of shame,
My heart cracked open and there was only extinction.
           That night, fusillades of rain smashed French horns,
That night, horses whickered in the murk,
That night, five months past, I was deadly as a church.
           I'd rubbed raw the New Testament, weeping,
The Old Testament, praying. I cut him
Two gashes, and he bled like a butcher.
           White men, you took away my freedom
And gave me religion.
So be it: I became a devout killer.

Beatrice: Rain and autumn waters commingle,
Bejewel trees and me,
Wind in the beautiful,
Ruined trees awaiting new beauty,
And wind in this wracked body,
Also to spring new beauty,
Fresh and refreshing love.

Beatrice: The heavy soft snow has broken down
The forests, yes, but lingers,
Impregnating the rivers.
                       April succours such goods--
           White witness of blossom
           And lily-saturated rain ...
                      Blossoms are their own seasoning,
           Their own apocalypse.
           They flower in themselves.
                      Watch the clement rains commix--
           The succulent cascades of rain--
           And everything like that,
           Things that asolare in Aprile,
           Slurring snow into blossoms.

Deal: I'm gonna get myself free. Get myself free. Uh huh!
In the tousled bush, I'll guttle blackberries, wild cherries,
and hazelnuts. I'll jig eel and rig me fresh eel pie. I'll gulp
dandelion coffee after dicin up the roots, roastin em in a
hardscrabble stone-oven, then stirrin the dust into boilin
water in the pot I'll liberate to cover wages owed. I'll eat
bee pollen and strawberry leaves and blueberries from
burnt-over acres. I'll mix a decoction of milk and daisies,
the meal of daylily, the morning's dew, and a smidgen of
clover. The wind'11 fix my banquet. I'll slog out in the
damp, bed down in bogs, take rocks for my pillow, and
willingly suffer smelly, hot fens, mosquito swamps,
and agues and fevers. I'll venture every hidden space of
a well-hidden road. When I come out the woods, I'll
lap rainwater from my sore palms. I expect it'll hold the
sugar taste of freedom.


George Elliott Clarke's works copyright © to the author.


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