he grief defined, written earlier than today— that has no reason—this day, to abate, with so much care, margo
Before another blatant hour, do not love a country;
it will turn you into a killer, defending your tree, your road,
your stars. Try not to protect the wren, its furred
babies. Say prove yourself to me again, I of doubt’s
despair born deep in winter. Prove we are not born
in the cauls of killing.
In the Falling of Late Fire Days
when the church bells overcome
when the kiss un-given
blinds my thighs.
while we are hungry,
for wombs, or births, or both.
I am the woman
we are the women at our own temples,
tapping marble, as if it might be silk.
walls, as if a creviced message hid.
as if born meant capture
of the hearts’ torn milk-teeth, grinding.
when you have wept and sung psalms, too,
and high-noon is perfect with its ferocity
tear the hour, like a saw-toothed paper cat,
limb from limb,
and pray for peace.
or do you know another mantra,
in the falling of late fire days…
(both poems from But a Passage in Wilderness, Sheep Meadow Press, 2007)
I deeply feel it is necessary to say the words in these poems (both previously published) again, and aloud, for this time. Our many lands are in the grip of manias that neither empathy, or the desire for peace, appear able to medicate. I have never felt so helpless or read so much that gives me no other ways to feel. The few humans, far too few, who dare to speak out for peace in this time, and not for further massacres, are silenced by sorrow and/or they are compulsively afraid of their own fellow humans. Their multiple insecurities lead them deeper and deeper into “shut down” and/or to sudden violence. If the sickness of silence might be compared to that virus that dared not speak its name—and that seems a painfully good comparison—t hen I have seen no medicine that any are swallowing, in the falling of our late fire days. The medicine “should” of course, of course, of course, be love. But the disillusioned cynic in me sees how even love has gone into deep retreat, hoping for visions and dreams, and a renaissance of hope, that thing the poet Emily Dickinson called “the thing with feathers.” And those who have swallowed the Kool-Aid of propagandas don’t believe they will die of hate. And yet, I have made poems. And images. And dreams. And yet, I cry. And yet I pray. And yet, fool or madwoman, or child or mere human, I do pray—to hope.
“We are adhering to life now with our last muscle – the heart.” Djuna Barnes
Both of these collage images rise from a nearly constant awake (and) dream state, that mourns for our days, and that tries to find care within them—my effort to find ways to take the world I see before me and to let it speak to the time I, we, are witness to. Ways to see from the soul, from the eyes of the heart and its longing for another version of peace to emerge from our chaos.
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About the Author
Margo Berdeshevsky often writes and walks in Paris, and in the back alleys of Europe. Her poetry collections are Between Soul and Stone, and But a Passage in Wilderness, (Sheep Meadow Press.) Her Beautiful Soon Enough, (University of Alabama Press), a book of illustrated stories, received FC2’s Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Award. Other honors include the Robert H. Winner Award from the Poetry Society of America, the & Now Anthology of the Best of Innovative Writing, eight Pushcart Prize nominations and two Pushcart “special mention” citations and a poem for the Academy of American Poet’s Poem-for-a-day [selected by the chancellors.] Her work is published in Europe and in the USA. A new poetry manuscript, Square Black Key and a multi-genre novel, Vagrant, are forthcoming. Born in New York City, where she had a first career as an actress, she can often be found reading from her books in London, Paris, and New York.