Friday, February 23, 2007

Squealing Inside!

13 Reasons I really really really want to go to Bonnaroo this June 14th-17th:

1) The Police.

2) Wilco.

3) The White Stripes.

4) The Decemberists.

5) The Black Keys.

6) Spoon.

7) Wolfmother.

8) Franz Ferdinand.

9) Damien Rice.

10) Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals.

11) Martha Wainwright.

12) Gogol Bordello.

13) David Cross.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

The Making Love of Art

An assignment in my Advanced Creative Writing workshop this week was to combine two favorite works or literature and turn them into a new original poem. They didn't have to be poems--they could be short stories, novels, etc. I asked my professor if I could use a poem and a painting. She approved.

As soon as I heard the assignment I immediately thought of one of my favorite poems, Recovery of Sexual Desire After a Bad Cold by Fred Chappell:

Toward morning I dreamed of the Ace of Spades reversed
And woke up giggling.
New presence in the bedroom, as if it had snowed;
And an obdurate stranger come to visit my body.

This is how it all renews itself, floating down
Mothy on the shallow end of sleep;
How Easter gets here, and the hard-bitten dogwood
Flowers, and waters run clean again.

I am a new old man.
As morning sweetens the forsythia and the cats
Bristle with impudent hungers, I learn to smile.
I am a new baby.

What woman could turn from me now?
Shining like a butter knife, and the fever burned off,
My whole skin alert as radar, I can think
Of nothing at all but love and fresh coffee.

As soon as I knew I wanted to use this poem, I knew I needed a Frida Kahlo painting to team up with it. The Ace of Spades sold me, a tarot symbol, a supernatural force symbolized by a skull. I can't think of skulls without thinking of the Day of the Dead. Then I remembered Frida Kahlo's painting "Tree of Hope" and I knew this was it. The fertile, proud, healthy version of herself, perched in a nightscape next to the daytime bed of invalid Frida. No more back brace. There's a duality here, broken and virile, color and absence of color, day and night, sickness and health, and a strong theme of renewal that I see in both Chappell's and Kahlo's work. So here's what I came up with:

Desiring Frida by Marissa DeSantis:

This morning the brace is gone,
for in the night the stubborn bolts
vacated and left the blood and blister, sweat to dry,
the skin to renew.
A woman in a red dress was here,
or perhaps a fever dream
or perhaps the Ace of Spades
a tarot skull with
chiclet teeth white as dogwood,
chattering through the forest para Dia De Los Muertos.
But I am alive
in this bed with my flag and my forsythia.
And I wave for the woman to come,
Come, I am virile, I am not asleep
I am waiting for coffee,
for this clean snow to fall and kiss
your dark eyebrow
while I touch you again
for the first time.