Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Chris Cooper - 749 Words
Facebook @ Christal Ann Rice Cooper
Peacock feathers in black hands,
cooling my body
in my fluffy white warm bed,
until . . .
Georgia’s summer rays
cut my heart
of a lost, unreturned love.
To forget Ashley
I’d listen to Papa
because if I didn’t
he’d tell Mother
and Mother would make me
say Hail Mary’s all night long.
I hated Hail Marys
I didn’t hate Mary though.
I think we look a lot a like
except I am the beautiful one, of course.
I remember what Papa said
about the land;
His favorite color red;
insisting I be christened
Sometimes, the sun shines so bright
that whatever I see burns my eyes.
I go to the back yard
where the skinny crows live in the stripped oak trees
My hands are small shovels,
digging in the mud,
deeper and deeper
the cool wet earth
sleeping beneath my broken fingernails
until I’ve grasped the coldest part
my legs bent,
my back folded forward,
my hands covered
with delicious, cold mud.
I forget that damn promise
and eat the dirt.
That’s where all the food comes from, anyway.
Friday, January 27, 2017
Facebook @ Christal Ann Rice Cooper
The Grapes of Wrath:
the Person of John Steinbeck,
the Movie of the Century,
and the Persona of Tom Joad
“My whole nervous system is battered. I hope I’m not headed for a nervous breakdown. My nerves are going fast. . . I wish I could just disappear for a while. So many things to drive me nuts. I’m afraid this book is going to pieces. If it does, I do too."
--John Steinbeck in his diary on the writing of The Grapes of Wrath
On Friday, April 14, 1939 The Grapes of Wrath was published with mixed reviews. Many people were insulted at Steinbeck’s portrayal of an American family from Oklahoma in desperate straits.
The ending of the novel has a powerful ending, but at the time, the public was appalled when Rosasharon after delivering her stillborn baby, breastfeeds a starving man back to life.
The book, to date, has sold over 14 million copies, and continues to sell 100,000 copies per year.
The movie The Grapes of Wrath premièred on January 24, 1940; but unlike the book, the controversial ending was absent.
Instead, the movie ended with Ma Joad’s own words, “Men see life in jerks whereas women see life as a continuous flow, like a stream. Rich fellas come and go, but we Joads will go on and on forever, cause we're the people."
Tom Joad is the lead character of The Grapes of Wrath, a convict released during the Dust Bowl days, returning to his farm only to find it occupied by only dust and wind . He and his family head for the Promised Land, California. On the way there, he turns to killing for the sake of his family.
Tom Joad Speaks
By Christal Rice Cooper
I’m sick and tar’d of people describin’ hell as fahr.
It’s dust - in your eyes, your hair, your mouth.
Ya can’t git ‘nough water ta git it all out.
When hell’s all ya got ya want hell-
That ol’ land may be a Bowl of Dust,
but it has my great Granpa’s bones in it.
I’d walk a hundred mile ‘fore I trade it for one orange tree.
That was ‘fore I was free. Ain’t it strange?
When ya become free ya lose ever’thing-
Includin’ your last sip of whisky.
Them rich men and their goddamn tractors-
ever’ inch of dirt they cross kill me
The fambly turns ta dreamin’ and a run-down jalopie.
This han’bill says they needin’ 800 pickers.
800 my ass - they print 5,000 and 4,999 start dreamin’.
Mother Road is packed with Nashes, De Sotos, Model T’s—
crawlin’ like ants from Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas.
Pickin’ all day and ya have ta buy your own sack.
God forbid we sneak a bite.
Those deputies have guns an’ they’ll shoot.
A woman almos’ bleed to death from the shootin’.
All of this fer bread and water-
ain’t enough to feed a person.
It’s easy for kids - giv’em peppermint and they’re happy.
That candy’s a lie - so ya won’t have to admit the truth.
Ma says we the good people, the ones makin’ the world go on.
We’re hungrier in green ol’ California than we were in hell.
I miss that dried red land o’ cotton.
There ain’t nothin’ like home-
even if it ain’t heaven.
Monday, January 23, 2017
Chris Rice Cooper
Words Become Flesh
Miklos Radnoti was tried for “effrontery to public modesty and incitement to rebellion” due to his second book of poetry. On November 10, 1944, Hungarian officers shot him. In 1946, his body was exhumed. His widow searched his pockets to find a notebook of poems.
Miklos looks for poetry in rainbows
while working on the railway.
Miklos looks for poetry in water,
while marching from Yugoslavia to Hungary,
and sings when he tastes water from a bucket.
When they beat the old man to death
Miklos has nightmares – until
he seeps into poetry.
Some call it madness.
Miklos called it survival.
Miklos looks for poetry in black petals
covered in gunpowder dust.
His words in his pocket are his only burial.
His widow looks for poetry in his pockets
and finds the scent of black petals, now
His killers don’t recognize the aroma
or the taste of words become flesh.
They only taste vanity,
like Eve’s apple in the garden.