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Entries in Mosquito (1)

Monday
May032010

"Prayer of Intercession"

Read and Listen at the end of this post to my poem, "Prayer of Intercession."

I rediscovered my poem, Prayer of Intercession, and have always wanted to share it, so here it is. It's meant to be read aloud and appreciated for its consonants and whispers as much as for the meaning of the words.

I wrote the poem shorty after reading Alex Lemon's book of poetry, Mosquito. His poetry thoroughly impressed me with its physicality. His poetry is thick with percussive consonants and whistling of the letter "s." The poems I appreciated most were ones I didn' fully understanding--they intrigued me most simply for the pure dance required by my lips and tongue.

Lemon's poem,  Rivets delighted me with phrases such as “barbed-wire wind” and “rat-thick pillows.” (52) Lemon’s poem, Corpus gives me a similar sensation with the lines of “scribble love unreadable. My body is sweet / with blasphemy & punk teeth, memories” and “We’ll orgy with shake and grooves / wet whisper—clap, kiss, watch me go.”

Lemon bombarded me with potent and startling juxtaposed imagery. Take for instance this line from his poem, The Xylophone is Blaze, “…On a beach / of violin skins we turned into lightning.” (73) Making the connection of a beach of violin skins is a brain bender. The image at first is impossibly raw for me, somehow almost violent to peel the skin from violins to create this environment. Later in the same poem is the crazy combination of “…lips cowboy tall, / nick-winged & dusty.” (73) Lips, cowboy tall, nick-winged, dusty when combined give me more of an undercurrent of feeling that a real sensory image.

Check out Alex Lemon's most recent book, Happy: A Memoir.

With Alex Lemon's inspirational style in mind, I wrote my own poem in an attempt to convey a highly emotional experience I had while I was an exchange student in Bolivia years ago.

Another exchange student invited me to spend the evening with her and her host-grandmother who lived above a little stationary shop she owned in the center of Santa Cruz. We spent the evening on the concrete steps leading to the flat rooftop where we often star gazed. The alien constellations of Southern Hemisphere constantly reminded me of how far away I was from my home in Minnesota.

By the end of the evening my friend, her abuela (both Catholic), and I (not Catholic) had a heated debate about Jesus, Mary, and God. This poem articulates the spiritual upheaval and displacement I felt for the first time in my life.

 

Prayer of Intercession

 

Hail Mary, full of grace

less this tarry black noche-night.

I’m with Abuela, a raspy-voice mole rat,

Mosca-glassing her Rosary beads.

 

Our Lord is with thee

upon the rooftop, taxis beep below and

Celestial bodies wink above.

The Crux, Acrux, and Gacrux,

point south, to Hades, to Uca Pacha,

earthen home to snakes & cucarachas.

 

Blessed art thou among women

less me, because I am the Eve angel, the Cassiopeia,

ever opposite of the Crux          —I realize the two shall never meet.

 

And blessed is the fruit of thy womb

with the redolence of empandas con carne.

 

Abuela whispers: Madre de Diós, Jesus Christo,

The stars susurrate: Crux, Acrux, Gacrux

In silence, a black void opens and swallows my soul.

 

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners

whom Supay welcomes

 

now and at the hour of our death,

mi corazon, quivers.

 

Amen.


Listen to "Prayer of Intercession"