16 December 2010

The Dead Woman and the Mad Hatter

Live as if you were already dead. –Zen Admonition
Oh yeah, you are. –Me

The dead woman smoked Top rolled
tobacco with the Mad Hatter as they walked
through oceans of tassel teased grain.
The dead woman and the Mad Hatter
roosted on a railroad trestle’s black iron
undercarriage as their words ebbed and flowed.
She closed her eyes and she laughed
as a train rode the rails over head,
blowing over the Mad Hatter’s rant
about nuclear endings.
The dead woman’s cattle marker
in bright red spread

from wonder into wonder existence opens

The Mad Hatter called her a hippy,
and placed her in his heart.

The dead woman watched as the Mad Hatter
danced a disk sander over his old brown Sirocco.
“I named him Rusty,” said the Mad Hatter.
She relished his whacky cackling
beneath a screeching shower of sparks
sailing stars over Rusty’s silver-swirled hide.
Later, the Mad Hatter drove
Rusty and the dead woman
screaming over Montana gravel,
gallivanting, galvanizing, gathering
baby’s breath, rosebuds and skulls.

The dead woman piled bones like the Mad Hatter piled pianos.
She roller-skated circles
around the Mad Hatter’s Chickering Grand.
Hardwood gymnasium floors facilitated her flow
as the Mad Hatter’s limber fingers
set the piano’s strings resounding
between the spaces of places
that grew through their lives.
But that was a long time ago.


More about the Dead Woman and the Mad Hatter
The dead woman soaks in some story
of car trouble, the highway, a truck.
Her husband explains the Mad Hatter’s mistake
from a medical point of view.
The dead woman ascertains that he
sustained injuries beyond return.
She hears on the news that the Mad Hatter jumped.
Deep coma sets in and she waits.
She silently wishes for one more walk
with the Mad Hatter’s rants running by.
But the Mad Hatter loses the battle, and
they harvest his heart and his eyes.
The dead woman swallows sorrow’s dark weight.
She rants, she writes, and she cries.

She rides her bike to the ranch supply store
then heads to the Interstate bridge.
She crawls underneath on the iron supports
scrawls the missing Mad Hatter a message
and places him in her heart.

The dead woman wishes him serious peace, and hopes
Death takes the Mad Hatter dancing.

A shout out to all the poets at Big Tent Poetry! I've missed you. This piece is my take on a prompt offered under the Big Tent. Pieces of the story are true, but in keeping with my history with the "Mad Hatter," there is plenty of embellishment.

In my take on the prompt, I am the dead woman. Enjambment is a new idea for me, and while Dead Person poems true to form include it, mine does not. I wrote part one in the past tense, and part two in the present tense.

My friend is gone, he passed last week surrounded by his family. Forever he'll live in my heart.


flaubert said...

I was over at fb and saw this post.
I am sorry to hear about your friend.
This poem is fantastic! Welcome back!
You have been missed.

brenda w said...

Thanks for the condolences and kind words, Pamela. I'm glad you like the poem.

Julie Jordan Scott said...

I didn't even catch the part about enjambwhat? Argh. I knew I was doing it wrong.

I enjoyed the part of the mad hatter.

Anonymous said...

Brenda, we've missed your creativity lately, and I'm glad you've come back with a bang. I offer my sympathy for the loss of your friend.

The imagery in your poems is striking, on so many levels of meaning. You must have done the enjambment right, because I didn't notice any and had to go back and re-read after reading your process notes. Clumsy enjambment sticks out in Dayglo ink.

Donald Harbour said...

Wow Brenda! From your words my mind found two hobos and it enjoyed the scene that you painted with this piece of poetry. Damn good read. I look forward to your other contributions. Merry Christmas.

gautami tripathy said...

Brenda, I don't have words for this. I really liked it and have missed your poetry lately.

dead man and his shoe painting

mark said...

Um...this is like, terrific! I mean, seriously...wow.

I grieve for your loss, it is never easy. Yet, a wonderful send-off you gave him whilst keeping him close at the same time.

This is wonderfully marvelous.

Barbara said...

I read this to my husband, but my voice kept breaking. This would be a fine memorial for any friend's passing, as even the most sedate are a little hatterish among friends.

I'm sorry for your loss. Cherish the memories.

hedgewitch said...

I'm no judge as to how well this does or doesn't fit an invented form, but it fits itself, and is a fine poem. I also had a friend who named his cars and they were always personified to him and passengers alike. Loved the alliteration in the g-words leading into "baby's breath, rosebuds, and skulls."

Condolences, and thanks for an excellent poem.

Linda said...

Loved the images and the way the poems narrative took me along.

Tumblewords: said...

I'm sorry for your loss. You've taken it through two arenas and each one is magical and memorable.

Anonymous said...

I'm new to this form but think your poem flows well. The enjambment is not clumsy and this is written with great sensitivity. Sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear your words again! And i enjoyed this very much!

Cynthia Short said...

Your images are amazing and wonderfully written. While reading your pieces I had the song "Me & Bobbie McGee" running through my head...

nan said...

Great poem. I felt magic and longing in this strong use of this form. I am truly sorry for your loss, and am happy to see you back under the tent.

Wayne Pitchko said...

nicely done Brenda...glad your back...thanks for sharing this

Deb said...

I'm sorry for your loss, but grateful that you shared your love with us. I think the form worked under your hand wonderfully. It's a rich picture of friendship and the people.

(Welcome back, too!)

S.E.Ingraham said...

sorry to hear about your loss - coincidentally my brother died yesterday as well ... a non-sequiter if ever there was one but it's on my mind as you might imagine (actually Bill died on the 17th) - in any case, thank you for sharing your grief with us - I always find that so brave... and your poetry, excellent - and for mentioning enjambment as part of the form; like many others, I completely forgot that being part of it - crap.