Some furtive shots (of Poetry) snuck from a flask (book) in my purse

Tonight I don’t have anything of my own to say (well, I do, but I’m too tired/scattered/distracted to say it) but I wanted to share a poem I just read that I like a lot, for a lot of reasons.

I don’t know if you’ve read anything by  Mary Karr. You should. I’ve read her memoirs (The Liar’s Club and Cherry) and some of her poetry (Viper Rum) and she is great. She is hott stuff… and I don’t mean just like this, but as a writer, as a poet, as a suprisingly religious person (I like surprises), and just as a human being who knows how to share herself in meaningful ways.

After organizing my stacks of books into their happy shelves, I’ve had Viper Rum in my purse for a few days, and now I want to hunt down the rest of her poetry, and read her new book that’s coming out this year.

Anyway. Here’s a poem that particularly struck me.*

*Papa, if you are reading this, don’t be scared off by the title and the implications of possible Elvis references.

Mary Karr 

Before my first communion at 40, I clung
           to doubt as Satan spider-like stalked
                       the orb of dark surrounding Eden
                                   for a wormhole into paradise.

God had first formed me in the womb

            small as a bite of burger.

                        Once my lungs were done

                                    He sailed a soul like a lit arrow

to inflame me.  Maybe that piercing

            made me howl at birth,

                        or the masked creatures

                                    whose scalpel cut a lightning bolt to free me—

I was hoisted by the heels and swatted, fed

            and hauled through rooms.  Time-lapse photos show

                        my fingers grew past crayon outlines,

                                    my feet came to fill spike heels.

Eventually, I lurched out to kiss the wrong mouths,

            get stewed, and sulk around.  Christ always stood

                        to one side with a glass of water.

                                    I swatted the sap away.

When my thirst got great enough

            to ask, a stream welled up inside;

                        some jade wave buoyed me forward;

                                    and I found myself upright

in the instant, with a garden

            inside my own ribs aflourish.  There, the arbor leafs.

                        The vines push out plump grapes.

                                    You are loved, someone said.  Take that

and eat it.


2 Responses to Some furtive shots (of Poetry) snuck from a flask (book) in my purse

  1. d.cous. says:

    That’s really neat, Sara. Thanks for sharing. I have to admit that I know nothing about poetry (such as how to read it aloud). I try to be well-rounded, but it’s an art form with which I only have the basest familiarity. See you soon?

  2. saracita says:

    You should read some of Billy Collins’ work. He has a gift with words but is still pretty accessible… poetry for people who don’t like poetry. 🙂

    We should connect sometime soon. You know where I am Monday nights… 😉 Maureen and I have been trying to get together but nothing seems possible until after Easter… we’ll see…

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