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Thursday, 26 July 2012

Susan Kay Anderson: The Telephone


Time-lapse animation of a geranium flower opening: photo by Andrew Dunn, 31 July 2006; animation by Solipsist, 1 August 2006

Sometimes she calls us
when she’s drunk. Her voice
is golden syrup music. It never stumbles.
She doesn’t ask a lot of questions, then.
She has all the answers to our letters.
They unwind from her mouth like flowers
unfolding in special time-lapse Nature Shows.
Speeded up. Small monsters going to overtake
the earth. The title of one particular show
could be called “How Flowers Bloom.” In it,
she brushes her hair and the longer
she brushes it the curlier it ravels
and the closer it becomes to the time to hang up. 


Wooden Boy said...

"She has all the answers to our letters./ They unwind from her mouth like flowers/ unfolding in special time-lapse Nature Shows./ Speeded up."

There's some beautiful, ravelled music here. Some drunk people's speech does bloom, opening out, getting wilder, and has us compelled and afraid.

This is a bloody good poem.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Compelled and afraid, yes. Thanks so much. I am so happy you read this, Wooden Boy and liked it. A great Gunslinger once said, "Karo, Karo" about this poem. I am so happy and scared to see it again.

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

I agree with WB and--as Susan says in her comment--want to add another intensifier; in other words, what we have here is a blooming, bloody good poem.

TC said...

This remarkable poem has a long and storied critical history, saturated as it is with blood and blooming and fructose rich golden corn syrup laden with drunk phone calls from sober little angels wearing chaps. If not also from a few big chaps wearing the wings of angels.

Karo Syrup, preferred by Little Frontier Scout

Okay pardner, reach for Karo!

Ten-pound can of Karo Syrup (c. 1950)

Karo syrup wall painting on red school house, Indiana

("My Father growing up in Chicago were poor and they couldn't afford maple syrup so they put Karo on their pancakes. He always had a bottle in pantry until the day he passed on.")

Cowboys enjoying hotcakes and Karo in the log cabin in the shadow of Brokeback Mountain


Tom and Susan,

Yes, a blooming bloody good (and a bit scary) poem, maybe sometimes better to screen those phone calls


light coming into fog against invisible
top of ridge, blue jay landing on fence
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

cause to be, at the time it
was to become present

recent phenomena, as far as
that part, that it is

grey white of fog reflected in channel,
shadowed green pine on tip of sandspit

Susan Kay Anderson said...

So lucky to be on the range. Home. I did give a poet a present a few years ago--it was a red geranium. I can safely say that he did not like it nor its associations. Our workshop room at Reed College was so sterile even though the building was nice and old. Hawaii and all--plants and flowers being part of the (larger) family. I am happy to see it again. I will consider it good luck that it might keep the evil spirits from entering through a window--into the workshop.

TC said...

That poet sounds like a bit of an ingrate.

Kim and Forest Starr have a great website with thousands of picture of Plants of Hawaii (want to be there!).

Here's a delightful splash of red in the form of a native Pelargonium ex hortorum (Common Geranium or Fish Geranium) from Maui.