KATHLINE CARR: PAINTINGS AND POEMS
OF OUR BIRDS
(De nos oiseaux, Tristan Tzara)
A ceramic bird catches our eye at a shop.
We buy him and
twenty old and fragile Christmas ornaments
to replace what’s been lost,
what didn’t follow us here.
pink, white, red, blue
I tell you how happy I am, should I?
Just radiate it, act it out (you’d say).
I say too much maybe.
The loveliness of a glass ball is silence.
Where silence gathers, your hand guides—
I wait for.
negotiate the roads
fields of years
I want to walk with you,
dawn as birds’ flight catches air making vowels of flight
seeing birds hearing them also in your hands.
a bird with voice,
with all colors as the light hits—glass wings
speaking with no tongue
the way light does.
a song, sung in silence
when it catches the eye and holds it there.
WEARING A RED RAINCOAT
Not sure where to go now.
Nowhere sidewalks spread like ice cracks.
Down at the water’s edge, a frigate figure eights,
making solemn lacerations under charcoal birds.
The autopsy report in my pocket is a kind of poem:
a distillation of a ravaging illness.
Taking in the nourishment of overheard conversations
like inhaled smoke, chosen without choosing.
Sidewalks mouthing lamentations:
break your mother’s back
the dirt I throw in the hole, let it go
the priest tells me.
These objects break me:
the bell cord pulled and pulled
before the bell sounds. The burial mound covered
with plastic grass, the shovel left lying there.
My mother’s garden smells of neglect. The cat skull
dug up putting the roses in.
Walking figures against a red sky
to her gravesite. Grief wells overflow their sockets.
The priest speaks: cleave asunder (the ground opens under)
I throw up behind the stone. My ashes go there
I already know. Like charcoal,
powdery bone. The fire wears you down.
I hear her breathing stop. Her last exhalation
sounds like rasping, her hand a wet rag.
Stubborn stiffness sets in.
Flesh becomes wax before ash.
Bell peals crack like breaking
will it break? Figures against the stone wall,
waiting. In a red raincoat
the black hole before me overflows its contents.
Where will I walk now mother,
so deep in the ground.
To where will I follow you.
Kathline Carr, writer and visual artist, earned her BFA in Creative Writing with concentrations in visual art and feminist philosophy from Goddard College, VT and holds an MFA in Visual Arts from The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. Her first book Miraculum Monstrum, forthcoming from Red Hen Press, is the winner of the 2015 Clarissa Dalloway Book Prize. Additional writing/art has appeared in Alexandria Quarterly, Calyx, Earth’s Daughters, Hawaii Review, CT Review and elsewhere; she has recently exhibited in the Berkshires, NYC, Boston, and Toronto. Carr is represented by artSTRAND Gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts and Brill Gallery in North Adams, MA. She lives in North Adams with her husband and sometimes-collaborator, figurative painter Jim Peters, and her daughter Mercedes.