Strange Sundays: Poetry

Strange Sundays: I Beheaded My Beloved

“I behead my beloved

So I could always vanish

Into his adoring face.

His eyes hold green grasses,

Under a layer of pale thin blossoms…”

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a post here. While we are busy with the current Molotov Cocktail Flash Monster flash fiction contest and the 4th annual Shadow Award poetry contest, I thought it’d be fun to start posting a contemporary poem on Sundays. In the spirit of the journals I edit, the poems should be a bit odd/surreal/magical/strange. If you want to be featured, drop me a DM via my Twitter @LeNoirBleu. The poem should be published already (and about a year old, with a copyright that has reverted back to you) because I don’t want to disqualify it from future publication (sometimes posting a poem on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram counts as “previously published,” so be careful). I’d prefer the poem to be a well-lit photo of the page or online screenshot with a link, so it’s easier to share on Twitter (see below). Feel free to also send me a link (if the piece is online) and typed copy of the text as it appeared in the journal upon publication.

I’ll start…

Here’s a poem I wrote sometime around 2014-2015. It was published by Phantom Drift in their fall 2016 issue. The title is “I Beheaded My Beloved.” It’s a love poem 🙂

 

I Beheaded My Beloved

I beheaded my beloved

So I could always vanish

Into his adoring face.

His eyes hold green grasses, 

Under a layer of pale thin blossoms. 

Brief winds create a hundred 

Pirouettes on our overgrown garden. 

His hands hold November 

Leaves like the ones 

We’d pile and jump on,

Under the trees where we

Made a home, from string,

Branches, and a simple 

Box of buttons.

I severed the limbs—

My own and my man’s—

In the old sawmill, at night,

Because I am no fair maiden,

I am more like 

Silver seaweed swaying

As a shrill operatic pulls you 

To a candlelit shrine on

My nightstand. Let’s fall

Here and worship a time 

When all things seemed 

Possible, where Cherubs brush

The maggots from your mouth

And offer them like lilacs. 

by Mary Lenoir Bond

Copyright © 2016 Mary Lenoir Bond. Originally published by Phantom Drift, Ltd.

 

When I first workshopped this piece, it was at grad school with the nearly immortal goddess of poetry, Dorianne Laux (one of the very few contemporary poets to have a book on the top 20 New York Times best sellers list). Many of the folks in the workshop wrote very formal poetry, or nature poetry (I absolutely write some of that too, though, admittedly, much of my work has a darker spin) or conservative poems. I was a little bummed a few of the other students (of highly diverse ages, 25-70, as it was a low-residency program and thus attracted folks from varying generations) had little to say about the piece, claiming they “don’t write that type of poetry.” That’s a copout, if you ask me. When I took fiction writing classes as an undergrad, writers wrote from a huge array or genres, and you were excepted to comment on each one. Just because you don’t care for horror or sci-fi, you can still offer constructive criticism.

Dorianne explained, in one sentence, what the poem was about, after several poets felt it was too weird or hard to understand, or they got caught up in the severed limbs and “how could the person in the poem sever limbs if their limbs were already severed?” Fair enough, but the character also didn’t actually behead anyone. It’s surrealism and metaphor, but was also a brief lesson in accessibility. Yet, since it was eventually published, weirdness and all, perhaps it was just finding the right journal and the audience.

I hope you liked it. The end went through countless rewrites, but I am very happy with the outcome.

 

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