The Psychic Shape of Place
“…We know nothing. Everything is in constant change. Whether we like it or not…”
If you put me in the cavern of that lantern I will howl. Not at the moon or the sun but into your eyes. I will refuse the imperative to illuminate, to be your muse. I am no longer the obedient convent girl, scrubbing Italian tiles with a toothbrush and lye. I would rather visit a hyena at the zoo, crawl into his lair where smalltalk isn’t required, where I would bury my face in the motley matt of his neck. There I will play my saw, like I used to do in the attic, bowing it with the chalice of my hands, my fingers catgut strings, plucking out squalls with overtones, on desecrated teeth. I will make sound where there was only silence. Jagged chromatics. I want to wrap myself in elastic bandages, a labyrinth of gauze and glue. And I will set fire to the wrappings. Watch their edges fray and frazzle inside the flame. I will douse the conflagration with tequila. But you know I prefer Earl Grey tea and a cigarette simmering in the afternoon’s ash heap. This morning I woke after trying to claw my way out of the bedroom window. One has to protect oneself against demons. I had no hammer to spiderweb the glass, no implement to disassemble my escape. Only my fingers clawing away at the window. Bloody stubs they were, raw down to the fragmented cuticles. My frock composed of live bats, sewn together by their wings. Such delicate stitching. Filigree of loops and lattices. They beat against a symphony of horses’ hooves. A practical magic I cannot ferret out of books. I want to drag the outside inside. Turn the whole wild of the world inside out. Like a woolen sock with seams exposed. Run my fingers over the ragged edges, floss my teeth with the thread aching through the seams.
My father told me making art was beneath my station, a bewitching relegated to the scarves and the raucous rattle of a gypsy’s tambourine. He tries to give me away to the marriage market, a place where women are bought and sold to parsimonious entrepreneurs. I would rather read Aldous Huxley beneath a persimmon tree. I would rather fill a canvas with the opalescence of egg yolks and distilled water. But my mother fed me under the kitchen table, under the space beneath the stairwell. She spooned surrealism into my emaciated mouth. And I fell in love with the rocking horse in the woods, with the witches composing their magic over a cauldron of medieval animals dancing to crone stirrings long into the night. I have been an incantation of fit-inducing drugs, of the shrapnel of electric jolts to places inside my head that I cannot see. An asylum maiden lacking the virginity and decorum. Now I am an old woman. A member of the human species. But I have always been allergic to collaboration. Find working in isolation, being my own muse, electric. I take a loitering drag on my cigarette, ingest my scalding tea. Conjure smoke and acid on my tongue. I draw a protective halo around my feet, bind myself in its circular safety. Here, I abandon the strait jacket. Here, my elbows become wings, my fingers talons, my belly a body with a thousand and a thousand legs, my hooves pawing the ground.
Marianne Peel: "I am from the spicy-sweaty-brow noodle shops of Guizhou Province, China; from the deep coal veins of Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania; from the clang and clamor of Downriver Detroit auto factories of Michigan; from the Anapurna Range of mountains in Pokhara, Nepal; from the sea glass mosaic tiles of Istanbul, Turkey; from the sunsets along Lake Peewee in Madisonville, Kentucky. I am passionate about music that tugs at the centre of my chest, poetry that literally makes me stop breathing, hands that create warm winter afghans for my friends, the poetry of Simon and Garfunkel that is timeless, playing my Native American Flute in gazebos in the forest, and dancing until I am dizzy in Juke Joints of Mississippi. I worked for thirty-two years as an English teacher, spending my days with adolescents that I fell in love with hour after hour. I've read Kingsolver's Poisonwood Bible at least ten times, and continue to learn life lessons from Albee's Zoo Story, Williams' Streetcar Named Desire, and Shaffer's Equus. You can find me on Facebook as Marianne Peel Forman, where I post pics from everyday life, birds from Florida nature preserves, and photos of my four daughters. I am known for finding beauty in the ordinary, everywhere I journey. I have been published in several journals, including Muddy River Review and Comstock Review. I have a full length book of poems entitled No Distance Between Us, published in 2021 by Shadelandhouse Modern Press of Lexington, KY.
The Ekphrastic Review
Join us on Facebook: