Saturday, October 1, 2011

Eight of Swords

In the style of Andy Warhol


Eight of Swords
or The Peony and The Ants

Marilyn,
peony face made a
succubus poster
painted in blood and blue
aqua saturation of misery’s 
tea bag memories
steeped too long
staring with Mona Lisa's
cherried tiger eye.

Marilyn
met the King of Cups
in a dark alley off Pennsylvania
They fought with pentacle
and sword of which
she was the eight spot
but the end was
predetermined;
cards on the table
swept to the gutter.

The blind peony 
bends her neck as if
for the axe, unopened,
waiting for the ant surgeons
to snip the stitches which
close her pink eyes;
they eat  the soft
ragged edges and
turn the flower
brown as dirt.

October 2010

Posted for   Poetics   at dVerse Poet's Pub

Our host this week is the multi-talented Victoria Cerreto-Slotto and the topic deals with Pop Art, as in this ekphrasis on Warhol's take on Marilyn Monroe.
Come join us and share a poem. Link in is live till Sunday midnight EST


Process notes: I've borrowed an old horticultural myth about peonies and ants here. It was once believed that ants, which congregate on the tight new flowerbuds of Paeonia lactiflora, were required to open them and pull the petals back, turning the edges brown, which is totally false. Ants feed on the nectar which the swelling buds produce and neither help nor hurt the plant. (The observed damage is generally due to thrips, a common garden pest of flowers, who tear the delicate tissue with their rasping, sucking mouthparts and feed on the released sugars--here these functions are deliberately distorted/transposed.)

I've also borrowed some symbology from the Rider-Waite tarot(image of the 8 of Swords via wikipedia The Rider Waite Tarot deck is in the public domain.)

Marilyn image courtesy of dVerse Poets Pub 
By MichaelPhilip (Own work) [Public domain] via wikimedia commons



32 comments:

  1. i'm not only learning poetry at your place hedge but also gardening, ants and myths....love how you spun this together...the pink eyes is where it comes together..and turning the flower brown as dirt made me swallow, thinking of how it all ended..

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  2. Brilliant, H -- The hyper-reality of this high-Hollywood beauty (perhaps its angelic summit, just before the fall) is like a freeze-frame that is bubbling and dissembling before our eyes. The Eight of Swords is perfect for her card, crowning the King of Cups she was meant to fulfill stabbing us repeatedly with the dregs of her own torn card, that infernally promising Three of Cups ... Warhol's pop-fetor beauty (the apotheosis of an image ten years after it was dead) here is so dialectically opposed to the Marilyn I love most, strumming that manic ukelele on the chugatrain in "Some Like It Hot" and singing, "running wild, running free ..." Indeed. You capture Warhol for the vermin he justfiably was, crapping his squandered inheritance. He loathed being touched, you know, though he loved to watch ... Brendan

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  3. Thanks, Claudia.

    @B: I pretty much hate Warhol. I guess you could tell. Norma Jean never caught a break, even after she was dead.

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  4. snap hedge...love the blend of the tarot in there...that second stanza rocks the then the ants in the third and the laying of hte neck...ack...intense imagery...

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  5. Hedge, I love that you used the tarot and your knowledge of things botanical to create these extremely appropriate metaphors...I didn't even know we had thrips in Reno but we must because my peony has that problem. Earwigs love the leaves and by the end of the season we have lacey edges. I recall a quote (not exact) about Monroe in association with Warhol, that she became what we made her. Both Warhol and Monroe seem to me to be such tragic cultural icons.

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  6. When I read you and Brendan, I wonder what the heck I've stored over a lifetime - apparently not as much information as I'd like to have but then I'm ever thankful I have you guys to read and inform me on things that have escaped my focus.

    This was just a fabulous poem as poem. I'd be jealous except that I'm more thankful that I know you and am lucky enough to be able to read your work. Really, thank you!

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  7. Im a warhol fan so im going to tip toe in a quitely say shhhh -

    i like your poem hedge - tarot mix is awesome and you injected your feelings with the kinda craft and magic that hits between the eyes.

    Im going now - dont hurt me!

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  8. Oh, that was good, Hedgewitch. Marilyn Monroe is indeed an icon of pop art, perhaps to be surpassed only (in the future) by Michael Jackson. Good poem to accompany art.

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  9. My neighbor has peonies all along the common fence. I love them. I only wish their blooming were not so brief.

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  10. This piece didn't waste a beat. Each section just gently pounded the truth and sadness of her life and death. Such a tragic figure to me she is, a sad story that still repeats. Just wonderful!

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  11. The blind peony bends ..... such great lines here..just beautiful.

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  12. Love the bite of legend and guillotine illusion! A fascinating poem steeped in the atmosphere of fortune cards!

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  13. I really liked this. I always thought it a shame, Marilyn's fate and treatment after death.
    Was never really a fan of pop art studies and I didn't like all the music of the time, but its chatacters are very exciting.
    Great poem. One of my favs of yours. Great skill.

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  14. Absolutely loved where you took this, the use of image for each a nice addition. Wonderful write my friend. Thank you for the kind comments you offer my words each week, I appreciate you ~ Rose

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  15. That third stanza is where all the magic was for me (and appropriate to the pop art theme it twisted the truth). Your descriptors are flawless and the melding of influences works well.

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  16. i like the tarot aspect, esp. when it ocmes to Marilyn, since here whole life seemed like one big freakin' destiny.

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  17. I, too, always learn something from reading your poems. I love how you wove the tarot into the pop culture images and then the botany. Tragic and a little creepy.

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  18. Beautifully wrought and peppered with stunning rich symbols - love the was you brought in peonies and tarot cards

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  19. Joy, It is educational! How I love the way you tied up all the hobby aspects and tarot matters right in. MM and Warhol were perfect, living right through in Pop Art until now. Brilliant

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  20. I always feel that I should put on protective clothing before reading your often lacerating powerful poetry. I'm allergic to bee stings..which is a surprising reaction from a killer wasp:)
    Fine poem.

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  21. People have both real and imagined memories of Marilyn Monroe (including Warhol). Mine is from the movie "Some Like It Hot," which my mother took me to see when I was 8. A lot of her comedic genius gets missed in the sex symbol thing - but that was also some of her own making.

    Good poem.

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  22. very enjoyable spookiness.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  23. Wow, I love this piece. This is my favorite:

    "painted in blood and blue
    aqua saturation of misery’s
    tea bag memories"

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  24. Enjoyed the tribute to the artist and his pop art muse, MM. I felt your sympathy for her though,despite her sad ending. These lines are great:

    The blind peony
    bends her neck as if
    for the axe, unopened

    And when I did watch her in a movie, I found her funny instead of sexy :-)

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  25. I heard when they found her body see looked like a plain housewife (pop culture term) and never in a mill would have thought it was Marilyn... Your piece deep with thought.

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  26. you weave it all together so effortlessly...from Marilyn to the peony...nice!

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  27. Oh, to peel it away and divulge the beauty wrapped inside. I love the way you infused the myth, the ants and the seemingly discordant nature of pop art into your poem. Wonderful.

    Beth

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  28. I love the quality of your imagination. What struck me most here was the image of the immature peony bent, as if awaiting sacrifice. What a great analogy to Marilyn. Very nice job. I enjoyed this a lot.

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  29. Thanks, all. A difficult prompt, but some great poetry output from so many--enjoyed reading it. Appreciate everyone coming by here to leave their thoughts as well.

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  30. Oh, tell it! Very smooth and matter of fact.
    Good write thanks. Tough subject I thought.

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  31. This is rich. You so beautifully render the annihilation of pop culture that ruins the best and brightest (and maybe something in us if we let it). I can’t praise enough the gorgeous mind and imagery at work here. The peony face and neck: brilliant! And to use that myth as metaphor just knocks me out. The middle stanza is so cool. I don’t know, and don’t need to know, who the King of Cups is in her story (must be Warhol?), but it’s perfect to keep the mythic alive. The whole last stanza is so so perfect for this tight piece, and ruins me with tragic beauty. So very well done, my friend.

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg