Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Death Of The Doll





  Death of the Doll


I knew when I sold him the doll,
took her from her spellwrought womblight
and felt the hard silver in my hand,
everything changed.

Her soft cloth body wrinkled its rayon ribs,
shuddered all its length.
Her scarab eyes, turquoise beads in black,
stared dead flowers then blinked.

She knew
every secret
and I knew
she'd be made to tell.

They came soon, the droning
gibbering buzzardy crew
full of the code she told
within my bones, the flashing

white sigils of my wrists
the deep bleeding where I hid
the treacherous river in the skullcave
that wheels Leibniz's reversible mill. 

They were there before me
at every hole; behind me as I ran
came the breath, the slap and flap
the assassin's cautious laugh 

muffled

when the blade crossed my throat.
I could not blame her,
she whose stuffing filled the air and drained
down the front 
of my cotton chest.

~November 2012

Doll



Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub



If you'd like to hear the poem read by the author, please click below:

death of the doll by Hedgewitch O'theWilds



Some facts about Leibniz:




Header Image, Young Girl with Doll, by Berthe Morrisot
Public domain, via wikipaintings.org
Footer Image: Doll, by Karen O'D, on flick'r
Shared under a creative commons license

45 comments:

  1. oy dang...even just the pictures...that last one is frickin haunting...and the tale within...there is a bit of witchcraft there...in the doll that tells your story...your sigils....the Liebniz ref...had to look that up...intriguing...ok, shiver worthy ma'am...shiver worthy...

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  2. "A philosopher who thought things out on paper"

    he is our kinda guy! . . .

    this is high horror viewed in lower case,
    as it should be . . . weaving a polar level
    of cold concentration and deep freeze isolation . . .

    from inside the mill we must look
    beyond the physical world to explain thinking . . .
    but when run backwards . . . hamsters!

    the Leibniz layer adds depth and your use(as i am choosing to percieve it is a telling move -
    a killer move!

    sucking up the saw dust
    and using the concept as a mop

    . . . clinical and clean, not a drop spilt
    yet its a bloodbath . . .

    thats magic!





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  3. Lordy. I don't expect that Leibniz got invited to many parties.

    As for the poem, it is very literally nightmarish, where one becomes both one's self and the other. The images are disturbing and full of a fatalistic foreboding. Sell dolly, be dolly, and the dolly men come. Yikes.

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  4. geez, those are some scary pics. I love how it sounds being read by you, but tear at the heart it does.

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  5. You amaze me with your writing and your imagination.

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  6. let this be a lesson to you. never remove nothin' from spellwrought womblight. (which by the way is an incredible phrase.)

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  7. oh my hedge..this gave me goosebumps...never heard about leibniz...think i have to look him up to understand fully...the first thing that came to my mind when i read it was abuse..felt pain and darkness..excellently written

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  8. This is like one of those pictures you don't want to look at but do because it's so fascinating. The ue of the doll is a brilliant poetic device.

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  9. Hedge.....this is such a nightmare...and from he beginning, the selling of the doll....it didn't bode well. haunting stuff, though I had to read it over and over because it's deeper than my intellect.

    You amaze me...every poem has a depth and mystery that haunts, haunts, haunts. I couldn't hear this poem because my son screwed up my audio....but even then, this poem will haunt me for a while.

    I have a doll, a Betsy-Wetsy, they only thing from my childhood...and I looked at her and both of us were wild eyed after your poem.

    goosepumps, indeed.

    Lady Nyo

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  10. Hedge at her finest! Joy...amazing! And the finish the perfect killing blow (no pun) Electrifying, terrifying, heartbreaking and brilliant...not sure I've got another read in me.

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  11. Dark and deep, and scary in its images. I, too, thought of abuse- the child tells the doll and believes she can be coerced to tell, and the her wrist symbols and blood being the self- mutilation that accompanies abuse. So good in a profoundly disturbing kind of way.

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  12. The horror is so subtle--and somehow that makes it scarier--wow-

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  13. Oh, my... I didn't expect that ending. Reminds me a bit of Chuckie...

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  14. Wonderful poem. So many reversals. Great sound too. I keep thinking of the phrase, she's a big girl now. A deep guilt, remorse, sadness, betrayal, yikes. k.

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    1. Back again - I was at work before and very pre-occupied - I was thinking today about the reasons why children cannot legally enter into fully binding contracts - which brings me to your poem - part of what is so moving about it (to me) is the moment of recognition of irreversibility - everything changing and the bargain no longer undoable. And although such a realization and feeling certainly happens with adults (i.e. in a lot of marriages!), there is something quintessentially childish here even beyond the doll (or maybe with the doll)--the shock of being caught in something that cannot be undone. And yet, I think children kind of accept these situations without all the whining of a really "childish" adult - so there 's an element of heroism too in the acceptance of fate/the bargain. k.

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    2. Yes, children accept and endure much in the way of big things, and save their flying, soon-gone rages and tantrums for the unimportant and tiny. We could learn something there I think. AFA entering into binding contracts--I don't think children have the ability to visualize multiple outcomes very definitively, and so perhaps better not. Thanks for reading, k.

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  15. It's been a long time and I wonder what poetic immensities I've been missing here. There has always been something creepy about dolls for me (especially the plastic ones.. the more lifelike the try and look the more creepy). This poem just takes that and skyrockets it into a horror story (in the best sense). The richer veins of silver lie in the first two stanzas for me, because they are pregnant with the act and and horribly, beautifully descriptive. There's more to fear in the anticipation. You build that dam so adroitly. I can't deny your Leibnitz or any of the latter end of the work, but this is masterful -

    I knew when I sold him the doll,
    took her from her spellwrought womblight >> this
    and felt the hard silver in my hand, >> and this
    everything changed.

    Her soft cloth body wrinkled its rayon ribs,
    shuddered all its length.
    Her scarab eyes, turquoise beads in black,
    stared dead flowers then blinked. >> this entire stanza is superlative. The use of 'rayon' with 'ribs'

    The doll device/metaphor is utterly entrenched in the narrative and couldn't be more evocative. I may have nightmares tonight. Poetry may be cheaper than whiskey but I'm buying some right now just in case

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    1. Thanks, Luke. Good to see you stop by, and I appreciate your insights very much.

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  16. Oh my word, Hedge. I love this. Stanzas 2 and 5 are my favorites. Well, 3 as well. Really incredible and terrifying. "Womblight" makes it sound like it's a real baby you're selling. But also like it's an inanimate object that possesses your soul, as if you've removed it and placed it inside her---a horcrux, if you will.

    You know, this makes me think of prostitution. Or even just the way any woman "goes dead" or turns inanimate living a life in which she is treated like a thing. She is a doll because she is beautiful, "flawless," but loved only for her holes ... and in the end, she is murdered (physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually).

    "white sigils of my wrists" ... Upon first reading, I thought this was a reference to a previous suicide attempt. But then I looked up "sigil" to find that it is a demonic symbol of some sort. So obviously there are elements of witchcraft woven throughout this piece.

    ~~~

    I've just done some research, and I see that Liebniz saw the body and mind as two completely disconnected entities. So your mind is the speaker in this poem, and your body is a disconnected doll; it's not who you are. Whatever happens to the body, theoretically, can be severed from the mind. The ending is even more powerful in this light.

    [You are missing an "s" in "assassins."]

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    1. Fixed. Thanks for the good eye, and for your close and perceptive reading.

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  17. I like it...but I don't have to give you no reason, Liebniz!

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  18. Damn. Reversible as in fed both ways? Or, reversible as in you can't look at the outside of the mill (perception) and determine all of the parts? Or, both?

    Jesus Christ, doesn't anybody write limericks anymore?

    The beauty of this (besides the language, obviously) is that you are most likely to read it in whatever way gets most under your skin.

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    1. Both,and also, because Leibniz was a Rationalist, yet advocated a theology based on an infallible deity by assuming this world was the best it could be or God made no sense--reverse logic, if you will. Thanks, MZ--and Happy Birthday.

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  19. This is my third time here, with my unreasonable ponderings, looking for the words that describe how I felt reading this. I want to say it beautifully, darkly, wildly, and reasonably as this struck a series of abrupt minor chords in me. There are too many doll collections in my extended family. Too many scarab eyes blinking. I am content with the death. It feels like a relief, however messy. This is a brilliant write, evoking brand new expressions of age old feelings.

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  20. Wow. This is disturbingly beautiful.

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  21. This is just freaky chilling. Wow!

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  22. This is just so haunting. I thought the painting was a Renoir.

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  23. Spell binding yet chilling write Hedge ~ I have always been afraid of dolls, including pictures ~

    Cheers ~

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  24. ouch, serious shivers.... dolls in general freak me out, my mom was a collector, and they were everywhere in our house, always staring...
    but oh my, what a chilling write... I felt it all, right down to my bones.

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  25. I had a much more benign view of Leibnitz metaphysics before this nightmare of a poem cracked open that view. Monads were little delights to me, and how neat that randomness did not exist but God did. It was so logical. But if a doll could be built, it could be un-built too. Only through this poetic vision do I make the connection--so personally and vividly that it hurts.

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  26. Literally spellbound while reading this--all three times! Of COURSE, how could I forget? At one time (75 years ago for me) there was such an interrelationship between the world of dolls, and me...that we lived in the same world, lived lives in parallel...neighbors. Then we became as one...yet separately, somehow. Many cats, two dogs and a horse were also a part of "us"...integral parts, right? (Lived on a dairy farm.)

    Reading comment by Jasminecalyx was interesting and helpful to me.

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  27. Joy Ann, you never cease to amaze me with your writing. There is a bit of witchery in this, and your use of language is superb. On, Liebniz, I would imagine he wasn't invited to a lot of intimate settings. This is scary stuff for me, as I am terrified of dolls just like clowns. I liked dolls as a girl, but that changed a while ago. I have always hated clowns. I am glad my husband is home, because I might have a nightmare or two.


    Pamela

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  28. Well, there goes my sleep...what a beautiful nightmare, Hedge! Dolls, and the stuffing bleeding down your chest...brrrrr...no one does it as well as you. This will be haunting me for a long time. So well done!

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  29. You have an awesome imagination and you are a very good writer... this is chilling and thrilling. I like your site... Poetry... because it's cheaper than whiskey...

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  30. exquisitely painful and completely terrifying...yes nightmarish... so hey, perfect time to segue, what are you GRATEFUL for?
    If you have time tomorrow or perhaps Sunday or Monday, please stop by to visit the gratitude quilt and add words of gratitude of your own in the comment box below... it will be posted early Thursday morning, November 22nd. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  31. Leibniz (1646-1716) wrote against materialism in a day when he had no means to really think about biological organism and consciousness. His mill argument is faulty but understandably so for that period of time.

    I am not familiar with the "reversible Mill" though. Making it reversible is allusion to death?

    So like that, I wish I could have understood the rest of this poem.

    It is rich, so it draws me back to try and understand.

    I am guessing this is a pic you found (I clicked on it) and wrote the poem around the pic? I can not tell who a "buzzardy crew" is.

    I'd love hints. Reading it three times, I have no clue what is going on. But I am a bit dull -- cause it looks like other folks get it -- or can appreciate it without getting it.

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    1. No, it was a dream--I very seldom write around pics except for prompts, but I do spend a lot of time trying to find the ones I think go with the writing.

      Because it was a dream, Sabio, I can't explain it clearly. I'm sorry. I chose the mill and made it reversible to emphasize the intangible elements of thought and perception at work in the flow in the 'skullcave'--of thoughts and feelings, changeable from one state to another(hence reversible)without physical evidence even of their existence, yet profound and living there in the dark whether we see and acknowledge them, "meet them' as Leibniz says, or not.

      This is a poem of the inner world and identity, as our dreams so often are, and of our inner enemies, ourselves, and the power we give to others over us. I hope that is some help, Sabio.

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    2. Ah yes, that helps a lot. It was a dream. In dreams, people become each other, locations flip. I view dreams as the brain going on overload trying to make a story out of nonsense. And thus a dream is a nonsensical quilt of stuff that is ours but no real meaning except in the pieces of the quilt and only slightly there. But I know there is a whole industry around dream interpretation.

      I wish the notes told me it was a dream -- I would not have tried so hard to understand it.

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    3. I'll try to remember to use one of my tags that indicates a dream next time.

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  32. Intensely disturbing. Full of precise observation and imagery sharper than a surgeon's knife. Brilliant job.

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  33. Such fascinating interplay between the concrete and the intangible and the power of inanimate objects to focus and amplify fear and power. Similarly the interplay between the doll and the speaker is wonderfully ambiguous.

    Shame I'm home alone...

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  34. Brilliant and thought-provoking, Joy. Loved it. I’m not going to quote anything; it is simply astounding to me, how easy you make the poem work. (You do that way to often, by the way, which makes me envious in that nice kinda way. :-)

    Love you bringing Leibniz’s into the game because it makes that great contrast between materiality and duality—our need for reason and our evidence always lacking.

    Hearing you read the poem out loud offers different shades and textures to me. You read it with an almost profound sadness. A wonderful read. Those secrets and pain…childhood secrets, innocence…and the evil that’s there—the evil Leibnitz could not possibly reason. There is great hidden sentiment here—like a feeling behind a mask (and so the doll, maybe).

    Congratulations, I guess. Yours is poetry, Joy.

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  35. Creepy, Hedgewitch, very creepy. And weird - don't ask why (not sure myself), but I'm fascinated by rejected, broken or altered dolls and just ordered a book of prose poems by Carol Guess called 'Doll Studies' that are based on a photographer's work comprised of dioramas with dolls illustrating crime scenes.

    "flashing/white sigils of my wrists" - love that line, and thanks for introducing me to "sigils".

    Karen O'D's photos are really good too - followed the link and took a look.

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  36. scare-the-shit-outta-ya, haunting good writing, hedge!!!

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  37. For a child, a doll can be the recipient of dreams, the avenger of hurts, the ideal alter ego. To sell that receptacle of being is to sell one's soul.

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