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Black

Jagger says “Paint it black”: I concur.
Not just the red door, but everything
my bitter retinas despise.

In your hospital, the white
walls close in, even with
a Warrnambool sea view.

Atrophy and apathy
begin to mingle, and I . . .
I don’t wish to write this.

Heartbroken, I watch your strong
farmer’s hands wither, paper-thin,
veins raised and fluttering feebly.

I want the blue turned black.

Your faith fuels my anger.

In my head I know
what I know, namely
I don’t wish to write this.

I feel jaundiced with bile,
delirious sweat as panic
creeps through my body.

I no longer know what to sing,
Your blue-eyed tortured silence
wounds me, all of your family.

Turning my green eyes
black, as though a sneaky
venomous predator lies

in wait, to ensnare, to entrap.
Jagged, I can only murmur
“I want to paint it black”.

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In a dream the other night, dredged up some of the associations from my Grandma’s passing in 2009. Although it is the same hospital where my father died some 12 years prior to that, her death is the one clearer in my mind.

Journal post on the eulogy for Ivy May Houston

I’ll defer to Anna Quindlen, of The New York Times: “People who are knowledgeable about poetry sometimes discuss it in that knowing, rather hateful way in which oenophiles talk about wine: robust, delicate, muscular. This has nothing to do with how most of us experience it, the heart coming around the corner and unexpectedly running into the mind. Of all the words that have stuck to the ribs of my soul, poetry has been the most filling.”

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Comments

  • Lisa  Jewell
    Lisa Jewellalmost 4 years ago

    Amazing write Deb,
    It is impossible for me not to see my father in deaths stare….a sight that I shall never forget.
    xxx

  • Oh yeah, the death’s stare.., they are hard to write about. It is interesting to me how long after someone is gone you will continue to dream about them, or hear them giving you advice.
    This one is along those lines, after the dream, I was thinking about how Grandma always tried to teach me things. Ah memories

    – msdebbie

  • lolowe
    lolowealmost 4 years ago

    I felt every single word. You painted life into this poem…excellent, expressive work.

  • Thanks so much lolowe, I often think poetry is like life-painting. You make me feel honoured this captures that.

    – msdebbie

  • Rocky Loder
    Rocky Loderalmost 4 years ago

    awesome ..

  • Thanks so much

    – msdebbie

  • abigcat
    abigcatalmost 4 years ago

    Strongly expressed feeling, really comes across :-))

  • I appreciate that, so much. Death is one of the big themes for us all xoxo

    – msdebbie

  • Rikki Woods
    Rikki Woodsalmost 4 years ago

    Incredible.

  • Aww Rikki, thank you!

    – msdebbie

  • linaji
    linajialmost 4 years ago


    February 2011

  • Thanks Linaji and Feminine Intent xoxo

    – msdebbie

  • earthairfire
    earthairfirealmost 4 years ago

  • Thank you M&V :D
    You’ve made my day!

    – msdebbie

  • lisameryl
    lisamerylalmost 4 years ago

    Pretty powerful…amazing write! =)XO

  • Thanks darling heart xoxo

    – msdebbie

  • Leon A.  Walker
    Leon A. Walkerover 3 years ago

    Fabulous work…

  • Thanks Leon!

    – msdebbie

  • I recently reworked it for performance, dropping this stanza…

    • In my head I know
      what I know, namely
      I don’t wish to write this.

    – msdebbie

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