mercredi 25 mars 2009

Slug Fest

Tonight I'm studying
slugs, the way they
appear on the rug on
my front porch by
the door each time
storms appear over Astoria
and deluge the earth
with their highly charged
ions and nourish
spring's first buds
and fill up puddles.

I often think the
slugs are already dead,
they never move but
hang out in the center
of the carpet, matted
wet on the unprotected
porch, as the slant of
rains pummels the
floorboards and the
line of empty pots that
hold my cigarette butts.

When I go out next,
when a dense craving
overwhelms me, the
creature has moved to
a new position, a
trail of glistening slime
behind it, its tiny
antennae slowly moving
back to front and
again in a dance,
feeling each sliver of
drop or gust when
wind gets woolly
before a downpour.

I think it must be
safer on this half-protected
porch than down below the
walk, in the dirt, the
muck, the grass, where on
each object holds
something like an ocean
for smaller slugs, but
that does not explain
the largest ones, fat
and fetid, who make
their way to the carpet
in summer, only to
get stuck and dry out
and die in a sort
of Dante's inferno, the
ultimate setup for a
doomed slug fest.

When the next wave
of wanting comes, I
make my way to my
rocker and sit, but as
my bottom hits the
seat, my slipper slips
and slides on the
little body, the object
of my former study, and
horrified, I look down
to find that I've
quickened a life for
its demise, and
now I must do the
only thing I can, push
harder on it, smash
out its little life on
earth, on this rug on
a porch which was
once its asylum.

How brutal life can
be for slugs, for all
of us, for you and me
who try our best to
live like saints only
to give up the ghost
in a torrent of
spring or in summer
just as we ripen or
in autumn when the
macintosh apples hit
the ground or in
winter when we're
ready, when it's a
blessing to be rid
of this cold cold
world and its slug
fest and its endless
fits and starts at zero
when we're too fatigued
to do it all again or
we don't have a
chance in hell like
my onetime friend
who did nothing but
seek refuge on my rug
and found a kind of
love that was both
compassion and
cruelty rolled into
one, and I a god, a
seeker and
a murderer.

10 commentaires:

Stirling Davenport a dit…

This poem absolutely knocked my socks off. The metaphor of the slug, sunning itself on the porch of the life, perhaps to stay all nice and slimy or to dry up unawares, or even to get squashed by a god ... isn't this life in a nutshell? You parse it out so finely and well for us, drawing yourself into the scene so we can approach the mystery of it all.

John Walter a dit…

Fantastic thick description, Laura.

I love it when you get into sensory acuity mode and ably both distinguish and contrast scales of being (the slugs´, the speaker´s) to the point of moral inanition as the speaker sees herself loving these creatures but also killing them, dual aspects of her nature.

When you let your voice go like this, all extraneous adjectives are removed; there is a real flow as you feel that bardic talent you naturally possess flow through you (and I mean you, Laura Tattoo, mightily endowed word thaumaturge, not the generalized you.)

This poem wraps us around the speaker´s vision as she comes close to the slugs, beholds their place in nature and in her own confined world, defining both and demarcating the limits of perception.

Excellent poem I have now read three times to see how this speaker´s mind reaches her inexorable conclusion of lover/ destroyer: You´ve particularized these creatures in this narrator´s eyes, reflected them back to her as a kind of mirror of her own state of being, in a hypnotic, unstoppably readable way.

For me, one of your best of late.

Moineau En France a dit…

thank you, stirling and john. it's funny, john, when i've got an object before me or an actual event instead of far-flung feelings, i can feel myself carefully parce away the extraneous. i love that kind of writing, perhaps the first verse writ in my head and knowing how it will end, then carefully tending the rest.

thanks again, and for your support. xoxoxox

JHB a dit…

A very real sequence of meetings, ending in the self-encounter. Well done.

Brenda a dit…

There was a writer who also wrote of slugs one summer, I can't find the link, the dampness in his kitchen walls always returning, after every attempt by the builder to re-seal them, waiting for the city building inspector, water again trickling down his walls, and the slugs, they appeared, slugs over his walls, he took photographs of them, they existed, until finally the builder ripped out the walls of his home and built new ones that didn't sweat, weren't porous, didn't run with water, ones that were too dry for slugs, who like moist, wet, glistening.

Your poem is of that underworld for me.

The earth coming in. Moving, leaving a sticky trail. Sliding. Copulating. Making soil. Fecund.

In this poem they, the slugs, are linked to the rain, the wind, the elements. They become still creatures on the floor who only move when you are away from them. On the half-protected porch where they have come for refuge they are trespassers. "How brutal like can be for slugs"! Yes.

The poet who is also the woman who is also complexly interwoven and who is not a rug for slugs writes of the slugs and their demise with compassion and yet recognizing the cruelty of nature, and of our god-like status in it, where, perhaps, we have some choice in the life or demise of the creatures around us, or perhaps not.

Kafka's Metamorphosis oddly imaged in the background of this poem, we feel ourselves morph in and out of slughood reading it.

I like the passion in your voice, Laura. I like your playfulness. I like how you turn some unbeautiful creatures into beautiful ones on your porch floor. Squishing them at the end - ah, that's the life of a slug!

In my residences I will go to lengths to catch moths under glass and sliding cardboard beneath carefully take them out and release them. But spiders? Squished in kleenexes and flushed, or vacuumed and the hose stuffed with paper. "Compassion and cruelty rolled into one"...

You have it, my dear. Fully. Beautiful slugfest; beautiful poem.

Moineau En France a dit…

((((brenda)))) thank you for that extraordinary reading and reflection. a woman who would love slugs and moths, a woman who sings nature through her poems, videos, and art, i am not surprised but honored. Al humdo lil-lahi rab-bil al ala-meen. xoxoxooxx

Anonyme a dit…

Kudos, Laura.
The last bit in your poem is quite stunning, the whole a universal recognition of ourselves through you and the timid snail.


Pisces Iscariot a dit…

Fantastic (if slimey) - the physical structure (intentionally or subconsciously?) take the shape of a line of slugs climbing the wall of your house.

Moineau En France a dit…

thank you, barbary and pisces... any slippery slope a poem takes after i selectively lay out my words is purely coincidental, dahlink. :>>))

while looking for a photo, i did discover that there is actually an "international slugfest" with the slogan "Save a slug. Protect nature." lololol

Moineau En France a dit…