Preach It!

By Annette Marie Hyder

Raindrops hurrying along
all going to the big underground church
with the best echoes
for the choir singing “stormy waters”
and the stained glass windows of their prisms
wink and flash for the diluvial congregation
that holy-roller thunders through the pipes
of a sewer system that is an organ
that can hold those service notes in-definitely
and amplify the sermon’s message that
something as gentle as a raindrop
when joined with its brethren and its sistren
can be as mighty as the sea.

Call it a washout summer flooding
of wet epiphany.

Sunday Things: Glittering Sands

By Annette Marie Hyder

The sand winks with broken pieces of larger things, once whole.
In being worn down into such fine granules they gained
(the boulders, pieces of mountains, rocks dull but serviceable)
an ability to reflect the light and shine in a way
that was never there before. A coral colored blush suffuses
the glitter on this shore.

I stretch out my toe, a stylus,
with which to write in the ruins of once lofty heights.
I stand on a wet canvas that scrolls far out to sea
leaving fleeting footprints even less enduring
than the mountains at my feet. It crosses my mind that the sand is also
leaving its “footprint” on me and that it will last just as long
as I hold this memory.

Happy Birthday, Frida Kahlo!

The art of Frida Kahlo is a ribbon around a bomb. — Andre Breton

The Night You Were Born, Frida
By Annette Marie Hyder

Huracan, the storm god, left a quiver of arrows by your cradle. He knew you would want them and he was right, you shot them all your life sometimes even wounding yourself with them.
The parrot-headed one deigned to leave one bright feather by your side. That one feather had all the colors you would ever need but you grew additional feathers of your own reasoning that even a god could not dictate the colors of your art. Besides, he left you only one feather. “Because” he said, “if Frida is given more than one, then will she not be just like us, will she not then also be a god? Let her have this one feather and let her use her feet to get around.”  So you grew feathers, “F
eet,” you said “why do I need them, if I have wings to fly?”

A deer came and quietly, while no one was looking, nibbled a portion of your green and tender heart. By the time it was discovered, it was too late. But this too was a gift and intended for your art.

The goddess of beauty gave nothing, only subtracted from the presents piling on the mosaiced floor. She was jealous of the beauty of your spirit and so she took one part of your conventional physical beauty away. She planted wild crows on your brow, a hedge to keep the admirers at bay. But you loved their glossy raucousness, claimed them as a part of you and let them have a say.

The sun wore green for you that day and he has not put that color on for anyone but you. Who can say what it means?  You have stated “I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.”

The moon traced her finger along your face and whispered two secrets into your tiny shell shaped ears. You always wore earrings to celebrate the things she gave to you.

La Lorna came, uninvited, and left her wet footprints on the tile. Those footprints grew in size, the way hers always do, and ended up as two large pools the color of darkness, the color of sorrowful La Lorna’s long black hair. You said “I tried to drown my sorrows but the bastards learned how to swim.” 
Because anything that was your own could not help but strive and thrive and carry on, even things like sorrows.

The Jaguar came and loaned you her soft cough but said you would have to give it back some day.

And there was one more thing that was left for you to have. It has not been determined who left this thing for you, a bag that when opened filled the air with a chalky dust. But this was limestone, a necessary ingredient when building stair-stepped pyramids. And you used this gift to make of yourself a pyramid, a symbol soaring toward the stars. Something that, some say, you sacrificed yourself upon. You said “I leave you my portrait so that you will have my presence all the days and nights that I am away from you.”

And so it is.

Quotes about Frida Kahlo by Diego Rivera

“I recommend her to you, not as a husband but as an enthusiastic
admirer of her work, acid and tender, hard as steel and delicate and
fine as a butterfly’s wing, lovable as a beautiful smile, and as
profound and cruel as the bitterness of life.”
–Diego Rivera

Through her paintings, she breaks all the taboos of the woman’s body and of female sexuality.” –Diego Rivera

Links of interest:
Huffington Post: Happy Birthday, Frida Kahlo!
“Today marks the birth of Frida Kahlo,a Mexican artist celebrated for her dedication to indigenous tradition
and female expression. The painter, whose two best accessories were her
unruly brows…” Read the article here.
The Frida Kahlo Foundation

PBS: The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo

All images Public Domain:

Frida Kahlo, The Little Deer, 1946                                                           Frida Kahlo, Black and White photo   

Frida Kahlo, Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940

Frida Kahlo, The Love Embrace of the Universe, 1949

Stone Cold: A Mermaid’s Lament

By Annette Marie Hyder

You, stone statue chisel perfect
and impervious that you are,
what happened?
How did you end up here
under the waves
of aquamarine music that scrolls
above and around you —
where the ripples tinkle like laughter
and the riptides have their way?

If ever a siren sang
she sang to you.
If ever someone couldn’t resist
that someone would have to be you.
I see the seaweed making tracks
and everywhere its fingers trace
along your marble torso
the seaweed fingers point to cracks
highlighting them and  more so
showing me things by the sea’s eerie light
within your sculpted shadow
showing me things, truth be told
I do not want to know.
Tooth of coral
and wing of ray
let my eyes not see.
Tooth of coral
and wing of ray
let my eyes not see.

Was it my song took you under
that I sang in the midst of the salty storm?
I wouldn’t have sung at all
if I knew it would weave such wrong.
La! Lachrymose boats,
the salt of tears a needful thing
in stiffening their sails,
skim the dark horizon —
an albatrossic swale.

All fulsome floating breasts
contrived of wood or flesh
swell and heave —
surging wreckaged loss.
The other mermaids know,
wringing handfuls to buckets
out of hair and eyes,
just how much it takes
to make a painted prow-smile cry.
Before you were cold and stiff
under here with me
did you drink in the sunshine’s nectar
through your every single pore?

Tooth of coral
and wing of ray
let my eyes not see.
Tooth of coral
and wing of ray
let my eyes not see.

The greedy seagulls have given up
glib glide and swallow,
their breezy acrobatic wallow,
and sit immobile on the shore.
Without legs I can’t do more
than linger near the outer bay
in the tide-pool’s ebb and sway
counting out the rhythmic beat
of every wave’s foray

thinking of men who once walked about
whereas now they simply lie
some further along to statues of bones
down in the darkness with Davy Jones.
The very next storm — this I swear —
I’ll sing not one word and thus I’ll spare
more statues littering my playground.
This I vow, I’ll make not a sound
and let me be by Neptune bound.
Tooth of coral
and wing of ray
let my eyes not see.
Tooth of coral
and wing of ray
let my eyes not see.

Links of interest:
New York Daily News: Mermaids, like zombies, not real, say govt. experts
Philadelphia Inquirer: Feds: Mermaids do not exist
Mermaid myths, legends, and folklore
Mermaid Wikipedia entry

Happy 4th of July 2012!

red, white, and blue
By Annette Marie Hyder
(July 4th 2012)

red is the beating of my heart
white the color of the dart
blue are the clouds as the dart flies free
from the bow ‘twixt your hands and straight for me

a redder red than ever before
the purest white right to its core
the blue that shades both bright and dark
stretching like arms from me to mark

the place where the red pyrotechnics flare
sprout wings of fire and mount the air
white clouds of propulsion explode on cue
and make aerial confetti — red, white and blue!