Saturday, March 19, 2016

For Tomorrow Parting



For Tomorrow, Parting


She, the child, she, the universe.
Oh soft loneliness.
And her body, alone, again.

Sorrow swells in her belly
Full of water and blood
While she brings plasma to life,
To clone her destiny.
She stretches passion
Beyond walls of sanity.

Smelling softly of matrimony
She oscillates amid her moods
Swelling moistly under August heat,
She vacillates in summer misery.
Vanillin scent wafts from her womb,
Bathing her in narcissistic lymph.

Head bent toward her thoughts,
She mourns the crowded seed
And offers a certain sadness
To the posterity immured within.
Through her plump arms and breast
Courses a savage tenderness.


She, the child, she, the universe.
Oh soft loneliness.
And her body, alone, again…

Friday, March 18, 2016

Losing Your Tongue



Losing Your Tongue

Ici je raconte la soif des livres cracquelés, je pronounce les silences riches d’émotions contenues dans chaque cellule désséchée. C’est ainsi que je retrace les voyages internisés sous ciel torride.

This is how we lose our mother tongue; that first language to tease our seat of knowledge. I lost my own bearings in the sand, one word at a time, and with it, the cultural difference it carried. The mental map folded and creased by cold letters from ‘home’. The names of objects which I found in new surroundings replaced accurate adjectives which I no longer used. This is how devolution of elocution came upon me, rapidly dropping onto the arid soil of the new places. So I spoke faster to mask the sense of loss. I learned every word in the context of found books and discarded papers. I avidly read every word of advertisement, front to back and again. The winds blew all perception as I grieved a part of self whom I had ill known.

If language is the vehicle of cultural identity, I became a split personality the day I decided to leave my birthplace. Romantic notions aside, I divested myself of a heavy mantle of propriety and gradually took on an assumed personae who spoke the words of miners and vagrants that inhabited the western desert. With every name of a rock and each tool of the trade, I discarded years of experience in both rural and urban way of French life, like sand dropped from my pockets, and disseminated in dunes forevermore.

In retrospect, a youth spent between a rigid city education during school, and hard labor at vacation time in my ancestral village, had previously prepared me for dual adaptation; as if I had been plugged into different circuits all along. I had already suffered the innate clan mentality which ostracizes others and excludes them from pleasant conversation. Family stared and sneered at me each time I used correct language in daily speech. Little ‘City girl me’ spoke Latin and whatever other “things” she learned there. On the other side of the cultural divide; upon my return to the renaissance hilltop of ancient knowledge ‘Country me’ was severely chastised for using spontaneous expressions in the Patois dialect of my ancestors. Every holiday was an exercise in Cartesian discipline, as much as I favored the satisfaction of learning, I felt a strange attachment for the simpler expression of my country folk. No time to use fancy phrases between chores. Three little words and turn around. I thrived there, for awhile.

The thirst for expanded knowledge would always stir, anywhere, and with it, the hunt for communication. Books were my primary source of American English; they were left as gifts, offered by temporary anonymous residents in the abandoned shacks which pepper the far landscape of the Great Basin. All I had to do was to find material before the pack-
rats did. From partially chewed newsprint to pristine Vonnegut, I ended up talking like an old Reader’s Digest magazine, and had the sense of humor of a third grader. It was easy to make me laugh, everything seemed somewhat funny to me.

“You’ll never be one of us” said the miner to me. Neither budging nor twitching, I felt a tear welling at the tip of my lashes, so I turned silently and felt the man’s hand hovering close to my shoulder. He hesitated and bent his head whispering “I don’t mean it like that”. I knew what he meant, but that was the last act of separation for the isolated woman I had become. The desert had become its own dimension between past and present. That unassuming man had given some food to our little family, he had provided water and blankets; probably because somewhere, he had children and a wife who would not live on the desert floor. His gestures, as those of other miners spoke of the division. “That is not bad – really - you don’t want to become like us out here” he added twisting his rough hands, I consoled him with a dismissive “I understand”. (No, I did not!) I was bent on chameleonizing my adoptive environment. Not to fit in, but to live in.

When the children were of school age, I was summoned to the office and severely admonished for speaking our language to them. I was told that I was confusing the children, and they were confusing the class therefore I should immediately stop. That was another snip of the cultural scissor, a surgical strike precisely delivered to my insecure seat of emotions. The fear of deportation looming as I feared they (whoever they were) would find out that we had no utilities, a public sin far worse than difference of language. I had been told that my children and I would be cleaved asunder if the authorities found that cold water and candles were inadequate situations to raise little Americans.

I reluctantly taught mostly flat English and kept the French for bonding chores only; ‘va te laver les mains - fait la vaisselle - et tes chaussures’ the daily commands of a quasi normal life. So we carried our water in jugs for miles and cooked on makeshift grills over deadwood embers. Life tasted good in any language. And the kids could generally read, write and count before teachers got ‘a’hold of their brains too. Sand is the ideal write –erase board, and twigs abound in nature. What is love for?

It was in Tecopa California that I realized that I had gained some track on the runaway train of language. I met a lady at the local Post Office who invited me to her local home extension of the Inyo-Kern library. For the next few months I read much of the little shelf full of donated serious literature and even perused saccharine romance before dutifully returning each and moving on. I no longer groped for new words whenever I encountered rare prospectors or geology students along our daily food foraging in Death Valley, but when I arrived at whatever hovel or cave I called home, the walls closed in on the fact that I was alone (with three small children) and my mind spoke no French. Even my dreams resisted the old language; they were now silent movies, gesticulating on an ethereal theater within. No color, no odor, I was dead to the old world for several years.

Societal scissors had severed the cords. I had chosen not to mend the wounds; perhaps to protect the family unit, or was it to forget the pains carried by my first language, my first life.




Saturday, February 20, 2016

Dear Writer



Dear writer, I am your reader, I have sorted your stories and I want you to take me to places where I have never been. You may have told these tales many times before. You must have watched wonder pry eyes wide open on your listener’s faces. But as I sit here, I wish to be transported to the scenery, the scenario, the sense of who lives in your thoughts.

Reading glasses on table, legs elevated, lap blanket snug and a cup of cocoa. Ready! I want to smell the flowers, the sewers, the ordinary meal, all. I want to hear the mouse chewing the trailer’s skirts, the child whimpering in his sleep, the traffic in the distance. It’s all in the detail, the minute mundane moment. It lives in the voices, the intonations that presage the deed. The story that you have planted grows and expands into its surroundings.

I want to feel the fear, to anticipate the next blow to the being which you have brought into my consciousness. As I shrink in my skin when words yank at the center of emotion, you hold my plexus in your pen; you can’t tell me what to comprehend, but you have the power to stir, to awaken dormant cells with mere phrases.

Educate me; let me learn the ways of this life or that person, this creature beyond myself. Enlarge the scope, I am eyes, I am ears. Every sense is alert, waiting to be enriched during this time which I devote to one book, one paragraph to receive your message on this page. I am at one with the written word, warm and grateful. For the library.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sea Song

 Once in awhile words insist on dropping by, to settle on the mind and demand a page, an audience of one, an ear to come alive or simply to fade away quietly in the background before sleep. This is one such poem, emerging from years of dormancy, tentatively peering over the edge of the soup bowl of rural life.





Sea Song          (Eng)                                                    recorded                        01-10-16 ns

This is a love song—yes a love song—this- is- a love song—swirling—swilling song—a sea song—rising from a dark ocean—floating to shore.

This is a one ear to the sand song—sea foam surging—washing fears and sloshing tears—rolling—lolling about before retreating in the wondrous beyond.

This is a sad song sneering at the sun—this is a sun song shining through the trees—winking—wicked—teasing—pleasing sun.

This is an offer—this is the power of peace over pain—like the open hand—the quiet gaze—an offer—an offer of self—free of fertility, of futility—in the open fields of racing minds.

This is a sound song—another dawn song—a concert of strange winds when the mind awakens and the waves overlap—billowing waves lap and lick bare legs—slap sleepy flesh—this morning of a fresh day.

Now is the symphony of time to erase the traces of writhing dreams of long yesterday—this is the song of silence sinking into sea—softly—softly.

Chant de la Mer   (Fr)

Ça c’est une chanson d’amour—eh oui chanson d’amour—c’est un chant tourbillonant au long des courants de la mer—surgissant des profondeurs de l’océan.

C’est la chanson du sable à l’oreille—des vagues qui lavent les frayeurs et les larmes—roulant tout autour avant de s’effacer dans le lointain mystérieux.

Ça c’est une chanson triste—se moquant du soleil—c’est le chant d’un soleil scintillant entre les branches.

C’est une offre—cette force paisible qui atténue la douleur de vivre—comme la main ouverte, le regard tranquille—une offre du soi-même—un geste sans fertilité sans futilité dans cette course aux âmes fécondes.

C’est un concert des sons étranges d’une nouvelle aube—quand le vent se réveille et les vagues se rencontrent—les vagues se chahutent—les vagues léchent la plage—léchent les jambes nues et giflent la chaire indolente.

C’est le matin de nouveau—le jour naissant qui efface les traces de rêves agonisants de jours passés—c’est la symphonie du temps—c’est le silence qui se submerge sous l’océan—doucement—doucement.

the following link takes this to the audio part of the experience. in English, the French version to follow.



https://soundcloud.com/dagga-punishment/sea-song-by-nadine-sellers


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

From the Ground Up








From the Ground Up

Sometimes they fill the air with noise, as if they were lonely. They fret with little black things, peering above toward the loud boxes, transfixed as if a mouse was about to dart from them. They must really need practice as I always find one or the other sitting by those gadgets.

They pollute the whole house with odious odors from cans that spit clouds of offensive junk. I do wonder what they believe they will kill with those. They miss the worst and target the best. The carpets are littered with crunchy tidbits and parts of rolly pollies or crickets, but that one wasp is still trying to escape through the blinds, and the fleas are multiplying for the end of this crazy world.

Well, the roaches will eventually inherit the leftovers from the looks of the compost or whatever that mound is in the corner of the yard. I regularly patrol all sides for rodents that have laughed at those silly traps (no matter the effort) for the clever plastic boxes, the little poison pellets, or the clang of metal jaws. There seems to be a clever species to resist any of mankind's inventions.

My nostrils are desiccated by the puffing thing in the corner. It permeates all breathing space with noxious gas on a regular basis like a stinking wind in my hair. The machine that spits cold down upon us can roar and whir in such obnoxious sessions. I'd rather be hot and slovenly in a dark corner than suffer the frigid drafts that tease me bones and cramp me muscles.

In winter they heat this place beyond comfort. Only the closets offer relief, but all those smelly shoes and perfumy things clutter the same space, so forget that zone. Lay low and don't exert yourself, that's about all one can do, day or night, of course.

Well at least what the moths and weevils have left will end up as compost or mouse poop, somewhere. Nature has a way of compensating for everything, and I can find plenty to eat, after all. It's all a game, isn't it?

I can't complain too much, they let me stay here for free, so I simply sigh, glare or walk away. But most of the time I take advantage of the soft furniture in my own relaxed style. I luxuriously stretch on the couch and blend in with the décor, not to bother anyone, my coat matches the microplush of the divan, how convenient!

It's our special symbiosis that works best; it’s because my needs are so simple. They forget about me until dinner time. Some of the stuff she cooks really smells great, but her taste for veggies irritates me. She insists in offering me tasteless morsels of things not known in nature. Well, not my nature anyway.

After supper they relax in the front room. That's what they think they are doing. Relaxing. They yell, bark, burst and bellow at each other over some box games and lights. It tires me just to avoid curses and objects flying across rooms. I'm glad I'm not involved. I know all the nearest hiding places where I can ignore all of them.

That's my way. I'll try to eat when they finally sleep. I'll sniff their winds, listen to their stomach rumblings to detect fragrant eggs, ‘pootin’ popcorn, or silent-but-greasy goose fat farts.
Rumbling throats and flapping nostrils sing a nightly serenade. When tractor trailers and rural equipment stop their daily traffic, I can finally enjoy nature’s nightlife here.

The kids aren't too bad. Well, except for the one who likes to dunk my head under water. He'll leave me alone today. He's nursing a bad case of black eye. His younger brother must have been adopted. He's the only sweet one in the family. He wants to share his pickles or prunes with me, and he doesn't get mad when I turn up my nose at that. I occasionally sit on his bed as he reads me a story. I'm patient, he's dedicated; we'll survive.

He brought home a new cat box from the yard sale next door. I hope that he learns to empty it more often, before mold grows long grey hairs on those clumps. The box of cat litter that came with it shows multiple cats. One resembles me like a twin, all these silly ads are quaint, but personally, I prefer the sand below the rosebushes ‘cause their dog hates thorns. Meow!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Poet Apart

A Poet Apart

somewhere a man sits
in his chair
contemplating a sad belly

dark stubble creeps on his jaw
a stubborn set against it all
eyelids low reveal none
none of the bad hangovers
that crowd the memory
and corrode perception

his pen opens a poem
only to close upon the mystery
of lingering loneliness

the tilt of his head a perfect egg
bright against evening shadows
words beat the winter about him
exposing veins where rages blood
and beer flooding plains of love and loath

crude honesty leaves no gap for fresh air
it slaps the truth into the cracks
ink over vodka laced in smoke
a perfect cocktail of senses
to follow the clock around

to earn that rare recognition
in a stranger's pupil
a man a chair one poem