Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Part I: Green

Lazy tide, in its palm, holds something green, a
sliver; rolls it against a thigh of sand in
rhythmic motion. The ebb entices emerald
shard toward the lithe body ‘neath the waves and
up the thigh, but the flow rejects its jagged
form and jostles it back again toward the
knee. A light is reflected through the prism,
green and dancing on sands, which parallels the
glass’ struggle with salty waters, ground on
ground, once cutting and sharp, now dulled by tide in
limbo. Afternoon passes. With the dawning
moon, the shard has become now smooth and round, no
longer threatening. Moon thus risen, water
rises, swallows the shard’s defeated frame whole.

Part II: Red

Alexandria summers, little children
crowd the beach, a low stretch of sand, not fifty
meters, sitting between the sea and highway, –
ugly, littered with fishing boats men painted
brilliant colors to hide their old, decrepit
frames. A girl, when she sees I have a camera,
runs up clumsily, asks for me to take her
picture. Jutting her little chest out, arms on
hips, she poses so proudly, ribs apparent
through the red of her bathing suit. When done, she
runs, now satisfied, chased by ruby-colored
kite that’s bobbing behind her. Hitting water,
little splashes erupt beneath her feet. She
pulls her knees to her chest as waters deepen,
panting, flapping her arms outstretched. Her wild
hair is billowing. Vigilant mother, covered
head to toe, with alone her eyes exposed, is
charging, following, scarves behind her, streaming.

*I don't consider the moon lazy per se. The passive vs. active is dead on, though. Maybe the best way to explain the poem is to discuss my progression while writing it. I wanted a way to describe the seashore in Egypt, women covered fully, but their very young daughters wearing swimsuits, sometimes bodysuits like surfers once they reached a certain age. As I was writing, though, I got caught up on the first part, this piece of glass pulled toward the sea, then pushed back, then pulled again as the waves came in, a sort of eternal struggle with nothing changing except the glass becoming smooth and the sky becoming dark. As I wrote it, it seemed more about masturbation than this piece of glass. The yonic symbols of sea and moon and the idea of land as a female body are meant to convey this coming into womanhood, or embracing womanhood. I wanted the green to be nature. The second half is sort of zooming out, drawing back the lens, more narrative or tangible. There's this girl on the brink of womanhood, proud and unashamed, and sexual, but unaware of it. And her mother is covered head to toe to hide her sexuality. The girl runs into the sea, embracing it, alive. Her oppressed/oppressing mother chases her in a parallel fashion, scarves streaming behind her much in the way of the girl's hair (hair also being archetypally sexual). I thought red was menstrual, more aggressive or active, but I wanted it to be on the same plane as green, so I tried to keep my syntax the same and used the jewel idea in both halves
(emerald and ruby).


Tell me more.

*as explained by the writer
in her original email.

Kendall Hoff

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