Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Poem

Photo by House of Sims

This poem is called "Picture This," which is also the title of a new collection that I've just finished writing.  

Picture This

You live in a foreign country,
except to you
it isn't foreign
because it's where
you were born
in this, a different life--
pears grow there
on your very 
own tree,
or maybe--get wild--
they're figs,
and you can use
the word pluck
for the first time
in your whole life,
at least this life,
but in that one
you pluck practically
every day:
harp strings, heart 
strings, whole mornings,
and the figs, of course--
but only what you need.
You never horde.
each fig is the first,
the last--
pollinated by the tiny moth
that has climbed inside
the fruit's tiny mouth,
laid her eggs
and waited 
for her prince to pluck
her out.
inside your mouth
for one moment
you hold seed
and flower
and egg,
all that you 
could ever want,
the world--
its birth,
its death 
your mouth.


  1. Gigi, this poem gives me chills -- such power, hope, joy and just-right-ness all rolled up in one amazing poem. The poem makes me want to weep -- in a good way.
    (It seems so right to me just now, as I am reading through the rosy, hopeful eyes of a mother who hast just "set her child free" by letting him picture his life at an amazing new school.)
    Thank you for writing poetry, my love.

  2. Gorgeous...I think I've been there, but never manage to stay...


  3. Marlowe, have I told you how brave I think you are for letting your son do just that? Brave and deeply caring. Thanks for your really kind words about the poem. I've been thinking a lot about how I, and maybe most people, imagine alternate lives--fabulous ones where we do amazing things. This recently got me saying to myself, "honey, this is the one you've got; make it amazing." It sounds trite when I type it out just now, but I really do mean this in the profoundest of ways. The only way I am able to work on the Max & Annie project is to keep telling myself exactly this. A big, huge, ginormous part of me thinks all agents and editors will laugh at it, but a little, tiny, much cooler part of me says, "screw 'em," and merrily types away. And you are doing very much the same thing right now in so many ways. I am inspired just watching!

  4. Thank you, Nancy! I don't think I stay there for long spells, but I'm always trying to get back there, which can be pretty exciting in itself, I suppose. I definitely was there last night when the editor sent me the proofs with your amazing painting on the cover. Wow. I am not kidding when I say that the cover is exactly what I dreamed of only better. How lucky am I?

  5. I'd say we're both lucky, and maybe we've been living there all along...

    Love you!


  6. This is beautiful, Gigi. This possibility for imagining another life, another world, is so fundamental to what a poem can do, when it is working at a high level. Of course, it maybe isn’t so much an imagining of a different world, as a vision of what this world could be or become. You make me think of Bachelard’s saying that the poet speaks and the world comes into being, or of Paul Éluard, “There is another world, but it is in this one.” I love this, “Imagine--/ inside your mouth / for one moment / you hold seed / and flower / and egg, / all that you / could ever want, / the world-- / its birth, / its death / inside / your mouth.” --- This is poetry’s dream of healing the rift between spirit and world, is it not?

  7. Yes, I think/hope/wish this is so, James. It is, at least, my dream of healing that rift. Bachelard has probably influenced my poetry and my life as much as anyone else I've read, so I am pleased that you mentioned him, especially that particular idea. And Eluard, yes, I love this quote from him. At the best moments of writing, this is exactly what one experiences.

  8. Gigi,
    Your words are a treasure, and I am happy to have found your blog.

    Beautiful poem and image.

    I look forward to reading more of your heartfelt treasures.


  9. Thanks very much, Melissa. I look forward to visiting your beautiful blog often.


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