Linda Marie Van Tassell (Lynchburg, Virginia)
From The Gutter To The Jewel In The Lotus
She has the radio on in the other room,
and the words invade her train of thought.
Then, her beauty queen cat, black as pitch,
meows; and her moon eyes beg for treats.
The train derails, and she loses it all.
The oak leaves softly sway outside the window
as she seeks inspiration in glints of gold.
It hovers in the distance creating shadow and light
as she stands on the landing spilling poignancy
down steep steps of moss-skinned stone.
The pulse of summer is silent
as the heat presses down on the collarbone of a climber,
a full-blown flaming torch rising from her rosy mouth.
She is reminded of Neruda’s Garden and Quixote:
“puntual, el nacimiento de una rosa.”
She emerges a pillar of alabaster between the pines,
her eyes following the wind’s sweet promise
as it blows through her hair towards tomorrow,
taking with it the dandepuff dalliance,
parachuting into the quiet hush with wistful grace.
Selene poses before her, lures the free lance,
and builds a stage for competition and composition.
There is brightness and a faint movement of dust
as she kicks up her heels, pulls flecks and specks from sky,
and culls the substance of everything until she is finished.
Between bites of blackened chicken and saffron rice,
she scribes, scribbles, sanctifies, and solidifies.
Every leaf and petal, every stem and stone is overturned.
She strokes her silken strand of raspberry pearls
as she delves deaf deep into the water of words.
Between Eve’s Ribs and Jezebel’s Hips,
she battles CrowWoman and MudGirl.
She – the Raspberry Girl – battling
The Girls with Red Hair on Cherry Cadillacs with Bushido Swords.
She came From the Gutter to the Jewel in the Lotus.
Numbness passes for peace for some,
but she knows the difference between calm and calamity.
Her quarry is made of evergreen moments.
The fires of her mind are Masamune steel –
the Honjo Nihontō, curving into mythos.
She was crafted, fallen from the air,
forged in the gutter of a ruined hull,
discerning, learning, turning, and burning.
She erupted, resting upon the moon’s knees,
then glinted into the jewel in the lotus.
A mad girl, a mud girl, a mighty, magic thing:
she scintillates from the river’s throat of song.
From the temple windows of her eyes, she watches,
winking out of the darkness like stars;
and the moon becomes full, for he has just fallen in love.
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