28 February 2012

Tuesday Poem: Beige Keeps Being Born, by Madeleine M. Slavick

        The first appearance was a pair of tall pants that came all the way
from Germany, with two fashionable legs of beige suede standing up a strong and tender woman,
and the balance of beauty was wanted

                                                     instead of Maine teenage
      faces foundationed a false brown, and Imedeened Hong Kong women lightening
      their born color, not to be touched, just looked at, like
                  an advertisement for a certain chosen future

                                                                        not found in the house's one hundred
and twenty seven shelves of careful literature, some Southern, most modern, and the
contemporary having creamy pages, thick, the edges feathered, pretending
              to be just as natural

                              as a trillion grains of policed sand in Santa Monica and Rio de Janiero,
two open oceans trying to bring answers to people with or without money, homes,
                 minds - no poverty, begging, allowed

                                                              in the anytime clicking of mah jongg on the table,
eight hands moving the batter, wild cards, private line drawings, and following
          the boxy ivory or plastic tiles go where they go

                                                                                                                  like a lover, traveling
along the body, making a home, rich as Indian tea, empty as sunned bamboo.

Poet's note: Imedeen: a beauty product to lighten skin

Credit note: This poem is from Madeleine M. Slavick's collection "delicate access", poems in English with translations into Chinese by Luo Hui, and is reproduced by permission of the author.

Madeleine M. Slavick is a writer and photographer. Madeleine has several books of poetry and non-fiction and has exhibited her photography internationally. She has lived in Germany, Hong Kong, the USA, and New Zealand. She maintains a daily blog: touchingwhatilove.blogspot.com - and Madeleine has a witty visual reference to "Beige Keeps Being Born" on her blog here: http://touchingwhatilove.blogspot.co.nz/2010/12/extras.html.

Her books include Something Beautiful Might Happen (Tokyo, 2010), My Favourite Thing (Beijing and Taipei, 2005), Delicate Access (Hong Kong, 2004), Round - Poems and Photographs of Asia (Hong Kong, 1998) and Fifty Stories, Fifty Images, forthcoming. Her photography has been exhibited in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.

"Beige Keeps Being Born" image courtesy of Madeleine M. Slavick.

Tim says: This poem took quite a bit of effort to format, but I think it's well worth it. I love the elegance of the language and the way the poems twists and turns around its central metaphor and its many vivid images.

You can check out all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog - the hub poem in the middle of the page, and all the other poems in the sidebar on the right.


Mike Crowl said...

Love this, Tim. Lots of wonderful images and imagery. Good poem to ponder over.

Titus said...

Like that a lot, cheers Tim.

Penelope said...

It's a bit like how we think, isn't it, slabs of thought placed near other like paving that doesn't quite form a neat path. She covers a lot of ground in this fascinating poem. Thanks for the introduction to her work Tim.

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Mike, Titus and Penelope. It is rather a good poem, isn't it?