Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Old Woman Seen from the Bus

after William Carlos Williams:

To a Poor Old Woman
          They taste
good to her

 You can see it by
the way she gives herself
to the one half
sucked out in her hand

Old Woman Seen from the Bus
 eating a ripe plum
from a brown bag in her hand
sucking the flesh

remembering kisses
when her skin was soft and ripe
his firm

they taste good to her
they taste good
to her they taste of lust

she bends her face to
her plum-filled palm
remembering the taste of his tobacco

the juice runs down her wrist
like spent sticky sperm on her thigh

the seed rests in her mouth
smooth   wooden   pointed
ejects to the gutter

the next plum appears in her hand
bruise-red  pregnant

she puts it back in the bag
wipes her mouth with her fingers
he would remember



The Old Raven said...

"Ejects to the gutter" what a wonderful line, what a wonderful phrase. I like this poem for its honesty. You made me laugh Isabel. In your latest comment about my blog photo! I literally lost the other one altogether. You know what happens when one insists upon hitting the delete button. Ah well.

Jim Murdoch said...

The first poem I ever saw published in America back in 1989 was a reimagining of a William Carlos Williams poem. I have been a fan a long time. On the whole I like this reworking. I certainly like the idea of it. The image of the sperm is an interesting one, especially when the “pregnant’ plum is rejected later. I don’t particularly like the line ‘like spent sticky sperm on her thigh’ not because I’m a prude but because of its sound – these are sharp sounds, they don’t flow or seep or even dribble – and I might think about alternate wording. You use ‘juice’ in the previous line and so ‘ooze’ would be one word I’d think of. I’m also not sure that a fruit would evoke the smell of tobacco. That doesn’t feel quite right. But on the whole I like it. It’s interesting how you mention ‘seed’ in the first line of the next stanza after you’ve been talking about the sperm. I might be tempted to have her recall sperm dribble down her chin and her rejection of the ‘pregnant’ plum an indication of the fact he never got her pregnant. Just taking a thought for a walk. It’s your poem.

Isabel Doyle said...

Madame Raven, thank you for all your kind comments. Yes it is meant to be an honest reflection.

Deletion - always dangerous! But I'm glad I made you laugh, I always aim to please.

Best wishes, Isabel

Isabel Doyle said...

Thank you for your insightful and detailed comments Mr Murdoch, I do appreciate them.

The line you questioned - the spent sticky sperm - I always hesitated over - but I kept it because of its sibilants - I wanted the spitting sounds. I don't see her particpating in oral sex - not because I'm a prude either but the man I saw in my poem might have been, in that way anyway.

I agree that fruit wouldn't normally evoke tobacco but his kisses always tasted of tobacco, of that much I am sure. And that he worked with his hands.

As for the rest of your ideas of course, the story you see/hear/imagine is what you bring to the poem. I hadn't thought about children or any pregnancy precisely - I am not very romantic!

Thank you again for your careful reading and thoughtful response.

Best wishes, Isabel

jabblog said...

How sights and tastes evoke memories - sometimes glancing, not quite caught. I liked this, Isabel.