Ouroboros, Charlotte Goodwin

A collection of poems inspired by the chaos that is the creation of life:  my child/let me/tell you/a story/the butterfly/a young mother/lays the eggs/ and flies away/round, white eggs/become green grubs/with tiny feet and feelers/searching for something/one day, one strays/and looks around/she is the only one left/hides away, up high/wiggling and wriggling/until her skin peels away/floating to the ground below/she shuts her tiny eyes/holds on tight/until she emerges/in the warm light/of a spring day/transformed/a new creature/with bright blue wings

 

 


Metamorphosis

my child

let me

tell you

a story

the butterfly

a young mother

lays the eggs

and flies away

round, white eggs

become green grubs

with tiny feet and feelers

searching for something

one day, one strays

and looks around

she is the only one left

hides away, up high

wiggling and wriggling

until her skin peels away

floating to the ground below

she shuts her tiny eyes

holds on tight

until she emerges

in the warm light

of a spring day

transformed

a new creature

with bright blue wings

she beats them, once

one beautiful wing

against the other

the world stops turning

consumed by

waves and fire.

my child

let me

tell you

my story

I

a young mother

created you

and ran far away

your tiny, pink body

became a whole, real person

with tiny feet and hands

searching for me

one day, you’ll run from me

stop! and look around

when you’re the only one left

hiding and high

cooking liquid gold

watching it bubble and burn

on a silver spoon

float back down, below

you will shut your eyes

and ride the wave

re-emerging

in the cold street light

of midnight

a new creature

a fleshy body with no wings

you will clap your hands, once

put one wrong foot

after the other, until

your world will keep spinning

and mine will be consumed

by you.

Vida

 

I was born

to a dead Mother

on white linen sheets

as the virgin Mary

rested beside her head.

Lost in a family of seven

I supped from the breast

of an unknown woman

and grew into a tall girl

wrapped in a pink dress

with a skeleton’s face.

I grew up

tall and wise

with wide hips

and a sharp mind

and Papa always said:

“She is the most like me.”

I met a boy

a smart one too

but I knew

he wasn’t enough for me

so I searched for a man

with a palette to paint

a portrait of pain

to match my own.

“Can you hear me?”

I implored him

to read my lips

to feel my pain

but he was too brilliant,

clever and cold

to care about

the little girl

in a pink dress

with a skeleton’s face

inside of me.

All I had left

and all I believed in

was the power of the

hidden space within

where like a child

dancing among faeries

in a garden of colour

I saw hope.

But I was broken

from one hard blow

to my soft, warm body

and the line stops with, me.

Meurte

 

when

the skeleton                         once more

that hangs                           my honey feet

above my bed                      glide along

becomes me                        these halls

 

when                                     once more

i awaken                              I stand

from long                             in my house

silent sleep                          the home

and open up                        we shared

my eyes

                                                our (special) place

                                                 la casa azul

 

when                                      my days

i look                                      hang here

into your eyes                       and there

i see us                                    trapped in

i see me                                   gaudy frames

                                                  behind glass panes,

before then                             it pains me to see

before us                                 my paintings

“do you remember?”             exhibited

there was me                          in my house

alone                                        (where) i no

with myself                             longer (live)

a company

of sorts                                     un museo 

of one                                        of life

of one sort                                our history

                                                    lining the walls,

                                                    hanging from the rafters

                                                    and settling on the mantel.

 

 

Paper Girl

 

the headline

the front page

the words inside

forged by her hand

landed her in hot water

hit boiling point

and bubbled over

Victoria Street

down in Kings Cross

terrace houses

red brick and white iron

where children played

and friendly neighbours

shared beers and BBQs

families

out on the street

lined the curb

tearful women

speechless men

with nowhere to go

a lone voice

broke the hum

brown eyes

beehive

big mind

she made a stand

refused to leave

staked her claim

and took her place

at the top

the rallies and the power

the signs and the slogans

the unions and the meetings

on mean streets, ruled

by hungry wolves

a pretty little lamb

called out loud

tread on toes

what she did best

troublemakers get

what they deserve

NOW: the time for action

silencing her

was never

an easy task

but a great pleasure

the big wig

Mr Sin

lured her in

Carousel Club

come alone

quietly now

a firm grip on her arms

fingers wrapped tightly

around her red lips

no screaming tonight

 a pink pillowslip

over her pretty head

heavy, brown-paper packages

different shapes and sizes

addressed to always

delivered to eternity

rest on the ocean floor

of Sydney Harbour.

Alpha

 

her time is long gone now

           the people still remember

           and they always will

with her face in portraits

and her body in bronze

           how could you forget?

 

she can hardly remember

yesterday and the one before

           she saw the war end

           and the wall fall down

she is history walking

shuffling and pausing-

           what did you say?

 

she can remember

            one thing

the green leather seat

at her back

            hear hear

they say

then turn their heads

taking knives to her back

            men, men, men

sensitive, touchy

terrified little boys

oh, what one woman can do!

 

            no! no! no!

she says

with a stern look

eyebrows pulled together

lips pursed

slightly lop-sided

but her fist is clenched

she takes to the podium

taps the microphone

            one, two

and she means business

 

the lady’s not for turning

 

 

Ceasefire

The rules, written long before the ship’s briny bottom had even brushed the shore,

filed away in private archives and only taken out on special occasions

like your best Sunday dress, to wave in the faces of the opposition.

The forces, assembled in gaggles of those who have suffered enough and for too long,

lining the streets with placards and banners- their voices are sirens-

crawling out of kitchens and from under ironing-boards into the streets.

The message, spread out wide and slowly seeped in like a spilled glass of milk,

“Cookin’, cleanin’ and creatin’- all they’re bloody good for!” he says,

“Watch your mouth, darling, or you’ll go hungry tonight,” she replies,

slap!

A firm grip on the detonator

thumb quivering on the big, red button

you count down the minutes

second by second

tick tick tick

you wait, ready and blazing

blood squelches in your ears with every beat of your heart

there’s a tickle in your throat and a bead of sweat runs down your nose

a sister in the crowd jogs forward to march beside you,

with a six-starred flag draped across her shoulders

she raises her fist into the air and smiles

you turn to face your comrades bringing up the rear, but they’re down

sprawled on the pavement, limps splayed and placards crushed

your breath hitches in your chest

a heavy hand settles on your shoulder

you turn back, to find yourself nose-to-nose with a stout man in a suit,

he slips an envelope deep into your pocket with a sneer across his lips

you march onwards, sliding your fingernail under the seal

there’s an answer inside that envelope- a good one-

but it’s nothing more than

a baby’s step forward

in a giant’s marathon.

@JuliaGillard Now that we have almost all rights once denied of us

now handed 2 us on a silver platter, will we eva hav 2 stop apologising?

 

 

An Invitation

A tribute to American artist Judy Chicago and her 1979

installation artwork “The Dinner Party.” Each line is dedicated to one

of thirty-nine influential women of history, chronologically, across the

ages in three distinct stages: Mythology to the Roman Empire, Christianity

to the Reformation and America to the Women’s Revolution.

 

I kindly request the honour of her presence

and the pleasure of her company…

 

birthed from between the thighs of chaos

she bears summer fruits, juicy and buttery-yellow

an eight-pointed star hangs around her neck reminiscent of that first and fatal love

the black one, the consort who exists beyond the hands of the clock

and the maenad, who follows close behind with stretched skin sagging down her chest

are you wise and eternal like all unseen things?

watch her as she cuts off her breast to spite her bow and arrow

she is the Pharaoh – both lands, above and below the belt

a book in one palm and a head in her other

she implores you: ‘come again, my limb-loosening lover’

courtesan to a general, she remains virtuous, knowing her own mind

ruler of the revolt, horse-whipped and humiliated

a teacher of numbers, stars and magic with virgin blood flowing in her veins

 

a dowager, she walks the halls of the family home in her dead husband’s suit

the virgin Mother appears before her, angels sweetly sing and light fills the room

a saint whispers prayers in a theatre of soft tissued slaves under red lights

her chaste voice crawls from her lips to the page to the ears of a nation

she is the doctor of disease and a purveyor of fine cosmetics

a widow queen with a sacred wedding present – a crystal vase

a weaver at the loom of words, who felt God moving inside her

a good witch, guilty of nothing but life, yet burned alive at the stake

between sheets, she writes with a fleshy quill, her shield

the cure: a first breath taken at the stroke of nine when the moon is high

a blind, deaf and untouched queen with a fiery crown and undercarriage

she cuts his throat with her paintbrush, daubing skin and sex onto a white canvas

a multi linguist with a soft, warm tongue, she speaks of “honest delight”

 

a preacher with a womb, un-heard of and condemned, a travesty

her face is on the golden dollar, taken as a wife and prisoner

she opened the eyes of the earth unto the sparking sky of stars above

the book penned by her hand: a monster made from pieces of the past

she questioned and queried the world but she was a woman of honey brown colour

peering from behind bifocals she sees behind closed doors, a future of balance

the very first with a scalpel in her hand, slicing away the lies, can’t you see?

her verses – woven from wilted petals and starving bodies – have a heartbeat

“there is no G-d!” she said, but she wrote music to please his ears anyway

ending lives not yet begun for the sake of preventing living pain

can you allow her to write the play-book of women and scandal? an autobiography

a darkness clouds her grey eyes and the water pins her down to the riverbed

it is only a black iris flower, don’t make it more than it is

 

… I extend to her my warmest regards,

and hope she will accept this invitation.

 

 

The First Lady

 

Firmly seated in his leather office chair,

she glides the palms of her black-skinned hands

along the varnished surface of her husband’s desk,

carved from the resolute one

with an eagle’s wings spread wide

where the histories of the great land

and the scandals of those who came before

are laid out for the world to see

in public addresses on the television screen.

 

The Forefathers each left their own etchings

in the timber where she lays her hands:

one had a son who played peek-a-boo at his feet

one couldn’t fit his knees underneath the desk

one spent time in a blue dress with a cigar tube

one told a nation to be strong in the face of terror

and her man, he told his fine nation: “Yes We Can!”

 

The ladies of the past are silent shadows in her wake,

born of a time before, not forgotten but committed to the books of history:

one was left with pieces of her husband spilled down her pink suit

one was left a cuckolded woman, but became much more

one was left to clean up the mess he left behind (aren’t they all?)

and she, gives her man a run for his money; every day of his life.

 

Their two children play in the corridor

as men with dark glasses and earpieces

keep a close and careful watch,

the little girls smile and giggle as Daddy

signs his name with his left hand

then answers the ringing telephone,

he leans back in his chair and

puts his feet up on the desk

click click click – go the bright flashbulb lights

like a naked popstar dancing on a balcony

or a model caught with a powdered nose

the eyes and ears of the world are open

and waiting for his next mistake.

 

She knows she’ll never live to see

another normal day, anonymous and quiet

and is fine with that decision as long as

she doesn’t stop to think about it,

too deeply or for too long…

 

Smiling with her eyes

through the camera lens

to the people of the world

she tries to make them listen

but it has been a while

and they feel a little neglected

a little rusty, a little lost and a little lazy,

as they tweet and blog

without having to take

any responsibility;

maybe it’s time

for someone

new?

 

They all want the title

the highest honour in the land

that is why she knows, they will fight

capped tooth over manicured nail

to knock the crown from her head

but she will rule for another four, for sure…

Unless the Mormon Mama

beats her to the throne.

Change

 

Later in her life

she will wake up and notice

the clock inside her

has suddenly stopped ticking:

she begins her metamorphosis.

 

Charlotte Goodwin

Charlotte Goodwin is completing a Bachelor of Arts in Media & Writing at Macquarie University. Her poetry has appeared in Grapeshot Magazine and in 2011 Charlotte was awarded the Marjorie Robertson prize for proficiency in Creative Writing. She won the “Best Story” prize in the 2003 Newcastle Permanent Building Society School Newspaper Competition for her first published work, at eleven years of age. Charlotte has experience in television broadcasting, online publishing and the performing arts. She seeks to one day write and direct for stage and screen.

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