The old tree shivered off his leaves and
dropped the blood fruit from his branches.
Gravid round balls glittering with gemstone sugar
grew from bare bark fingers and stiff-angled joints.
I am an edible Christmas tree! he shouted.
His new fruit ruptured, tossing their jackets
aside to leak loud raspberry blood,
The musician approached the tree,
held his hand under a broken globe,
and raised a red palm to his lips. His tongue
told him a cherry crackle tale of soda soul; he
looked up just in time
to see a champagne colored woman in a
gold dust dress and crowned in royal ribbons
of orange hair smile and wink at him before
disappearing behind a lithe evergreen.
When he looked down at his palm,
it glittered with gold dust.
Aanteekwa lifted an intact fruit from an
inviting wooden hand; it exploded and
drenched the air with cellophane burgundy
sweetness. As she lapped the bloody afterimage
off her palm, she heard a dry, ragged earthen
voice sing: guide us to Thy perfect light.
She looked up and spied an old brown man
with white woolen hair. He smiled: but
as Aanteekwa shouted Mr. Mandela!,
he disappeared. By this time, D.S. had
dug his hungry teeth into a purple globe
and sucked it juices into his belly: his
mind swam midstream in a sangria haze
through which he saw a pale strident figure
shaking a black wreath of hair and singing
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do
the Fandango? before he vanished. Babyface
wrung juice from a little golden fuzzy ball
with his bare hands and dribbled it into
his thirsty throat, whereupon he saw a
young knave with twilight hair appear and
declare: Le poète se fait voyant par un long,
immense et raisonné dérèglement de
tous les sens. And he, too, vanished.
No one saw Nicole, black cloaked and
onyx crowned standing under a
thick canopy of fragrant needled arms.
A raven perched on her shoulder,
marble eyes watching the travelers drink
and hallucinate in the dark. Leaving only
a smile and a wink that no one saw, she
disappeared behind a lithe evergreen.
Written 12/26 and 12/27/13
© 2013 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.
This poem was written for We Write Poems Prompt #192: Holiday Advent Poems in which Yousei Hime asked us to write some little poems (or maybe one big one). This is a continuation from “Wire Light“.
Borrowing from a prompt Jim Simmerman in The Practice of Poetry, she gave us 25 steps of which we could follow as many or as few as we wanted. I used the following in my poem:
- Begin the poem with a holiday metaphor. (The Christmas Tree)
- Say something specific but utterly preposterous. (“I am an edible Christmas tree!”)
- Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
- Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
- Overhear someone unexpected singing your favorite carol. (Nelson Mandela singing part of “We Three Kings”)
- Make the persona or character in the poem do something he/she could not do in “real life.” (The musician — the real life person he is based on would NEVER drink juice from the fruit of a strange tree)
- Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person. (“Nicole” in the last stanza)
- Use a phrase from a language other than English. (Freddie Mercury’s partial lyric and Arthur Rimbaud’s declaration in the penultimate stanza. Here is the quote and its English translation – you’ll need to scroll down to read it.)
- Make a nonhuman object say or do something human (personification).
- Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem (“Nicole” disappears behind the same evergreen as the redhead).