Our niece, Natalie, traveling
and studying in India
met this elephant, Gerard.
She'll be home in winter and
Gerard will miss her then, as we
Our daughter, Sigrid,
is an LA based playwright, who pens apocalyptic, funny, brutal-bizarre world stories. In her work, the fantastical mashes with the personal and historical (hysterical?). Pop culture copulates with myth, poetic language is vernacular, images are stark grandeur, and what will make you laugh will make you cry. Ms. Gilmer creates melodrama in warfare, family farce outta the Ku Klux Klan, global politics as high school cheerleading. She insists, as well, upon crafting situational comedy in the context of slavery.
Sigrid (BA in Theatre from Cal State LA, and a MFA from Cal Arts) is currently obsessed with 19th Century America (cowboys/Indians, abolitionists, minstrelsy). 1980’s action flicks, whiteness, the mind and it’s limitations, and Sci-Fi novels also have a grip on her imagination. Last spring Sigrid went to Colorado for a writer's workshop and returned to LA with this poem:
I itch when I sleep
Scratch off conspicuousness
Humble and over friendly at lunch.
I hate myself in the night and my skin tingles.
Yes, us people have a chip on our shoulder.
it’s a token or I am one.
A cheery smile walks me to the table, everything is golden. The stucco walls, the hot hot hot ass sun, the giggle of the fountain, water shooting to the hot hot hot ass sun. It’s all so perfect. I don’t fit.
Smug belonging, disguised as a welcome takes my order.
(Arugula with goat cheese and strawberries, pinto gringo. I mean grigio)
I notice that complete unawareness makes their teeth shiny and sharp.
What’s the point, I wonder?
The open door brings in hot air and the anticipation of thunder.
I want to tear off my skin.
Cuz it’s so nice here.
Great restaurants, shops, mountains.
I begin at my thighs, rake up, down up down. Fastfastfastfastfastfastfast.
Ghosts of 60’s Woolworth’s counters popping through my skin
Burn Sting Sweat
Itching to Fear
All of a sudden violent everywhere.
Hard white ice slams on to the roof, drop kicks the air temperature,
Cool violent inhale exhale, the possibility of sleep at my shoulders
Outside catching the solidity of really dumb-ass emotions, my hands up to the sky, hard hard white projectiles falling through my fingers like nothing.
Unable to resist responding to a poem with another poem, Don Brennan offers the following:
Hi, To comment on poetry as fine as this should NEVER be attempted in prose. All literary critics, and especially poetry critics, are careerist assholes, really, it's a scientifically proven fact older than scientific method itself, everybody knows that except poetry critics. love.
commentary on white out poem:
black woman in a white town
Colorado town where the snow can blow in the wind
can't see shit
except the white shit
can always see that black girl
what's that on you?
what's that on your skin?
no wonder you itch up in here where it's
no wonder you scratchin' in the night
ms. conspicuous humble and over friendly
black woman at lunch itchin'
like you allergic to tokens or somethin'
'scuse me droppin' my g's
comes of reading too much Langston Hughes I do suppose.
what's the point
walk this young chip on her shoulder token lady
to a table
pinto gringo I don't mean grigio
what makes your teeth so shiny and sharp?
perfect unawareness, that's what
arugula this and no I will not call you
a bitch mother fucker you want that
watch a queen latifa movie
you think I want to tear off my
skin or something
look like you
all hot hot hot ass perfect
cuz it's so nice here
restaurants, shops, mountains and shit?
excuse me again while I take the air
hard white ice slamming my roof while i
take to my bed
and scratch my black off
scratch my fear off beginning at my
thighs burning raking stinging sweating
'till I be white enough
cool violent inhale exhale
welcome welcome I'll be you're
my name is
hard hard white projectile
excuse me while I tear off my skin
be nothing like you cuz
it's so nice here.
Labels: Natalie and her Elephant