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Sunday, August 17, 2014

My Mother – The Demimonde



My Mother – The Demimonde


He had heard him in that black night
fragrant as rotting oranges 
exotic as Africa –
his father's hissed
single-soul-shaking-word woke him
snaking through heavy air from their bed
to his cot against the wall in the hall
“Demimonde”
his father hissed harsh and low, black and red
as a Mardi Gras mask –
though other words
slithered - spawn hurried after –
“abomination,” “transgression,”
“allegiance,” these unlike Demimonde - all
 familiar echoes returning from boomed
Sundays back home when he sat
in scratchy silence on a hard pew
Awful but spoken - unlike “Demimonde
He was seized in the stick and sweat of
that summer night with a wave of wistful
protective ifs, - if  he could just jump from that
summer shack and run through the New Orleans
night, find a church, light a candle, for God’s sake
Help her,
If he could only return, his mother of sweetness and light
back to the shelter of their laughing-tickling
drinking sweet tea on the way to the beach
hands swinging together singing – before his
father came from to visit - he was ready
to perform any multitude of eight-year-
old rites to bring her and him back out of this
dark demon studded night
Yet in the gray stickiness of almost dawn
he shrank, knowing she was beyond salvation
for he remembered “Demimonde”
and the Sears catalogue, seen just this past Tuesday
in Penny’s brother’s stash – that stash
of nearly naked women wearing “demi” somethings –
their wanton breasts, thrusting, spilling on the pages
under knowing smiles and now – in this night of reckoning
shamed by his staring, he was reborn
into irrevocable knowing
his own mother
was such a demi-wearing one –
and somewhere perhaps a boy such as he would
stare at his own “demimonde” mother and whisper
in childlike incarnation of his fathers condemnation
“I want her – I want those demimondes for myself.”

34 comments:

  1. I had an almost breathless feeling…

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    1. Oh Annell - what a lovely comment - I am thrilled to have touched you :)

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  2. How well I visualized that boys life crashing down as the father discovers his wife's unfaithfulness and discards her and tears the child's life in two by his loss and imagined horror of her actions.

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    1. Wow "Old Egg" I hadn't quite seen it all so darkly - but I do through your interpretation thank you!

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  3. Powerful and beautifully written

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    1. Thank you Alan - Delighted that you stopped by and I deeply appreciate your sparkling comment.

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  4. So strong the contrast between condemnation of lust.. You ha captured how powerless and confused a man can be excellently...

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    1. Oh Bjorn - a powerful and welcome comment - Thank you so very much.

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  5. Excellent work!
    ...strange that I used a reference in a piece I'm working on (still unfinished) about the "sticky pages of the Sears catalogue." I don't understand, but that seems to happen in the writers group I belong to, though we never choose a theme, we my all show up with the same one.
    Again, this is an excellent piece.
    ZQ

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    1. Ooooh I just adore such synchronicity - love the idea of the "sticky pages of the Sears catalogue" .... keep me posted when the work is completed .... Thank you for lovely comment - happy to be on the same wave-length :)

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  6. Feeling as past possibilities that memory doesn't want to let go...~ Thanks for sharing xx

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    1. Thanks for stopping - always deeply appreciated :)

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  7. "he was ready
    to perform any multitude of eight-year-
    old rites to bring her and him back" -
    this line particularly struck me, for as the boy struggles to help, he is the one who needs help so desperately, the damage that's being done to him is irreparable. The whole poem is amazing, Pearl. Dark and powerful.

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    1. Aww Sasha - powerful words for this poem - Yes I am delighted that you resonated with the boy's desperation .... Thank you for stopping and commenting so eloquently

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  8. How wonderfully you played with that wonderful word...and those rotting oranges seductively pulling us through the story...wonderful

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    1. Thank you Jae - I liked those oranges too and as always the poem just falls together.

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  9. Such a wonderfully crafted piece--I loved this--every bit of it

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    1. What a delightful comment Audrey - very much appreciated . Happy that you enjoyed :)

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  10. I'm so glad I pick out Demimonde. Great piece for it's always sad to see a child to lose thier innocence

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    1. Oh Cathy - thank you so very much - I do believe the little boy has had his innocence compromised but it is still confused with his thoughts of "semi-bras" in the Sears catalogue, his own guilt and his mother's being alligned and castigated somehow for this association.

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  11. Admittedly I still haven't figured out what a demimonde is; thus I am not sure I have figured out the true meaning of this poem.

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    1. in 19th-century France) the class of women considered to be of doubtful morality and social standing.
      • a group of people considered to be on the fringes of respectable society: the demimonde of arms deals.


      Truthfully when this word appeared in a bunch of wordle words I needed to look up its definition as it appears above - for me there was an association with "semi-bras" and the poem just feel together.

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  12. A beautiful picture of the power of words and that awful moment when a child knows and understands more than his innocence should allow.

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    1. Yes, precisely ... the child conflating his burgeoning interest in sexuality with his father's anger all against the backdrop of a little boy's innocence.

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  13. Wow, a fantastically well-written tale....I like the rotting oranges, exotic as Africa.

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    1. Thanks Sherry don't know where those oranges came from but come they did and I enjoyed them too... :)

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  14. Pearl, this is a stunning poem, a keeper, a prize-winner which deserves a wider audience. I am breathless with admiration!

    Favourite lines:
    echoes returning from boomed
    Sundays back home when he sat
    in scratchy silence on a hard pew

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    1. Thank you so very much Viv - your words mean a great deal to me and perhaps I will send this on and out somewhere :)

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  15. Oh my good friends - I am humbled by your comments on this little poem built around the word demimonde ( like Mary, I too needed to refresh my understanding of the word and when I did. - this little boy and his experience came along for the ride, I am delighted by your enjoyment and deeply deeply appreciative that you stopped by to share your reactions with me. Thank you. - Thank you - one and all ... I cherish each word .

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  16. Quite a feat .. and interesting take on the use of the word demimonde.

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    1. The word was the inspiration for the poem - it was one of a bunch of "wordle words" and the rest of the poem fell around this one definition and the boy's confused understanding on hearing it used in anger.

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  17. Very well done. I was swept away.

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    1. Oh GL - Thank you so very much for stopping by and I deeply appreciate your comment. It is very moving to hear that you were carried away by my words. Again, thank you

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