amongst books

amongst books

Friday, April 15, 2016

Impromptu 15: 10 Portraits of Venus

In today’s prompt, Joel Katelnikoff asks us to love what we hate. To scan through a book we hated for text that we love.

I chose Dan Brown’s “The Davinci Code.” I used the same technique that I used for Seenah Yee’s Impromptu #13. I copied out one hundred phrases, put them in a box and plucked them out at random, trying to assemble them into a poem. As I was pulling them out, I noticed that Venus was mentioned a few times. So I decided to craft a poem about her. I didn’t end up using all of the text I copied and cut out. I ended up using forty-three text bits. I stopped when I felt the poem was finished.

10 Portraits of Venus

Venus is a priestess, a gypsy,
a mystic, a nature lover,
an herb gatherer.

Venus, the goddess of female sexual
love and beauty. Her sacred symbolism
replicated in the bone structure of
spiraled pine cone petals. Venus
comes to mean a wicked soul,
one of the oldest symbols on earth

Venus tousled and wary, escapes
eating stolen fruit and raw fish
from the dock. Her dark eyes
seem to scorch the earth:
a vacant air of bewilderment,
an ingeniously conceived allegory,
a rumble like a gathering storm.
a place where ancient secrets rise.

Venus is trapped in a
Salvador Dalí painting,
her architecture as frozen
music, a collage of double
entendres.

Venus, a fusion of ancient
and modern worlds that
reek of rotting cabbages.

Venus, with ghost
white skin, the sacred
purgatory for freaks
and fetishists. Her
haunting phobia
of enclosed spaces
digs into her flesh.
Pain is good:
a muted red glow.

Venus emerges out
of the red haze in a
long black tunic or
a knee-length cream-
coloured Irish sweater
her ribs, the ribs of a
beautiful beast.

Venus, the Eastern Star,
Ishtar, Agarte with ties
to nature and Mother
Earth, pale yellow
and trembling caked
with dried blood
and a glint of lustrous
metal, a leather strap,
her pristine truth.

Venus is a votive candle,
blood-red slashes,
falling stone shards
a deserted moon-swept
hill.

Her final message:
a fondness for the dark.
No music. No voices.
Nothing.

Thanks to Joel Katelnikoff for this prompt. I learned a number of years ago that reading as a poet can be different from reading as an academic where you have to understand enough not only to be able to summarize the work’s key points, but also to interpret it. As a poet, I can glean, pick what resonates and leave the rest behind.


Play along!

For those of you who are just joining us, 
The Found Poetry Review is celebrating National Poetry Month by offering daily experimental writing prompts from writers. I will be responding to them at poetic whim.

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