Sunday, October 3, 2010

Diamonds, Vultures, and the Pulitzer Prize

Yesterday was a lively day. Two exciting outings: lunch with my auntie and then a visit to a local thrift shop. I’m telling you, they were the epitome of liveliness. Especially when I found the bargain of the decade: a diamond pendant on gold serpentine chain, marked $2.

Nonchalantly, I strolled up to my favorite jeweler’s shop with the diamond necklace in my pocket, practicing what I would say: “I just want to confirm that these ‘diamonds’ are glass….oh, really?....10 beautifully clear diamonds?....Worth HOW MUCH?....Can you believe I paid $2 for the necklace?....What extraordinary luck!”

But alas the jeweler wasn’t open, so I came home and rummaged around for the magnifying glass to read the symbols on the gold clasp. There was an O….an N….something like an A at the beginning….ah, crap, that’s a V next to it….AVON! It’s a blasted AVON necklace! Well, pooh. They were diamonds for an hour.

But God had something better in store: a red sunset on storm clouds, a glorious light show in the southwest, jagged bolts of lightning followed by reverberations of thunder. Lightning lit up the darkness, and thunder rumbled its way up my legs.

As the light show crackled around me, I came inside and dashed off a poem that I dreamed would someday earn a Pulitzer Prize. The whole day was about transformations of simple things: glass into diamonds, blue sky into evening wildness, vultures into hawks. Does it get any better than this? If it does, I will have to swoon.


She looks up and sees you riding the wind over the landscape,
and something—your freedom? your effortless wings lifting you
where she wants to go, on the updrafts straight to heaven?
—something about you makes her gasp Oh! A hawk!

She sees you not as you are but as she dreams you are. She’s busy
rewriting history in her head, remaking the whole world. A new
creation arises from her dying brain, and it is all so miraculous,
she needs a new language to speak of it. Nouns become verbs,
gerunds grow wings, words take flight in the midst of a sentence
and escape through open windows in her mind.

Oh, hawk! she cries, mesmerized by the circles you carve in the sky,
by your wide black wings like arms outstretched and fingers reaching
to grab onto God. She transforms you with a word. Vulture no longer,
you are majestic. You are not a scavenger, seeker of the putrid dead.
You are now the great hunter who has harnessed the wind
and she would ride you, if only you would please snatch her up.


Alan Burnett said...

Who needs diamonds and gold when you can write like that? Artists were never intended to be rich.

Gwei Mui said...

Beautiful, my mind, my imagnation, my heart is flyng...

Brian Miller said...

i think riding a hawk would be right cool...trying to remember what a gerund is...smiles.

hope you win that pulitzer...

TechnoBabe said...

Well, you had the joy of finding a treasure even if it isn't diamonds. Diamonds are only considered precious because of the demand. I like looking through the thrift stores too. We have been so busy here lately that we are taking the day off today, just going to read and cook and nap. We are going to have a garage sale next weekend and have started packing the rest of the things; we are moving at the end of the month. Moving on for a new adventure to a very small town.

the walking man said...

So the beauty of the necklace lost it's prettiness because it was an Avon gewgaw but the vulture became a wondrous raptor because it was reaching to the heavens?

Dianne said...

A moment of dementia or dreaming, a very fine line. Ravens haunt my sky, but I call them angels.

Happy Rainstorms!

steveroni said...

YOU are one of our extraordinary writers, girl! UP BEAT ALL THE WAY! It is refreshing to read what a "recovering poet" has to give...and it IS a gift. And I accept!

Just wait, next time the doorbell rings, "AVON CALLING"...

You do what poets are destined to do, you GIVE your insights and thoughts, wrapped into beautifully layered words and phrases, which lift Peeps up from this world. You give and I ACCEPT!

Thank you SO much.

e said...

This is another beautiful post, Chris, complete with a funny story you can share with the next Avon rep you meet...

Magpie said...

I like that our days can transform themselves...not that they always turn positive, but the possibility is there. Yes, I can just see you now on the Antiques Roadshow telling about your wonderful $2 purchase!! :)

liv2write2day said...

Unbelievable. I am dealing with an aging mother who has early stage dementia...after working (as a nurse) with the elderly for many years. I'm amazed at how well this poem expresses the experience. And the title "Buzzard" juxtapositioned with the image of a hawk. Brilliant.

Syd said...

Beautiful Chris to be transformed from the mundane and ugly to the swift and sleek if only in the mind's eye.

Titus said...

You've won it. Simple as that.

Scott said...

beautiful journey to take this morning, thank you :-)

sorry about the "diamonds" Chris, reminds me of those jewlwery commercials from the 80's, "genuine diamelles" lol

the hour they were diamonds was a good one though :-)

Birdie said...

I think you might as well to win the Pulitzer Prize with this poem Chris! If I would be the one to give it, I would! What a beautiful poem and post, wisdom wrapped in beauty! hugs!

Kim A. said...

I have been working with my therapist and immersing myself into my own spiritual practices and have started being aware of the words I listen to (esp on tv and people I am around). I am learning that if I read,listen and surround myself with positive, uplifting words, sights, and people, I am truly transformed from the inside. Your gift is an example of what I am seeking out now. You really spoke my heart today. Thank you.


Helen said...

This is wild and wonderful and .... powerful! Thank you for the gift.

Marla said...

It's the thrill of the hunt, right? Great post, Chris!

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