the muse apprentice guild
--expanding the canon into the 21st century




TWO WORKS
BY PAMELA PRESTON

ASHES TO PEARLS

Go choke on ashes!
Though a dream promised pearls
Ashes to pearls
A frayed thread frazzles to death
Winter
Against the horizon where dawn
Breaks
The thread
Salt teasing nostrils
Reminding the senses
That the ocean exists

Die into her
What?
The white sea
It is touching the steps of the cold porch
The steps of your crouching childhood
The huddle of fear, the famine
The steps of your aging hunger
Watch
Someone is winking from
Another horizon
Where salt shingles warmer air
Where another hemisphere
Is applauding your curtain
Clapping
"Will she come?"
What tide will rip her in?
What tendril will find
The slot in the seepage
What?
Dragging her from the bottom
Scraping her afterbirth from the shell

Salt licks her luster
Sand sprays her incandescence
Little moons rise and toll
Then roll burnishing
Pearls to ashes
Ashes to pearls

If hate was there
Yes in the belch of that dark
Simmering in the stink of
Of that dark
Regressed to dark before dark
Then so the beak of your phoenix
Pierces the mound of your death
And tastes the salt
And speaks:
Don't murder my perfection
This poem this hate this body
This mystery not mine
Yes mine
Not
But yes
This pearl
These ashes
This breath

================

March 23, 1999
TURNED TO STONE

     This first cruise missile did it. As if all the unconscious rage and fear held for mother within the psyches of the Men-In-Power had gone BALISTIC. And when that first disrespectful strike hit Mother earth's Serbian soil, so it struck my flesh, my soul on earth. And as I opened my eyes that morning to the sloping farmland of La Besse, near the shores of Lac Montbel, in my goddesslands in France, I broke apart.
     At first, as my pieces scattered over Pyrenean pastures, I felt separated from humankind and the gods. Then, I knew I was not alone - I was falling with the other psyches shocked by the trauma of that alien projectile. With them, bombs bursting in air, attempting only to hold whatever pieces remained together by one fragile thread of sanity, I fled. And like them - and everyone who knew that NATO, justified by the worn-out Domino Theory , this time fueled by Nitendo, could have aimed the missiles where they pleased - I was driven without thought, without sensibilities, without even an emotion. Only terror moved us, fear born from the necessity of evacuation from all that was known, comfortable, and safe. Fleeing to borders I would not have dreamed to approach, I was not unlike the Serbian children thrown from normality into bomb shelters at night, their cities and townships in blackout, sirens screaming; nor was I different from the Kosovar humanity driven from their burning homes, stumbling with bleeding feet down the lonely railroad tracks of their homeland, seeking protection from land mines and from the ransackers and rapists on their tails.
     I escaped the day that first missile cruised to Yugoslavia. From the French countryside to the airport in Milan to the USA. I left the farmers and shepherds and artists and peasants I knew and loved well. I said adieu to my friends, leaving them behind on European soil trembling in their own cellular memories of invasions, bombs, rape, and slaughter from centuries of war on European earth.. I fled back and back and back to the old world I had left so long ago, driven by my own personal cellular memories of war; the conflicts, the complexes, the rejections and deaths, numbing me from the truth that there is no escape, really. My only thought? I'll just get a laptop, make some money from a web site, and forget all this soul work forged in the goddesslands. I'll have to lie. I'll have to forget. I will have to go to sleep. And with that conviction, my trusty saboteur got me again. In my deepest vulnerability he rose up from the depth of me. And a year ensued of such displacement of soul, I could only chronicle a minimum of diary pages, which appear in this passage of my mythological process. For fearfully I fled, crossing an old border back to my personal mother, leaving the lap of my goddess while scrambling for a breast that had long gone dry.
  
         Oh Mom! Please catch this child in trauma. Hold her in your soft and loving arms and say, "I understand." Mom! I will do anything for your love and your protection from this crazy path I am on. I quit! Secure me in your world. The other one is War and Torn apart.

     And she responded with a mom's decree:
     "You must leave that life behind you now. Get a job. Any job. Do not think. Pray to God to do his will. Eat some cake and ice cream now. Don't watch the news. There's nothing, nothing we can do."
     I obeyed.
     And then I turned to stone.
     Can a refugee go home?

 

April 3, 1999

The Earth of France took my Fall
The moment the cruise missile fell;
The strike on Yugoslavia
Struck me and, thrown to hell,
I fled with the Kosovar tribe,
One shadowed heart, but still alive.
O ruptured soul! We split up then -
They to their mother Albania,
And I - to my mother's den.

Cleansed?

If the force of terror cleanses,
This terrifying face of God,
Then I, one ethnic cell
Of One humanity
Was forced from love's periphery
To some camp of undefined reform,

My soul disarmed.