"I am hearing poetry when awake, dreaming poetry when asleep, breathing poetry with each breath, I am living in a poem."

Friday, January 24, 2014

Aint No Raggedy Dress Sunday

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.”  ― Alice Walker, The Color Purple


Sunday’s are for dressin’ your best.
Aint no time for a raggedy dress
full of wrinkles and smellin’
like last night’s Juke Joint.

Yes, Josie I saw you
paradin’ down Main Street
with that red skirt barely
coverin’ imagination.

I swear the twist in your bottom
had the devil hopin’ you’d
side step a little closer to hell.

Go on now…put on that purple dress,
Every time I see those pearl buttons
shinin’ on the sleeves and the white lace
peekin’ from the collar I remember
the hours your mama put in to makin’ it.

She didn’t want no plain cotton dress
for her girl when she went to God’s house.
Those pintucks gracin’ the front of your dress
made her smile with each stitch ‘cause
no other mama she knew could sew as straight.

That was the last thing she sewed before
Jesus picked her up from her fever bed
and carried her to heaven…
When she was so sick she couldn’t sit up,
she told me to hang the dress in the doorway
so God would know she’d picked his favorite color.

So Josie put on your purple dress and stand tall.
Your mama gonna be peekin’ through the clouds
to watch you walkin’ into church, and if 
you got any repentin’ to do that’s between
you and the Lord... Speak it in his ear.
He’s got a big heart just ready for forgivin’.

©Susie Clevenger 2014



Over at Real Toads Fireblossom gave us these instructions: What I want you to do is write a poem in which clothes play a significant part. Immediately the above quote from The Color Purple popped into my head. It slipped me into the time period of the story and I created my inadequate tribute to the style of Alice Walker.

Fireblossom Friday ~ Clothes Make The Woman

16 comments :

Kerry O'Connor said...

I love the story and the way you tell it - so much character revealed through the vernacular and tone.

my heart's love songs said...

there is certainly nothing inadequate about your words, Susie. i have sewn many outfits for my daughter and grandchildren so i can attest to the love that goes into each stitch.

really love this!

Fireblossom said...

I agree, there is nothing inadequate here. I love the theme you chose, and the line about sidesteppin' a little closer to hell made me smile.

Stormcat Poetry said...

I really loved the colloquial tone and language of the piece about the simple purity of respect and reverence that is expected when you honor your God. A beautiful poem devoid of melodrama that both made me smile and brought me to tears.

hedgewitch said...

You took that really excellent quote and ran all the way around the bases with it, Susie. I love the characters you created here.

razzamadazzle said...

This is wonderful! I love how you've incorporated the color purple and created your own beautiful tale.

Robert Bourne said...

wow you hit a home run with this one... great story telling with some great lines with some punch to them...

Sherry Blue Sky said...

And you totally aced it, Susie. I love this poem, can see the girl, the mother, her smile, the dress.

Sumana Roy said...

love the storyline...the characters are so alive and touching..

Sharp Little Pencil said...

Oh, your vernacular is perfect, Susie, and I loved the quote. Now, that scene from The Color Purple makes me weep, it strums that chord within me...

Loved every moment of this. And purple is my favorite, too. Amy

Ella said...

I love how you did yours! So well expressed and revealing! Bravo Susie

grapeling said...

well done, Susie ~

Gillena Cox said...

WOW!"
barely coverin’ imagination."

intense


much love...

gabrielle said...

Great storytelling via authentic and thorough idiom.

So much intolerance in the guise of piety. Who are we to judge?

Knowing the back story— although not necessary to enjoy your wonderful poem— helps to reinforce the message. How victims often internalize their experience and become abusers themselves is the ultimate tragedy.

In spite of it, Celie’s heroic pluck and sass expressed through your deft embrace of the color purple.

Lisa A. Williams said...

Wonderful Susie, I love your take on
The Color Purple, a favorite of mine.

Helen said...

This is superb .. simply wonderful. I could hear speech patterns, clearly. See the purple dress, vividly.

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