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

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Swamp Jesus

There’s a bad moon shining
through my kitchen window.
It even has the animals spooked.
I haven’t heard an owl or even
a dog bark for three hours now.

Ms. Jackson says her voodoo lily
is about to bloom and she’s been
out there watching that plant in the garden
since way before sunset.

She said, “Twila, that flower is gonna
stink like the dead just been pulled
from the grave, but it’ll smell better
than all those secrets fermentin’ inside you.”

I don’t know how that crazy old woman does it.
If you make the mistake and look her in the eyes,
she’ll crawl into your pupils to dig through lies
until she finds what you don’t want the world to know.

I’m not getting near Ms. Jackson tonight.
She can stay out there alone on bended knees
waiting for that plant to deliver its swamp Jesus.

I’ve got a name tucked deep in my ribs where
nobody can cut it from the bone unless I surrender the knife.


©Susie Clevenger 2014

This is the third poem in my Twila series. 

amorphophallus-voodoo-lily Voodoo Lily plants are grown for the gigantic size of the flowers and for the unusual foliage. The flowers produce a strong, offensive odor similar to that or rotting meat. The smell attracts the flies that pollinate the flowers. You can find out more about the plant here.


19 comments :

Carrie Van Horn said...

Poetry and prose the Twila series always leaves you amazed yet longing for more. This is captivating Susie. :-)

Vandana Sharma said...

mystery woman !!

Jim said...

Got to stay away from those Voodoo Lily plants, the crazy Mrs. Jackson too, Susie. This reads so nicely, I was in lower Louisiana there with them. I think I saw a Voodoo Lily yesterday but I didn't know its name.
..

Ella said...

I am Ms. Jackson-that is my maiden name. I do long for more-enchanting like a spell. I am bewitched!

Ella said...

I meant I was...lol
I do want more from the Twila series, too!

Kerry O'Connor said...

Your Twila poems are just excellent, Susie. I am thrilled to get the chance to read the next in the series. The voodoo lily scares me a bit, I have to say, as would Ms Jackson herself.

beccagivens said...

OMG -- the intrigue of the deep south all around!! Beware!! :)

Susan said...

Wow. From the top I am hooked into this story. I especially like "If you make the mistake and look her in the eyes, she’ll crawl into your pupils to dig through lies until she finds what you don’t want the world to know." Add that to what she can smell out, and I fear her finding that knife.

Kim Nelson said...

AMAZING writing, Susie! Enthralled me.

manicddaily said...

Oh my gosh, Susie--this is really a verse novel-- with gothic overtones! --you compress a great deal in a small space--shivers and fun, thanks! k.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This series is powerful and intriguing, Susie. I love the Ms Jackson character, kneeling to her swamp Jesus. Brilliant!

Grandmother (Mary) said...

Gawd, this is good, in a creepy sort of way. Your vivid descriptions are perfect and I have to agree with the sound-like-a-book folks. I'd read it for sure!

sreeja harikrishnan said...

wow ...this is interesting....captivating....and left me longing to know a bit more...:-)

Hannah said...

This is scary:

"I don’t know how that crazy old woman does it.
If you make the mistake and look her in the eyes,
she’ll crawl into your pupils to dig through lies
until she finds what you don’t want the world to know."

What a great character and your closing lines...I love the idea of a name tucked in your ribs....imaginative write, Susie!

hedgewitch said...

Really atmospheric, really, as others have said,creepy, but it's more than the easy creepy of generic horror genre stuff--it's the creepy that comes when your inner self is snuck up on and threatened by something you can't control. Not expressing it very well, but I loved this poem, Susie.

Kathryn Dyche Dechairo said...

Wow, love this. The crawling through pupils really grabbed me.

Susie Swanson said...

Oh I love this. i'm looking forward to more of them. Hugs, xo

razzamadazzle said...

What a wonderful character you've created! Fascinating flower.

Jennifer Knoblock said...

So good--the voice, the character, those last two lines that leave me wanting more!

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