Compost: Winter Comes

It will soon be Winter Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere, so perhaps this would be a good time to share a winter story from my soon-to-be released ebook, Eating Mythos Soup: poemstories for Laura. Let me know what you think.

I am old and the wintertime cold has seeped into my bones. I am the deserted child of an ancient wrinkled gardener.

My father moves slowly because he is older than the dirt he loves so well. He is tall and thin with black cracked skin, and his arms, ropy veined and polished like ebony, stick out of his too-small coat. He is burdened with a hoe and a rake and a shovel, and all the tools he needs to keep his garden alive.

His coat, olive green with patched pockets, flaps around his ankles, and he wears mismatched tennis shoes with no laces. Under his coat he wears a faded orange flannel shirt, and torn loose jeans. His eyes seem to be lost in the million crinkles on his face, but sometimes, as on a dark cloudy night when the wind blows, they like stars twinkle briefly between the shifting clouds.

My father is the wintertime gardener and it is his job to cover the seeds and blanket the bushes and roots with mulch. He ties berries on the bare tree branches for the foolish birds who forgot to migrate. He is cold and lonely, moving like a shadow between the leafless branches of the garden.

But his dreams, ah his dreams are warm and moist. When he breathes his dreams upon the ground, extravagant and beautiful fungi appear. They thrust suddenly out of the cold rotting compost and their convoluted lobes flame in vivid scarlet and orange and blue.

He dreams of me. I am one of the fungi, a small delicate one with feathery blue veins on my pointy cap and buttery yellow splotches on my slender stalk. My father is sorry he left me so long ago, but still he knows I will be able to forgive him from the depths of my own winter.

The sun hangs over the thick black hills and the smoke from distant bonfires drifts lazily across the leaden sky. The trees in the garden are silent; their tongues are buried under their fallen leaves.

My father the gardener takes off his tennis shoes, and places his long narrow feet carefully on the cold packed ground. His feet look like short planks of dark rotted wood. He wriggles his toes into the hard earth, digging with his horny toenails that are almost as dark as his skin.

He sings a mumbling song and dances a thin spiky dance upon the earth. Soon his mumble grows into a gospel song, but instead of Jesus, he shouts my name. He wakes his rake and his hoe high in the air, stretching his arms out to their longest length, and he thrusts them, up down, in rhythm to his song. His dance sways and shakes and his hard pounding old feet high-step their way around the garden, and the winter flowers bloom.

Eating Mythos Soup: poemstories for Laura will be available as an ebook early next year. Stay tuned.

Compost: Words Don’t Die

Way back in 2000, my first book Eating Mythos Soup: poemstories for Laura was published, BEB (before ebooks). I am happy to announce that Eating Mythos Soup will be given new life in ebook form early next year. Very exciting!

From the back cover of Eating Mythos Soup: “There is a being named Laura, to whom people tell their stories. Laura is a being in another dimension, a shape-shifter, an angel or a guide; her role is to eat the stories people give her. Here are fifty-two poemstories for Laura, stories sizzling with imagery and metaphor and alive with the joy of language. They come from all sorts of people – a gardener, an accountant, a purple witch, an angry parrot, a clown in a bear suit. They are full of hope, fear, love, sex, dung, joy, and guilt. Reading them is about as close as we’ll ever come to understanding who or what Laura is.”

To whet your appetite, here are the first few paragraphs of Chapter 1.

Laura says, “There, there,” to comfort you, and you are comforted. The thick balm of Laura slides over your heart, a salve made of honey and nettles. You are at peace.

Laura has mink-dark hair, deep black, deep brown. She spreads it like a mantle over your shoulders to warm you, as you tell your tale.

Laura likes to drink Greek wine, raw with a nip in it, but sweet as honey as it hits the back of her throat. The wine highlights the doubts and confusions of the stories Laura hears, yours and others. Oh, how Laura does love the absurd. Laura’s laugh is rich and fruity, thick like the honeyed wine she drinks. It bubbles like slow boiling porridge and splatters on the sky.

Compost: The Muse Must Listen

More from my muse, Laura, telling you what will happen if you will only listen.

“Listen,” says Laura, looking straight at you while pointing with her spoon baton in turn at your sister, your neighbor, your enemy, your dearest love, your darkest stranger. “Listen,” she commands while she conducts a symphony of story foods, mixing her metaphors and your lives. Booming, trilling, popping, dripping, the sounds of singing and cooking fill the room. Words and phrases and sentences splatter and spray on the walls; Laura will lick them up later for dessert. Laura boils you and steams you and roasts you and bakes you. Your aromas soar into the air and your juicy pulp turns the ground to mud. “Listen,” she cries, her baton nodding to her, to him, to it; moving so fast that all you see is its shiny pattern on the air. “Listen,” shouts Laura, and gulps the symphony down. Laura will never starve.

excerpted from Eating Mythos Soup, ©2000 Kim Pearson

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Compost: Laura the Wise

More from my Muse, Laura:

You know that Laura is a Witch, the name once given to a woman wise in all the arts. She is strong and beautiful, but terrible for the guilty to behold. She speaks the truth of the land and she sings the truth of the air and she dreams the dreams of water. She wears the fire on her back, and when she dies, her hair burns. And a great beacon of light streaks the black sky red.
©2000, Eating Mythos Soup: poemstories for Laura

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