Thursday, December 2, 2010

poetic justice



It started like a guilty thing.
I won’t pretend it was accidental.
He turned and I was lost.
Frost knit his eyebrows,
my lashes. We spit in the gorge
for luck; it landed broadside
on stones and ice. His people
are big spitters; they spit for fate,
mine spit for hate. This was no
dicey romance; what happened
to me, happened to him.
Angels have a way of knowing
things; they spit an avalanche
the day he kissed me in the snow.


Tess Kincaid
December 2010




Would you like me to read it to you?





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120 comments:

  1. Terrific, Willow! This spare and trenchant poem seems to hold everything, most importantly, the truth.

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  2. If Spring Welcomes Swallows ,I Guess Spits Welcome Winter?

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  3. Congratulations willow, you have turned spitting into a sublime act of memory and reflection. There is so much here, the contrast between spitting for fate and for hate, left me wondering only to be buried by the avalanche right afterwards. I love the way this poem combines rapt attention to minute detail (the frost-knit eyebrows) with gaping mystery about the 'big' questions.

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  4. I like this. I think we've all enjoyed spitting from a great height.

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  5. Hahaaa--loooove this one, Tess! "His people are big spitters." Classic. Amazing to wake up to that. Brrrr. You'll have your woolly socks on today, for sure.

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  6. ps
    At the rate you're going, you'll leave Emily back at the starting line. Keep at it!

    Wasn't "Intimate Strangers" good?

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  7. Sue, I woke up to fluffy snowflakes in the air! A perfect welcome to December.

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  8. Yes, I adored "Intimate Strangers" and would like to see it again! The woolly socks are definitely in order today.

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  9. Well, with frosted eyebrows, what an a girl do.

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  10. Good one, Tony, you clever man. ;^)

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  11. Interesting relationship here...and the fact that it wasn't "accidental" makes it all the more intriguing. And those angels. Hmmm. There's a lot to think about in this piece.

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  12. Janice, I love the notion of angels spitting out snow, as well as luck and fate.

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  13. Lovely, lovely.

    Who knew spitting could be so romantic?

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  14. A giant snort and guffaw for Tony's comment. Ah, that British humour!

    You may have snow spitting on you today, but we have rain doing so. More than spitting, actually; it's pouring cats and dogs and there's a flood watch up for the Susquehanna. Some winter!

    And congratulations on your discovery of DivShare. I'd be lost without that service!

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  15. Roy, I love DivShare. It took me a while to figure out how to convert my wav files to MP3, but after I straightened everything out, it's running like a smooth oiled machine. Good to see you in the blogosphere, my friend.

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  16. I like my first read of this poem. "Angels...spit an avalanche the day he kissed me..." I read it with romantic violins in the background.

    Then it occurred to me: Maybe the angels were trying to warn her! :)

    Rick

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  17. No, Rick, the angels weren't trying to warn me, it was an avalanche of good luck! :)

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  18. When you combine powerful imagery like: "We spit in the gorge for luck; it landed / broadside on stones and ice" - which reminds me of William Stafford or, perhaps, Gary Snyder, both of whom I love - with the humour of the follow up: "His people are big / spitters; they spit for fate, mine spit for hate",
    you get a really good read.
    Also, your reading of it is beautiful and full of music.

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  19. What a generous comment. Thank you, Daigu, I'm very honored. I'm putting Stafford and Snyder on my reading list right now...

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  20. Wonderful Tess, I adore your writings.

    I have a $200 Giveaway from Fifi Flowers!
    Do come and enter!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  21. The idea of the angels spitting the snow is great. I would very much enjoy hearing you read it but could find nothing to click. I feel quite certain this is me - will just go and click everything to see if I can make it work. It's probably obvious.

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  22. I love the addition of your voice to your poetry. Both are sublime. And your photographs! What more can I say?

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  23. Okay, when I went back the little play bar that wasn't there before (I swear) appeared and I was able to listen. LOVE hearing it that way, your voice is as riveting as your photo.

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  24. Jeanette, you should see an audio bar below the printed poetry to click for my reading.

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  25. Thank you, Jeanette, glad the pesky thing showed up for you! xx :)

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  26. Dear Willow, How wonderfully you convey the warmth of romantic love through the iciness of December snow. I am now addicted to your readings...such a gloriously golden voice.

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  27. who knew spit could be so romantic? so spare yet rich and beautiful!

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  28. Your poem brought to mind all the times I've seen men spit into a pond to see if it will bring some fat fish to the top.

    I always choose the option for hearing you read your poems to me. Love it!

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  29. Wonderful write, the whole symbolism of spitting, love it - can feel the strength....bkm

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  30. Your writings are always interesting -- barbara

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  31. Wow so raw and honest. Great poem.

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  32. Love ode to saliva, to romance,
    to the first of December, to the
    fluffy spit of an Ohioan premiere
    snow fall, to decades of a good
    marriage, to your children.
    I loved the lines /he turned and
    I was lost/--this one could have
    been on a Warner Brothers three-
    sheet for a film starring Joan
    Crawford and Jeff Chandler,
    like WOMAN ON THE BEACH.
    And /angels have a way of
    knowing things/ which encompasses
    myriad poems, sentiments, films,
    and moments in all our lives.
    For some reason when I listen
    to you reading, the volume is low
    on your end, and I have to crank
    mine up to hear your lovely vowels
    and sexy twang. There is a way to
    raise the volume within the mic
    in your computer; had to do it
    with my crackly old pipes for my
    Div Share entries.

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  33. Loved your approach -- cutting, ironic, cynical. In a strange way, similar to mine this week.

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  34. wow- angels spitting an avalanche.
    Great imagery.

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  35. Just stopped by your blog.. and.. I am really speechless about your striking imagery here..Mesmerizing...
    Angels spitting avalanche..so unique...
    Love and Regards~ Sayandeep

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  36. This is so beautiful! Breath taking!

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  37. So nice to hear your voice my dear.

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  38. Glenn, sorry about the volume. I noticed it myself. It might be my archaic mic. :P

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  39. i like it when you read it to me. wonderful poet-tess...

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  40. Powerful piece. I love the energy and the completeness of the forces.

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  41. nice...angels spit avalanches when he kissed you...wow....

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  42. Bravo!!! I love it!

    so powerful.

    Lovely reading.

    Don't keep it frozen, it is nice to let spring come :)

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  43. Tess,

    Another really good one.

    Placement of the second line is great, followed as it is by 3-5.

    The corresponding 'spit reasons' set up the 'angel' irony (neat!) at the end.

    Something makes me want to end on 'avalanche', but 'snow' is so perfect a monosyllable.

    Trulyfool

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  44. oh i loved it - the angels spitting avalanches - that's better than fireworks while kissing, isn't it...?

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  45. Mine spit for hate - nice contrast/imagery.

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  46. a romantic ode of expectoration...that's new!

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  47. They spit an avalanche the day kissed me in the snow - wonderful last line, and pure pleasure to hear it!

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  48. Hard to combine such rather disparate physical images, kissing and spitting, but you managed very well, and made your point in spades. I like the middle best, despite the very strong finish.

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  49. Love it, Willow!
    Especially "This was no
    dicey romance; what happened
    to me, happened to him.
    Angels have a way of knowing things.. "
    Now back to hear you read it, what a treat, thanks.

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  50. What a lovely treasure your poem was when I found it on this cold, hard day. I will long remember the image of angels spitting snow. It spit snow just a bit down in Hickory, NC, the December day The Bug and I were wed, fyi. Those angels do have a way of knowing.

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  51. "Angels have a way of knowing
    things"...indeed they do : )
    The Manor steps are looking good with the newly fallen snow.

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  52. Ahh nice poem willow. I learned to spit as a boy...taught by older boys. There are many different ways to spit.

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  53. A spit take on love.

    Beautiful.

    Acck Tooey!

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  54. 'Spit for fate -- spit for hate' -- nice!

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  55. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  56. Kind of a spontaneous spitting! Wonderful as always.

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  57. THAT
    was really
    very
    pretty.

    Loved hearing you.

    xo
    erin

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  58. Wow Willow! I want to read the book!

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  59. Sigh. And your voice is so beautiful, too.

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  60. Hehe. Who other than you could have made spitting sound romantic?

    By the way, you have such a gorgeous voice, Tess. Love to hear you read your poems.

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  61. OMG! That is beautiful and exciting, Willow!

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  62. So he kissed you in the snow, how romantic!

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  63. It is wonderful to hear you read. Well done.

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  64. It doesn't rhyme.
    It's a little obscure.
    It's about spitting.
    So why, oh why, is this one of the most moving collection of lines I have read in some time and why, oh why, do the words lodge themselves in my mind and refuse to move on.
    Something to do with brilliance I think.

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  65. he turned and i was lost. love that and also couching a love poem into a play on spitting.

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  66. You reading your own work adds character to the piece! Keep it up!
    :) Lord Thomas of Wellington
    (The Bach)

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  67. love and snow
    what could be better

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  68. Enjoyed having you read it to me Tess - great post.

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  69. I love how you can take something that is normally not very well thought of (spit) and make it become the essential part of what is now a love poem. I don't take it all so literal though...it doesn't necessarily have to be about you "current" love, does it! What about that first love? The one that really sticks with you for the rest of your life. (Of course, this could be both current AND first...who am I to know!) Whatever the case it's a darn good write. And I'm loving the artistic photos in your sidebar. Lots of veiled photos that are poetry in themselves and speak to...

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  70. Just occurred to me that this
    treatise on the heart and the
    salivary glands is not true
    juxtaposition, nor is it rife
    with poetic abstract conflict.
    Before embracing became
    "sucking face", when I was
    a young Turk, we always
    called kissing, "swapping spit".
    Without getting graphic,
    your poetic impetus seems
    to be epic recall of the
    passion involved in a deep
    and meaningful kiss.

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  71. Glenn, yes, it was my attempt to address "swapping spit" in an earthy, yet elegant way. Bullseye in the spittoon, my friend.

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  72. Teri, I totally agree. Good writing doesn't have to be literal. I like a bit of mystery, myself. Glad you like the new sidebar pics!

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  73. There is something terribly romantic with love that includes these gestures. To the outsider it means nothing but to the united souls it means everything. That was lovely.

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  74. Love that ending in particular, Willow. Great photo too. :)

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  75. Who says spitting is uncouth?!??!
    This was so "traditionally" romantic!!
    As long as the spit does not turn to spite, it's all good :)

    And frost knit eyebrows and lashes...oooh... I like that a lot!!

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  76. This is wonderful, Willow. I can remember, in my youth, having spitting contests in the red clay of Georgia. I never won.

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  77. Amazing but so much better hearing you read it, I don't have that kind of courage!

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  78. I enjoyed hearing that, you read as well as you write.

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  79. "they spit an avalanche the day he kissed me in the snow."

    What a great line!

    This evocative poem reminds me of the possibilities of new live.

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  80. Love this. The spitting is genius, miraculous.

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  81. love the lead up to a terrific ending!

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  82. Willow...whilst crossing the narrow bridge on the Isle of Wight from the English Channel back to our lovely, tiny rented house, sister dear looked at the full moon and pointed...yes POINTED! Immediately, she removed shoe and began digging a hole. Once completed she spat into the hole and then filled it in. All the walkers approaching us, single file with miners' lamps attached to their heads, stopped...stared...to which she said "NEVER, NEVER point at a full moon". Makes sense...huh!

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  83. Great! I love the winter memories of the split.

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  84. That reminds me of the of the movie Titanic,where Jack teaches Rose to spit. When I was teaching, the students loved that part of the film the most! I hope that the Fall turning into winter is treating you well.

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  85. Great poem. You could start a whole novel with the line;

    His people
    are big spitters; they spit for fate,
    mine spit for hate.

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  86. Loved that we could listen to you read this. What a treat!

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  87. It's an elegant poem--very creative without seeming overly clever. Humorous without being silly.

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  88. I found you by following the url on the blog Leafing out. And i'm happy because your posts are wonderful.
    Beautiful images and very beautiful words/poems. Like this one; a kiss in the snow and so much more.
    Very beautiful!
    Sweet greetz to you....

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  89. Interesting, spits and kiss,
    love and disrespect- all with angels, hmmmm... Thanks!

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  90. Spitting is a funny thing. Noticed how it is up north a way of saying goodbye or "I like you" even though I thought it once meant "I hate you". Your poem reawakens these memories and my inability to spit worthy of a cowpolk. Since spitting is so culturally based, you could tell from what clan, county, etc of said spitter. The fact the angels also spit puts spitting in the heavenly spitoon category; must be a golden bowl somewheres. I guess I going to do a study on this someday!

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  91. I love poems that start with an homage to Hamlet, my favorite of Shakespeare's plays. Of all plays of all time, actually.

    I've been running into Hamlet references a lot lately. Or maybe it just seems so because I'm planning a new Hamlet-related tattoo...

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  92. They spit an avalanche the day he kissed me in the snow. Hahaha. Doesn't that say it all???!!!

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  93. Others have commented on other notable lines, but "It started like a guilty thing.
    I won’t pretend it was accidental" gives it away. Funny though, guilt notwithstanding, when angels spit, what can you do but lose yourself in what they know!!

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  94. I'm a little bit late with this comment, but I just had to say how much I enjoyed this one.

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  95. (Coming in at no. 100 here!) I love this, Tess. Toughness and romance side by side. What are the odds of two of us getting spit into parallel poem postings!

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  96. An avalanche of kissed spit right back at you! :)

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  97. Wonderful marriage of words & ideas! I particulary like your closing sentence. The Angels gave their approval the day he kissed you in the snow. So romantic!

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  98. This story, this poem, I love. But your voice is too faint for me to hear. I turned you up as loud as you would go, but still just a murmur. Perhaps it's fitting?

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  99. Garden, try turning up the volume directly on the DivShare bar, as well as the volume on your computer. See if that helps! :)

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  100. Aw...

    How are the poetry contests coming?

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  101. Beautifully written, and even more beautifully read. Bravo!

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  102. Gorgeous and sweet and playful and deep. You have forever changed the act of spitting ("his for fate/mine for hate"). We spit into the wind, but it takes an angel to spit into snow. Thank you.

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  103. I love it.....every line, and image...a powerful poem Willow!! You are such an amazing writer,and i love to hear you read it...:-)

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  104. Wonderful willow.. what a way to use the pic..

    --Someone is Special--

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  105. my lord
    this is amazing.
    brilliant.

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  106. indeed so much like snow... what is beautiful can be harsh as well. a harshness caught so succinctly by your words... fantastic!

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  107. A whole new take on spitting - a shared experience that binds the couple. And angels know what's good for souls.

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  108. Angels have a way of knowing things...
    Comforting, yet a subtle warning.
    :)

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  109. Tess, I love your poems-some more than others but this rings for me. perfect. JT

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  110. spitting, snow
    hate, fate
    Angels, avalanches
    From here
    whence do you go?

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  111. Thank you, GP, it's always a great compliment coming from you, my friend.

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  112. Thank you, everyone. Your wonderful comments fuel my muse. You're the best. xx

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  113. wow. I love this love poem. Who could have predicted spitting and love would combine in a smile and caring for two people in the cold. You have a way with words.

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)