No One Told Me the Perils of a Gypsy Life

A Poem By Sarah Bethany // 4/25/2015

I.

Skinande Skinande Skinande
I chant as if the words have shamanic power
And when it was frozen slick
we slid down on our --
I cannot even remember the word;
they do not have them here.
On the Indian oak I hung my lyre
and wept.
Snow pants.

II.

The unkind say,
'But you chose it.'
As if you are not allowed
to weep for what you chose to leave behind.
As if you were not allowed
to feel lonely in the new country.
People stake you down if you live a life of free will:
they coddle those who live without choices,
martyred to fate and fuzzy television sets
in dim rooms chained by bosses,
and should you try another way,
break clean from fences to dewy
meadows and sear your legs on thistles
they say from below, 'Just come home soon,'
so easily.

III.

The vagabond finds
snowdrops beside the castle.
The alien finds
ladybugs in the gorse.
The plum tree has
done up her buttons
but there is snow in Boston.
I should never have
bought that blue web
from the Roman tinker,
or ate the green sweetheart
on Valentine's Day.
The silver threads through the
scarf were bewitched
and the green heart
said, 'Be mine.'
I belong to my gypsy life,
but no one told me of its perils.
No one said the handle of my suitcase
would wear my palm down
and not the other way around.
That I would miss the ground under my feet
or miss the woods where the echoes are mine.
'Autonomous' and 'automobile' I
reflected, as I crunched
the green talc
and felt the wind hit my Boat
and rock it like an ark
and I sank down on the
plush blue seats in
the empty parking lot
of a church
and savored my solitude,
imagining living in a
cabin on a mountain, before
going home to a hot dinner
made by my mother.
Now as I sit by an Irish river, I sometimes wish
I had never dreamed that dream.
'The first nine months
are the hardest,' the jockey told me,
'But nine months are all I have,' I said.
She didn't answer, and turned away and
uncomfortably hiked up her collar.
I wear a track through red muck
and my boots grow several inches
thick with clay,
and for a moment I would go back
just to touch the cracks in the tar
on which my car tires stood.
Sentimentality simplifies needs;
makes longing a basic alchemy:
just give me my tree
and my mom's eggplant parm
and the traffic light by Collela's
and I can ignore any greater hole,
with her hot cheese
and that roasted purple.

IV.

My roots are now spidery
filaments like hair, wet and white
that cling to my finger pads when
I try to dislodge them gently
from the soil to
re-pot my heart
into the new trays --
flimsy plastic painted
to look like terracotta,
burnt sienna that could
crunch in one easy fistful:
these trays are what I'll carry
the substance of myself back in,
packing my fetuses into all
four corners of my bags,
zipping up and making sure
not to snip off ending-curls of vines,
and I wonder how much I'll
leave behind this time and
what crumbs of me will be
on the airline floor. 'Excuse me, miss,
but who is bringing in the compost? There are black
bits everywhere.' She shakes out a cabin magazine
and the balls of little white fertilizer
fall into the vomit bag, and she points
to the moist clods, rich as Africa, under our feet.
'Oh, sorry, ma'am. That's just my blood.
My entrails. My heart. You see,
I'm leaving a place I lived for --'
But she walks away to get a broom,
not interested in hearing, and maybe
I'm not interested in hearing myself, either,
because it's a story of a dozen cycles,
only with changing names, and as
I lean my head back against the blue seat,
pillow provided,
I dream what it would be like to be
an ancient garden,
and have grandchildren run in the grass
and trip and split their noses on
my fountain and when they say,
'It needs to go,' they find that the
fountain will not go
because the cement grew a
taproot so deep
that the fountain
became immovable.

Comments

Woah!

This is some deep stuff Sarah! Deep poetry is my favorite kind :) I got so many different emotions when reading each of these. I'm going to have to go back multiple times to re-read because they beg to be re-experienced! I think my favorite part is
"and I wonder how much I'll
leave behind this time and
what crumbs of me will be
on the airline floor. 'Excuse me, miss,
but who is bringing in the compost? There are black
bits everywhere.' She shakes out a cabin magazine
and the balls of little white fertilizer
fall into the vomit bag, and she points
to the moist clods, rich as Africa, under our feet.
'Oh, sorry, ma'am. That's just my blood.
My entrails. My heart. You see,
I'm leaving a place I lived for --'
But she walks away to get a broom,
not interested in hearing, and maybe
I'm not interested in hearing myself, either,"

So powerful! You captured the feeling well of leaving things you love behind to reach on and strive for other things. It does feel like you are leaving parts of you behind. This is so sad and melancholy, but true that many people, ourselves included, don't think of the sacrifices they will make for their choices. No matter what our choices are, there are always things we leave behind, including pieces of ourselves. So beautiful!

Equally, I love poem number 2. It reminds me of my own feelings sometimes, of regret and of grief.

Keep writing! These poems are from a bared soul, so raw, powerful, beautiful, and meaningful!

Wings of Eternity | Sun, 04/26/2015

"Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity." 1 Timothy 4:12

These are phenomenal.

These are phenomenal. Okay--seriously, wow. These are some of the best poems I've ever read my entire life, and that's not an exaggeration. Your phrasing and word choice and rhythm are so purposeful. It's amazing what you've achieved in these lines, especially in that first poem. The way you added Snow pants at the end made it especially visual. Because we've all been there--unable to remember a word, and the way you added that in there at the end, as your closing, was so lovely. It was perfectly representative of being too late.

The ending to number two was powerful as well. I can't tell you how much I love it, because it is so true. Oh, and your word choice again: sear your legs on thistles. I would have never thought to use sear in this instance, but it's a more cutting word, and again, it allows the whole thing to be more easily visualized, if that makes any sense. That ending of this one really is so strong--I can't read it enough. I understand it as feeling hurt, almost. Like the narrator of this poem (be it yourself, a character you've dreamed up--but I'm guessing you) is so offended by someone's lack of belief in them that all they can do is be disbelieving.

I have never read the word gorse before either! haha! Wow, okay--Googled, and now I know a new word! Pretty flowers! ;) I love how the beginning of this poem kind of crescendos, building up a cinematic climax, but then you say and there is snow in Boston--and you can feel everything coming back down to earth.

No one said the handle of my suitcase
would wear my palm down
and not the other way around.

This is definitely good knowledge to have. I have wanderlust for sure, and I appreciate the frankness in this poem. It's cuttingly honest. Again, I love how you use very rich and complicated--almost elusive--phrasing in other parts, and parallel that with simple things like and I can ignore any greater hole/with her hot cheese/and that roasted purple. I think that may be your secret! haha!

The last one was so strong. I like the bluntness of it. And again, the ending was so poignant and utterly lovely.

Wow, wow, wow. These are amazing, and I can't say enough good things. Other than: PLEASE GET PUBLISHED. Because everyone needs to experience your words! And please don't ever stop writing, and thank you for sharing this with us. They were all such an unfiltered insight into your thoughts and life, and I feel like I may even understand what it takes out of you to be someplace other than home better than I did before.

Madeline | Mon, 04/27/2015

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

Oh my, this is breathtaking.

Oh my, this is breathtaking. I can only echo what Wings of Eternity and Homey said. I'll go back and add my favorite parts in later. Lovely.

Erin | Mon, 04/27/2015

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Adding in my favorite parts

Adding in my favorite parts now:

"My roots are now spidery
filaments like hair, wet and white
that cling to my finger pads when
I try to dislodge them gently
from the soil to
re-pot my heart
into the new trays --
flimsy plastic painted
to look like terracotta,
burnt sienna that could
crunch in one easy fistful" I love your use of colors and senses. It makes the experience so vivid.

"and I wonder how much I'll
leave behind this time and
what crumbs of me will be
on the airline floor. 'Excuse me, miss,
but who is bringing in the compost? There are black
bits everywhere.' She shakes out a cabin magazine
and the balls of little white fertilizer
fall into the vomit bag, and she points
to the moist clods, rich as Africa, under our feet.
'Oh, sorry, ma'am. That's just my blood.
My entrails. My heart. You see,
I'm leaving a place I lived for --'
But she walks away to get a broom,
not interested in hearing, and maybe
I'm not interested in hearing myself, either," this is probably one of my favorite things I have ever read. So bittersweet and achy. "You see, I'm leaving a place I lived for--" beautiful.

"Yet for a moment I would go back
just to touch the cracks in the tar
on which my car tires stood." this feeling is so real, and so true.

"break clean from fences to dewy
meadows and sear your legs on thistles
they say from below, 'Just come home soon,'
so easily." As Homey said, the word 'sear' is just so interesting. I always love all of your word choices, it makes everything remarkably vivid.

You need to get published. I mean it when I say you could become a classic author in a generation where there won't be many classic things.

Erin | Tue, 04/28/2015

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

speechless....

I don't know what to say, there isn't anything original I could say because Wings of Eternity, Homey, and Erin have expressed my feelings, shared my favorite parts, and complimented you just the way I would have done (but better). Wow... I'm just speechless..... Wow!

Kassady | Sat, 05/02/2015

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
---
Write On!

Oh, my gosh, everyone.

Your words all mean so much to me. Seriously. Every single word. What would I do without this support?

(And, randomly, it's funny, but I had looked at that word "sear" and thought, "That doesn't really make sense, because thistles would cut, and not burn," but I guess the response to that word shows me that I should always follow my intuition :D )

I've wandered around for three years, and these are things I wish people had told me... that, despite the fulfillment of my craving for adventure, it is painful to move on to the next spot, after making one place my home, and it's painful being far away from the "original" home, too. Thank you all SO much for listening. I share things here I actually don't even feel comfortable sharing with my more widespread acquaintances.

In Ireland now, and onto Spain next :) <3

Sarah Bethany | Sat, 05/02/2015

:)

So refreshing, your poems. I wish I could say more but would only echo the others and I don't have the luxury of time! Thankyou, I feel privileged to have read these. Safe travels!

Maddi | Tue, 05/05/2015

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

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