So The Nepotist has, as you may have noticed, taken a break from posting for almost the entire month of September. This is because The Nepotist, like many of his readers and poets, is a university instructor and as everybody knows, September is hell on professors.
But now I'm back. And I wanted to come back with a particular kind of bang. And so I present to you the following sonnets by Bernadette Geyer. I'm most taken with the way that she navigates these domestic waters (cupboards! closets! floorboards! dust!) with a placid matter-of-factness that, on first read, might be mistaken as lightness. But look: there's absolutely nothing light or bright about the imperatives the poems whisper in their speakers' ears Sweets beget decay as rain begets rust. / Lick the wound and mop the floor reproaches adorn the window sill... And do not mistake the mention of fairy tales in the second poem as an expression of levity. The poem ends with an absolute loss of direction. It's a poignant end to a sad poem that tells itself with truth's supple musculature.
Sonnet of the Mad Housewife
Spindle-pin bones and pursed lips
inclined to fret, to frown, forget—
counting pennies, blessings and tips
away in sacred cupboards, closets.
Hush-a-bye floorboards, forget-me-not stain,
calico vanity covered in dust.
Bleaches to cleanse where no real love has lain.
Sweets beget decay as rain begets rust.
Lick the wound and mop the floor—
reproaches adorn the window sill.
Though no regrets and no remorse,
this yellowing wallpaper talks to me still.
Lock the door!—where is my broom
to sweep away this dust and gloom?
Goodbye to Fairy Tales
Where have all the witches gone?
Where does this overgrown path lead?
What happened to the careful trail I laid?
Where is all the good and bad I counted on?
I’ve been pricked, but where’s my sleep?
Is it under a haystack with Little Boy Blue
who left his home in the crowded shoe?
Or is it in the meadow counting sheep?
I ran and I ran as fast as I could
but the Gingerbread Man bought a horse.
The soles of my dancing shoes are now worn through.
The loggers leveled the deep dark wood
when the dish and spoon filed for divorce.
And none of us knows, anymore, what to do.
About the Poet:
Bernadette Geyer is the author of the chapbook What Remains, and recipient of a 2010 Strauss Fellowship from the Arts Council of Fairfax County. Her poems have appeared in Verse Daily, The Los Angeles Review, Midwest Quarterly and elsewhere. She works as a freelance writer/editor in the Washington, DC, area, and reviews books at http://rantsravesreviews.homestead.com.
On the identity of The Nepotist:
The Nepotist is either my mom or dad, tired of hearing me complain about how hard it is to get published. Or, it's my husband, and he secretly likes poetry waaaaaay more than he is willing to admit.