Monday, October 15, 2018

Clarinda Harriss

NONBELIEVER, AS THE DARK OF THE YEAR APPROACHES

As a nonbeliever in the supernatural
I have just asked a voudou priest I know
to make a doll to protect my good friend
(Catholic, born Jewish) from her mother
who is as malevolent dead as alive.
I have crossed myself half a dozen
times today alone as ambulances shrieked
behind, beside, and before me on the gray
macadam of the city. I have two-fingered
the evil eye at a road-enraged motorist.
I have prepared for All Hallows' Eve
as I do each year when the seasons darken
by digging in my diary for a blurred photo
I snapped from a dead poet's car in Galway,
a tall girl in a long black cloak strolling
in the mist so close to our rented car
her fingertips brushed the door: altogether
oblivious of us on that half-lane mountain
road.  Youth hostel girl, stoned, we figured.
By the turf fire in his smoky sitting room
the inn-keep pulled a book from the shelf.
Local history. "’T was our Maid of Ardmore.
Died for love a hundred years ago."


Clarinda reads "Nonbeliever...":



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Clarinda confesses: "Fall always takes me to the supernatural, probably because my son, back in high school, was a great fan of the punk band Samhain named for a Celtic fall festival. (I think.) More immediately: a good friend was having such a run of major bad luck that she asked me to enlist the aid of my home's voudou guardian spirit, Agwe. Poet Louie Crowder, who won a BhB competition a few years ago, is a Haiti-ordained voudou priest and now a friend of mine. He came to our aid with Lasirene, a powerful and glamorous mother spirit. I somehow associate Lasirene with the mysterious figure who walked with Michael Egan and me along a narrow, foggy road in western Island."


CLARINDA HARRISS is a professor emerita of Towson University. She has overseen BrickHouse Books, Inc,, for almost 5 decades (going strong). She is proud to say she has never lived in a house which was not haunted.

1 comment:

Roger Netzer said...

I wish I had written this poem. I love it.