The World as a Terror Field
World as a Terror-Field
Think of those sunflower petals
Flying away so yellow in a golden light
Think of the anarchists’ red shirts
Pungent in Guadalajara, overt and blood-drenched,
Think of you this sunny morning receiving a spam email
Threatening to contaminate your whole house with Coronavirus.
There is no safe place anymore to dream of La La Land.
We can be reached anywhere and pulled and tugged,
Unhinged even from the safety of our soul.
I think of Virginia Woolf having coffee, her mind,
Measuring the world of decades, stirring the sugar in her coffee.
It’s as though her mind-place reached around the world.
At a glance, with her word nest intact.
Now, we are within walls polished so transparent,
Our souls close like an x-ray’s light, all seen into.
There’s a terror of no intimacy, leaking passwords and invasive viruses.
Megabytes of someone else’s knowing
When all we need is what we know
Curse those who disparage the robin
Plucking away, the stalwart bluejay.
Curse those who say we don’t matter
Anyway, any way.
This talk of corpses likely to be,
These flat charts with hollow corporate names
Remind me of the 50s when people popped into mushroom clouds.
Those consonant-heavy names Malenkov, Andropov, Chernenko
and Stalin loomed large in unseeing brutality.
This was a time for the feminine way,
a time for pockets of air and lavender,
That way to reach between things, to slither love
like Dickinson finding new feet for poems
to say what wasn’t said, for Emily Bronte to
take love out of bounds.
While HUAC measured people as
stones and lashed at pinkos
I voraciously read of rebels everywhere,
Those who spoke for something
I found latent
In my sick little-girl heart.
Death into this spring
Spring finds us speechless
to say, to say how terror is,
how death turns our head.
We’ve been used to letting life go by without us.
I breathe hard for life with addled lungs.
After all, we are life, all there is of it.
Now in the heart of growth,
death is climbing hard
toward us all over.
Now, we have to stand out in the balance
and ring our life for living,
jump and plunge
over the edge into what comes next.
Quick the blue iris is coming
And the red peonies
And all your wonderful life.
© 2020, Linda Chown
LINDA E. CHOWN grew up in Berkeley, Ca. in the days of action. Civil Rights arrests at Sheraton Palace and Auto Row. BA UC Berkeley Intellectual History; MA Creative Writing SFSU; PHd Comparative Literature University of Washington. Four books of poetry. Many poems published on line at Numero Cinq, Empty Mirror, The Bezine, Dura, Poet Head and others. Many articles on Oliver Sachs, Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf, and many others. Twenty years in Spain with friends who lived through the worst of Franco. I was in Spain (Granada, Conil and Cádiz) during Franco’s rule, there the day of his death when people took to the streets in celebration. Interviewed nine major Spanish Women Novelists, including Ana María Matute and Carmen Laforet and Carmen Martín Gaite.