‘Three Young Surrealist Women Holding in their Arms the Skins of an Orchestra’ by Geraldine Clarkson

Three Young Surrealist Women Holding in their Arms the Skins of an Orchestra
(Dali, 1936)

Having always used her music as a tool, a gift to stifle hurt in others, a niche into which she could stuff pansies or wallflowers, a grey to be drenched with peony or tangerine, she became pliable, perfectly responsive to circumstance, a kitten following its master, chase-and-nibble. At first she didn’t notice herself changing, so intent was she on pacifying with titbits the yawning jaw. Filling the jug of subjugation. Until she awoke in a boulder-desert, stone-faced, immaterial. Her life shrunk now to two needers who dominated: her mother and her daughter. Her music no more than a cipher, a distorted keyboard painted on a banner wrung out, flung out between her and the others, a mute offering. The godlike gift something less now than animal or vegetable. A split skewed thing. And she, a rock-musician, no longer able to please anyone.

(first published in Tears in the Fence 55)

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Geraldine Clarkson’s poems have appeared in Tears in the Fence, Poetry Review, Envoi, the Grist anthology A Complicated Way of Being Ignored, and at Ink, Sweat and Tears