Sunday Service: Bianca Stone Poem
Pulling the Sun
Once, drunk on an island in the south of France
at a dinner party
a woman read my cards.
She didn’t speak any English.
Simone’s mom translated for me.
I wavered on a precipice
watching her lay each card down.
I looked unhinged into her low stream of French.
Her voice was amazing.
Full of calorific heat. She pushed coals
around my feet, pounding, her teeth
crooked in a fabulous smile.
Her hands were soft, multiplying rapidly,
gesturing through a veil
of incredible wine.
She set a video camera beside us.
She was making a documentary.
I felt like a female Great White shark
mating in the near-soporific effect
of a feeding frenzy.
I was riding a tiny horse
out of a sunflower field.
The whole feng shui of the house fluttered
around me. The sun sunk and died in my arms.
It’s something to do with your mother, she began.
And a bone-china teacup floated
in front of face and cracked
there’s too much at stake.
The body, the brain,
the liquor of the past
pouring in like a tonic.
In the middle of nowhere
the brain is more meaningful.
Some days I forget where I am.
I feel nothing. I know
I watch the sea admonish the people within it.
I’m enormous from eating
in rooms of attractive European conversations
I can’t partake in.
Simone like a ten foot tall Amazon warrior holding my hand through the void.
I could hear a phone ringing off in the distance.
A swift single shot. Everything was hitting
home. Knowledge was
idiosyncratic. Somewhat retained.
The woman was the new girlfriend of the uncle.
He stood a little on the side, fatalistic, troubled
when his face wasn’t in league with hers.
He didn’t get along with the family.
The mother had just died suddenly the weeks before.
The girlfriend walked around
like a black haired shaman, nonplussed with a camera.
Mid-fifties in dark red lipstick.
We communicated all night via outside sources.
When she looked at me
I wanted to be cast down
into the subjective feeling of helplessness.
I was reading a lot of Yeats at the time.
Imagined that I would bicycle lusciously through the South of France.
But my hair stood up on my arms in the wind.
A hologram in the middle of a culturally rich environment.
It was a kind of foreign breakdown.
An untranslatable doom.
She pulled The Sun,
enveloped in accurate lunacy.
My lips were stained various shades of mauve.
I couldn’t see myself as something
living. I was intellectually outside of the conversation.
She spoke long melodic prophecies, thus interpreted.
She hit a nerve.
I eventually passed out on the settee.
Bianca Stone is the author of several poetry chapbooks, including I Saw The Devil With HIs Needlework (Argos Books), and an ongoing poetry-comic series from Factory Hollow Press. She is the illustrator of Antigonick, a collaboration with Anne Carson (New Directions), and her poems have appeared in such magazines as Conduit, Tin House, and APR. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
This poem was inspired by The Sun card of the tarot deck.