CAROL ANN’S BOOK EXCERPTS
POEMS OF THUNDER, NOIR & WHIMSY
I think of you nude lying under the leaves with rose petals on your eyes,
An arm stretched out like Michelangelo’s angel on the Sistine Chapel.
I think of the click of your shoes like cruel castanets
In the red rooms of my heart.
I think of you nude,
Like a Romanesque angel.
Your skin like the dying rays of the sun.
I think of your hard, purple jewel
in the white, innocent smoothness of my hand
Mostly I think of your dark eyes like pitted olives,
Glowing like liquid obsidian in the dark moistness of the night.
I know you hate me and love me, and want the same from me.
You like arsenic and sugar,
and, I, poor simple beast only like the sugar.
You are a savage who rends and tears the ones you love.
Can I ever show you how simple is love.
How true. How deep. How honest.
You, vicious beast, who cannot learn.
CATFISH JOE & DOUBLE. DOUBLE, TOIL & TROUBLE
“Okay I be tellin’ ya my story. One time when I was young,
I was rich as Croesus. I had me six fine, fat, juicy Bitches and they
Wasn’t no ho’s neither. None of my womens had to work. Just lay
Back, fuck, and look pretty, that’s all. And I had me a big, giant
Mansion with twenty servants. They was all white, you see.
I figured, why not fuck ‘whitie” cuz he done fuck me royally
Fo’ so long. Tyrone, I tell ya it was heaven.”
“Tell me about the Bitches, Mr. Joe,” asked Tyrone.
“Oh, they was the finest pussy this side of Mississippi.
Big, black, and juicy as goddamn Georgia peaches. They was horny as cats in heat, too. They loved the hell, out of they ol’ Daddy Joe.
I done it all wit’ them. The suckin’. The fuckin’.
Old Joe know what to do wif a woman.
Then when I done give one money to buy a pretty dress,
Another bitch find out and she be jealous like ol’ Daddy
don’t love her as much as the first Bitch. Then I gives
her money and she go get an even better dress.
them Bitches was a trip. I tell ya, Tyrone.”
“And what about yo’ mansion”, asked Tyrone.
“Oh, boy, it was splendid. Just splendid. Twenty six rooms,
all done in white, white furniture, white shag carpets.
The Works! I even had me some Elvis paintings and
Bull fighter paintings on black velvet. I likes art.
It was real class, I tell ya’ I also had me a turquoise
Cadillac with zebra upholstery. Shit, them were the days, Tyrone.”
The old man’s eyes misted over.
“Mr. Joe,” said Tyrone, “How you gone tell me
you wasn’t no pimp, Where you git’ the money!”
“Tyrone,” he replied, “I be a God fearin’ man.
I wasn’t never no pimp. They’s evil Bastards.
Goin’ straight to Hell fo’ damn sure.”
“Then where’d you git’ the money?” asked the Boy.
“Well I be tellin’ ya’ shortly, Just you hold yo’ damn horses.
Listen, Tyrone, when you was little did you believe in
Santy Claus and the Easter Bunny, and witches, and shit?”
asked old Joe.
“Sho’, Mr. Joe,” replied Tyrone.
“Well, I got somethin’ kind of weird to tell ya’. But I
wants to tell ya’ I ain’t no goddamned head case.
Tyrone, I had me this old, brown mule, the name of Sugar.
And when I would hold up her tail and it was time to go,
she shat diamonds. Big, beautiful diamonds, and nothin’ else.
Then the old Bitch died on me, and I didn’t have nothin’ no mo’.
Lost the mansion and the Bitches, too. Aint no woman gonna fuck with no po’ ass man.You, believe me, son?”
The carriage is coming for me. I lie pale and dead, my hands folded over my chest in a gesture of supplication. A pious lady like I never was in life. I am La Gitana. It’s what they call me, a beggar and consort of kings. You may think that the dead know nothing. But I tell you that we rage. We rage that we can no longer feel the dew on the underside of a leaf, nor the touch of a lover’s hand on our ass, nor the sweetness of red, full wine on our lips. We feel rage that we cannot feel the slow thud of our hearts, the red blood being forced through our veins, and we rage for all the love we have lost.
Ay, the beautiful caress of the wind through chartreuse, green leaves, the tilting of white clouds careening across a turquoise sky. We rage for the days gone by. Life is but a droplet of rain sliding down a window pane. I am much honored but I have also been reviled much in my life. One cannot be vivid without breaking some hearts. Que lastima, I say and winner take all. I have been what people thought I was, and I have also been just myself. It is impossible to sort.
My carriage is six black stallions and a pale driver. I asked for a rubio to ferry me across to the other side. Inside my carriage is gold and red velvet. Red is my color: blood is my legacy. They will line the streets and call my name holding long white candles. My story begins as I am sixteen. The year is 1679, and King Carlos having ascended the throne at age fourteen, has married Marie Louise, the niece of Louis XIV of France, at age eighteen. It is not enough for France to defeat Spain in war: she must also rule us on the domestic front as well. King Carlos, or El Hechisado as he is called, is simple and in ill health. What a sin to have to lie with a fool. Don Juan of Austria, Carlos’s illegitimate brother, rules through violence and intimidation. The queen mother, Mariana, is weakened and her valido, Valenzuela, deposed.
King Carlos is not our king, and Spain is not our country. We are ruled by our own king, a Rom Baru, and to hell with Spain. Soy una gitana. (I am a gypsy).
Escuchame, querida. Tengo mas que contar.
Listen to me, dear. I have much to
I am Tekla. Soy una gitana. The lower part of my body is marime, or unclean, two parts pressed together like a dusky rose. My upper body is pure like a virgin’s shoulders. So it is with all the woman of the Romani clan. We are pure and impure, and can pollute by our actions. We must never expose our lower half to anyone but our husbands and even then we must take care not to pollute them. We must stay away from our men and male stallions when we have the time of blood and when we are in child birth. There is a special red tent for these times. One who is marime by action or by nature cannot walk amongst us. The worst punishment for a gypsy is to be cast out, or judged marime, for he can never live the gypsy life or be with other gypsies. It is a fate worse than death for it is death to the spirit. Family is the most important thing for a gypsy, not possessions, as it is for the gaje.
When I was a girl I used to wander bare breasted through the camps free as a flower, my high little girl’s breasts catching the light like burnt calla lilies in the morning sun. The little, ragged boys would run by and try to touch them but I always avoided their greedy, curious fingers. As I have said my gypsy name is Tekla. My gaje name is Carmen, and my secret name you will never know. My sister, Rupa, at fourteen is much more beautiful than I. Yet, I do not shed a tear: my heart is a stone. I am a mere thistle at her feet.
Rupa! Rupa! Rupa! Even the birds sing her name. Who sings mine? The thistles and the thorns. But under her surface is but sugar and air. Sometimes I think she will never truly love another.