Thursday, August 22, 2013

Poet Bernadette McBride, Plum Brandy, and Mangoes

We'll be introducing poets new to this blog in the next few days. The first is Bernadette McBride, a former Poet Laureate of Bucks County, PA. McBride has been honored as a Pushcart Prize nominee, second-place winner of the international Ray Bradbury writing award, and both a finalist and runner-up for the Robert Fraser poetry prize. Her work has been published in numerous journals and anthologies nationally and is forthcoming in the UK. Her poetry collection Waiting for the Light to Change (WordTech Editions) is new this year. Visit her blog at bernadettemcbrideblog.wordpress.com. 


Plum Brandy
—Edouard Manet, c. 1877
I almost want to pull up a chair, ask if she
minds my joining her. Almost. I doubt I could 

abide her story; thicken my own by hers, piled on 
like mud’s dark layering on the flooded river’s bank. 

Her modest frock and (I surmise) hand-me-down hat 
seem the best she can do to keep propriety 

in check here in this bar—its late-day shadows, 
its noise a release from what she knows

is expected of her. I almost want to pull up a chair
—her hands so lovely, lips so longing. The cigarette’s 

another thing. Or is it that she’s drinking alone?
That cigarette cold, inviting a light, eyes begging 

a second glass on the table, a stranger’s mind opened 
to the heart that pines beneath her ruffled breast.

Woman With a Mango
—Paul Gauguin, 1892

Her cocoa skin, licorice hair, 
the royal-toned dress stir 

a throaty response—
like the earthen feel of toes 

buried in cool soil, the smell 
of loam an ecstasy. 

Hold her behind closed eyes,
note her smooth, brown hand

folded over the fruit—
a goddess directing the sun.




painters and poets
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1 comment:

  1. Bernadette McBride's poems are rich in detail and suggestion; their endings are especially memorable.

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