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Scattered ecstasies

This was the first time I participated in the Scattered Ecstasies event, a bringing together of poets, painters and actors to perform an alchemy of poem into painting, painting into poem and everything into spoken word. And it was a night of ecstasies for me, first to see my poem transformed into paint and canvass – there are photos of it on my FaceBook page – and then to hear someone other than me interpret my work. I found ecstasy to be a rather destabilizing condition, heart thundering, palms sweating, knees shaking, and the most massive case of goosebumps known to medical science. But oh! what a ride!

My deepest thanks to Danah Beaulieu for the breathtaking translation of my Magdalene poem, “the pulse” into a completely different medium, visual, spiritual, beautiful and unforgettable all at once. And to Michele Legere for her masterful performance of same. Through these two women my words became flesh, and flesh words once again.

I’ve been asked to post a copy of “the pulse” for those who weren’t at the event and I am more than happy to comply. This is the first time one of my Magdalene Poems has been made public – another ecstatic experience for me!

the pulse

wherever i went
people wanted to touch me
embrace me
kiss my hands as i walked past
touch my face, my arms
the sick on litters reached out for the hem of my robe
the strap of my sandals

when we gathered on the ground
to hear jesus preach
the women became little girls again
younger sisters
one would rest her head on my shoulder
another on my lap
a third would massage my feet
sooner or later
i would feel my veil slipping off
and gentle fingers braiding my hair
diving in and out
like little birds
making a nest

in the women’s tent every month
it was like trying to sleep
in a litter of puppies

sisters! please!
i have only two sides!

well then, roll over
and maybe you’ll find two more

it was the gorgeous, golden, erotic pulse
of the love between jesus and me
that drew them in
soul to soul
skin to skin
and the more who joined us
the stronger
it grew
thundering to me
to jesus
back to them
back to us

even the pharisees felt the pull
in their unguarded moments
but caught themselves at the last
and walked away
rubbing their eyes
as if dazzled by the light

cocky young bucks
strutting their virility
would become suddenly shy
and ask in whispers
(the older men nonchalantly drawing near)
lady mary
tell us, please
how should we be with our women?
how do we make them shine
like you?

and i assured them
the answer
like the kingdom
already lay within their hearts
listen, i said
bringing my fingertips to their chests
listen here


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  1. Karen Rockwell
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Hi Penny-Anne, How did I ever miss that you had a blog!? What an amazing story…and YES, this stuff does work! The Scattered Ecstasies project was all that and more, and your poem was well revered by the artists in whose hands it was placed! So happy for you! =0)

    • Penny-Anne
      Posted September 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Aw thanks, Karen! You’ve always been so supportive of my work. Can’t tell you how much that means!

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