Yesterday I announced in an essay the start of my HOOKED ON POETRY project, in celebration of National Poetry Month. It was posted here on my site and at Kendall Reviews, who is partnering with me to host and share pieces I’ve accepted and curated. If you missed it, you can find it here. This will be running now and throughout May, which will also allow us to participate in Mental Health Awareness Month with some poetry. Please join me in sharing things on social media with the hashtag #HookedonPoetry. We have outstanding reprint poems from collections, original poetry, review and articles on poetry, and more coming everyone’s way throughout May.
I’m excited to start off the HOOKED ON POETRY project with poems by Marge Simon. These are two wonderful poems featured in some of her collections. Marge serves on the HWA Board of Trustees and the Speculative Literary Foundation. She was the second woman to be acknowledged by the SF & F Poetry Association with a Grand Master Award.
She has won three Bram Stoker Awards, Rhysling Awards for Best Long and Best Short Poetry, the Elgin Award for Poetry Collection, the Dwarf Stars Award, and Strange Horizons Readers’ Award. Marge’s poems and stories have appeared in Asimov’s SF, Silver Blade, Bete Noire, Grievous Angel, Daily Science Fiction, and in the anthologies, You, Human, Chiral Mad, and The Beauty of Death, to name a few.
Daddy’s Little Girl
It’s a 4th of July evening
sundown coming slow,
lawnmowers drone distant,
& crickets’ choruses rise and fall
between the spaces of human noise.
Someone is cooking on the grill,
delicious smells waft through the trees,
down the block to your back yard.
Convertibles pass, radios blasting
the rhythms of the holiday,
teens high on being young,
but not you, plain and shy,
doomed to spend this magic night
alone with your books & a silly doll
that Daddy bought for you.
Your special gift from him today,
to defray the teenaged tears you cry;
you are his darling one and only —
though you’re much too old for dolls.
As for Mommy, she left long ago.
Daddy says she went to hell, but he is wrong.
She visits you in murky dreams,
whispering what to do while Daddy sleeps,
something about her old meat cleaver,
in the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet.
Your pretty doll agrees with her,
for after all, Daddy doesn’t understand,
you’re not his little girl.
– Marge Simon
The Southern Lady
With death, there should be dignity but there is none here,
the men in dusty blue uniforms continue to pass by,
my precious roses trampled, bleed their perfume into the soil,
and those half dead are brought to my parlor,
soaking my fine couches with their Yankee blood.
Cow and calf alike they shot for practice up in Charleston,
by the time they got to ours, they wanted bread and butter,
with pitchers of fresh milk to wash it down;
some seem surprised there’s none.
They’d burned our fields, there was no feed,
did they think our livestock lived on love?
I dreamed I was a giant cat,
sitting on a wounded soldier’s chest
watching him quietly while he slept,
then I leapt on his face and clawed out his eyes.
But he rose up, playing “Aura Lee” on his harmonica.
One by one, his companions joined in singing,
and we danced all around the room.
Beyond the window it was raining blood.
– Marge Simon
This poem is from the collection WAR with Alessandro Manzetti
(Elgin Award Winner, 2019).
Look in my eyes. My bronze skin reflects the flames of the battles.
I feed on bullets and shrapnel.
I have trenches instead of veins and a bombardier’s whirring plays my favorite symphony inside my big head. This is my story, with some of my best camouflages and disguises, and you should expect your peace plans to fail. Because that’s what I do for living.
Look at my million golden teeth necklace. Ring any bells? Maybe you’re too young. I probably should have mentioned the fireworks over the Baghdad night sky, my new friend, or the live broadcast of two great skyscrapers disintegrating. You know what I’m talking about, right? So, you can call me by one of my many names: Great General, Lock-box of the Powerful, Red Rain, Lord of Steel or, more simply, WAR.
I appear as strife of many kinds, from Stalingrad to Scotland. Africa to Afghanistan, the civil war of Italy and the War Between the States, ghostly wars, drug wars, the battle of the sexes, World Wars I, II and visions of a holocaust yet to come. It’s all herein and more, with poems both collaborative and individual.
Marge Simon, Biography –
Marge Simon lives in Ocala, FL. She edits a column for the HWA Newsletter, “Blood & Spades: Poets of the Dark Side,” and serves on the HWA Board of Trustees. She is the second woman to be acknowledged by the SF & F Poetry Association with a Grand Master Award.
She has won three Bram Stoker Awards, Rhysling Awards for Best Long and Best Short Poetry, the Elgin Award for Poetry Collection, the Dwarf Stars Award, and Strange Horizons Readers’ Award. Marge’s poems and stories have appeared in Asimov’s SF, Silver Blade, Bete Noire, Grievous Angel, Daily Science Fiction, and in the anthologies, You, Human, Chiral Mad, and The Beauty of Death, to name a few. She attends the ICFA annually as a guest poet/writer and is on the board of the Speculative Literary Foundation.
She has a daughter, Melle Tillison Broaderick, and two lovely granddaughters. She married a longtime friend and colleague, Bruce Boston, in 2001. Besides being a fantastic conversationalist and the love of her life, he has taught her a great deal about writing top notch poetry and fiction, for which she is grateful.
In addition to her solo work, she has written collaborative poetry and fiction with Bruce Boston, the late Charlee Jacob, Mary Turzillo, Alessandro Manzetti and Bryan Dietrich.
You can view Marge’s fiction, poetry, and art, and contact her for freelance art assignments on her website.
Thank you, Marge!
I look forward to readers joining us for many more posts and poems here on my site and at Kendall Reviews. Watch my Twitter feed (@ErinAlMehairi) for updates and posts or follow my site by subscribing in the box at the right!