Tantalizing Tidbits by Juliet Cook and translation by Letizia Merello
This lambkin is sheared and encased in ice.
When the violet pastilles cut into
its tongue, its blood felt like blue frosting;
its mouth was a candied frostbite.
Dark veins in a cave. Glazed sugar cane.
The chilly ditties of icing piped out
witches, rosettes, witches. Silver platter pedestal
for ice sculpture malediction. Design of black stitches
traversing the underside where the blanket of cold chenille
tried to fit snugly, but was bladed away.
Exposure, powdered sugar, exposure. Gelid hooves
cobbled in icy peach cobbler. With frozen pits
of eyes stuffed with preservative fur, this could be a bog lamb,
but it is a shorn lamb, a tundra lamb, a glacier lamb.
A clot of not quite edible marzipan stuck under a rigid tongue.
When will it melt into sugared witch sounds? When will it drown
into pits of blue slush, blindfolded by a sticky strip of silver rosettes?
translated by Letizia Merello
Un agnellino tosato, ricoperto di ghiaccio.
Non appena le pasticche viola gli hanno inciso
la lingua, si è sentito il sangue ghiacciare, blu,
la sua bocca candita, congelata.
Vene scure in una caverna. Canna da zucchero glassata.
Canzoncine gelide di glassa fischiavano fuori
streghe, roselline, streghe. La maledizione della statua di ghiaccio
si ergeva su un piatto d’argento. Un motivo a punti neri
sotto la fredda coperta di ciniglia, nel punto in cui
cercava di insinuarsi, ma è stata tagliata via.
Esposizione, zucchero semolato, esposizione. Aspirazioni gelide
raffazzonate in un dolce gelato ripieno di pesche. Noccioli d’occhi ghiacciati
riempiti di pelliccia conservante, poteva essere un agnello da palude,
e invece è un agnello tosato, da tundra, da ghiacciaio.
Un grumo di marzapane non proprio commestibile sotto una lingua rigida.
Quando si scioglierà in suoni stregati, zuccherini? Quando sprofonderà
nelle fosse di melma blu, accecato da uno strato appiccicoso di roselline d’argento?
“Sieve” was partly inspired by reading the e-chapbook, ‘Northernmost” by Brooklyn Copeland. The chapbook had a wintry tone for me and made me think of porridge in cauldrons, the preservative properties of bogs, the color blue, witches, and lambs—but in oddly figurative ways. Perhaps it has something to do with the imagined texture of icy lamb fleece—and the texture of cold furless flesh, blue-tinged. I thought of soft lambs and cold lambs and lambs carved out of ice and lambs shorn and encased in ice. That was the image that catalyzed my poem—and that is the image that is the most strangely confectionary to me. An object held suspended is kind of like a hard candy. A lamb transfixed in ice is kind of like the cold version of a pig on a spit. The sweet version instead of the greasy version. But of course it’s a creepy sort of sweet like something cryptic and white sifting through a sieve. It could be shorn fleece, snow, powdered sugar, or powdered poison. Creepy also like a fairy tale witch or the kind of so-called witch unwillingly suspended in cold water in that moment before she sinks or floats. For me, the poem has a glacier-like tone, which means not just cold, but also preservative—and again, that makes me think of hard candy.
Little white floaters in my field.
More ghost eggs for the loony bin.
Telekinetic embryo, a lingering wet kiss
like electrodes to the wrist.
Sometimes I feel like a lamb chop marionette.
My bones cold inside their raw dress.
More ghost insinuations like parasites
that gnaw flesh. What would happen if I just snipped
the sides of this enclosure? If I just refused
to cook myself today? No matter how doughy,
I know there’s blood inside. My underside.
My small basket of ragamuffins dares you
to take another invisible bite.
Sometimes I feel like swing dancing with a meat cleaver.
“Ghost Teeth” was partly inspired by the glowing white confetti I sometimes see in my field of vision, which makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with me, which I sometimes go through phases of wondering about a lot. I don’t necessarily feel like a real person or woman or adult or even particularly sane; I feel more like some kind of misfit in perpetual flux. Feeling in between can have its charm, but can also have its dangers and the poem alternates between amorphous blurriness and sharp edges. It’s not all that confectionary, except that I was visualizing the ragamuffins as a physical, edible entity. I’d like to say they taste like red velvet cake, but they probably taste more like bloody meat.
Juliet Cook’s poetry has appeared in Diode, Diagram, Octopus, Robot Melon, SIR!, WOMB and many other fine online and print sources. She is the editor of Blood Pudding Press. She is the author of numerous quirky little chapbooks, most recently including ‘Gingerbread Girl’ (Trainwreck Press), MONDO CRAMPO (from the dusie kollektiv 3) and PINK LEOTARD & SHOCK COLLAR (coming in 2009 from Spooky Girlfriend Press). Her first full-length poetry collection, ‘Horrific Confection’ was recently published by BlazeVOX. For more Juliet information, please feel free to visit her website at www.JulietCook.weebly.com.
Letizia Merello is weary, indecent meat surmounted by a virgin Mary-like muzzle. She believes her word-bearing matrix lies in her underbelly. She adores candystriped socks, her partner in crime Sarah, her cat, bones, bile, blood, innards, turquoise veins under half-transparent skin, carnal writers, ruminating & translating foreign poets into Italian, black, violet, white, red, tendon music, red wine, chocolate, cigarettes and cigars, and believes her body is far smarter than she will ever be. She tries hard everyday to become the purest vehicle for others' words. Juliet Cook is the first living poet she has translated.