Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Singling Out The Pearl

In defense of a woman’s right to speak, think
and guard the privacy of her domain.

Girl divers arch and glide
throughout the sea searching
for oyster shells.
The underwater light
casts their hair in iridescent blue.

The same hue as the octopus
staring at the most beautiful
of these, the most sad.

Her long arms welcome
the undulating salt and weed
shunning memories of the king
who attempted to place those limbs
around his body, demanding passion.

Slowly, she is pulled further down
and becomes entangled
in the tentacles of the hunter.
He was sent by the sovereign
to suck the shadow
of sorrow from her womb, core
of female grief
as seen by seer and scholar,
midwife and priest.

The girl feels his grasp tighten,
mollusk shining like a mutated star
in the middle depths of the ocean,
and those of her mind. Flashes of myth
pit her between the fisherman's wife
who dreamt she was pleasured
by the titan squid

and Princess Tamatori
who was almost raped but ripped
herself loose with a knife. A slit
along her breast
as she swam off bleeding
into freedom and an after life.

Hearing one figment sigh,
another sob, the maiden
uses her own voice
as a weapon. The scorn in her scream
cuts into the creature’s nerve
breaking his brutal grip
as he drops the diver.

Her figure sent whirling
into the fluorescent glow
and left hovering
like an exclamation mark.
Slender stop
that chills the water, slows
an invasive tide.

Note -- The presence of Octopi are prevalent throughout Japanese paintings and myth. In some tales, the creature is seen as a source of pleasure, awakening the maiden or virgin's erotic passion. And some in versions, he is portrayed as the hunter, the aggressor, the one who rapes the unwilling victim and overwhelms her with his power. Here, the mollusk is used to symbolize the extended authority of the King. Rebuffed by the maiden of his desire, the sovereign begins to blame her lack of response, her refusal to submit, on the female anatomy. It was believed in ancient times, that the soucre of femnine melancholly or hysteria was rooted in the uterus. If a woman couldn't respond or pleasure her husband, one option was to remove part of the womb or to excorcise the dark spirits that possessed it. Therefore, in this story, the King employs the services of the squid to suck out the dark force (shadow) that is plaguing this girl's body/temperament. On a broader level, as myths are often used to illustrate a point or event in modern life, this speaks for all women who are forced against their will to do something that violates their conscience or personal control of their body.

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