Monday, November 07, 2005

The Green Chinese Dresser (a performance)

I hope you will enjoy this performance, and my costume. I am a bit early, but this is the only night I shall be in town...

Green Chinese Dresser

In the middle of the night I stretch my arm
up to the top of the green Chinese dresser.
It’s too tall for a bedside table,
but I wanted it close.
My fingers skim the gouge in the smooth lacquer,
one in a list of crimes for which
my ex-husband
was held accountable
in the spring of 1993.
This chest used to hold
silken scarves and gloves,
fancy linens and tiny crystal perfume ampules,
boxes of fine gold jewelry.
My grandmother’s "special-occasion wear"
was perfect for my everyday visits.
After forty years, this dresser is used to me
and my no-longer-small fingers
as I pull the drawer open with a
silken sigh.
But it has changed.
The enigmatic coquette
holding a lotus blossom
has become a marketplace auntie,
holding a basket of bread and fruit.
Glamorous silks and kid gloves
gave way to everyday ephemera.
In these fragrant drawers
my grandmother’s scent lingers,
along with
a diaphragm, pantyhose,
wrinkled photos, receipts,
love letters, scotch tape,
spare buttons, sewing thread,
tiny scissors, nail clippers,
my favorite lotion,
pens, spare beads, warm socks,
and even, once,
a vibrator.
I feel around in the bottom drawer
pull out fuzzy socks.
Slipping them on my feet,
I curl into my warm bed
knowing that the green Chinese dresser
stands tall
close by in the dark.


At 3:30 AM, Blogger le Enchanteur said...

There really is nothing quite like the dresser filled with ephemera. Sound of applause Karen. I loved this.

At 11:06 PM, Blogger Imogen Crest said...

Agreed. Wow.

At 3:13 PM, Blogger Leonie Bryant said...

Oh what remembrances and treasures Karen.

At 7:06 PM, Blogger Lois said...

Oh Karen,
We women must have a bottom draw,but yours sounds more varied than mine (I no longer need at least two of the items in my older age)but still I have a similiar assortment except I always have my trusty pepperemints,the thesaurus,Tweezers,panadol,lanoline,back scratcher,medical dictionary a copy of my organ doner card and of course a copy of my will...very important to leave a letter so as my darling Jessie Dog is well cared for...
Scissors for cutting out interesting items from the newspaper for le Enchanteur.
I double bed is a must once one starts to spread out part of ones life on top of the blankets....
A Chinese Dresser I do not have but an old side table belonging to my Mum and Dad still stands beside their double bed bought the week before they married in 1934.
I hasten to tell all in sundry that I have my own mattress and all accompanying bed linen.....but also tell all, that this is the bed I and my Brother were conceived in.
Now ,this I do not know for sure Karen as when one is growing up one never imagines their parents having sex as they always seemed old to us. Sex was only the priveledge of the young...

Ah those were the days of innocence...Love Lois
( Muse of the Sea) 21/11/05


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