Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

28 March 2011

The Bull-Jean Stories

I do not know why it has taken me this long to post about Sharon Bridgforth's amazing collection The Bull-Jean Stories. It's a collection of theatrical poems or performance poems or something like that. What they are not is "writing" in the sense that we usually mean that word. The poems simply feel spoken, even to read them. I can't get through them without trying them out, without sounding them out. Just reading them makes me want to know how the words feel in my mouth. I don't have this reaction to written English very frequently—I have it with French all the time (probably because I don't speak French)—but Bridgforth's makes me want to speak her work aloud.

I gotta find some more of this woman's stuff. It is awesome.

Here are some excerpts. This one is about two women in love:

ever na and then they come ova
sit wid me lookin drifty.
i give em some of my strong-ass-coffee
but they don't seem to smell it
and that makes me
and if you feels
what resemble Lovve


cause you know
you cain't handle it/be
ova here all looped up
and thangs.
Something a little lighter:

they sent bull-jean to see after she aunt tilly cause
word gotdown that the ole gal had been driving
on all sides the road
na/that hefa may could shoot blindfold
but she couldn't drive worth shit
One more, near the end of the book:

you my
biscuits and gravy
the amen
at the end of my prayers you
my perfumed hallelujah
sweet chariot stop and let me ride/you
my southern comfort
my gi-tar
all night
cradling the scent of you/are
my memories/you are
all the wy'mn i have
Lovved my
come back/my
new Moon
dancing across a cool stream
are settled
in the depths of me