Two Poems
by Sean-Thomas Farragher

 

Snowman
     for Caroline

One winter
my wife and I
built a snowman
of ice and string

the melting snow
bled into the Hudson
the roots of thin
steel beasts watched us
from their berth

the haze in a yellow arc
shivered with glass eyes--
the red wail of sirens
bit into our clasped hands

that night in our bed
her fingers with their
many silvered rings
sought my hair
then my tongue
grew into her bristle,
into slipping teeth

Our baby's hand
reached through the womb,
and that winter ended.


2.
Five years
after
I write this
letter to her
old voice in my skin

I tie her plaid scarf
to my wrist,
I watch smoke
spring between red/blue gables

that Hudson,
that old oak shakes
the hung dead from arms and canyons
of snow belting ice in my hair

I remember black stones
in the Snowman's face;
a scarf and a crooked hat
we set between the twigs

We hugged snow in our shirts,
wrestled with our wet skin until
the ice kiss rubbed us
to a silent stare,
as blood blew my tongue
to her blood;
our hair shone in crisp pentangles,
cut jewels glistened in skin

I remember those
dry hands that leapt out
from my hair.
I crawl to the Hudson,
to stare at ice sheets,
and I play with the photo
of her face that haunts my wall.


3.
In my window
a woodsman
bangs his shovel
hard into ice
to cut steps home,
to pack the snow
into ruts for boots
and sleighs,
to gray and melt
with cinders and mud,
then to drift
eventually
to that Hudson

At my desk
I search inside the wooden box
where I keep silk and string;
pearl buttons from the Snowman's coat.

I remember
the holes her red boots cut
in clean snow.

I speak for
an ancient snow-beast
I can no longer
rub into magic

One winter
my wife and I
built a snowman
of ice and string
from patches of talk
and often lies.

 

25th Anniversary Edition of Rebecca

Written originally by the poet in 1973 in his 31st year.
For my son, Edward, then age 4, who was present.



Rebecca
Provincetown, MA
Early September 1973

Rebecca wets herself
with sand-
it trickles on her legs,
she is wet from within,
sand bunched in her holes.
wrinkled and white
from the sea,
red from her rubbing.

She piles sand on towels,
lunches for her lovers,
pats the sun in her skin,
over her tummy to her button;
it rests with the sand,
warms her,-- it tickles,
sticks inside, burns her flesh,
trapped to the white lining
of her red swim suit:
"I eat sand
I am seven
I curl my tongue
over each grain
like a powder,
an ice cream cone,
I swallow it whole.
Rebecca strides through the breakers,
sits, spreads in the calm, opens,
watching me, smug when I look-
Rebecca chases wild bears,
plucks hermit crabs from the sand.
I stare at her. My son plays near me.
He pulls a red boat as a truck on a string
over a tar and sand stoned beach.

2.
Rebecca squats over the water;
her suit full, her mound swollen
and her breasts break with milk.
Rebecca is years older
caught in the sea's tongues,
with the clam's digits and feet.

3.
Rebecca sleeps naked with the sand,
with the cold and the rain--
no fur, no pillow, no teddy bear.
She sleeps, her fingers moving,
teeth split slightly; her eyes shut,
"wishing at a father," hissing at the moon.
She clings and sucks at the sun;
her nails wound into one shin.
Rebecca is thirsty,
hungers for sandy water,
shrieking and rolling,
dead sand crumbles from her hand.
Rebecca is sixteen
naked with sea shells
blond hairs and freckles--
she pulls at the sand,
tossing it from her lips,
freezing the seeds within.
Rebecca is twenty-three
the tide is warmer,
she dances with the moon
Rebecca runs from the sun,
as a brown leaf from a fire,
from the autumns of summers
 -Will I return, she asks,
spins and laughs away.

I sit with this woman
near the water,
I am long gone,
my child
returned to the sea,
to our mother;
I walk to her later
to her fallen sand boat,-
sails hidden under mud;
her hands lost in my eyes-
Rebecca is seven
picking at the white lining
of her red swim suit
rubbing and rubbing
she itches, races in circles,
tagging other children,
lost from their fathers.

4.
Rebecca is married
sucking at candy,
asleep on a towel
in a white ancient cottage
on a black sandy floor:
sand bunched in her fists,
she caresses her breasts,
sprinkles sand on them.
rubs them, shines them with spit
Rebecca dances, sweating
breasts redder,
thrashing her nipples,
she pulls them closer,
suckles them, dries her lips
with the sand, she
sucks and sucks,
eats many faces, crystals,
then she cradles and shakes
with her invisible lover
Rebecca sleeps on the sand
her breasts dig within-
As she pulls, her teeth grind
she thrusts; her hands flood
with white-winged dandelion seeds

 
5.
Rebecca is thirty-seven;
and it's time to chase the serpent
she searches southward,
her hairs, aged and white with purple
Rebecca sways with her arms
to her chest, with the swings
of a child's house,
birds rowing with willow trees.

6.
In the sun fall, Rebecca's fingers write
circles with warm sand fathers,
in the morning she loves with that sea,
weeds, thickets, rubbing her ass
her man, the old sea man
bangs up and up
sand plowed by her ass
until she turns
and is taken from the rear;
he comes, an indifferent lover,
striking her fist to the sand
she beats her ungrateful fingers,
squeezing her cheeks,
her palms turn up,
she shakes her hair madder
the swells beat at her,
her red swim suit wet
with the tar stained scum of her lover

He finishes,
leaves,
and the sand flats bake,
and the red heat dries
the naked skull whiter.

7.
Rebecca is forty;
she paints her sand cottage
brushes her hair from her eyes,
She builds a mountain,
sucks the sand in her throat,
while a sailor holds
a thin, spidery ladder
Rebecca burns in the sun.
She is sixty and blind,
the wind's in her blouse;
her breasts, thin, flap
on her stomach;
unseen her children play
with her feet,
tossing the sand with her toes,
she fondles her lovers,
coughs and sings
and is wanting-
Rebecca is seven,
fires enclose her;
her smile is wanton;
beating her chest,
closed eyes squinting,
she rubs the sand harder,
her fingers pick at it,
flick at the faces-
she hugs her wrist
with her thigh
she is lost in a dream
Rub a dub, dub, three men in a tub
Rub a dub, dub, three men in a tub
 
Rebecca sleeps in the streets of this city.
She is seventy and dying.
She crawls with the shark,
hides from the nets, dead masts.
Rebecca is dead at eighty-two.
She floats with the tide, is lost at sea.

 

 


Sean-Thomas Farragher

An abstract expressionist painter, poet and novelist, Sean Farragher has four children: Edward, Daria, Ian and Kathleen. "No matter where I dwell," he says, "I live near the Hudson River and New York City."

A graduate of Columbia University and City College of New York, Mr. Farragher has written poetry and taught creative writing for twenty-five years.

Links for Sean-Thomas Farragher:

Selected Poetry of Sean-Thomas Farragher: 1972-1999
http://www.farragher.com

TxM6: Taxi Murders Sextet Hyperfiction Novel
Vietnam, Murder, Eros and Redemption: 1967-1993
The Journals of Laurie Fallon & Henry Whitman
http://www.taximurders.com

 

Snowman 1999 Sean-Thomas Farragher

Rebecca 1974 and 1999 Sean-Thomas Farragher

 

Return to Page One