Friday, May 04, 2012

New Poetry by Kathryn Guelcher


Lauren is exactly the student who apologizes then
asks a question she should know the answer to
by now. So when I asked them to circle
contradictory imagery on a copy of Strange Fruit,
and she said, “Sorry, what’s imagery?”
I was not surprised.

She who is pretty and small and
who sometimes calls me Mom and often
fights to pass and pay attention.

After we watched Billie Holiday’s 1939 rendition-
heartfelt, courageous, and defiant in that white only club-
someone else in class noted the slowness of the singing.
And it was Lauren whom I overheard casually impart
that the drawn out pace of the performance might
reflect the lynching itself,
that such killing does not happen mercifully,
“But, I mean, I don’t know,” she finished.
And her audience had not truly been listening.

- Kathryn Guelcher 2012

In addition to being a mother of three, Kathryn has been teaching high school English in a suburb outside of Chicago for 12 years.  This is Kathryn’s second appearance at Bluepepper.


Stuart Barnes said...

extraordinary poem, kathryn
i love 'strange fruit':
the poem
the billie holiday version
the siouxsie & the banshees version
great work! :-)

bruce dorlova said...

this is a wonderful poem methinks - drawing its poetry from the depths and the shallows of many lived experiences, including the poet's own.

reflexive and reflective, and full of contradictory imagery circling and spiralling, circling and spiralling...