July 2011

Emily Dickinson's "Color-Caste-Denomination"

I really like Emily Dickinson, but usually it’s hard to pin down what she thinks about touchy subjects.  It’s not so hard with race, if you judge from her poem “Color-Caste-Denomination”. Take a read: 


Color -- Caste -- Denomination --

These -- are Time's Affair --

Death's diviner Classifying

Does not know they are --


As in sleep -- All Hue forgotten --

Tenets -- put behind --

Death's large -- Democratic fingers

Rub away the Brand --


If Circassian -- He is careless --

If He put away

Chrysalis of Blonde -- or Umber --

Equal Butterfly --


They emerge from His Obscuring --

What Death -- knows so well --

Our minuter intuitions --

Deem unplausible --

Poetry Bomber in Miami

Artist sews words into clothes

What if, instead of splodey-type bombs, we bombarded our enemies with the skills of poetry bombers? I'd be down. Metaphors and analogies clogging up the water supply with introspection and feeling? Heck yes. Bring it on.

One "poetry bomber", as it were, has been hard at work in Miami attempting to brighten the days of strangers with words. Argentinean artist Agustina Woodgate has been surreptitiously sewing tags into clothes for sale at the city's thrift stores. The tags contain lines from poems by the likes of Sylvia Plath and Li Po. Woodgate has been kicked out of two stores on account of her poetry integration, but continues to sneak words into garments around the city. There are enough used clothing stores that she can slip around mostly unnoticed with her needle and thread.