Celia Gilbert is a poet, printmaker, and a painter. She is the author of Something To Exchange (BlazeVOX 2009), Cos Na Wymiane (collected works in Polish), An Ark Of Sorts (winner of the Jane Kenyon chapbook award), Bonfire, and Queen of Darkness. Her poetry has appeared in Poetry, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. Her art has appeared in Beans and Bands, The Boston Globe, and her work has been featured in numerous group shows. She is the recipient of a Discovery Award, an Emily Dickinson Award, a Consuelo Ford Award from the Poetry Society of America, and a Puschart Prize. Her art and poetry has also appeared online, most recently in the fall issue of Tower Journal. Website: celiagilbert.artspan.com
Grande Hotel Cascade, Finland
Grande Hotel Cascade, FinlandThe hotel brochure says it best: "Forty-four rooms for quests… [sic] Catherine the Great came to see the waterfall (with which of her lovers, they don't tell,) and was gratified by the waters' torrential likeness to her passion and pride. Then Dumas came, and Wagner "who is said" to have planned an opera in this setting where our bed views two birches sheathed in virginal dress but whose black eyes hint at white nights warning love can kill. Indeed this place is known for "floods of romantic suicides that continued all the way to World War One." Now a dam brings light into the region's dark, but every Sunday afternoon for an hour they let loose the torrent over the Falls and we hold our breath, spectators, like those in the old prints where an acrobat, defying death, makes his way over the foaming waters.
Taking LeaveGod save you, beggars, here's a kiss in your cups, a penny to lay on your lips. Adios, sparrows, my co-conspirators in morning cabals. Vale pigeons that strut and moan at noon. Goodbye, clocks, striking your bones the hours I spent dreaming. Au revoir palaces, room after room filled with vanity's petitpoint. So long illusions, bric a brac, banners, gilt vainglorious ceilings. Farewell, maps, guides, dictionaries. Auf wiedersein, monuments, markets, Thursday lectures, bells in the garden. Salaam alekem, black men in blue, sweeping our dirt into the gutters. Ciao jet fountains, your endless Morse code warning mamas in the park. Adieu myself, sobbing on the quai, speck in the eye of the horizon.
WondermentWonderment chalks its interrogation on our slates. A deeper understanding schools thought, a whirling-round, a blind man's bluff. So I touched you and you me. We named one another, each one a mystery calling to a mystery mate, that was our bond, our comfort as we stumbled on in the dark. Could we refrain from trying on the shaman robes, could we refuse the intoxication of many selves humble ourselves deny our wanting to move as the dancer lets herself free to speak with fingers, limbs, to crouch, in exaltation leap; to imitate the speech, the accent of the one talking to me; to draw a line, a color, to possess everything I see, to commit the sin of God the jealous One, the artist, the Alone one, but wanting to be foam rising to air, falling back. Then farewell to the rainbow throwing her shawl over us.