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~ Joan Didion (December 5, 1934 – December 23, 2021)
How I felt a cold shadow creak through me—klieg
lights suddenly flipped, a few mercury vapors streaking
noir memories, growing up in L.A. where I’d read
you, run into you at the tucked-away girls’ school
your daughter attended, a stone’s throw from lots
where talented Sharon Tate expired and Jim Morrison
fluttered psychedelic, fiery birds rising from the boulevard
of broken wings. Sometimes the calendar opens too early,
the advent candy, its hidden splendor, spoiling like
chocolate in the sun of disbelief, our soft mugs stamped
with bad news behind each sprung paper door parceled
down a page, each bittersweet morsel we’ve fed ourselves
to live, the un-swaddled mirror swallowed—darkly—
embraced. Each death, like yours, we’re summoned to face.
Copyright 2022 Michelle Bitting
Michelle Bitting’s books include Nightmares & Miracles (Two Sylvias Press, 2022). She lives in Pacific Palisades, California.
Note: Joan Didion was an American writer, considered one of the pioneers of New Journalism. Her writing during the 1960s through the late 1970s engaged audiences in the realities of the counterculture and the Hollywood lifestyle. Didion’s writing in the 1980s and 1990s often concentrated on the subtext of political and social rhetoric.
Joan Didion, Malibu 1972. Henry Clarke / Getty Images
That first line–and “fiery birds rising from the boulevard
of broken wings”–beautiful poem.
I love Michelle’s wild imagination breaking loose from a contained space.
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The heart, sounds, cadence, images in this poem: I love Michelle Bitting’ poems. This one in particular.
Thanks, Laure-Anne. I do too.
Wonderful ode, by one great talent for another.
Thank you, Wesley. I agree!
Thank you, Wesley, that is so kind and means a lot to me.