Clarabelle and Dee

“Pure of soul and of flesh, she was.
One of a kind, thought the Witch.
Not half woman and half spider,
but one of Nature. Whole. Complete.”
~ Belle du Freak

Often, a writer will say that her stories write themselves; or that characters snatch the pen off her hand, deviate from her outlined plot, and run wild. This is true for many creators of tales, of poetry, of worlds…

When I wrote “Belle du Freak”, the first poem in a trilogy that grew into a quartet that is morphing into a series, I thought I was writing about a witch rescuing a spider-woman from a circus of cruelty. By the time I penned the third poem, plot and characters surprised me with a love story that’s weaving itself to life while swimming in blood and dancing on fire.

Most things about the Belle du Freak poems have been a surprise. For instance, I never named the speaker or subject. But Lorelei started referring to the spider-woman as Belle… then Sharon spoke of how much she loved Belle’s poems… After that, there was no way back: everyone called her Belle. I suspect the spider-woman is speaking into readers’ hearts. “Belle… Belle… Call me Clarabelle,” she whispers… and I hear her, too.

Clarabelle doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of passivity (or maybe she understands perfectly, and just doesn’t give a damn). Her dexterous fingers grip my pen, her chin hovers over my right shoulder, her breath is warm on my ear, her words are clear, “I was born poetry,” she says. “Force me to be prose, and we’ll both hurt.”

I believe in my Clarabelle, so the story of her life with Dee (yes, the witch has been named) will be told in free verse. Because I was a rather unskilled poet when I wrote “Belle du Freak”, I’ll start by rewriting the first three poems. I know three years isn’t such a long time, but I’ve learned so much since then… that it feels like it has been forever and three days.

Would you read a verse novel, told through poems similar to my “Powerful Freaks”?

Whispers, by Denton LundWhispers, by Denton Lund
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Powerful Freaks

We are powerful freaks;
some winged, others gilled…
all a universe of promising chaos.

I started seeing through dark-mooned skies,
my smile sharpened,
I took to weaving my fate.

When the first pet went missing,
friends and strangers whispered,
“She has all those legs now,
all those eyes;
that stomach is too large,
too monstrous
to be filled with just guts.”

While I was still naïve
enough to kiss hope in the mouth,
expecting it would kiss back,
I whispered explanations:
“My opisthosoma cradles my heart.”

But the Stones that made some of us Mythical
didn’t only expose our inner essence;
it also showed us powerful (perhaps too powerful)
in the eyes of men too scared
to see that our new shells housed the same old Selves.

Mistakenly,
they called me nasty bug,
recoiled (then trembled) when I was near;
some tried to crush me like an insect.
So many mistakes were made.

I considered smirking sharply into their flesh,
filling their veins with venomous rage,
liquefying self-inflicted blindness into convenient food;
but I was a vegetarian…
in those nearly forgotten days.

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Process Note: I was rereading my “Belle du Freak” poem, in order to write the short piece I was supposed to post today (but didn’t; since I just published “Large, Powerful, Wild”, and two consecutive short stories felt like a bit much). Revisiting the poem left me wondering about the spider woman’s background; thinking, why did she have to hide in a terrible circus? “Powerful Freaks” seems to be part of the answer.

Opisthosoma is the posterior part of arachnids’ bodies, often called abdomen; but different from it, since it also contains the respiratory organs and the heart (Wikipedia).

written for May Monster Madness ← follow the link to visit other deliciously mad participants; and do visit the madness instigators: Little Gothic Horrors, Annie Walls, and Something Wicked this Way Comes…

linked to Poets United, Poetry Pantry 254

Spider Web Desktop Background
Spider Web Desktop Background

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