Elizabeth Vignali’s “Object Permanence”

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By request, Elizabeth Vignali shares her poem “Object Permanence” the title piece of her debut poetry book set to release November 2014.  Below the post, please click the link to hear Vignali read one of her poems for a local community radio program I produce called “Poetic Moments”.  ~Shannon

 

flowers in the sun

 

Object PERMANENCE

My hands don’t wash kiwi fruit; they bathe you
when you were a few weeks old.
You had this same sparse hair
defying gravity over a taut scalp.
My thumb flattens a path of bristles
that spring up again as they dry.

I rubbed water over your fragile skull,
wiped it away from your forehead, away from the eyes
open wide. Your hairs rose as they dried, lifting
in praise of warmth.

Infants haven’t learned constancy—
this is why they delight in peek-a-boo,
a beloved face appearing again and again.
They do not mourn the absence.
They do not mourn.

Children comprehend permanence by one year.
We spend the rest of our lives trying to forget,
brush little grains of worry in our palms
and pocket them: bills, calories,
the permanence of death. We meditate, we drink,
we fight to remember what presence felt like.

You come to me with a wilted fistful of tulips,
yellow petals waxy and sullen. I try to explain the benefit
of leaving flowers unpicked. Enjoy them and then leave them
for others to enjoy, I say. Don’t hang on to them so tight.
Experience them, then let them go.

I long to have you a baby again, to love you
despite your pink insistence, your curled
shrimp fists, your incessant keen.
I’d bring you my breasts filled with milk.
I’d hold you until my arms fell asleep.

 

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Elizabeth Vignali author of “Object Permanence”

Vignali on Soundcloud reading “Scarlet Runners”

S.P. Laws interviews Vignali, October 2014

Mayor’s Arts Award

Shannon P Laws
Mayor’s Arts Award
35th Annual Recipient
Bellingham, Washington
It is with great joy and thanks to our Mayor Kelli Linville and the Bellingham Arts Commission that I share with you my good news: I am a recipient of the Mayor’s Arts Award, 2013.  Truly a once in a lifetime award! 
2013 was an outstanding year in the area of community literature and arts outreach.  Sparks of creativity, and the desire to extend past the coffee houses, birthed new events for our city.  Through events such as the international “Poets for Peace, Read-in, Write-on”,  the FAB (Fairhaven Art Block) party, and the radio feature “Poetic Moments”, poets and writers found new ways to bring encouragement, insight, and art to citizens.    
Bellingham is a city of artists, a city of poets, a city of musicians, and I am happy to be apart it.
Please join the other recipients, and me for the reception and awards ceremony 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 30th at the Mount Baker Theatre in the Walton Theatre located at 104 N. Commercial Street in downtown Bellingham.
ALL RECIPIENTS
Tore Ofteness – Photographer
Margaret Bikman – Entertainment News Coordinator
Laurel Leigh – Author and Editor
Jack Frymire – Opera Singer and Educator
Shannon Laws – Poet
Becky Elmendorf – Former Whatcom Symphony Orchestra President
Alan Rhodes – Community Columnist
The Mayor’s Arts Awards ceremony is an annual opportunity for the Mayor to recognize individual artists and businesses, benefactors, arts organizations, arts community leadership, arts education or support, civic improvement and research, notable achievements and events, and those that have contributed to the arts in our community. 

Thank you
~
Old City Hall