Over the past 10 years, amidst other projects, degrees, business startups and family life, I worked on the poem "Nancy Marguerite's Chopin." I crafted on paper and on laptop. I performed the piece in various spoken word iterations with cellist and improv artist/composer CRAIG HULTGREN. I am now settled into a finished version and it is published.
The piece opens on a morning in my early childhood. I sit on the piano bench with my mother, Nancy Marguerite Perrin Bailey as she plays the Chopin Preludes after the rest of the family has left the house. Her playing is webbing, threads of ecstatic logic strengthened with the intricacies of loneliness and longing. I am wrapped. Later she says "I am just not good enough," and does not play again. Her mantra of lack permeates me with the threat of what should not be, no matter what. Not for my mother and not for me. The poem explores the voice that we attempt to insulate and contain but cannot, "for we are leaky containers." I am curious and nudge the spaces in our histories. The space contains stories that are planks in a bridge stretching across the river. Mother is at the bottom of the river when I discover her. As the poem closes, I listen again to the Preludes from the floor of a bungalow on 12th Street.
Dedicated to my mother, Nancy Marguerite's Chopin is a chapbook published by Green Bucket Press, a new small press venture in Irondale, Alabama and is the first book to be published by Green Bucket. www.greenbucketpress.com