Poets and Memoirists: Challenge Yourselves to be a Little Surreal! It’s Magical…

Bianca Stone’s amazing poem, “Making Apple Sauce with my Dead Grandmother” came through my Poem-A-Day from the Academy of American Poets today. (Sign up for this service! It will change your life if you are a serious poet or poetry lover!)

Stone’s poem is witty, gruesome, honest, clean and frighteningly beautiful and loving. Oh, did I say, fearless? She really opens up to “that delicious and devastating, invented garden that is poetry.” (Read the rest of her comment about her process and intentions after you read the poem!)

This week, when you write anything, I challenge you to think of this poem, and be a little more brave. Tell the truth, however it comes out, however strange or magical or blunt or irreverent or messy. Revise later — be fearless now. Just look at this poem to see what’s possible when you let that happen!

Making Apple Sauce with my Dead Grandmother
by Bianca Stone
I dig her up and plop her down in a wicker chair.
She’s going to make apple sauce and I’m going to get drunk.
She’s cutting worms out of the small green apples from the back
and I’m opening up a bottle. It erects like a tower
in the city of my mouth.
The way she makes apple sauce it has ragged
strips of skin and spreads thickly over toast.
It’s infamous; eating it is as close to God as I’m going to get,
but I don’t tell her. There’s a dishtowel wrapped around her head
to keep her jaw from falling slack–
Everything hurts.
But I don’t tell her that either. I have to stand at the callbox
and see what words I can squeeze in. I’m getting worried.
If I dig her up and put her down in the wicker chair
I’d better be ready for the rest of the family
to make a fuss. I better bring her back right.
The whole house smells of cinnamon and dust.
We don’t speak. She’s piling the worms up in a bowl
and throwing them back into the yard.
 Copyright © 2014 by Bianca Stone.

About This Poem
“What you don’t realize about elegies, until someone you love dies, is that the reality of loss is fleeting. It then becomes something imaginary in your mind; a horror story you’re addicted to. I approach the elegy trying to understand the moment they ceased to be in this world; the difference between the two realities. It creates a third: that delicious and devastating, invented garden that is poetry.”

–Bianca Stone

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