I’m re-blogging this, from six years ago.
Meg Tuite on Kate Ellen Braverman’s Poem “Cobalt Blue”
Kate Ellen Braverman “Milk Run” 1977
The winter I learned colors
my father got the cobalt blues.
He bled in his sleep
the week we learned apple red.
Friday is white and black
throwing stones in the snow
by the railroad tracks.
The neighbor boy
vying for the gold star whispers
your father’s dying.
He drinks milkshakes after treatments,
spends entire days in bed.
She brings him lunch on a tray.
I collect clay models, fossils,
the transformation of a butterfly.
But this big man is becoming a boy.
We move next door with the neighbors.
Raking leaves, cutting knees,
pushing rag dolls in backyard swings
Driving to town for matinees,
monster movies, mutants in the woods,
Worlds where all things were scarred,
like a knife criss-crossing
someone’s father’s throat.
Preparing for the inevitable
she cancels my piano recital.
A stream of strangers
wander our corridors
buying brass lamps,
the new china plates.
A truck waits.
Men load crates.
Leaves fall outside a screen door.
She touches his flesh.
The winter I learned colors
She was twenty-six.
Meg Tuite says: This is the poem I took with me to Esalen in August. We were asked to bring a poem that we loved and I’d love to share it on your blog. Kate Braverman is living here in Santa Fe and she has been a huge inspiration to me. Her images are memorable and she evokes so much emotion in her work. I read them over and over and layers unravel each time. I love the way she gets under my skin.
October 14, 2019
My heart is broken! I just found out that Kate Braverman died. I loved her kickass brilliance, beyond the beyond! Just read any of her books! I loved her in your face hilarious being! Her amazing mind and wildass spirit. Below is one of my ideas to bring the world back to her when she moved to Santa Fe. She didn’t have the community she had in LA. But I found her and we had such a great time together! I will miss her powerful, fierce preciousness!!!
I’ve got an idea for a Kate Braverman tribute of sorts. She was somewhat black-listed for being an outspoken, brilliant writer who lived on the edge and was a woman. I have been reading articles from NY Times that quoted that she was “a bitch,” “difficult,” “overwrought” “drug addict” (which she does not deny) “crazy”, and is now living in subsidized housing in santa fe with no cash and not a lot of acclaim, when Bukowski, Burroughs, and Norman Mailer, 3 examples of male writers who beat their wives, girlfriends, killed a wife, did heroin, drank, and never let their editors change their work. And when Braverman won the Graywolf Prize for NF they wanted her to change her last few chapters. She actually tried, but they didn’t accept those so when she received her award she called them out for it and then was considered “too much of a pain to deal with”.
I met Kate Braverman at the Women’s Building in Los Angeles, a book launch for r PALM LATITUDES. I joined her workshop right afterwards. Was in it until I moved to Santa Fe NM. Wonderful teacher. She taught me how to marry poetry and prose. May her life and her name continue to be for a blessing. Live in power!
Thank you Jeanne!