Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Fabric of Gee's Bend: Coveralls


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 Sewing a quilt. Gees Bend, Alabama Other Title: Jennie Pettway and another girl with the quilter Jorena Pettway
1937

I miss you baby.
Seems like I cain’t get warm no more
and winter’s a comin on soon.
I didn’t think I’d make it this far
with you gone.
I wish I could still feel
the heat of the July day
you passed.
I try.
But I cain’t no more
You’re both gone.
A’times I miss you so much
 I feel like I’m gonna break
But then I look up
And still see that old dusty table
In front of me.
How many years we had that table?
Corn bread don’t taste the same off it.
Not so sweet in my mouth now.
I picked up your coveralls the other day.
I keep ‘em in that old trunk mama gave me.
They still smell like you,
your sweet sweat and tabacca
And the gin you’d sneak when you thought I wasn’t lookin’.
I needed a new blanket
but there just wasn’t enough for it.
So I took all your coveralls
And stitched ‘em--
I hope you don mind"
Into a blanket--
And covered myself in you,
So I can smell you and dream of you
Through the long winter.

  For more information about the quilts of Gee's Bend please go to quilts of Gee's Bend
copyright/all rights reserved Audrey Howitt 2011

http://dversepoets.com/2011/11/15/open-link-night-week-28/ 

and posted for  Poets United Poetry Pantry #129

41 comments:

  1. This breaks my heart a little, but beautifully with your cornbread, sneaked gin and quilt of love.

    thank you.

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  2. *sigh*

    Yeah, it's like that. The language only adds to the appeal of this.

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    1. Thank you Fireblossom--I loved your piece as well!

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  3. Lovely sentiment, nicely formed and it flows beautifully as a tribute should - I hope the scents are still there :)

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    1. Thank you Steve! I am trying to figure out if you use a pan name--so I can return the favor---

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  4. smiles...the stitched quilt of coveralls made me smile...and thinking of wrapping yourself in bits of them...i too hope the smells are still there...

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  5. Aromas evoke such a depth of emotion in us often don't they? I completely related to the woman in this glorious poem and her desire to cover herself in a blanket made with the coveralls of the one she loved. Awesome!

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  6. Smells...bring back such memories...nicely penned!

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    1. It was an amazing thing to see these quilts and read these womens' stories--

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  7. You bring to life these memories and emotions by evoking all the senses, hearing, touch, smell, taste, sight. That's all you can ask of poetry.

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  8. "They still smell like you"...the scent of love lingers. Beautiful, beautiful writing.

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    1. Thank you so much Laura! This piece has continued to resonate in my brain pan--

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  9. I envy poets who can weave rich history into their work - you've definitely done a good job with that here. I really like the conversational tone and flow of the poem, very natural.

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  10. Well weaved, well spun...a wonderful, all be it a little sad, write that was a pleasure to read. Much enjoyed Poet!

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    1. Thank you Natasha! I get much pleasure in reading and writing!

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  11. aw, this is so sad. I love how you named all of the day to day things that we never think about unitl someone is gone from them. I also enjoyed the dialect you used in this. very good.

    Sheila

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  12. Liken the poem Audrey... just quietly If I ever see another quilt Ill go hit someone lol long story ;)

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    1. Ok A need to tell me about that one---

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  13. The image of the coveralls stitched together, along with all the little things that remind us another, is very effective here. The voice is ckear and well drawn, though I wonder whether some of the phrasing isn't a bit strained.

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    1. Thank you so much! I am wondering if you be willing to let me know more about what feels strained to you---I'd like to look more closely--thank you!

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  14. My great-grandma made quilts out of the family's old denims. They were so warm and heavy and smelled of woodsmoke. I wish I had one!

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  15. "And covered myself in you,
    So I can smell you and dream of you
    Through the long winter."

    oh what a wonderful loving image...I FEEL it... thank you for this.

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  16. Lyrical, this character piece feels genuine and true. Nice work.

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  17. Beautifully composed. I have read about those quilts, and your poem brings them to life.

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  18. Oh,wow1 Love how it reads out loud and the message is so poignant. It's like a story in a short poem. How this person found a way to comfort herself by making a blanket of the overalls. Incredible solution. I did the same thing with my son's shirts so I know the comfort it can bring.

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  19. So poignant, capturing perfectly the loss, the remembering.......makes one want to know the story. And I gather there are more quilts with more stories - what a rich source of material is all around us! I loved the film The Making of an American Quilt - the women quilters all had amazing stories, too.

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  20. Truly a well written poem, I have one of those patchwork quilts stored away been in the family for many years. I never use it anymore for fear of damaging it but the memories are still there and your poem brought them alive once more.

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  21. I hate to be crude, but, the first thing I thought was holy fuck. That was an awed reaction, by the way. Others mentioned the history you built into this work, and, it's quite fantastic to read. The frankness and emotion were so, so good.

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  22. Very evocative, and sad in a hopeful way, too: I loved the end.

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  23. a very beautiful piece of work.

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  24. It is like that, indeed, how good it was is a measure of the lingering need to touch, to smell . . . a quilt, a covering, how comforting if absence cannot be cured. I know.

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  25. lovely storytelling, Audrey! i've seen several articles/online exhibits of the quilts from Gee's Bend and they are truly pieces of art! i love the idea of keeping someone's memory close and covering oneself in it! beautiful!

    wishing you a very happy New Year!

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  26. This is knitted together with love. I love it!

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I appreciate your comments and thoughts--thank you for stopping by! I don't always reply here, but always try to reciprocate--so hang in there, I will be over to your blog in a jiffy!