The Coils

by Brenda Coultas

I paid a visit to my vessel, made of clay, unfired, and waiting inside a bag

I gave it a dip of water

The weather was humid and sunny, but elsewhere snow

And the clouds, we took personally

We decide to sit on the shelf for a while

 To reconsider the shape and purpose

Of which I prefer that the pot had none

That we just exist for mutual pleasure

Making a pot is like kneading bread. We run clay through a ringer, and I am sure that I am the only person reading this who ever saw a ringer washer in use. How dangerous to get your hand caught, but back to the coils and slip. I am really going to town now. Rolling out ropes of clay and building walls and using a wooden wedge to make the coils disappear and become a charming pencil holder. I am cooking now with my coil pot; we are talking of UFO’s, of how dirty the potter’s wheel is and how we are learning to throw pots from YouTube videos. And we need more water and we argue over what is and is not a painting? We decide to keep on loving and to wash our hands up to elbows.

I taped to the wall “Ask for what you want”  and “Dig deep” a quote from a friend

and made an altar of blackish fan shells, some with barnacles and soft spikes.

Once I planned to live inside that famous nautilus shell shaped house in Woodstock.

I could live in a bus easily. The drawback: my own stink

I miss that paper cup (new) feeling and enjoy drinking tea out of a plastic quart container with a big mouth/ A wrinkle is forming on my lip even though I have never been a smoker/ Big pink, this is not/ Ohayo Mountain house this is not/ I allow myself to feel homesick/ This poem was written with a full face of bronzer and sparkles/ At full capacity/ During an abundance/ Spoon clangs against porcelain/ Phones off  and I am writing from inside of two black t-shirts, long sleeves under capped ones, olive-green cropped pants and braless.

Brenda Coultas’ poetry can be found in Bomb and Brooklyn Rail and the anthologies Readings in Contemporary Poetry published by the  DIA art foundation, What is Poetry (Just Kidding, I Know You Know) Interviews from the Poetry Project newsletter, (1983-2009) and Symmetries Three years of Art and Poetry at Dominque Levy. This spring she completed an artist residency at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in Captiva, Florida. Sabiyha Prince is an anthropologist, artist, and author based in Washington, DC.  Her books and essays explore urban change and African American culture, and her paintings and photo collages grapple with memory, identity, kinship and inequality.

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