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Monday, July 18, 2011

The Mystery Box


In the closet of nearly every woman
hides a beautiful pair of red high-heeled shoes.
She never forgets they're there. Sometimes
she gets them out and puts them on in
her cleaning clothes or in her gown.
She may have worn them once or twice.
They tempted her more than chocolate.
Her resistance to them is manifest
but she needs to know she can access them.

They're a sort of symbol -- old, prehistoric
yet palpable. An apple, glittering in
the sunshine. An orb so perfect, so pungent,
so pregnant with possibilities that she would
sacrifice anything for one bite of it. She
understands that allure; she can't articulate it.
If she could, she'd deny it. Shame dances
around that symbol and guilt too.

She keeps them in an ordinary shoebox.
No one suspects the shoes mean anything.
But sometimes as she is choosing a shirt,
or a dress for church her eyes fasten on the
box and it seems to be made of gold, set with
jewels. She quickly smirks away her smile.
The box could be made of glass. She
sees the shoes, their curves, their feel,
the way they hold her foot, they lift her
to the fullness of womanhood.

The gods gave a beautiful box to Pandora;
bestowing on her beauty, grace, intelligence too.
She couldn't contain the accessory of her curiosity.
She may have thought the box held a pair of red shoes.
She may have dreamed of an entrance,
stopping the show, dancing red in marble halls.
She opened the jeweled box releasing evil,
all evils, on the world.
She expected death.
She found hope.

Every woman who owns a box of red shoes
instinctively knows that.

(c) Gay Reiser Cannon - 2011



Posted for Form Monday @onestoppoetry  
And for the OPENING CELEBRATION @ dVersepoets

49 comments:

  1. Ah Gay--wonderful stuff. I can see them on my feet(and I've never owned a pair) magical and lightly anti-gravity imbued. The descent into and out of the dark side in the final stanza is a shot to the jaw. Fine writing. And a fine prompt today. May we see many more at the next stop on the journey.

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  2. Dorothy's ruby red pumps ("slippers" only with a nod to Cinderella) were both the cruellest magic of all and her yellow-brick road to redemption: she landed on them in LaLa Land (did the Witch, or that flying house, really wear 'em?) and for all the emerald of that fabled city and horses of a different color, in the end those shoes just took her home, fading into a secret box beneath her bed as she woke to barnyard Kansas. And yet, as Hedgewitch points out, those Manolos are intact for every cha-cha to come on Ariadne's dancing floor. Isn't it strange that Pandora's curiosity secured a dram of hope in a fallen world, while the curiosity of Orpheus to see his dead bride in her red shoes again sent him home with ust the song of her. Thanks for the invite to pontificate at OneStop, and thanks always for the aural dance.

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  3. Don't forget the shoes, heated red-hot, with which the witch was punished. :)

    I loved this week's theme, one I'm more inclined to explore in prose than poetry. It's lovely to read your version.

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  4. And of course Dorothy had magical red shoes! Creative parallel with Pandora!

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  5. I love the sense of the shoes as talisman or transformative magic allowing the woman full access to her most complex self. Pandora embraces the taboo of multiplicity. The expression of Pandora's curiosity, a closeted part of herself / her shadow side, is vital to her liberation:

    She expected death.
    She found hope.

    Every woman who owns a box of red shoes
    instinctively knows that.

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  6. Love it, love it. And I do own a pair of shoes too that I just look at, remembering the times of a young carefree girl dancing the night away.

    "She
    sees the shoes, their curves, their feel,
    the way they hold her foot, they lift her
    to the fullness of womanhood."

    and your final lines about pandora's box is a perfect twist.... hopes lies in that shoe box.

    I am really happy to see continue your sharing in D'verse!

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  7. They're like a symbol old, prehistoric
    yet palpable. An apple, glittering in
    the sunshine. An orb so perfect, so pungent,
    so pregnant with possibilities that she would
    sacrifice anything for one bite of it. She
    understands that allure; she can't articulate it.
    If she could, she'd deny it. Shame dances
    around that symbol and guilt too.

    To reach beyond the obvious, melding from beginnings to present, allures of all kinds, yet we dance to the beat of current drummers, still the symbols and guilts of all time, we carry them with us always.

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  8. Wow, I really enjoyed the ending. " She expected Death. She found Hope....." Unexpected ending but a great one. Everyone has a box with red shoes. Thanks Gay ~Corbie Sinclair

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  9. I love this poem Gay-- now I want to write about my own search many moons ago for red shoes. I wonder..... xxxj and excellent interweaving w/ Pandora myth. xxxj

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  10. Made me think of The Red Shoes (1948)- a British feature film about a young ballerina who joins an established ballet company and becomes the lead dancer in a new ballet called The Red Shoes, itself based on the fairy tale "The Red Shoes" by Hans Christian Andersen. They gave her fame but also lead to her death.

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  11. You know it's funny I own a copy of "The Red Shoes". I was forbidden from seeing it by my mom until I was grown. (Surely she didn't think I would consider dancing myself to death). Moira Shearer is so beautiful in that film- in love with the young composer, driven mad by the Diaghilev character. Also, Dorothy's shoes - I am currently reading the "other" OZ books right now.

    Yet neither reference consciously informed this piece. Its journey was very strange. I meant to write about the confessional box in Catholic churches. How they seem so ugly and hold the evils of the universe. This is what came out. Odd the way the subconscious works. Thanks for the awakening prompts. And grateful for the comments. Thank you.

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  12. Pandora's famous box... a modern-lifestyle take.. interesting. Also interesting Gay to see the style you've written this in, is this a departure for you, or is it just that I haven't read any like this yet? free free verse, as in almost prose poetry; you could lay this out in prose form and it would need to editing to become prose-poetry. I've been playing with this style a lot more recently. I'm a fan of form, as you know, but mostly free verse for me for a while now. On Pandora's Box - did you know that somehow, somewhere along the line, it got confused like Chinese whispers and became a box - it was Psyche who opened the Golden Box, not Pandora. Pandora opened a large jar containing the evils of the world. Weird eh?

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  13. Gay, you speak to my heart with this poem...or my closet!

    On the top shelf, in a regular shoebox, sits a pair of Purple High Heels....whore shoes, but so expensive! I could have never afforded them, and traded a painting for them. I don't think I ever wore them except one time....in a dance of seduction....LOL~!

    Pandora's Box: a world in there awaiting the escape.

    Love the free form, Gay....seems different from what I have read of yours before? Good if it is, to expand ourselves.

    Evocative poem, Gay.

    Lady Nyo

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  14. gay, i totally loved this poem... i knew shoes meant a lot to women.. but the way you used a simple pair of shoes to create such an image that dove through an ocean of paint was amazing

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  15. gay this is a gorgeous piece...i dont wear re heels myself but i can relate...and the close is marvelous...no death, only hope...and you cant give up that...

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  16. Well girls, purple's just another shade of red mixed with a bit of "blue" I say. That's appropriate too! Thanks for coming by. Keep those shoes ready. You never know when they might need to walk outside the box.

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  17. Oh I love this and I think she should wear them to church!

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  18. Just as good the second time. "prehistoric yet palpable." What an apple to chew on, and I think it's made of chocolate. ;_)

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  19. A lovely poem, so well thought out with mixing metaphors. I loved that ending!

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  20. very lovely gay, i enjoyed it though gone are the days of my red shoes:)

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  21. This was a fantastic write! I've never owned a pair of red heels, though I've wistfully looked at my share of them - someday...I like the parallels you've drawn with the different symbols in this. the apple - of course! And so true about the feelings it can evoke in women. Thank you for sharing this with us. It's so nice to be able to read some new poets, too! :)

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  22. A beautiful poem Gay. I do own red shoes but they sure aren't anything to inspire poetry :-)

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  23. I really DID just buy a pair... they make me feel transformed! :) Not sure I can dance in them, but, oh boy, the plans I have when I DO wear them... Yes, it is very nice having that box in my closet... the promise of a great evening... :)

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  24. I just bought a pair of red sandals! Does that count? Love this! ♥

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  25. I liked reading about how this was supposed to be about the confessional box until your subconscious took over...this happens to me all of the time and I think it is quite fascinating.

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  26. Love all the connections that can be made from this--Dorothy, the witch, the twelve dancing princesses, and the way you invoked Pandora. The ending is perfect. Thank you.

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  27. All red shoes do count. I think it's true this observation of women's love for red shoes (or purple ones) might have been something that inspired Hans Christian Anderson and L. Frank Baum. I used the reference to Eve and to Pandora as the stories have in common that they are both considered the first human women in their myth set and both were given a task of abstaining from something (eating the apple, opening the box). From experience (second to that loving that guy), refraining from buying a great pair of shoes might be the most difficult temptation to resist. (all smiles and thanks)

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  28. Gorgeous, rich, layered - I do have red shoes

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  29. Boy, I need to get a pair of red shoes! I did used to have a red dress I felt this way about. I suppose it's time to go shopping, lol...

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  30. Yes she definitely needs to know she has access to them - they are her feminine they renew her and give her life...bkm

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  31. "they lift her
    to the fullness of womanhood."

    red stilettos and a little black dress {or even a crisp white shirt and black pencil skirt.}

    love this, Gay! thank you so much for the final Form Monday. i've been working on my post {finding photographs, researching a particular myth} so if Mr. Linky is closed, i'll submit it the the final One Shot Wednesday.

    SO thrilled that you will be over at the dVerse ~ Poets Pub! see you there. ♥ dani

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  32. I love this piece. To me it's a tribute, an ode to woman's sexuality and femininity. The guilt, fear, and secretiveness too many women have held locked, ribboned, sealed...this poem should be a coda to the Vagina Chronicles. I like too, the metaphor of Pandora's box, and I too, have used this as one for the Poet's gifts. It's a wonderful metaphor and particularly cogent here. Beautiful work!

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  33. Wonderful thought provoking piece. Love the reference to Pandora, it just worked so perfectly. Can't say I have red shoes haha but I can still get the message.

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  34. Thanks for explaining another aspect of female thinking. :-) The Pandora shift is brilliant!

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  35. i know exactly what you're talking about - and it's not shoes..gorgeous piece gay - took me into deep waters... thanks for everything you do - and for who you are. you're awesome!!

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  36. A few years ago I searched for months to find the perfect pair of red pumps. You are so right about the properties with which we imbue them. As if they are magic... perhaps they are.

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  37. Killer heels, killer poem. Girl after my own heart. So much more to this than shoes though. The ability to empower oneself, to draw on one's strengths, particularly on dark days, is a gift. Wonderful write.

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  38. I have the sudden urge to shop for a pair of candy red shoes....

    I love the philosophy behind this piece, and the allusion to Pandora, whom I understand all too well.

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  39. The red shoes seem to be a metaphor for unleashing all the fire that has been pent up too long... I only know that I would like to be there when you put them on!

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  40. So glad you reposted this for the prompt, Gay. Happy Birthday.

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  41. nice...thanks for joining in gay...well worth the read again...love this verse...very beautiful...and happy birthday...smiles.

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  42. Thanks guys. It's been a good day!

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  43. Beautiful poem. I especially enjoyed the allusions to Pandora's Box and the Garden of Eden.

    David

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  44. An absolutely fascinating work of art not least because it is so unbearable in its smirking honesty :) oh yes, that box of shoes, that whispers and calls to us with all manner of life changing promises.... wonderful work of women's truth here :)

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