Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998
Three Frida Kahlo Poems, by Terri Brown-Davidson
Frida and Día de los Muertos
A gigantic man straddles me supine on my mattress,
A papier-mache effigy of my dear philandering Diego,
Who was out planting small bushes in big holes
When I attached Señor Cadaver’s mock member.
Elephantine, the fake apparatus
Was sewed on gingerly with a skein of black thread
So I could amuse myself batting the bloated phallic entity
Back and forth like a wiffle ball, as skittish
As a Frida on pethidine.
One eye appears to lack a lid,
Or it’s sunken so deep in its socket
That the orb gleams and shines
Like a premonitory light
In the forest primeval,
The green moss hanging its gangrene curtains
Before redwoods that, hundreds of feet tall,
Never age. Refuse decay.
If Frida’s blunt brown iris possesses
This wisdom—still, it cannot speak
Except in the ephemeral code of dilating pupils.
Her other eye love-twins
Whatever its Siamese likeness conjectures.
Arrogance, irascibility, haughtiness
Are expressions it’s mastered.
Loneliness is new, as is her shorn hair
In a Diego-less world that floats and drowns her.
A blue room. Flat-headed gringas
Fashioned from crimson clay.
A yellow communist poster, green chili
Dormant inside its container.
Before an enormous, paint-splashed easel
Frida sits smoking in a lace-collared dress
And pink turban, contemplating the Diego
She’s embedded in her forehead.
“It’s all for shit,” she announces then laughs.
Her bald-headed dogs quiver assent.
Her laugh throatier, Frida eases forward
In her wheelchair, stubs the cigarette out
On Diego’s jowly face, the oils hissing
Like a cobra erecting to confront its prey.
Terri Brown-Davidson is a poet, fiction writer, visual artist, and photographer who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.