Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Stories of Beds

How do you feel about your bed? Have you ever thought of painting it, like Robert Rauschenberg,

Rauschenberg, 1955
or displaying it as a work of art as Tracy Emin chose to do.
 
            
Emin, My Bed 1998










Powers, Pictorial Quilt 1898







The quilt, left, was made in the 19th century by Harriet Powers, an African American slave and artist.

What story would you sow into a quilt? Who would be the main characters? Would there be a happy ending?

What do you keep at the side of your bed? If your bed could speak what would it say? About you, about the dreams you share with it?

Think about the beds you have slept it, from childhood to now. In houses, in tents, between trees, on boats...

Write a poem about one, or about many.

Write well.
L
x



10 comments:

Glenn Buttkus said...

Bed Bedlam

Spending over a thousand bucks
for a box spring and mattress, always
pisses me off, every decade or so--
even though my bulk has created
a form-fitting crevice on my side
and everything rolls to the center;
even as back and neck aches are
much too morning prevalent, even
when informercials late at night
show blow-up photos of the dreaded
dust mites that gorge themselves
on my constantly shedding skin cells,
after flipping the mattress 57 times
every which way to find the level--
and then there is the eternal quandary
about “which” mattress to buy,
a waterbed or the sleep-number mattress,
or the bowling ball mattress, or the one
with the wine glass that will not spill
as a child leaps up and down beside it?

For God’s sake, this is not Henry VIII’s spacious
canopy bed, or Gauguin’s panda ma palm mattress,
or Cleopatra’s goose-down love nest complete
with cheeta-skin pillow cases, or Andy Warhol’s
Campbell Soup-shaped bed, or Jackie Gleason’s
huge perfectly round bed, or Winston Churchill’s
bulldog-shaped day bed, or Bill Clinton’s
cigar-shaped napper--and besides, these nights
my wife and I spend more time sleeping in our
respective recliners than in the conjugal wrestling mat
center piece in our bedroom
anyway.

Glenn Buttkus

January 2011

Keith Wallis said...

The cat-curled cradle
of dreams
sang its siren song
to leaden eyelids.
Choosing to close my eyes
releases the tiger of imagination
to prowl, un-caged,
digging its claws in phantom reality.
When I awake the adventure
is written in strewn bed-clothes
and straggled hair.

foster_catherine said...

Apologies for a bit of bit of doggerel

Down with duvets

Duvets are devilish, duvets are trouble,
whether they're KING-sized, single or double.

Beginning the night all fluffy and plump,
in next to no time a monstrous lump.

Slipping and sliding all over the sheets,
exposing his bottom, her bosoms,their feet.

He nabs it this way, then yanks it that,
frustrating the Mrs, alarming the cat.

To change the damn thing you need a degree,
In stuffin' n' holdin'-duvology.

Goose-down, duck-down and how many togs?
The cover all retro? Or squiggles and blobs?

I treasure my sheets. I bless my blankets.
The Lord be praised, the lord be thankED.

Martin Cordrey said...

I am reading bedtime stories to my daughter,
three teddies, a pedigree horse and two angels;
re-telling the tale of Moses, as plastic Barbie
with blonde hair stares up with blank blue eyes.

I am nearing the conclusion where he is banished
from kissing the sacred soil of the Promised Land
despite surviving the Passover, pestilence of locus
the parting of, and crushing water wall of the Nile.

She placed her tiny fingered hand over the pages
of the Childs Bible, indicating that we’d finished.

Looking up at me she said “Dad, why didn’t God
just do what you and mummy do, when I’m tired
and grumpy - and put him on the naughty stair?”

Martin Cordrey said...

bother, the web deleted a line...


Swaddled like a baby in a floating reed basket
I am reading bedtime stories to my daughter,
three teddies, a pedigree horse and two angels;
re-telling the tale of Moses, as plastic Barbie
with blonde hair stares up with blank blue eyes.

I am nearing the conclusion where he is banished
from kissing the sacred soil of the Promised Land
despite surviving the Passover, pestilence of locus
the parting of, and crushing water wall of the Nile.

She placed her tiny fingered hand over the pages
of the Childs Bible, indicating that we’d finished.

Looking up at me she said “Dad, why didn’t God
just do what you and mummy do, when I’m tired
and grumpy - and put him on the naughty stair?”

MAry Rose said...

Story of Beds.

My first bed was metal painted white,
Coloured Dutch boys in baggy trousers danced
their paint pealing with help from small fingers.
We moved from Herne Bay to Sidcup, nothing
memorable about my next bed, wooden I think.

I joined the Guides, went to camp slept on
ground-sheets, hard earth beneath.
Sea Rangers was fun, we slept four to a punt.
I fell in the river twice at Henley. At night
we spread the awning provided
over big iron hoops, slept soundly.

Later when we all had jobs, we hired
two houseboats on the Norfolk Broads
stopped at riverside pubs and drank Shandy
I slept on the Sea Sprite. The war meant
there was no petrol
so we were towed upstream
for a change of scene.

Soon after this I began a wonderful marriage
lasting for 57 years sharing the double bed in which
I now sleep alone since my dearly loved husband
died four years ago, a teddy bear for comfort.
His dressing-gown hangs on the door
an empty pillow beside me
where his head should be.

Stephen Fryer said...

This pillow is where your head should be, my dead love.
And yes, when I change the bed I change your pillowcase.
Every now and then the dog asks to share this old bed and
I say no. Rarely now do I put out the breakfast things
for two, or get in the passenger seat of the car and wait.

But I don’t read the Guardian any more, I never really did.
I get the awful Daily Mail with its rightwing fascist populist
unacceptable views. I watch the ITV news. I watch Neighbours.
And Home and Away. Trivial storylines plucked from nowhere.

The dog and I are thinking about
buying a new bed.

Anonymous said...

A Trail of Feathers

When I saw your house empty
the rose bush dug up
a faint trace of bicycle track
I wondered what happened
to the pillows, we rarely slept
in the bed, preferring a quilt
on the floor, planted pillows
in front of an orange fire, undressed
by flame, night slipping its tongue
under the hem of moon, hushing
eyelids, searching for stars in the dark
of damp hair, exploring paths
over moorland skin, each feather
a door that led us home.

echulme@hotmail.com

Martin Cordrey said...

The truth is I read in bed, there, I've said it!
Let's put one thing to bed, these days I need glasses to do it - that's the truth, not a manipulation like a faked orgasm, or, imagine that I drowned my neighbours cat. Why? Because it was evil, it pooped on my patunias, it ate our pet gerbils, or because I'm a bad person, a control freak.
In the end the cat is still deceased, and that's a truth.

Lynne Rees said...

Thanks so much to Glenn, Keith, Catherine, Martin, Mary Rose, Stephen and Eileen for posting your poems.

They were an enjoyable mixture of irony, social observation, lyrical reflection, humour (that has to be the funniest rhyme: blankets/thank-ED!)and controlled grief.

My favourite phrase from all the poems posted was the following in Eileen's poem, A Trail of Feathers:

night slipping its tongue
under the hem of moon

Isn't that so wonderfully sensual?

And the next prompt follows hot on the heels of these comments.