Marck L. Beggs will be reading and performing for us on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 6:00 p.m. Marck has been generous with us and agreed to share a bit of his poetry in advance of his reading. Check out this fabulous poem and then show up on Tuesday the 18th to hear some more, along with some of Marck's music as well.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF MY HEART
It was first discovered in a muddy shoebox
by a girl named Patsy in a field of wild poppies
in Northern California. Patsy, and her friend Lulu,
strolled hand in hand along Cattail Creek,
crossing the field to pick me up
on the way to school. That’s when
Patsy tripped over the box, and my heart
spilled out, staining her shoes. According
to Lulu, she screamed in delight.
They carried it all the way to me that morning,
tossing it back and forth like a slippery ball.
I was very happy to have it back, especially
since I had been utterly unaware of its existence.
The next day, however, Patsy and Lulu
discovered some bad mushrooms
and were whisked off to the hospital
to get their stomachs pumped.
They never crossed that field again.
In junior high, beneath a late afternoon
fall of aurora borealis, Mary Zumwalt
gathered my heart into a specimen container.
I was in the library, diagramming sentences,
when she and her posse appeared at the window,
their voices lilting through the opaque winter air:
Would you like to swing on a star?
And carry Marck Beggs home in a jar?
I felt, at once, released and trapped,
and I responded with all the grace
and thoughtfulness of a stick.
Clearly, my tender brain concluded, the heart
exists outside of the individual, among alternative
laws of time and space, where any passersby
could simply reach out and poke it
or squeeze it. And so I loaned it out
to all the inarticulate dolts populating the landscape
like spring mold. I became their private Cyrano,
writing love-drenched missives to their beautiful girlfriends
who would never even learn my name.
But they knew my words and would recite them
to each other by their lockers between classes,
my heart passing between them
as easily as handshakes and stolen glances.
In college, I started hanging out with my brain
and all of its nefarious friends and influences:
alcohol, Eliot, coffee, bohemians, Kafka, peyote,
Zappa, sugar, politics, and computers.
Somewhere off in the shadows, my heart
stood by and watched as I fumbled through
a maze of women, their names a litany of brilliance, cruelty,
promises, and lies. Through decades of neglect,
my heart never complained, never judged,
as my brain went on terrible rampages,
cutting through relationships like slave labor
in a rain forest, leaving behind burnt ruins
as my poor, sad heart wandered aimlessly to nowhere.