Other People's Art


Len (Jess Conda), cursed church theater, feb 2014


Len (Jess Conda), cursed church theater, feb 2014

Sermon of the Twelve Acknowledgements, by Anne Sexton

The month is dumb. 
It is fraudulent. 
It does not cleanse itself. 
The hens lay blood-stained eggs. 
Do not lend your bread to anyone 
lest it nevermore rise. 
Do not eat lentils or your hair will fall out. 

Do not rely on February 
except when your cat has kittens, 
throbbing into the snow. 
Do not use knives and forks 
unless there is a thaw, 
like the yawn of a baby. 
The sun in this month 
begets a headache 
like an angel slapping you in the face. 

Earthquakes mean March. 
The dragon will move, 
and the earth will open like a wound. 
There will be great rain or snow 
so have some coal for your uncle. 
The sun of this month cures all. 
Therefore, old women say: 
Let the sun of March shine on my daughter, 
but let the sun of February shine on my daughter-in-law. 
However, if you go to a party 
dressed as the anti-Christ 
you will be frozen to death by morning. 

During the rainstorms of April 
the oyster rises from the sea 
and opens its shell —
rain enters it —
when it sinks the raindrops 
become the pearl. 
So take a picnic, 
open your body, 
and give birth to pearls. 

June and July? 
These are the months 
we call Boiling Water. 
There is sweat on the cat but the grape 
marries herself to the sun. 

Hesitate in August. 
Be shy. 
Let your toes tremble in their sandals. 
However, pick the grape 
and eat with confidence. 
The grape is the blood of God. 
Watch out when holding a knife 
or you will behead St. John the Baptist. 

Touch the Cross in September, 
knock on it three times 
and say aloud the name of the Lord. 
Put seven bowls of salt on the roof overnight 
and the next morning the damp one 
will foretell the month of rain. 
Do not faint in September 
or you will wake up in a dead city. 

If someone dies in October 
do not sweep the house for three days 
or the rest of you will go. 
Also do not step on a boy’s head 
for the devil will enter your ears 
like music. 

whether you have hair or not. 
Hair is not good, 
nothing is allowed to grow, 
all is allowed to die. 
Because nothing grows 
you may be tempted to count the stars 
but beware, 
in November counting the stars 
gives you boils. 
Beware the tall people, 
they will go mad. 
Don’t harm the turtle dove 
because he is a great shoe 
that has swallowed Christ’s blood. 

On December fourth 
water spurts out of the mouse. 
Put herbs in its eyes and boil corn 
and put the corn away for the night 
so that the Lord may trample on it 
and bring you luck. 
For many days the Lord has been 
shut up in the oven. 
After that He is boiled, 
but He never dies, never dies.