Previous month:
March 2021
Next month:
June 2021

More Cher in Art and Literature

Cherart2There is so much Cher to catch up on. To paraphrase Jane in Witches of Eastwick, sometimes I just can't face it. 

Now that my projects have calmed down somewhat, I can get back into the swing of things and start blogging again. But if you ever need timely Cher news (and who doesn't?), you'd be well served to follow Cher Team Universe on Twitter. They get the scoop. I've never been a good scooper, sadly. 

Anyway, I'm feeling daunted by the sheer volume of Cher happenings right now. So I felt today it would be good to start with new developments in Cher in art and literature. Then we can move on to the juicy videos, documentaries, biopics, new music....all that stuff.

My friend Mikaela texted me a photo of the following beautiful, beautiful poem by Chen Chen from the 2017 book When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities:

Nature Poem
by Chen Chen

The birds insist on pecking the wooded dark. The wooded dark
pecks back. It is time to show the universe what you are capable of,
says my horoscope, increasingly insistent this month. 
But what I am capable of is staring

at the salt accident on the coffee table & thinking,
What sad salt. I admire my horoscope
for its conviction. I envy its consistency. Every day. Every day,
there is a future to be aggressively vaguer about.

Earlier today, outside the cabin, the sudden deer were a supreme
headache of beauty. Don’t they know I am trying to be alone
& at peace? In theory I am alone & really I am hidden,
which is a fine temporary substitute for peace, except I still

have email, which is how I receive my horoscope, & even here
in the wooded dark I receive yet another email mistaking me
for another Chen. I add this to a folder, which also includes
emails sent to my address but addressed to Chang,

Chin, Cheung. Once, in a Starbucks, the cashier
was convinced I was Chad. Once, in a Starbucks, the cashier
did not quite finish the n on my Chen, & when my tall mocha was ready,
they called out for Cher. I preferred this by far, but began to think

the problem was Starbucks. Why can’t you see me? Why can’t I stop
needing you to see me? For someone who looks like you
to look at me, even as the coffee accident
is happening to my second favorite shirt?

In my wooded dark, I try insisting on a supremely tall,
never-lonely someone. But every kind of someone needs
someone else to insist with. I need. If not the you
I have memorized & recited & mistaken

for the universe—another you.    

Buy the book.

Then later I was reading the thesis on Cher by Orquidea da Conceição and there's a poem referenced and included in the back appendices called "Thirteen Ways of Looking at Cher" by Margaret McCarthy from the 2015 book Notebooks From Mystery School." The poem is really about aging and the loss of relevance and I feel it misses the cubist focus on its  purported subject that is so interesting in Wallace Stevens' "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird." This poem is really 13 ways of looking about aging instead of contemplating Cher's struggle with same, but there are interesting ideas here about protection by transformation and the avoidance of looking old (the dogs yowling one way or another). Although this is part of Cher's craft, it's not all of her craft. Also good meditations on creating versus re-creating, an interesting switch from the blackbird to a raven, and the reference to Sisyphus (which always reminds me of Cher's 1972 song "Down, Down, Down").  Although I've never written very good Cher poems, this makes me want to do a 13 Ways Cher poem, too. Let's all do one.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Cher
by Margaret McCarthy


Why can't she just accept
the gravity
of the situation, the downward tug then spiral?


The raven black hair easy
to transform.
The smooth, hard sheen
of protection, her craft.


A miracle!
But now we know the nature of the cell is immortal.
She knew this first;
the raven heart told her.


60 years can be called
miss. Is this
what 60 looks like?


I do not know which to prefer, creation or transformation; what I make in this world,
or the re-making of myself.


Upkeep's ceaseless effort, Sisyphus
rolling back over
gray time,
over and over.


The mirror's incisor lines, Imagination
flies forward and back


I know the pressure
of the rock bearing down, and I know that bird vision is involved in what I push.


The dogs yowl
at imperfection;
the dogs yap
at perfection's attempt.
The sweet bird flies
above the noise of beasts.


Must the crone die?
Is the perpetual maiden the proper keeper of spirit's wisdom?


The shadow of each equinox casts fear.
She thought the nature of cycles impossible.
Is balance possible?


Is it culture's rock or time's?
The bird's eye sees time's river moving around rock and our desire
to transcend 
rock and river.


The bird's shaman heart understands
evening is going to cast its shadow all afternoon. Matter
has been brought or bought
to match spirit.
In my raven heart I know
she's right.

Buy the book.

The pop-art piece above is available from