Where the Words Come From: 05 - Eleanor Rigbee


We have been getting a lot of questions about the poetry within, specifically regarding the focus of each poem. Are these poems about each woman specifically? Why the Killdeer Mountains? Why lipstick? Why JFK? That's why we wanted to start a series where we talked about where the words came from for each woman and tell the deeper meaning of their story behind the poetry.

Falen welcomed us into her home with that southern charm. She's the type of person that makes you feel comfortable instantly and feel a safe need to be around her. She sipped coffee, played with her dog, breezed around on her laptop, all the things tastefully normal. "She's a licker. I'm not the type of dog person who lets her deep throat me, either" was the first bit of notes I had from Falen on my phone notepad. Which I love. 

Then, she invited us to her backyard. 

"I'm not the type of person that wants to lay on the couch and watch people live their life and not live mine. I took a Beekeeping class at the U of M. When you order the bees, they literally send you 15,000 and you put them in their hive and spray them with sugar water. They fly around everywhere, it's crazy. But I got this weird surge of confidence when it happened."

She gave me a face-net, thank goodness. I'm not one for bees. They scare me as deeply as something smaller than my pinky nail can. But Falen walked right up to the beehive, opened the top like she was pulled the sheets over in bed, no fear, no face-net and introduced us to everybody.

"There are only female bees, they make the honey...reproduce. Male bees are just called drones; they don't have stingers. Their only purpose is to mate with queens. As soon as they mate, they die. If they're still alive come winter, the women bees will kill them - they want less mouths to feed. I call my queen bee Eleanor Rigbee. I was going to go with Beyonce but I figured that was too trendy."

It was fascinating to hear this...watch a strong woman tell us about her colony of hard-working ladies. This strength, Falen's inner passion for her keep, felt intentional. The independence, grit, sweetness, reward. I was fascinated by what Eleanor Rigbee meant to her. Eleanor Rigbee was her. 

david puente