the medium between
complacency in vengeance
or photosynthesis
is God.

“transition”

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transition. A034E0ED-4B90-4F0C-A231-3D2736324235

 

rainstorm.

unscheduled and I had been
comfortable in shifting drought.
avoiding the wasps
hidden in the grass
with my clumsy, calloused toes
seasoned from walking too far
and too hard in unpadded sandals
when the first sign of spring hits,
and my sky blue sundress seems a
sudden hindrance:

flimsy, strap always falling down and
blows up in breezes
so I have to keep watching the way I
carry myself around men.
I crouch and the hem crawls to
expose my left thigh and the
garter you gave me:
not the daisies I wanted,
a ring of bruises
in the shape of your open mouth
still fresh with conquest;
lasting impact of
your parting breath that
said nothing and now
just hangs there and hurts
when I shower.
wait

I’m counting cicada shells
under the picnic table;
a gesture of presence.
someone told me to stop everything
and I needed a year to pass.
I scrubbed away the last of your fingernail
but I have to ride those
bite marks out.
blinked once and a ripple in the sky
burst; liberated and aimless,
she shows just one day’s worth
of self-containment uncondensed,
without tension, falling naked
she’s black and soft and
seamless        surfeit with mild
violence, crackling and
completely cageless.

my feet are covered in mud
before I even notice the shadow
wash over my bangs.
wait.
drenched in flood my head
is dark red because you liked
“subtlety”
and I liked demonstrative movement;
a hint of auburn wasn’t enough to show
blood with just a little bush
so I adorn myself with ritual:
hair dye and cleanses,
little thorns,
little kills to draw your
attention.   my knees hurt and
all those cicadas are dead
so I stand to lift my face to the thunder;
a small gesture of inflorescence.
Wait.

open my arms purposefully
like petals of a rose exhaling
in relief for the drink
her master brings.
parched from the work my dry words had done
undoing
as they roamed free all over
your front yard.
God makes pacts with penitents
and you barely have a face that isn’t
my reflection so I’m itching to be clean and
fresh and start
again.
stretch my neck with pride to
to catch her drops on tongue,
 bold with my repentance
and ready to wash away
the phantom jaws that bait me.
but suddenly charged,
the gray sky remembered
she held lightning.

and suddenly illuminated,
I remembered
         and everyone can see
I am
the dark thing
inside of me.

“prayer”

 

I carry tempest in my
lungs :a cold black murmur
that hooks it hums
in earthworms and writhes
to surface after rains
winding street lamps to
devour them like dirt cake.
I hit the corner as
you are walking up.


the light goes out
and somewhere near
a tire screeches drowned
by the sharp inhale
you take when
a cyclist scrapes his tire
on a criss-crossed track
and spins into a tumble
that splits his helmet
on a bumper and someone
screams: are you ok?
and rushes over.
an older man pauses,
turns to you scratching
his neck and
says: this city is full of
accident lately; is it another
retrograde? laughs absently
and stands still on
the flashing yellow.
your hands are clenched
in pockets waiting for
the red.


I am walking slowly,
wearing cotton sundress and
consenting saunter.
my hips are wide,
lips are pursed and
I am quiet, light and
diffusive but mired in
insides.
there are twelve dogs
with meat in their eye
nearby choking on their
collars.

I am wearing a blue alyssum
in my hair but
you will know me either
by my touch
if in enough of a rush and
close proximity to brush
an elbow with a thumb,
or the sudden sun I permit:
open laughter near your
chin, grabbing you
with force,
inordinate apology
for the accidental brush,
moist I’m sorry spills over
my freshly-done, pink
velvet lips as we collide
in front of everything,
wait for green or
similar direction.
there are sirens in the distance.

you:
you will know me by
my fang-toothed smile.

“morphic resonance”

I am giant:
strong legs, flexed tonsils,
tight back from climbing your forearms
to get to your mouth.    my nails are
filed and
scratching at your chest
on the way there to let your home
know what I own.
I compromise but I am
never quiet.

I’m full of bargains:
one dollar books and yesterday’s makeup,
hair knotted with century old lesions and
previous engagements so I
shave it off every chance I get.
try to forgive myself for
such large displays of
arrogance.
you want me to comfort you in
cadence and I obey it
deriving satisfaction with the way my voice
sounds as I practice inflection,
ending my prose in pointed questions
you will have to answer,
the pleasure of seeing my mask unfold
on screen        i’m paralyzed in heat
so I often freeze when confronted
but in between I leave
sweet, murmured ellipses
all over your body.

but know
I’m a noose so tight you try wearing me
like a loose fitting garment
or just one hard day’s night,
I might flinch and
boy, I might hang
you.

“Scorpio in South Node, natal”

* i am inviolable. (done)
*how to be a goddess: write it.
*how to be a warrior: continue on with life (editing).
*how to be a secret: write it.
*be a maze: write it.
*be a question mark: write it.
* become a smile.

“Pallas in Gemini” or “Using Charts”

I step on wet cat litter
on the way to the mirror
and ignore it.

my feet are bare,
my knees are tired,
my legs are still spent from cartwheeling down your block
all summer: bruised, broken spindles
of scabs and bravado.
I’m ignoring the gravel
under my toes.
I’m plucking my eyebrows.
I’m picking out tights.
I’m meeting someone soon.

I try on several lipsticks;
take my time with each palette,
each gloss, each burgundy line
of delusory affection drawn into
a wide, wolfish smile.
I’m nude for a while
in front of the sink;
my dry hands are
unwashed but I can smell flowers
on my nails as I tease my split ends
into hair bigger than it is:
rosewater from the quick spritz
to my face to pace myself
when I feel the urge to
go back in time,
erase and retrace things in
illusive reception,
name them things like
us or
enough so I learn how to
stop.

unfitting for grown wome
and I’ll continue to falter:
cut my hair unevenly
to the nape of my neck without
sexuality,    
be  incorrect
      and often
without attachment to its correction.
take my time with mopping things,
take my time learning ruby liner,
onyx lashes,
diffusing for a while.
spit in the faucet without washing
the couple spots the stream missed
and I stay waffling between color schemes
and themes of conquest.
I remember the years of unnamed longing
and I scream as I
suddenly soften.

heels are the last to go on.
they’re uncomfortable but I
like how tall I am as I prowl past your place
so you get one last double take.
I clack over the litter without a glance back in
its direction on my way out the door and
if I’m lucky,
if I am very lucky,
I’ll teach my daughter how to shapeshift her way
to knighthood without compromise.
without insertion.
she can keep her crooked breasts,
her imperfection,
her relentless gaze towards furtive weight:
martydom.
her overused adjectives that she breathes
even in her sleep,
works into every passage;
how many times can one really be amenable or
replete?      but I am
     and often.
and sorry, how many times she is sorry
when she meant to say nothing,
when she meant to say don’t call me or
yell I’m starving.

my love will have a cradle and a blanket and
a mobile with the planets hung crookedly and
carved into the center of Jupiter
hovering far above Earth,
her mother’s favorite emblem of luck and
expansion,
with a butter knife and an old eyebrow pen
the only poem I felt strong enough
never to rework:

rest girl,
you do not earn your birth.

4.

 

“Consider your own setting foot
in the heart’s desire:
you might not be this happy again.
Look at it this way,
as if it were real,
as if you were singing to the household saint
who grew tired of waiting and sang to himself
til the whole house was certain
and singing again.”

From The Inspector of Miracles in a “Life Without Speaking” by Mary Reufle