you can find me

angry

seething

red and
dripping little
balls of
past

up your steps
up your hall
up your banister
hovering above your bed.

we call this next section
Sekhmet’s turn

light the fucking candle.

stare at the mirror,
a little past it.

what card do you see?
they ask.
I see the moon.

turn it over.
it’s the moon.
they do this all day long
to prove to me the existence of God.

I have a jar of oil, bayberry, my own spit,
blank check signed, prick from my finger, dash of
rosemary, rose petal from my dad’s
funerary placement (private, just us)

and my menstrual blood
on the mantle.

“I give it all to you.”

(I’ve done this before)

take my blood,
drink it like pomegranate jui ,
get drunk on my rage.”

turn over a card:
Justice.
just to prove things to you,
princess.

I wake up the next morning
bleeding again,
a week early, moon in Leo.
pour a cup full to her.
candle lit.
to the lion’s head,
drink up, love.
it’s pertinent you take it
one bitch at a time.
Justice.

the first thing you notice about me
is my smile, wide, bright like a star
and  the second thing you notice
is the viper behind me.

the fifth one i call is Sekhmet.

“five of wands”

January 5, 2014 and we
have arrived in
North Philadelphia.
the first thing I notice
isn’t the black plastic bags
lining the blocks or the
Auspicious Coin Laundry Service
sign boxed in blue lights
but the way you don’t
seem to look at
me and the way I seem
to blend in with the
tan upholstery of the
passenger seat
even though I am
wearing a bright red
turtleneck,
coughing, asking
if this is where we are
going to live and practicing
pronouncing
K e n s i n g t o n.

mired in the habit
of saying everything I think
aloud without
expectation.
of tapping a finger on
my thigh. of checking
time, twisting a plastic
straw in my hand and
fading.

something building
in my chest;
emergent waves
pounding at the
sternum like
irate knocks
when they want to
be sobs then
fading.

“hypothymia”

“what do you do when something loves
you? do you love it back?

I’m volatile.”

it was a lush late morning.

the trees were budding. sparse still, but their leaves bright verdant where they were. no flowers yet but the idea of them drove me outside daily. the smell of jasmine and honeysuckle lured me, taunted me. who is who? they always smell the same. 

I am here and in my childhood backyard with my best friend licking the nectar from the vine that grew along my fence. turned to her, red-cheeked and ebullient, expectant, tiny hands pressed to the metal and tongue free. the way only seven years of age can be before the tongue is tucked bashful in body grown diffident with time.  today I am close to all of it but tempered from euphoria, resting in here; the sniffing of the white flowers, the squish of mud patches. I am here and a few other places. let my fingers trace the petals and sniff knowing her crown: jasmine.we walked  along long beds of clovers a short distance before stopping. to the side of us, skunk cabbage grew big and juicy glistening with last night’s rain. 

 I wanted to be an insect when I was younger. be in the smallest world. feel mud engulf me and writhe in its soft center, sink and hide underneath. feel steps above me. not shy but unseen.  wanting to be lost in a sea of green blades. to see these monsters the way they were meant to be seen. I always thought like that. what is the world from their angle? what do I look like stepping over, on, picking up with soft hand? like I wasn’t pint sized and shrinking already. like I wasn’t more criminal than that: predacious and intent on acting on it; squeezing first, then picking up the butter knife to saw the worms in half. 

we didn’t go far just far enough to stretch and get some use of ourselves. get out of the house.  take down our masks.  breathe freely in public.

“do you want to stop here?” 

 I squatted down in the center of a patch of dirt with roots protruding from a near tree. we were in front of a tiny creek with a log across. I could feel my knees crack. remember throwing the jasper in the stream.  things I can’t name are always lingering. they are felt like chords rippling from my center and always felt strongest when being cut.  a sudden electric vibration emits as they fall away and I am left holding one end, or rather, letting one end stay suckled to me. my making, I lament, the hook in mouth I fell for.  I picked up a stick and drew the R big.  I made a deal to write it.

R.
it was neat and cursive.
it could get rained on or walked
over, but there was my indent.
and  I stated louder.

“I call Lilith first.”

I looked up at my companion.  it is not austerity, it is commitment. loyalty is love’s true manifestation. I still have every recitation I’ve ever honored. somewhere, these things stay suckled to me like little violent chords I strum when people disappear. when I’m watching ceilings at night, I take my finger and I press. it is not austerity for honor but rather commitment to an end. the pious aren’t lonely, just waiting. 

we both laughed. we both laughed and I put the twig in my pocket. I still have some of my oldest recitations. shells from my first home. dirt from the catacombs somewhere (in a yellow bowl). got pieces of pieces grown quite lush like well drunk ferns. an oasis in my house I sip at night when the little violent chords get plucked one by one by one. I watch  the ceiling shade itself and touch the other end.  I call them one by one.

“the pious”

they say I talk too much
and I’m inclined to agree.
perhaps I’ll
sew my chapped lips shut,
show them the scorpion etched
on my shoulder
first and no one
has ever seen my childhood home.

but I’m compromised
by the simple fact I think
I might be a ghost so I’m
always checking mirrors
and calling 911, waiting for
the fireman to touch my arm.
they say
“your leg is not numb, ma’am.”

but I can’t be sure so I make
him touch it again.

one trick is never tell them
anything. I like my men
to think I wait in lonely
cave: ache
and pray for them.
palms clasped and reverent,
sort of rocking like that.
real southern too.
just sort of worshiping
the idolatry of shadow.
please.
they make me repeat it:
please. and thanks
for everything.


my men remember me
incessantly and always
cut out of starry dough:
soft, head half-cocked
looking up at them
with servitude but
sideways like I’m
about to laugh,
then me in my day skirt,
hair covered and
muttering.
candle lit or twenty seven
if I’m out of time.
devout.
pocket full of them.

what a violent question.

you’re sunburned,
gone for weeks without
inquiry and now
a wash of here:
forehead fervid,
a humid wind clasping
the back of the choker
while your left hand lifts
my skirt.
thighs are soft,
reminiscent,
it’s the skin that brought
you back, isn’t it?
what’s that?
you say,
looking at the blue and
black ring of shadow mouth
above my  birthmark.

it’s the way your jaw
bulges as you bite your
ocean tongue
that was just kept safe
and wet under me
before you begin to
pull the clasp rope
til the emerald center
pushes hard against  the
front of my throat
almost as if you are going to
bring the stone inside me
that proves it.
and please,

what a violent question,
love. 


“Five of Wands”

which helps me to
instruct myself.
better not staid;
better fitted to be flitting
from corner to corner while
bossing them around but
what I tell you is truly
inconsequential.

merely I am pressure
of depth and that I believe it
so
having told you first
with conviction, I begin again
to frame it.
legs crossed on the carpet,
hands out in imposition.
the wood mantle lit
and rearranged, objects
of sentimentality removed
so any backhand can’t
sweep it.

it’s important that my personal items
are kept away from the circle,
and maybe once I didn’t believe
but falling victim to your
own enchantment and
in such a way that you’re
riveted for entire minutes
by wax on the carpet
making meaning of the
sickle F shape; tracing it
with black, toasted fingers,
room wafting in the smoke
of rosemary,
you begin to care about
which stones are set and
things like that.
hands out:

first, you will be looking
up to notice
the sky dark but glittering
with stars
so the whole place
around you is lit up
and there are friends nearby.
I say this directly to the
picture jasper draped in the
thread of my necklace;
the glyph of Lilith.
and add a promising
hopefully,
as in with a little
upward inflection.

I got a pocket full of
them and I’m banking on
that so I say it twice
with anticipation:


ojala.

1.

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