“I have no future plans,”
I began calmly.

I am arms outstretched
walking nowhere but with
ardency so
I am labeled,
whimsical and manic,
a troubled woman
not to marry and
like a wound up
fairy, the character that
keeps the music box

spinning.
until it’s boring:
the repetition,
the posing,
the pink smile and
matching slippers
leaping from her
gold coiled post
sprinkling glitter,
growing nerves and
ankles that bend flat
to walk to run to
crawl

people like me because
I have
no plans,
am honest about it,
resplendent teeth when
writing sonnets to the men
and a sense of fury when
reflecting on affairs.
big,
have wings that carry weapons.    I
hear in a distance
  someone repeat it
I use intimidation as a tactic
to seize opportunity
well,
I am blessed with delusive
lips and
I also use
black magic.

“seven of cups”

ooh

I am here during the dance of wolves:
pitch black,
some hooded room of knives.
talk of betrayal,
and me blindfolded
without warning.

the past
come slowly dragged:
it’s
weighty and pressured,
almost settled at this depth
in acceptance of its rot,
its forfeit but we are
curious about causes.
so there’s a forced decompression
and chipping sides and
losing even more aesthetic,
a film developing as its
exposed to air
like a sunken ship
exhumed solely for gawking,
touching, petting for its
tectonic power, I am a compressed rage
expanding into tower,
the tallest feline in the room
and I demand method
and production.
I am big like sun rays,
just as far, true,
but warm.

my cancer in the 12th.
my house
guarded by a tiny scorpion
so no one knows how
to step and
what else?
you want to ask to hear
the most assured yes:
this is 6.

not previously numbered.
you are an arithmomaniac
because you count your worth
in things and people and
to hoard both things
you need numbers.
lead a couple lambs
to slaughter.
have him drink directly from
your ceremonial wine glass
left most days hidden.
clear but for the black writing
and polka dots:
“not every witch is
from Salem” and he makes a joke
says because we’re not in
Salem
and you say,
I’m not from

Salem and you’re halfway
to the spider now.


“6.” or “full moon dinner party in cancer”

we are sharing visions.

during our forced intermission,
I became a lantern and
my own crucifixion was
paused to grow my
sparkling spine sharp like
sudden beams of light
shining
on your morning sex and
I walked forward slaughtering
everything hidden with a
wave of my hand, focused
eyes    incantation, scribe
and text      I having been reborn with bone
like wand, am luring rooks
for guns and ;
turning mice to men
with a flash of tongue
and then turning men to wolves
to find him.

the queen is fat now
gorging herself with army;
the war you begged for
and are bound to get
is here on time.
I gather every friend I know
and share my plans
for combat
enticing each one
with a different reward.
this is the queen you
|asked for:
acerbic communist,
generous with her
violence, but you?
you will know me
by my sharp interjection,
sport–you?

you are
Persephone’s
final futile hours
picking berries in the
garden,
sniffing tulips absentmindedly,
        nevermind the bees or sunset
plucking lilies from the water,
watching the ripples form circles
around your fingertips
and then you’re
screaming at your flowers
being swallowed by the ground
  switch places
an earthworm bit her and said
as Pallas emerged with reminders,
a sello from the water,

floral crown and
speaking in her native tongue:
ways to blow direction,
ways to conjure storms.
oh, here it is again,
that little lie about choice
she goes with her knees
falling through the earth,

but she goes and keeps
her head above that dirt,
what’s a curse to those who
know the power
of reverse?
you.

 

“the magician (reversed)”

you cough loudly
without covering your
mouth as if you
don’t already have my attention.
but I am also outside
listening to the sparrows.
we both rustle on top of
the afghan briefly
and separately.
I am sleepy eyes and
smothered grief.
you are wide awake
pretending to
sleep as I trace
the pattern of moles
on your back
into a mountain.
crumple underneath that
and reposition
so all of my useless body
is touching yours.
crumble underneath that.

remember when I made you all those CDs?

breathe
between your shoulder blades,
the question slides up your
neck.
I know every way to turn you
on
and back to me
but you just
shuffle,
uncross your ankles
and a dog yelps,
someone screams, a car backfires
and so does every other
fucking thing.
every day my block is
in uproar over something
and I’m just cowered
near the door
waiting for a year to pass.

my old record heart sits away
from you
buried underneath my dry breast,
soon to be mounted and wet with
saliva and soon to be cold
and grasping soon after that
remembered as
cradled by a hand that once
was open palm,
an unsteady hum,
unsated.

you look at the ceiling.
you look through something.
you look heedless,
like you did a year ago
slithering out of my place
leaving a trail of choler
and cry like 
slime and
someone outside yells
at their child.
you say:

the only one that still works is How to Talk to God.
 “how to talk to God”

 

I have two constant insatiable needs:
clarity and validation and I
usually get neither.

my only true constant is my suffering;
that is how I relate to others.
my suffering is a secret comfort
because it allows connection.
we only know feelings by comparison–
yours, mine, ours.
this defines humanity:
our perpetual hunger,
our perpetual processing about the matter,
and the inevitable suffering that follows.

II.

Express the value of life
in lines and
daubed charcoal.
Add the girl’s lids and tinted lashes,
fixed eyebrows,
nose,
lace collar under
overblown cloak.
Hair tucked beneath hood,
chin tucked to neck,
subtract her gloom;
then what would she do?
Harder to draw,
harder to draw something
in.
Highlight her cheekbones in rouge.
Add breath to an otherwise
achromatic lover.

Add her troubled partner in the backdrop:
blue-gray with a hint of black at the corners,
small silhouette of a rainstorm
receding over the edge of the horizon.
Add some balance to a ruminating giant.
Find and add
her absent brother.
Subtract her moans.
Erase her nose.
It’s too bull flare.
No one will take her like that.
Thin the clavicle.
Thin the waist.
Add some plum to the lips.
Add a remark.
“This will not do.”

Grab the Hi-Polymer.
Try to capture the gleam
of mistakes on her face:
birthmarks, pencil marks, oil sheen,
eraser flakes,
lines that are furrows or scars or
warrior wrinkles,
ruddy blotches on the thighs,
dry skin on the feet,
swan’s neck,
bucked teeth,
knife marks and a
revised smile.
Never trust a man with an
airbrush and a promise
the clouds whisper. 

She is flawless.
Precise.
Analogized you.
Contrast to your optimism;
your bubble of assurance
that is dominating,
that denies a compact or an inventory
and drawn in shady undertones
to hide complicated desires.
Proof of hidden bruise
shoved deep inside the confines
of gusto and canvass
come to life in the luster of pencil dust
and uncomplicated process,
 stretched wide
for the world to admire.
A deflated mirror.

She still has all her freckles
and you are noticing
a few things
about yourself.

 

“the artist”

 

 

your house was yellow.

my house was blue and
a ten by ten box;
a cage and me trapped,
torn between watching them
pack up their stuff
from their own pact to self
and me, dripping virulence,
pushing them out.
we needed a spark,
I pounced and

shortly after,
the railing tumbled on my
sprinting ankles,
the basement rattled and the
floorboards dropped
filling the place with the kind of emptiness
that is so dense
it smothers.
smoke smells a lot like
ticking minutes
if we scented time the way we
spray each other.
I hear a bark.
hope the turtle remembers how to
duck and cover.
the cat’s sure got it.

remember me as a black-winged fury
hovering over your bed at night because
 there will be nothing left by dawn
except some burning blue
cedar wood and a cheap comb
that found its way buried in the dirt.
the photo albums gone,
dusty cookbooks charred,
vanished remote controls stay hidden
and the asbestos and fiberglass ceilings
imploded despite our fear that was the
thing that would kill us.
I am left with a cancer
that gnaws through the joints
like packs of rats chewing through cables
to take the attic back.
and I need this.

I really miss your hands on me
and the convivial cluster of caterpillars
that swallowed the bark
the day in the orchard
when you held me in sullen incubation
before the devastation of the forest,
before I made way for us,
the start,
the parting and somewhere
an empty crib stays unfurnished.
someone starts an engine.
the varnish is melting and so am I.
         God gave you a chance and
              an unfinished smile.
a smoke alarm malfunctions
mocking your reluctance
to just grin and bear it,
to just open up your arms
and catch me when I jump;

                but first here comes the fish tank

catch me with all the fit I threw.
we all look like burnt books
blowing in the breeze
 and now, I too,
am wafting with the exhumed memories.
before my legs even hit the dew,
you watch me dwindle to a million floating pieces
in the cradle of tar black trees.

 

you see the contract ascertained a certain
ephemeral appeal
and I’m too thirsty to complain
about anything but the heat.
hold your breath and wait
for some other current to take me.

                    baby

there are no exits.

 

“chrysalis”

this is fresh.
like the last word
someone said
or you losing to find
old photographs
of you unsure of
yourself in a graveyard
set to the mountains
at sunset like you couldn’t
imagine not being there
or having that.
because it was there it was outside
and you were there.
the last time you look at a place.
the space between states,
the plane ride to your
brother’s coma
this is fresh.


this is the last time you’ve ever
seen or heard from someone.
my cool affect, my rehearsed
temperature that I am clutching,
I watched waves take things away.
do you know how close i stood to the water
that day?
the sky was black and full of lightning,
swollen with compulsion.
a tropical storm touched the
ocean and on instinct,
it swallowed itself.
my aunt screamed,
came to grab me and
carried us both up to the house.

i cried about a flip flop
drifting in the current on the shore,
begging her to go back.
you can’t tell anything
about a statue
except it’s resting form
but i have experienced forty,
maybe more,
deaths.

cool
but if you ever saw the contents of
my purse: the twisted straws,
the clutter, lists of
things to get or hold,
you would see
that peevish child
taunting the ocean’s
grip and dashing,
longing for her
endless swaddle,
invincible in
execution and
carried. 

“the bay”

 

it is the sun streaming through my
bay-sized sliding door windows
and the white capped mountains
framed within them
that I will miss most
in winter.
today I have
a piece of paper and
a dozen dead things wilted
in their vase
to remind me.

 

there is a touch of red
sprinkled around the glass
that browns and sets as dry
on the sill in
my small uncurtained bedroom that
I pace
when I have too much on my
mind and today they

remind me

life is a patient rot
to tomb, a gauntlet and
fluid so I  better keep
moving.

life is a patient
gut to get to
wound     it was April
on Earth Day when I wrote
My Brother Is Dead
in the back of a notebook I would never
look at again.
it would be the thing thrown away
to make room as I packed the car
two years later in the most frigid
December, my partner,
the weather, the frost of us and
I was in my big brown jacket
that absorbed me in
synthetic down and
I’m twirling the stem of a
decaying feather
of a real dead sparrow in my pocket,
the lyrids
are crowning across Colorado as
I am responding to
a nod, someone asking
was he your only brother?

 

I repeat the question in my head.

 

yes, he was my only brother.
it is much easier to disappear

but the house moved with
me;  from freeze to open
like an unattended mortuary
moved to resurrect itself
after years of
neglect and

did you know,
the bones given a soft lick
will sparkle white
  like fresh-caught ivory
and once it feels the brush of
mouth
will file any joint to tip
with tooth
and gore the things that touches 

it, that holds it
near to chest or
safely in its palm?


as it shreds the flesh from
crown to feet,
someone says to me,
with sincerest sympathy

and I fall into a fog.
I repeat it in my head:

 

was he your only brother?

 

as I pass a trashcan,
fumble   make room in my bag
for lipstick.

 

“the sympathy card”

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