there is a peace in exposure
and a peace in silence.
and I still can’t discern
where I fit completely.
sometimes i flit about town
with my paper point tongue
and become the trap for them.
other days I sit quietly
and rearrange my stones
to surround pieces of paper
with words scribbled
as a representation of a symptom
of superstition.

 

when people say they are superstitious,
they usually mean they
don’t walk under ladders
or keep broken mirrors,
or if you’re Russian,
put your purse or keys on
the table.
when I say I’m superstitious,
I mean that if I think
about something too long
it begins to grow legs
and walk out so I can
see it better.

I begin to line the doors
with salt and brick
dust. I begin to line the
tub with black tourmaline
and smoky quartz. I
begin to line the bed with
kitchen knives and then
I begin to chant the
names.

“1/1/2017”

first, I was not born with
a lot of fear and it confuses
others to find I shake
constantly. not literally
shake but fidget and
have to twiddle at all times.
this is
a tic. a tic is
characterized by involuntary
movement; a repercussion of
some hidden mechanism
to cope, neurological or, sincerely,
born from nothing
but exists within a person
regardless.
second,
I once saw the death of a man
I loved, but the face was blurry.
I just had a vision,
sharp, flash,
watching him fall through
a hole in a patch of ice
and disappear forever.
this was before.
before I knew who led who
across the lake.
before I could pull apart
threads and follow
them home.
before I could name things,
or rather, before
I could commit.
I won’t name the
color of his eyes
or hair. and I won’t tell
you anymore than
years ago,
a friend dubbed me a title and
told me that I
give until I am robbed
and can give no more.

I did not know this man yet.

the year is 2016,
but the very end,
December and this is before
the dream of the cabin,
and the letters to,
let’s say “A”
and do the naming of them
alphabetically by chronological order
so as not to confuse anyone.
this was when  the unfurling began:
every device I had for protection,
dissolving like the bounds
between, I can only say,
us and them.
this is before I knew that
this period of time
would bare great significance in
my development so I took
it too lightly. oh sure i enjoyed the
laughing and pacing and watching
my face melt into the mirror,
standing under streetlights for minutes
waiting for them to burst,
the three hour marches through snow
muttering, I just wish my notes
were neater, like it would all come
back now when he pressed
“record.” funny how
blackouts work.  I began a slow
fall into what textbooks
have described as

“a sustained mild
manic psychotic episode”
or possibly,
“a sustained dissociative fugue (of sorts)”
“spontaneous psychosis nos (trigger not known)”
                  the election of Donald trump
and what others say is
a
“kundalini awakening,
but rushed” as in
my crown burst open and
a snake jumped out
before I could process opening
my throat.
what others say is a
“nervous breakdown
from the pressure of grad school,
a demanding low paying job, and too
much time volunteering in harsh
climate or communities” or
a “sustained fantasy life
come to life via magic”
a “witch learning her craft”
a “possession by demons”
a “possession by ghosts”
a “possession of angels”
a “woman deemed saint by past sainthood”
a “possession by various channels”
an “alien abduction come back”
an “electronics gaining sentience
and communicating via music
via Spotify”
a “active fantasy life enlivened
due to self induce isolation”
a “nightly visitation”

I say
be careful what you
say.  

“switched places”

you’ve been watching
jaguars move but otherwise
blind as fuck and 
petting foxes in a field
of green when you should
have been in motion.
you’ve been
memorizing motion
without comitting to the
movement, atrophied:
the way you arm falls
asleep beneath your sullen
face as you wist away the days,
and the way your hands
grip anything within a one mile
radius forming little claws.
you are crippled
with entropy; an uncertainness
of order, a muddled prescription
of chant and everything that
leaves so willfully
must richochet again.
what’s the little joke about
choice?

I’ve been draping myself in
arms and
storm so you can see
as I traipse across
the forest floor
my tonsils growing
chelicerae,
my rib cage growing legs,
my bottom becoming fat
with thread and
I know what you like
and I know,
sweetheart,
that you may be a masochist
but we know that
you are game.

my name is Arachne,
nice to finally meet you.

you are writhing
game in snowflake threads
hung far above the
ground like
prey which leads
us back to witch,
we said
be careful what you
say. you said
my name is artemis
but you also said 

“arachne”

we are here,
that little lie about choice.
the way you can’t seem to keep
the gloves  on and your knees hurt
from walking to the center of south
philly and back and
(I didn’t touch anything but I didn’t wear a mask)
and the way your tongue forked,
when you began to share the
story of your violence.
what’s been done to me
now done to them,
you begin the ritual
of candle setting.
it’s half pure ire
and directed intent.
say their names aloud:
Oya, Sekhmet, Lilith, Hecate.

I am Artemis. 

they say be careful what you say.
you say I am very good
with a word,
a sword, and
un boligrafo
to show you’re trying.
I heed each warning and name
them again

  1. when the first thing comes true, the second follows swiftly.

that little lie about
choice.
we are here at four candles,
name them again,
love,
namely,
what’s missing:
(let’s review)
anything palpable.

  1. be careful what you say.

love–a thirst.
will–a birthright.
take justice–not vengeance,
but perception and the gentle
folding of my hands in my lap
as things begin to be done to
them..
time–something I can’t wrap
my head around.

  1. love is a choice.

and choice. that little lie about
“choice.” write it again without blinking
and what then do you see?

  1. love.
    will.
    take.
    time.

 

“the choice”

 

be careful what you say.

I believe in overflowing
chalice.  you believe in
holding space for snarl
with distance and
your lover at night
or your girlfriend,
whomever.
it’s up to you to name them.


you watch me lay the
dill in bowl, line the bed
with tourmaline.
run the bath with
chamomile and yarrow oil.
it’s all for nothing.
you found me but
I am full of tincture now.
the best defense is
to cripple yourself
like victim, spiny
with a shaky lip
but spiked and
squared right towards
them.

what you catch about me
is the amorphous not
the steady heartbeat on your
ear, at night, and here
and to be fastidious requires
no real feeling
but constant poking at
all possibilities,
pausing with the probable
but still lusting.
almost thirsty for your
deluded thoughts,
your diluted candor
that you say is grace
but you have bitten even more
of your tongue today,
and you are now piked
and squared in another princess’
face.  what you meant
to say was
be careful what you say.

 
there are some voids
that
are so insatiable you
collapse with the
craving instead.
I walk for miles:
slow and black and
hungry like that,
a hole and
reaching.
waiting for the echo.

I am game.

“Datura Moon”

deep breath.

 

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?
(this city is full of
accident lately).
I stand still on
the flashing yellow,
not afraid but respectful.
your hands are clenched
in pockets waiting for
the red, face turned away.


I’d been walking slowly,
wearing cotton sundress and
consenting saunter.
a practice.
my hips are wide,
lips are pursed and
I am quiet, light and
diffusive but lucky for this
place mostly mired in
my own 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
and really everything,
moist I’m sorry spills over
my freshly-done, pink
velvet lips as we collide.
wait for green or
similar direction.
there are sirens in the distance.
I open my mouth
to say this city is full
of accident lately,
isn’t it?

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

“morphic resonance”

I have a fear of swallowing pills
sometimes, and sometime I am fine
but sometimes I stick my zinc
inside my water
and wait for it to dissolve.
dress the glass with
lemon slices,
don’t cough at the medicine taste.
daily I take:
*I put my thumb up to count*

b12, nasal spray, rose hips (for the vitamin c),
vitamin c packets (for the vitamin C),
liquid chlorophyll for the lungs, elderberry for
the immunity, and aloe vera for the reflux.
(that’s one way I almost choked).
plus I dab in mugwort for the dreams
and movement of any sluggish blood,
coltsfoot for the throat, mullein for the
allergies, cohosh when I’m cramping
up or need a baby out.
nettles for some iron.
marshmallow root to coat my
irreparably dehydrated throat.
chamomile at night to rest
my wanton soul from leaping
out her skin.

honestly, I’m just trying not to go outside
or touch my face.
wash my hands.
bathe the day in isopropyl alcohol
and bergamot.
I ended up increasing my walks
to twice a day.
I don’t touch a single thing.
honestly. also
I almost choked to death five
times so this kind of means not a
thing to me.
plus I’m a nihilist.
my jaw clenched shut twice while eating
and a mouthful lodged itself.
a cherry pit got stuck in bolus,
two pills got caught in esophagus
and once I swallowed a safety pin
after placing it in a shot glass I then
used for vodka.
I somehow managed to cough and pull
it out.
oh and once I am pretty sure I got
alcohol poisoning.
oh and once I ran headfirst into
a cement mixer with my car
and broke my sternum and now
have a traumatic brain injury,
once I fell down some stairs,
once I got sucked in by a wave
and almost drowned,
once I leapt off my balcony after being
locked out and my landlord even
walked by me.
I waved.
could have told her but
I had a cat I was hiding.
we weren’t allowed to have cats.
I waited til she went inside the other building,
she was showing a couple around.
I took a breath, jumped  and
barely missed the pole
that was poking out of the ground
right below my apartment.
it was about five feet high.

honestly, I’m just trying not to go outside
or touch my face,
i’m not thinking about anything.
just sort of
twitching uncontrollably
which is why you maybe think
I’m more frenetic or stressed than
I am.
oh and I’m not allowed to eat
turmeric,
*I smile to show him my white teeth*
so I had to buy a capsule.

sometimes I’m scared to take that one too.
but no, I’m not any  more anxious
than before. what did you ask
me? Im sorry. 

“OCD” or “the iteration series”

I’ve been learning
performative emotion
to keep the ones I’m fettered
to warm, and to feel their
slippery manacles tease
the tops of my feet
like feathers as they pull
me.
paint my lashes black
and they’re wet  and
shaped like little
bolts.

 

we watched fireflies and I
licked your earlobes,
tried your fingers on
while I played with truths,
denied them.
felt your chest pressed hard
against mine.  we clanked
with ease
and I took in the scene
of two people unclothed and
unseen
underneath some crescent
in your backyard
without friendship between them;
without people between them and I dared
to stare in a way that endures more than
deciduous planting.
I broke at the
not now
you spoke back
with a masculine fragility
I had never known     envied,
tried on later with pants,
unplucked eyebrows
and alone.

you became red.
  I became an unwatched bull
headed to your porch,
snorting and you were
bare faced and guarded
in all the ways
I have yet to learn.
I’m so obvious:

a scarlet blaze that starts with a joke,
two bodies parting,
an unreturned question that ends
with a sharp exclamation,
annihilation of something.
ends with a reminder from someone higher
to stop destroying something
to eliminate one part.
I am a wave of coercion
pulling you in and under
when I should have been
patient;
when I should have been laid in the grass
gently, next to the ant hills,
where you can learn my lifelines:
breasts,
spine,
toes curled without injury.
when I should have been pausing to notice
there are no people between us.
when I should have been gracious,
with you and bare-faced,
or wet cheeked or

I remove the rest of my top
and close my eyes deliberately
to show you the length
of each thorn.
wear my eyes like a hooked rose
with my tongue pressed
against your chin,
my lips trace
your jaw       I say
more softly
than  ever before,
having been tempered
and forced close:
you know,
darling,
let my teeth hit your lip

I have never
become divine without first
becoming storm.

 “ascension”

kitten ears and painted whiskers
tumble down my block   in rows
rehearsed
in leotards and black lace gloves.
yowls float through
open window
TV taught them how to meow
for Kit Kats   Snickers Almond Joys
male applause.
one bends over to tie her shoe
and seduce the nearest father;
he eyes the crevice peeking through her
black tights. 

I’m dressed like Glinda the Good
Witch but sluttier: crop sequin top
and matching sequin mini skirt,
star wand and hair in pink curls
and crown and bubble gum lip gloss.
hovering in a sing song
way, I’m on my front steps
throwing out Peanut Chews and
I burned a sigil for this
I whisper to the small girl.
she wants attention from her own father:
a photograph or upward twirl,
burning torch,
purr in his lap while he strokes her hair
without fetish
or just acknowledgment that she is the prettiest
girl dressed up as space cat,
those others are unoriginal, just regular
cats, he says I love yours best
and pats her on her head
and there is no offense taken.
she will grow up  to be even smaller
than  she supposed:

silent    enduring still,
not awake in her own power,
her own body
like a stillborn tiger:
expelled with a tear,
coated in the blood of her mother’s
screams as no one prepared her for the
slow cooked torture;
ecstasy following expelling
something
parasitic and omniscient;
a future rival.
she lands on the floor
fetal,
the thing no one wanted
without even a congratulations!
bouquet or a single lotus
to symbolize completion.

we aren’t worthy of those feline
endowments thrust upon us
when we are playing
mole     carcass on the doormat
aborted from our burrowed holes
for something more vociferous
to grab onto and finish,
our kinship;  the lions.
we are nothing like our ancestors.
our virile mothers
who know nothing of preening
or tail feathers.
take what they want.
they don’t grovel at their fathers’ feet.
they honor the slaughter,
the one they started
before the harvest and pay homage
to the sky for the water provided
before they stuff themselves
with vision.

we lack vision.
we just paint our nails black
and dress like witches,
talk shit;
start shit for derision.
and we keep turning to our men
for forgiveness when we are wayward
or won’t marry them
or stand up when they
crush our necks and they
say the rope is coming next.
we should be
stuffing our faces with the meat they provided,
learning fillet knives,
smiling like shovels and
burying them.

she’s got a silver tulle gown.
matching silver flats, black tights and
a silver and black crown.
eyes with those white orbs
and reserved.
I lean down to meet her.
Happy Halloween, princess,
I toss an extra piece in her
pumpkin: may the odds
be forever in your
favor. 


“Halloween”

 

FINISHED

sarah,
we are begging you
to run away from this.
throughout my life,
I’ve heard this little voice:
run.
that’s all it would say
run
and I used to think it was asking me to run
specifically
from a feeling or person
or there was a danger in my mind,
as it always happened when I daydreamed.
entombed in that kind of fanciful wave.
the intrusive thought happened
so frequently and  didn’t align
with my natural healing
which was to stare at a mirror
that’s also a lie.
my natural inclination is
to freeze, fight
then flee.

I was told that when it started
a voice that sounded like
mine would start to repeat things to
me but not to be alarmed
and
try not to repeat them out loud
as she says them.
that was the trick.
keep walking calmly and wait until you
hear run.
run.
always sounding like mine
but less scratchy from the daily
inhalation
so I can’t discern between
thoughts, preternatural omens
or the fantastic bubble I keep
my life immured inside like
quiet coffin, or

orchestra.
don’t touch that.

 

I stand up in six inch platforms
my name is Catarina Kacyrek.
jaw shut, stern, no feeling behind
his eyes. me? I’m chilling,
fresh stamped cattle on
cattle ranch.
you polish? he says in
a thick Russian accent.
third generation,
I say without tremble
may I come in?
I have to be invited.
but not only that,
I’m surrounded by two
large men  with two fillets
in mind so I am a bit
stalling.  understanding
suddenly when I hear the
meek
run and also
most men roll in packs,
and a gift:
he who stands at the place,
goes back.

but my first inclination is to
freeze,
then fight.

 

“the aliases” or “the woman who saw her own death”

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