my paranoia is up
which helps me to
instruct myself better,
instructing them but
what I tell you is inconsequential.
merely I am pressure of depth
and that I believe it so,
having told you first
with conviction, I begin
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, 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 hopefully,
as in with a little
upward inflection.

1.

I’m taller than you expected,
yes?
I move the bottom of
my foot down
your shoulder
and pieces of snow
drop all over your ear.
you are level
with the dogs yellow
eye, or she has become
level with you.

I’m not here to help,
merely observe.
there are rules to this.
I watch you sink into
the sheath of Earth that begins
to crack beneath you.
I don’t know
if it is surrender
but it is prayer like,
or maybe it is irritation.
I’m here now and I
don’t know where to begin,
which trail to point to so
I just unfurl and
turn into the frozen
lake right there.

 

3.

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

I’m volatile.”

I’ve got nothing,
I show him,
but notes like this;
each one parched out
later, gutted
by time travel,
tornado worship,
something called “the
myth becomes” and
I get nothing done.

 

they don’t believe me
but I amounted to nothing
and I show them
sweeping my hand over
an obscured history
but no real success
I laugh, undaunted
usually and also
breezy. I like smiling.
composition open
pointing to one sentence
I like watching time.

I’m obsessed with unproducing,
or burning a process as you
watch it unfurl. it’s like
setting the bottom of each trunk
on slow fire and then you
climb to the top of
the pine watching it
engulf you then eviscerate
whatever you were.
I am up by dawn, or close
to it,  thinking this is what
true love is doing
and I’ve done this before;
proving habit,
and the deep deep
null of feeling
that I really possess
daily, filled with
plotting and idle time,
a rumination of these
invidious encounters.
something always in my hand.
something always tinctured,
distilling and then
wanting you to see it:
my nullness and
overreaction and courting
that must be
facade or instinct or
vexing but
mold it into something
better than the ice cold
well I am.
palms open in please.
that’s where people fall.
in the snow bank
in the bottom of the frozen
hole trying to help
the little
girl.

I think a lot,
I say softly.
and I like learning
words.
point to one:

duplicity


“the act of naming things”

 

don’t you ever take away my joys,
my labor organizing or autonomy.
i’m speaking liberally,
predictive and
coded with demands.
I haven’t shaved in days,
developed musk and am
running fingers down my legs
to watch them in the mirror
creep like Daddy Longlegs.
calling ghosts, I say
but like a broken record
and starting with
don’t you take away
my joys, make me
deferential.
I’ll cut my hair clean off,
you’ll see

but there’s only three feet
between us and I’m leaning.
wait for me
to throw my locks all over
your kitchen table.
rest my skinned skull
on your knee, Venus is
obsessed but well,
I begin to get up fast
just as happily.
it always starts with a well.

walk by the little girl
in the well.
don’t fall down the well.
watch out for the well.

“the well” (for Pluto in my third house)

normally
I just open the door
and walk right in
but this time I decide
I should be invited.
founded on repetition as the old adage
of classical conditioning,
some things work best in saturation,
a vacuum
and unrevealed to the participants.
this is an examination of ethics.
no, an examination of motive.
same thing, the query being:
is it stronger when stated?
as the querant believes,
it is stronger with want
regardless of
palpable confirmation.
want is hope in modern language
and the most consensual
exchange of felt.

either way,  it is
best to have some controls.
I arrive, same fashion,
dramatically.
you have been out in
the snow with your friends
and enjoying the view
of the constellations above
when you hear the twig snap.
you will see their yellow eyes to
your right as you react
and you will be alone
suddenly like that compelled
to walk right in
before you see me cloaked,
walk right out.
you say I am the coldest, darkest
thing you’ve ever met but
my two dogs are
licking your frozen cheek
as you lie beneath my feet,
a sturdy boot on top
of your face, me baring down
without much weight but
pressure of depth.
but you seem colder than that.

you are face down
becoming the tracks.
I am taller than you expected,
yes?

2.

I can go forever:
have been, have gone
without, truly starved.
no period of separation
or isolation
has scurried me along.
suffering long episodes of
devotion, then a swift
disaffiliation
from the practice,
whatever bondage I wear,
I wear loosely.
even the devil’s arms
don’t fit me
and I was molded intricately
and set to last,
a stone sarcophagus to contain her.
a product of thinking too much
is obsession. 

 it is best if
you have a moving target
or several
so you don’t fixate on one tree
for too long;
inevitably,
the squirrel running up
or the dog running beside
will shake you.
today it is two robins
dancing in a pool of dust.
my eyes are adjusting to the
brightness of the bush behind
them, and the basketball hoop glinting
past that to the grass as they
kick up dirt.
I think of all the signs I missed
in life. how many times I thought
the word God then a robin
would meet me,
or to be so uncertain of something
to have an opposum walk out
and stop you in your tracks.
it’s the perseverative ring
it is pertinent,
I am both feared
and adored.

i’m sitting on a park bench
trying to prove I can do this
having done this before.
sitting for as long as I can
and I am also
watching the construction
men in front of my house.
from this angle, I can see them.
not wanting to walk by the  hole
or the giant crane. or exchange a
hello,
not wanting to be around them,
move past them again.
see how long I can do this.
watch them.
sit. I get up to move to a different
bench.
see how long I can wait for.
I am doing this for practice.
even if I have to get up and move
to another bench.
sit and move to another bench.
how long can I do it.

I am doing this for practice.
a park outside of my house
this whole
time.
grass,
unmuzzled terriers,
the nods and my inquisition
face wrapped in mask
so my mouth can rest a more
natural slack-jawed state
as I watch the two labradors
lick each other and give
the owner a wave.
I’ve always tucked my neck in
turtlenecks and coats.

I turn and look at the trucks
pulling forward. two large
open-bed ones for the concrete they
are ripping up. my entire
street unearthed
to relay pipes and
they are lining the inside with wooden
planks and I know they are
working through lunch
because I saw one
grab their cooler and walk towards
my place and yesterday
they worked through lunch too.
not leaving. from seven am,
the chainsaw woke me,
to three when they bid their
toodle–oos to each other
and quite bellowing.
one even singing on and off
all day. 
I said on Tuesday
to the new moon and my altar,
an ace:
I want this done as fast
as possible.

It is thursday.
they have not taken a lunch
since and
I’m gonna sit here and watch
them.

“the bench”

I am up by dawn, or close
to it, again.
thinking this is what true love
is doing; proving habit,
demanding morning study.
this has happened before and
every time it happens,
it is strengthened so much so
that what has woken me is
an old phrase you said to me.
I could hear you fumbling with it;
an act of reflection while in stalemate.
how long can obstinacy maintain the
buoyancy of flight?
I am learning to stay fresh and put
and you are summarizing yourself
with an inaccuracy that doesn’t
need me yet.

I heard you rereading it one morning
to yourself, no doubt
questioning your word choice
as I stretch, be careful what you
say.
but I know what you meant.
and I know what you like.

there are rules to this though.

“the act of naming things”

information is power so
I ask the time and place
and day and I hold
back some ecstatic clapping
for the willfully delivered
emblem that I now braid back
into me.
I feel most secure in holding
someone by their neck and
forward and possibly in
creeks of ice asking
are you pious, son?

but never believing,
I strum my chords at night,
fanatical.
once missing, now
draped in beads of
declamation, afloat.
I’m white like creeks of ice
you lay your head upon and
cough the yes, I am devout.
I become the pew for them.
I become the papacy.

you become the tether tight
laid across my city bench,
suddenly engrossed in rosary
again.
as I begin to watch the men
dig holes into my
ground like clocks to measure
the dagger of a willful
mind devoted to one outcome,
you press your hands into
the ice to feel water
rise up.

“the pupil”

it was lush, green and wet. a dewy late morning and I was well dressed for the season. face mask, hat, black jacket, black leggings, comfortable bright orange shoes so cars won’t hit me at night. she led the way having been here before which I prefer. not always oppositional, when it comes to other women, I defer.  the trees were budding so still a bit sparse but their leaves were coming in bright where they were. no flowers yet but the idea of them drove me outside daily despite the news. the smell of jasmine and honeysuckle always smell the same to me so that I find joy in discovering which is which. as a child, I spent days with my best friend licking the nectar from the honeysuckle that grew along my fence.  along long beds of clovers to the side of us, skunk cabbage grew big and juicy, glistening with last night’s rain..I always wanted to be an insect. anytime I stepped into the woods, I wanted the smallest world immediately. to watch the detritus recycled. to watch the tiniest survivals and battles. to be the millipede among them. I always thought like that. like anything was stopping me from bending down and sliding my tongue along the long leaves or like I wasn’t pint sized and shrinking.

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

“do you want to stop here?” she asked.

a valley in the middle of trees.  I squatted down in the center of a patch of dirt and roots in front of a tiny creek with a little nature made bridge, a fallen log, to cross. remember throwing the jasper in the stream.  things I can’t name are always lingering. they are felt like chords rippling from me but felt strongest when being cut one by one.  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 or 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. I drew not so big but with a steady hand so
it was neat and almost cursive.
it could get rained on and stomped
on, 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 clocks 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. 

“What does Lilith represent?” she asked me, standing, looking down.

I was most comfortable in mud as a kid. now, I am just trying not to touch my face.

“Her myth precludes that she was the first woman on Earth who rejected Adam as he tried to force her beneath him in missionary. she left to mate with demons in the sky instead.”

(there was more that I said in the chant but it is private the way things are private among friends.)

“Oh yeah. We need her,” she laughed.

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. got pieces of pieces grown quite lush like well drunk ferns.

“the pious”

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