consult the oracle again

wear what you want,
let these animals
control themselves
my tiny ball of citrine says
so
I put on my cat suit
and go for a walk
to catch tan in the new
big sun.

  it was a long winter
of regression, needs unmet
and anchored in self by
a weighty repression,
lamps and the length of
my ire stretched, permanent,
coming undone on your pillow
where you wept in peace
until I charged back in
costumed in tank.

I’ve blown the tea lights out;
my presence is altar,
sit naked in the eyeline of the fan and
spools of smoke from bamboo incense
crown my head.
I am showered,
manicured, my skirt is barely an inch of
fabric  containing my
pubic bone or buttox
so they’re stuck to me
like sweat hot salt sticks
dripping down my skin.
I dab some tiger’s eye oil and
jasmine on my wrists,

brush their arms with
my nails, cut through centers,
stop absentmindedly to change song
and let
their thighs press my thighs,
their forearms hit mine.
it’s the invitation I am waiting
for.  

there are
ambulances wailing all over town
carrying victims of stroke
with blood rushing upward
forming an arrow,
the fletching pointing to their throat.
they feel the beat of wings
before they feel
my hands wrap their larynx
and the first thing they tell me


you’re full of secrets.

“catcalls”

The Blue Book

 

this is fresh.
like the last word
someone said.

like old photographs
of you unsure of your beauty
and skill and power
set to the mountains
at sunset like you couldn’t
imagine not 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.

not wrapped in plastic
soma, this is the last time you’ve ever
seen or heard from someone.
i am familiar with death.
you would never know by looking at me
that i have experience forty, maybe more,
deaths
in my life.
but if you ever saw the contents of
my purse, the twisted straws,
the clutter, you would see a child.

It just started where it started, an ending. That’s how things usually spark: the motion of getting up from the table, lowered head so you only see the eyelid, the silencing of gesture and voice and argument. There’s nothing left to say. You remember that painted eyelid.

You remember the back of someone; black slicker, lined in polyester, practical, utilitarian, good for rain and snow and gray, cold days and you remember it because it represents the deepest part of them; their practicality and planning.  Pragmatic even in display, they were fact-based, ruled by thought and precise in many ways. Always wearing sneakers. Always wearing layers. You remember the interminable door slamming shut as your hand flies off the knob and you leave her sitting there, not stunned or surprised but gently mourning in the capsize.

“Would you say I’m frank?” she asked me.

That uneven smile and eyebrow and posture. Her constant vacillation between sainthood and possession that she spit at me in fragments, expected me to consume it, volley back, hold it, remember, care.
“Yes.”
.I’ll remember her inquisitiveness and quiet generosity where no one saw and with no explanation, I saw, a life she tried to save. She will remember me by my one-word answers and the canyon they tried to fill. But I didn’t expect to see her like that.
“Do you believe everything I say?”

The room was full when I walked in, quiet. Because I was late, she ushered me in and told me to keep my voice down. I had expected to be turned away but this was my second visit and I meant well, didn’t I? I had just started this treatment to help me with my insomnia, help me wind down in the evening, help me sleep. Life was ok. I had dreams and hidden feelings and pictures. Still had a pocket of violets and a row of soothsayers following me.

“Yes.”

They were all women there and oddly, all had the same short hair, the same fall comfort clothes, just hoodies and jeans and sneakers but I saw her first. There was no need to scan.  She wasn’t wearing a hat or anything to cover her hair and I realized it was the first time I really saw her; head twisted only slightly away from me but mostly straight and supported by the chair, needles sticking out of her jawline. Eucalyptus filled the room, hints of lavender, low light and is this what it always meant, the next time we are forced to face it there will be no defense between us. I read there will be light.  I read the word befallen. Sometimes I practiced dictation too: moved by a carelessness but hoarding when the nymph is gone, still enraptured by the sight. She was long, lean, her collarbone jutted out from underneath a very thin striped sweater that favored her.  It was kind of how I remembered: unembellished and ordinary but shining in its plainness. She wore no jewelry. She was taller than I expected, thinner too, and simple, not like a beige wallpaper or some other muted adornment but something bigger even in the background. Her cheekbones were high. Her clavicle jutted and she was paling but olive, not milk white, not quite tan, Her neck long as I imagined. Her breathing slow and she looked content to be there. It felt like I was suddenly invading.

Not plain, no, and not ordinary just a spectacle in its honesty. Maybe it’s brave that shows, triumph, skill survives like a Renaissance portrait that lasts decades in the museum for its representation of the time; the light the artist was able to paint into the picture peeking from the corner, dull blues and grays and a very fine wine-burgundy. It’s a dark painting but it lights up the room; no sun just that one light in the corner. You pass it and you pause every time. Analytics and video tapes demand it stays in that museum. Mostly black with a few people looking up, following the cloud.  You’re admiring what they were– the vividness of the devil’s outline, black against black. It’s all you can see.

A smile began in the corner of her mouth and she stretched her fingers.  I saw nothing in her hands. Her nails were long and red and her jeans had holes in them. She held nothing in her hands eyes shut, the mouth falling slightly open, relaxing.  I didn’t look at her feet as I turned away. What an incredible yearning for loss we face. If only to stay there that day of passing her without a word, head down only to turn around to watch her turning around too and later demanding explanation.  Leaving, if only to stay enveloped in the sight of her resting with needles poking out all over her face, her neck, her jaw, her wrists. To stay in winter, in our coats, watching the Earth break into a rift and separate cliffs so all you hear are echoes. A heavy yes falling to the bottom. The portrait of the townspeople hurried to the shadow, gawked at by millions a year, never removed for its classic parable. Not a glittering, but a dimness yet the center of the room. Beware of what you seek for it is seeking you.

Just say yes and step into the consequence.

this is fresh.

like when my cat’s claw gets stuck
in my fingertip or when I
bump my elbow on the armoire
he let me keep.

things only last for seconds unless
they are eternal like
God’s choir,
mass extinction,
our howls like bells
like doom
like fate.

 

I try to tell too many
that this has happened before but
never with the same
patterning; the cavern
patience that’s filled with
liminality   me in the
tub and dreaming.
I have no fear of the color
hazel or unmade beds
or the way you let your fingertip
trace my thigh’s Baphomet
as you turn to me
and say 

this will never end.

 

I bet you never say a word.
I’ll grow to equatorial proportions
and bellow.
I have no fear of
mirrors, men,
mirages or monsters.
I have no fear of depth.
I have no fear of flight
or landing, heat
or frozen streams.
those talons.
those waves.
those headlights.
I have no fear of death.

you? you will know me
by my sudden strength:
silence and never seen
again the same way.


“the red book (revisited)”

she talked to me all day
in riddles and I welcomed
her gentle incursion,
the way she enunciated certain
things and said y’all
and quite frankly charmed
while armed    broke men with a
chain or a flash of knee
or surreptitious motive
and I held steady
with one open eye
and crossed arms
and no plan to move
in either direction
when she asked if I still
favored her.

not a single person in this town
knew her and not many
elsewhere.
if it were up to her,
she said,
she’d disappear without a trace
into the ocean
or a foreign life
leaving a legacy of
riddles and ghosts that
favored her but not one
in a bed, or
several chained in a
yard not able
to break through the
bushes to door.
yes, I still favor you.

wore a veil,
wore a shrouded smirk and
moved wide but
never wanted anyone to
recognize her face.
in the sun,
became a mist
wafting wearily
through rows of houses,
blocks and noting
trash, and noting straws,
noting needles,
and a penchant for
heart.
in the dark,
a trace of flame
from distant candle but
never here.
still,

ok, howl.
if you placed her in a cage
full of rocks and
sunk her to the bottom of
the mariana trench with enough oxygen
to last her the swim back up,
she’d find every school,
hold the middle,
let the sides be eaten in
her disguise,
ride their backs back up,
wash up on a dolphin
at your feet, half dead,
blue, freezing and with an unctuous
grin just to prove
you still favor her.

“Saturn in Scorpio” or “how guys save me in their phone, reversed”

“I have no future plans,” I began calmly.
      I am arms outstretched
walking nowhere but with
ardency so
I am labeled,
whimisical and manic
like a wound up
fairy, the character that
keeps the music box

spinning
that leapt from its
little 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, and
have wings that carry weapons.    I
hear in a distance
  someone repeat it

I use intimidation as a tactic to seize opportunity


Well, I also use black magic

“seven of cups”

 

only two days ago
your hands wrapped around my throat
and tossed me on the bed
and still dutiful,
I am on my way
to pick up a bag of cutlery and dishes
for our house from the front porch
of a stranger’s
when I stop to admire the cracks
in the side of the building.
the wall is coral, faded but still
garish, stands out.
it’s brick and

this building has no doors and
one broken window.
these defects in the painted halls
lining my new city catch my
eye each time I run an errand
and I pay my respects in
photographs      stopping at each one,
trying to remember how the boulders
haunted too      how the ocean felt
on my wasted ankles at dusk when I guzzled
vodka Big Gulps and watched the
white crabs roam the bay.
watched myself dissolve into
the bits of me and can I remember
how the sunset looked draped over both
tide and flatirons,
hold two things at once
without favor?
how it feels to lose several
small countries you claimed.
I’m invaded.

these overcoats that rot
hold space;
there is natural beauty
here but it shines brightest
in demise.
these bricks are painted to distract from
it’s true inability
to keep a home  safe like
the way men have held me;
hugged with their claws,
I cracked at the touch     put my rosy shades on
I only see them
in their handsome sway.
I snap a picture of the edge of the broken
glass pane and the beginning of
the paint peeling into
white–the fissure.
I trace my finger
over a chip and watch
it flake.

how they left me.

“doors #1”

 

I read a note out loud to myself:
everything that is really hard
is going to save your life
and a blackbird landed on the branch
outside my living room
window.
still, their eyes small and
sharp
waiting to dive,
waiting for the buzz of cicadas
to start again.

that reminds me,
I say in my head,
i’m emaciating.
I take a sip of water.
starved from the looking
without touching and
I want too much
has many meanings.
I read the words aloud again
and pour myself a thimble
of almonds.

i begin to charm him,
untie a ribbon from her
rib cage and kneel,
tie his wrists together
and lick his inner thigh.
someone asks
and then?

and then you become the
braced masochist
and I become
the looming hit.

“maelstrom”

my knees hurt from walking the line
between prophecy and
presence as I stomp the
concrete for miles.
I’ve been dreaming of fish everywhere.
I am going nowhere;
only getting older so
sometimes I need a second
of stillness   rest
or I suddenly need to stretch
my calves on the railing
and I stop in the center.

it doesn’t matter if I hear them,
I always turn around and
two or three or a
lone man step around me.
once distracted, now
astute, upright
without visible panic
growing my back into a knight
and I keep pace behind them.
a gargoyle with cat
ears and a smirk
and I can walk for miles,
a giant keeping stride with
the beat of legs in front
of me.

watch

women move like machines
too.

 

“catcalls”

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