28 March 2010

Doused




The book on the shelf is hollowed out to accommodate a pistol--
my pistol, eager to wrap this up, darling.

The hep cats, hep kittens, now know what a dead body smells like--
my husband, doused in gin and perfume.

Are all of you the same? Togged to the bricks, fancy matches,
chatting more than breathing? Are you a good salesman,
or a hangnail, a charmer with more wishes than tricks?

I would ask a woman, but a woman doesn't want me. She doesn't like
blood under her nails. She doesn't like dirt sucking up her heels.

So, I have to settle for you, my lipstick on your collar.
You call it "fire engine red." I call it "murder," and you laugh.


26 March 2010

Oakland, 1906

Sleeping through the chime of each birthday,
one is suddenly startled by the low whimper of mortality,
and the promise that Jesus was not born in December.
Thankfully, a tetanus shot stops you from grieving prematurely.
An ugly child with the face of an old man, you long to mourn anyway.
You paint the disappearance of your parents
in long strokes of hypotheticals, brushes dipped in whiskey.
We are the children of irresponsibility, irreversible damage,
a chip on each shoulder waxed over with daydreams.
We are the bruises mistaken for smudges, as someone continues
to try over and over to wipe us away. I remain hyperaware of time,
thinking of the children I will never birth. These are the hands
you will hold, and this is the face you will comfort.
I plan to meet you between mistakes, the whimper you try to ignore.


25 March 2010

Cutting Glass

So many lights dance on the broken frame,
the prism shining, the security of a bubble punctured,
colors swirling in the formation of membranes: the time
it takes to carefully manipulate, the fine craft of cutting glass.

You left your shoes here, along with your umbrella.
The shoes don't fit me; they are too small, contain
the worn toe patterns of you. I am nothing but a burden,
the reason you wear bandages on your heels.

To love is to sell out, especially if that lover is a man,
his eyes cut to only see you. So many lights dance on
the broken frame; we blow bubbles from the balcony.
I catch them before they drift, ruining them, only to make more.


17 March 2010

Curiouser and Curiouser

Alice eats a cake and expects something peculiar to happen to her. After a while her neck grows so much that eventually she does not even see her own feet anymore. Alice is so surprised that for a moment she forgets to speak good English.
- Explanation of Alice's exclaiming, "Curiouser and curiouser!" in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.


As we grow older, we refine the contours of our reality and become more immersed. We become wiser not because we know more about life itself in the broadest most possible sense, but because we are more accustomed to patterns, can recognize and understand others and how they operate within our bubble, our proximity. As for things outside ourselves and habitats, our orientation is more problematic in that it is fluid and less predictable. The inner workings of life itself contain many a mystery woven into illustrious shapes. These shapes and ideas are so complicated that even the question "Why are we here?" becomes trite and hollow. But it's still the question, as we go through life searching for the tools to answer it.

During our brief appearance on earth, most of us will move from innocence to experience; the Romantics believed that after "experience" comes a sort of elevated or higher innocence. We are children, then adults, then humbled into a second childhood once we realize that we don't have everything figured out after all. Personally, I find this realization exciting. In his book/manifesto Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings, Rob Brezny argues that cynicism is lazy, as there are countless examples found in life of amazing, odd, troubling, wonderful, sad, thought-provoking things, big and small. To run out of things to be curious about is impossible, and if you find yourself bored, it's because you're either stubborn or oblivious.

And yet it's hard sometimes to remember that while we are engrossed in the microcasm of our habitat, within another microcasm of our personal lives, there's a bigger world out there, a universe, a multiverse, full of planets and stars and more galaxies than we can ever fathom. If life itself, in its magnitude, were a brain, we would truly only be exploring 10% of it, if that. (To be clear, the point I'm making here is based on a myth, but you get the point.) While I do believe human beings will continue to explore and discover, I do not think we will be able to answer every question; in fact, I know for certain there will always be questions we won't ever think to ask, let alone answer. Therefore, although the possibilities are endless, they are also, somewhat contradictorily, limited. I personally find much comfort in growing curiouser and curiouser: all of us will only continue to grow intimate with our little microcasms while we hopefully still wonder in awe at the mystery of it all, bewildered.


14 March 2010

III.






II.

in the weight of the morning--
wait of the mourning--
strangers collect their questions,
cards in their hats.
the sun is a broken bulb.
bruised clouds, purple and green,
are shaped like the faces we left.

I.

on the bus, I saw a woman who
looked like you without the drug overdose.
claustrophobia pricked the blister of
my dream, my oblivion,
now a stain on my seat.
questions assault then situate themselves
next to me, ignoring the strangers
who ask them.


09 March 2010

Barbed Wire

Can you recall the night? I can, with grasshoppers
        on my diaphragm. You, a drugstore cowboy, me, one of the lucky girls.





We met outside the speakeasy, my slip in static and wrinkles. It was the next morning
        I made a proposal, concentrating on your five o’clock shadow—
darling, our red hands were caught
in barbed wire, but
                this is the last temptation,







dollars stuffed
in waxy bags.
                Do you recall the night? I fumbled with the keys, a tiny fist shaking, grasshopper

        stuck in my throat.

Derrida at the Lunch Counter

Totally unconverted, perverted,
the temperature of chemicals hard to determine.

Crashing symbols, thoughts to crack, hating anyone
and only you
and also the lying kind.

Sugars splice, disintegrate, disingenuous memories.
Complex carbohydrates, hot in the body, angry stems,
sharpened points. I wait for my sandwich, but you're

standing in my way, impatient, crackling digestion.
Thoughts to crack, hating anyone
and only you
and also the liking kind.


02 March 2010

Untitled

1. Asphalt remembers rain: like tears, like sweat. The cracks, crow's feet.

2. I wanted to extend an invitation, a branch, fingers wrapped in fruit.

3. --the marriage of kids in cornfields, separated by broken stalks and windsong, punctuated by laughter and dusk.

4. I'll keep your stalled lovers a secret. I won't whisper their names.

5. Slipping on beads, tiny bruises on the neck. A trace, identified.

6. Soy beans this year. Crops're much shorter, making it harder to hide, easier to seek.

7. I worship by the hot apples, punctured by bees and worms: summer hangover. I kicked him out because he was fresh.

8. --spirits by the barn, daddy with her favorite cow. The driveway lacks asphalt.

9. I recall the names of all your uncles, even the criminals. Even the ones who died when they were kids, married to cousins: grass wrapped around fingers, wedding bands.

10. You are the quiet shift of seasons, a crack added: I remember.


01 March 2010

A Finite Number of Steps

I pride myself in numbers,
stretching each digit to meet yours.

You belong to the algorithm, confined in a cubbyhole.

They never show you the placenta, the blood balloon.
They never show you the legend.

Each thought is a question, swaddled insecurity.
Eventually, formula won't be enough to satisfy.

We stretch some more: stretch, stretch, and I take pleasure
in knowing the answer has no face.