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hold it right there

 

I brought you

to the curves in the south fork

I use my lashes

to sweep up your attention

hold it

right there

an eddy, a dervish,

a timely spoon in my eyes

on,

then in,

yours, oh god

I just make up so many stories to keep you

right here

how I laughed at the neighbor boy

behind his back

called him weird

told him to get off my property

I was devilish

struggled to be a good kid.

Everyone was sinning their way

to hell in a handbasket

adultery

words bargain time

fornication, transubstantiation

the river is blue and deep at the south fork.

We would throw empty wild turkey off the rocks

bellowing and daring each other down

after them

now

I follow you,

after your wife, into the water,

I can see you seeing her. Wind and sun

substantiating your deep blue guilt

a lapse in

storytelling.

Once I told my mom I wanted to see

what was under our priest’s vestments.

I never was able

to get out of dodge

quick enough

holding down the fort for you

here at the rocks at the south fork at the water’s edge

in the eye of the hurricane

hold it

right there

an eddy, a dervish,

a timely spoon in my eyes

on,

then in,

yours, oh god

I came to myself lover after lover

singing my way to hell.

Kenne-Gregoire-1951-Novo-pintor-do-realismo-Vida-intima

kenne Gregoire 1951

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He

I still label it “masculinity”

despite the matrilineal anger

it sprung from, or rather –

the man inside me

sprung.

 

His need to fuck but

be free, naturally therein lies a

fiction and an

adolescence, an attachment

to individuation: dusk-dawn

the first light of differentiation,

yin-yang, the plausibility of the body

we are born into.

 

It’s controversial to admit that I am

a colonialized woman

I remember

a dialect of tenderness – speaking

was like splitting fruit with my mouth

the idea of freedom did not govern me

I was already free

my limbs were in chorus, seasons of

sympathetic magic with a phenomenal world.

 

My mother passed along her rage

bred within me an extraverted boy who punched

holes in the drywall, cauterized my womb,

a sovereign masculinity that defines me and enslaves

my anatomy to geometric efficiency, narrower hips

smaller breasts less luster less room

for impressions or shadows.

 

We are as close to friends as we will ever become,

I know his secret love of fire

the heat of things we

share

sun up sun down in the trenches where I was

told to hide: they’re his night terrors not mine

he brought the war in while I

unlearned my instincts.

 

So I come here for the fruit –

the lost language

though never all the way forgotten

long past dusk in starry corridors,

unsupervised while he sleeps

I chew slowly

quietly.

 

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original artwork by kaitlin deasy

word problem

she is faithless

the way a valley divides

for settlements and

agriculture and arithmetic

and law and alleys

and red-light, and him

and her

 

women don’t talk about

their faithlessness, they

do the math confidentially.

the other man I think about

divided into me

equals

 

an alley, if 1 woman

is distributed among 5 men

unequally and obsessively

over 3 years what are the remainders

and how can they be grieved –

 

it becomes a word problem

for which there are none.

 

she is an aberration

I think about him when –

a sorcerer

I’m with you –

an algorithm

I don’t know why –

a fraction

I’m sorry –

in a whole.

 

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original artwork by kaitlin deasy

 

gave your body love

 

among the mountain

of thought you call

we, the diaphanous body

broken at your mouth by

the asking     a fish jumped

gave its body love

 

seen a mountain twice

once, as companion,

another in the thought of itself

on the face of the lake we

tried to ascend, lip by lip

giving love to its body

 

gave your body love

out of my broken lips

asking between answering

between light and retina,

sensitivity between skin

some worlds are limitless

 

given our world a body

jumping for the mountain,

your mouth, a lake, an eye blink,

a bruise of clouds low-hanging

over the sun where we made it up

to our bodies in love

 

love gave our bodies one

blink of ascension

awake the mountain and open

a lake of clouds halfway between our

twice felt skin between a bruise there

from the climb between the bodies

giving love

 

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original artwork by kaitlin deasy

to be high

I want to be high on

thinnest breath as

I lay my pillow on rock

by the saguaro, with my head

inside those linear shadows

momentarily forgotten –

how I need these very words –

I want to be high on

need, coming up dry while

the diaphragm pumps away

how I would lie for a language, cheat

and manipulate, how I would throw

my self onto the saguaro or

turn a hoodoo into goose down,

I’ve done it before, gone prostrate

on a thing thousands of years in the

making, and I would do it again,

take a word or two, neglect

their etymon, patch them

with silence,

and defy the natural law

how I would plunge

into the desert belly first chest

to follow, like a piston

and get my fix from a place

unseen.

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original photography by kaitlin deasy

To the devil, of thirty years

When I was a little thing, you were always in the backyard,

after dark you would chase me up to the house.

In a few years, you found your way inside

to stand by my bed at night, until my sister’s finger-puppets,

her shadow play, translated into dreams.

At age eleven, I turned to my father to ask –

am I the Devil? – by then you were truly

inside. I prayed to God because of you.

For twenty more years I would do things

I hated, because I should, to be good,

because of you.

You pressed the juice from my eyes;

the ones that used to turn men into syrup,

women into comedians.

The years roll by; you are still

hot on my heels and I am so afraid to look behind me,

I have built the muscles of my back to fight you

I am a grown-up now so I play with my own shadows

to throw you off, like my sister did when we were kids.

But someday, I will turn around. Thirty years is

long enough, I think to myself. It’ll be one gutsy half-pirouette,

but I will finally behold you, and your face will be pretty like mine,

with those same eyes

I thought I had lost.

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Air-War

 

Buttermilk petals, butter yellow petals, and there is time this morning

to write about these buttercream petals. I left no invocation of yellow unturned;

I combed the metaphors out of Spring; I rolled away the stone but His body

was still there; Mustard is a blister I burst for the honey inside –

 

I deflowered my own childhood imagination in the process.

Every spoken word was chalk.

I began to hate the shimmy of cream

outside the window whenever the wind picked up

 

Those little kamikaze

petals,

though it was never

really about them, or butter, or

Spring. I just used you, I said.

Your sensuality turned me on.

I wanted something I have never tasted before to fill my mouth

 

such tiny pools of Sarin, mistaken

for rainwater collecting in each

buttermilk pistil,

were they to find my tongue – what would they make me say?

 

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