poems

29 March 2015

#60 menstrual hangover

I don't feel like it:
today's deep center is bright with unrelenting cramp,
the valleys sharper than the peaks;
they are valleys of dread, half past, half future.
When the peak rises it almost feels good,
violent fulfillment between wringing respites.
After a dinner of Chinese duck we walk home together
and sip rum on couches in the common room
before changing shoes and heading back out
to Liz's apartment for kimchi
and shots, and wintergreen Swedish snüs.
After, upper gums seething, we walk to a place
for dancing and three rounds of vodka,
the second with an olive, the third with lemon,
and dance very hard to decent music. I sweat
through my black linen, hold a man by the shoulder
for a twirl, look up to see it is not one
I meant to reach for, shy sleekly away...
Back in the familiar circle, I dance with
the right people, and avoid touching you
by keeping always at least one person between us.
When a pocket opens there, I float backward,
take a lap to get water and wipe the edges of my mouth.

26 March 2015

Four fingers on Mary's left hand, broken during a move, were restored in 1736 by Giuseppe Lirioni, and scholars are divided as to whether the restorer took liberties to make the gesture more "rhetorical."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piet%C3%A0_(Michelangelo)

#59: Pietà

Prompted to list three things that frighten: ok, the unknown (i.e. what will happen this afternoon and tomorrow, i.e. the future, because we do not control it even if we think what we do now may affect it). Another is my beloved doing near-harm to his body: leaning backward too far in a chair, wobbling; taking a knife to an edge of hard cheese and pulling it towards his chest, his hand slipping. Relax, he says, I've always done it this way; and I'm still here. Placing flakes of manchego onto his tongue and leaning back on two legs. The worst fear is of course the fear of not being worthy of art, though it seems that in order to work, one must set fire to that. In the Romance languages other than English, pomegranate is variants on 'grenade.' It does look like one, but which came first?
He leaves for class, hands in his pockets, his coarse hair hidden by a beanie. His parts are welded sturdily yet he has a boxer's leanness. I sit in the apartment in a shirt, work in a few hours, fine hair gathered in a bun. His collarbones run straight across and show up above where his shirt is buttoned, and most shirts hang lightly enough that one can discern the bones' continuing beneath out to the edges of his shoulders; they shine through, and his skin glows and sparks, he is that young. Any fine cotton shirt or loose linen betrays the brightness of what he is welded with. He is sharp and marble-soft, with a heart-rate like a hummingbird's. I was afraid the night he was up late from overdosing on caffeine and sat on the floor in the study quivering and emitting sobs of not being good enough for whatever task was at hand. I cradled what felt like a strip of phosphorus. I fed him water and clutched his boxer's torso against my very slow breathing, to regulate his racing heart.

05 March 2015

#58: u remind me

my chest aches with heat rash

i am not your first beloved

most of the time i am picking at my fingernails and doubting myself

i am sick

i bled on your bed

i hate other women

right before we met i was an other woman

but here i meant woman other than me of whom you were beloved

i know time doesn't move in only one direction, forward

she left you and therefore it may be you are still in love with her

i suppose it could be thus even if you had left her

but she left you

which happened something like eight months before we met

nine months before we starting sleeping together

my best friend from high school has still never had sex on her period

you are adoring which is good because i'm addicted to attention

which is why i hate her and the other her who was between the first her and me

mostly it makes me sad then it's clear i am possessive to an unhealthy degree


usher overacts with his face in all his music videos

but his dancing is pretty hot and he can still croon

there he goes caressing a naked shoulder half through with a 2001 moonwalk

he even has the leather jacket against the sunset

with the parked gull-wing swung up and what looks like projects framing either side

and the whirling leather sounds and the scraping of his kicks as he works it all out