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At sixI lived in a dark house,
the shadows of tall trees dimming the daylight,
secrets dimming the evening lamps.
Bedtime came too early
that winter, and bath-time, with sister,
slippery and bubble-blowing, soap
stinging between my legs.
I remember the night-light, shaped
like a candle's flame, shining orange-yellow
through the strangeness, on my blanket.
That light made everything softer:
my prayers, my water cup, my dolls, all
safe on the bed with me, my father
standing at the foot.
The breath of him took my breath
away. I did not look; I did not
meet his eyes; I did not answer.
I will speak of innocence
in the twilight, when he sat
and told ghost stories, and when he whispered
of his own childhood, lost with his father,
and when he sang to me as if
I were his beloved, his only child, his one.
I hid my heart in the dusk
of that winter. Spring never came,
nor summer. Instead, a stormy autumn,
soggy golden leaves whirling
frantic through the chilly wind.
And the snow
A BurialThe earth falls. It is my fault. It is my
fault. It is my fault. I should not have
told you. And now this, your dying, is my
fault. The earth falls. In dying, you have
made it clear. It is my fault. The earth
falls. It was not his doing, but mine.
It was my dying, too, that time the earth
stopped. You did not want to hear that mine
was not the same as his story. It was
my fault. Alone, at night, in bed, with him,
alone, the earth stopped, and with him, I was
stopped also. I could not tell about him.
It was my fault. I did not make him stop.
I could not tell you. I could not stop it.
And now, this is, your dying, is my fault.
The earth falls. I leave your grave, and think it
must be my fault. It must be my fault.
Your dying is my fault. What your son did
is my fault. It is my fault. The earth falls.
It was your son. It was my fault. What h
if you can't stand --my mother flicks
on the flame
under the black
in the lamp-light
when she sees me
and boils over
my head hits
the bittersweet wall-to-wall
cosmos in my eyes
under the table
like evenings of liver
onions limas and sit
there until you eat
i guard the injuries
turning from indigo
Math HymnPolyhymnia in blessed cloak and veil
meets me early at math class.
We sing our paeans to Euclid;
pump out proofs; study projective,
hyperbolic, inversive; work our exercises
in meditative and ecstatic state.
Water nymphs creep out
from behind the white board and gambol
neatly around us as we work.
The poetry of Mathematics is never lost
on me. I have slurped from the Fount
of Helicon, and I know the pleasure
of metrical speech. I build poems
into my pleasant Geometries.
Re: my dying friendThere are not words to make sense of it all,
of this disease. Reading the paper, rolling
down hills, rocking the baby, making lunch,
taking my hand, blowing raspberries -- all
are over, or nearly over, for life.
The whole of you is gone, and now the parts
are taking off -- one by one -- and leaving loss
of self-determination, and your rights,
and your dignity, and privacy.
There is a machine that breathes for you,
and one that eats, and people come to change
your gown and bathe you. All your needs are met
but peace of mind. There is no way
to help that one. Nothing is left but fear
and pain, and fear, and pain, alternating.
There is only for you to ask for more
of the morphine, and more, until the time
your fear of life is more than fear of death.
Not my name"I am not wrong: Wrong is not my name" -- June Jordan
I always felt special because he
named me, he picked out my name
just for me, not for my twin, the only
thing that was my own growing up
I was my father's girl
running tackling tickling rubbing
my mitt with heady-reeking oil
throwing the ball around climbing trees
wrestling with him (like Jacob
I wrestled with God
and he put my thigh out of joint)
fighting with boys
my father wanted a boy
and that was what I had to give him
my mother wanted a girl
and I did not have that to give her
at all: ugly hair ugly face ugly
skin ugly teeth ugly fat lazy ass and she tried
squeezing the skin
on my greasy cheeks with her horny nails
pushing the grime and the pus
out through my pores; she tried to rape me
into being a girly girl but I was my father's
girl I was always doing what he wanted
to your crib
in my mind --
makes me consider
to the ground --
does not agree
with my hunger
Chasing ShadowsSomething about a shadow
shifting in late evening or early
morning sends me berserk literally
until I run smack
into the wall: seeing stars:
and flop, disdainful,
down on the hardwood: after all
it's merely a shadow.
Tasting my paws, pinkish pads
protruding from downy black
fur: the best kind of paws: I scrape
my face with them, to clean
the whisker-freckles on my cheeks.
I attend to my spotted belly
and fluffy backside, stroking
neatly, efficiently: if I say so,
attractively: knowing how sexy I am
in my version of the striptease.
Drowsiness comes upon me like
a hum, making me blink in a sort
of Morse code, to tell you how I am
fond of you in a detached and under-
stated way, and invite your adoring
fingers to massage the very
top of my silky, striped head: then
I slip from wondering which life
this is into a dream that I am
chasing evening shadows.
Who Is Your MotherThere is no tired like new-mother,
brand-new mother exhausted.
Sleep a while; please sleep a while.
I tuck your arms into soft fleece, mark the 'O'
of your tiny mouth as I do it, crook you
in one elbow. We are surely alone, and slip
into dreams, you and this woman
who is your mother, drowning together
in pillows, bed-sheets, down.
There is no fear like new-mother,
groggy, incision-pain, narcotic-haze,
frantic new-mother terror. Sleep
a while; please sleep a while.
My heart lurches -- stops -- breaks.
I jolt across the bed, scanning
your tiny face for breathing signs,
a twitch, a sigh. We are still alone
and when you move, I crook you back
into my elbow. Sleep a while.
you are six shades of sadness
on a too cold, too big seat,
a shrunken apostrophe and
paroxysmal, the balls of your feet
strumming the hours gone
("i want to go home,
please, please, i just
want to go home").
it is your relief and your regret
that she knows you so well.
It is she who brings forth a doctor
then, when you are past talking-down, done,
wrung out and horse-footed in your need
("let me go home, please,
please, i just
need to go home")
softly accented words spoken off to the side:
"Yes. Let's keep her voluntary now,
it will be quicker: but if her wings sprout
and itchy feet sample corridors,
we'll make it an order."
("if you go home,
the police will return you,
please stay a little longer")
you are seven hours of waiting,
free to leave until you try and
another doctor says
"I can't get a read
on her lethality and
there are no beds".
("let's go, please, i want
to go home, and they
don't want me here")
she is concern coated in fury,
a righteous expletive
beauty is a state of mindforgiveness is the
scent the violet leaves
on the foot that stomped it;
I am beautiful in remembrance:
I am beautiful
in a body two sizes too
large, in eyes dilated
with questions (eyes
you cannot name; gray
like the ocean, blue
like the heart, green like
the fever dream I cannot
wake from) I am the
hair of a lion, a wild
thing, ignition upon
tempted glance. I am the skin
you cannot name, always fleeting;
you always see
but never truly take in.
and I know a boy
carved of ivory silence,
Starving sleep and apologies.My sleep is starving.
It is shivering sweat like snow
across my shoulders as I sob scream
after scream against your skin;
"sorry, I'm so sorry,
go back to sleep."
I am sad
and struggling to stay
together but you slump
against my sickness
and hold me
things I learned at 11 am while I was half-asleepi
I’m spending most of my time
not crying, and I’m sorry,
but I don’t think I’ll ever love anyone
as much as aspirin, or lullabies,
or the cheap wine sold for two dollars a bottle,
or overly-apologetic letters bending over backwards
to make a point of themselves, or the pink petals
blooming on my wrists like flesh and blood miracles,
or the songs named after women
things may not change,
but you will have to.
I am most alone
surrounded by people
and the buzzing in my head of words
that should have lost their meaning
back when I discovered
they never meant anything
Dedications are only relevant
to people who appreciate shitty poetry,
or you. Insanity is writing the same thing
over and over and expecting it not
to sound clichéd.
and as much as anyone will swear otherwise,
I am a statistic. A number, an example,
a case study in the manipulation of
narcissism and moving on
I know that today you didn't feel like getting up.
You thought the light from the window
looked a little less harsh from your pillow,
felt like gravity was stronger than most days,
thought that if it was any stronger,
it would swallow you whole.
I know you almost didn't get out of bed today.
I know you almost didn't pick up the razor today.
You almost didn't care enough to mark your losses,
to tally your skin with ritualistic conviction.
You almost didn't make that sacrifice,
but sometimes the voice that says
"atone" is the loudest one.
But know this-
Your body has been met with the force of gravity every day,
and has still managed to stand up right.
Your heart loves you more than you do,
it is stronger than diamonds,
every time you thought it had shattered,
that surely it would stop this time,
it kept going.
Your veins are tree roots,
and no matter how much you try to dig them up,
they keep you firmly planted.
They are beautiful.
You are beautiful.
No one else has the sa
a sliver of the galaxyto the star girl on the edge of my tongue:
your hair dye is fading; you are a patch work
quilt comprised of sleepless nights and
the world around you romanticizes
the sadness that fills you like a broken well,
but you know they’re wrong --
having a darkness that threatens
to overwhelm you every single moment
isn’t glamorous at all.
you’ve started to trace your skin
with a knife again, itching to press
a little harder, to draw on your body
the only way you know how.
but you won’t.
because that will mean
that you’re just as far gone
as they think you are.
and there’s still a sliver inside of you
that doesn’t want to let go.
--the girl on the other side of your mirror
(w)retchI used to think of death as something
dark and distant,
immeasurably far away
and hopelessly deep.
now that it is upon me, weighing heavily
in the caverns of my mouth,
it is the easiest decision I've
ever made, the easiest thing
I've ever swallowed.
the fact that I failed is an
I have snapped a string,
I have deviated farther,
I am two-fifths dead
and one-fifth cold
warning signsI should have known things had begun to slide
when my dog stopped eating,
curled against me, our ribs slotting together,
the wild look in her eyes;
when our bed became a ship on a restless sea,
no longer for sleeping,
she ached by my side. And we lost so many weeks.
She tells me she will love me forever
and I believe her
because I am fragile but she's not afraid anymore.
She's angry with me,
snubs my attention, but
keeps just one sharp ear tilted
towards my laughter.
FlashbackMy father shuts his door against the heat,
and cowers in the air-conditioned dark --
sleeps off the war.
He battles in the far-off gloom, and wet,
and terror, breathing labored, heartbeat quick --
a fight ahead:
I push in, switch the light on, then a start --
he rears up, and begins another war,
with me the foe.
Braced against his rage, bearing the brunt
of blows, and shouts, and rains from anger past,
I stand my ground.
The secrecy and shadow of his fear
and mine emerge, to twist from damp and bright
to dry and dim.
I never cry. He pushes me away,
slips back into the cold and arid room,
brings on the night,
fleeing sharp images of combat,
closing past and present -- shuts his eyes
to time and me.
Inspector Wolf The old lady was dead. I could smell it before I even got into the house. The whole place reeked of adrenaline, sweat, fear, copper and steel. He’d dropped her right in her living room. Chopped and chopped until she stopped moving. But I could tell I was getting close. This had been done in a hurry, and the killer didn’t have the time to clean up after himself like he usually did.
Across the room, the phone rang. The shrill sound set my teeth to grinding, but I ignored it. Instead I followed the killer’s bloody footprints into the back bedroom. He’d climbed out the window. If I hurried, I could catch up to him and end this disgusting spree he was on.
Then the answering machine kicked in. “Hi, Gramma! It’s Red. Sorry I’m running late. I kind of lost track of time. But don’t worry. I packed the picnic and I’m heading out the door right now. Love you.”
She’d been expec
The TrundlerThe waste land behind the fire station is always silent. No birds sing there, and even the wild rabbits and feral cats avoid it. Weedy wildflowers nod their seasonal heads in the breeze. Lying fallow in the midst of housing developments, shopping malls, the new movie theater — the vacant lot stands out like a knife wound on a woman’s placid face, shocking, brazen, ugly.
It is always empty. Except for one thing: a ragged heap of old trash, all nasty black tar paper and vicious snarls of rusted wire, car parts and broken glass and other junkyard jetsam. The embodiment of injury waiting to happen, an invitation to a tetanus shot... the city never hauled it away. No one ever wants anywhere near it; it radiates an eerie sense of calculating watchfulness.
And at night, it wanders.
When darkness falls, and the last cars heading into the hives of tract housing stop illuminating the asphalt with moving-picture shadows, it… unfolds. Bitter, broken tangles, grotesquely mov
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scheinbar is a much-loved and well-known deviant. Just one look at her gallery, filled with enchanting photography, will have you mesmerized. A deviant for over 7 years, Christiane can always be found posting inspirational features as well as regularly commenting on other deviations and encouraging and empowering her fellow deviants. We are inspired and insist that you too stop by and congratulate ... Read More