Thursday, April 14, 2016

Hours of Opening

 My students are much more open to experimenting with the space of the line than I am. And it’s because they’re better poets. I tell them to write work I would only dream of writing. I lied this week and told them I had written a poem about a special object from my childhood in order to gird them into writing with their objects in mind. The Owl and The Pussycat, the famous Edward Lear nonsense poem, recapitulated as an illustrated book by Hilary Knight, is back in my possession. Every page arranges the scope of an idea’s transition into image and back again. I don’t think I’ve ever been alive. Daily I pass a Polish beer garden and the sign reads, “Hours of Opening” as if the structure were a great plant astonished by its breathing. I walk by the same man in his cubicle forever leaning over to consider his calendar. There is no context for anything we do. As my mother tells it, I used to read The Owl and the Pussycat to my younger brother upside down so that he could read the images. Why does it feel like my life started when I arrived at the foot of a bed. I would read the words upside down but I was reciting. Around this time I killed my older brother’s fish by filling their tank with too much food. The flakes formed a film over their lives and shadowed them to death. As I understand it, recitation is a kind of overfeeding. It is important to connect the girl’s scarf with the growth of the girl’s tail, the shapely feline overtaking the girlflesh, how the shape overthrew its captor is how I first learned to starve. When he lay me down and when he lay me down and when he lay down my neck was the noose around my neck. It was easy to imagine being taken in a boat to elsewhere, freedom became a talisman I stroked to keep me animal. Chronology is a denture and the landscape removes me from its mouth, I the viscous silver string drooping to silk in the parabola. No one has ever sworn they’d change for me. They see I have already brimmed with the blades of my childhood and I’m done for. They see that I have learned to sleep with gold insects swarming my legs. And when I close my eyes, I cannot, for the life of me, ignite. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Rhythm Thirteen

 Never put value in a belief. All I do is repeat.
I’m astonished by every mouth I’ve had. An orange
pushed down my throat. This afternoon I left
the office to run in line. My discipline is straight.
A crystal falls through me. Fiber drips down my chin
as I assess the world smashed into me. I ran 
in a line to a window. Every object on its side
looks like a beached whale. I think the problem
with scene is my death can’t fit inside it. I’m hurt
by narrative, the promise of humans to be their verbs.
The times I’ve been intellectual, my lips were wet.
I pantomime in the pretty gloaming of my youth
and push myself through a disc so I don’t have to look
anyone in the eye. I need more space. I repeat.
I lay down in the road as a girl because I wanted
someone to stop me like no one stopped him.
Because the car never came, they called me 
an attention whore. I’m relearning inventory
to repeat myself better. Tonight, Paul said the word 
ichor in their poem. I can still feel the god blood
melting through the snow. My landscape flattens
to one without snow, without rain, without land.
I draw the word ichor in the steamy mirror. It drips.
I splash the glass with bleach. It drips.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Girl to Complete a Portrait

I can already see the way I presume teenagers are too un
formed to make decisions but I remember my destruction
well. I masturbated to the livejournal community _nakedparts,
a blog made of livejournal users who showed off various
quality photos of their naked bodies. There was a beautiful
woman naked and splayed against a tree, her butt in full
bloom. Spiky blurs of genitals. It could never be fully
satisfying, which was the greatest arousal of all. I read comments
and the tiny wars winnowed in the flesh grids. A man 
commented on a woman’s vag shot, Shave. Another man
condemned the comment, because her full growth was hers.
I was 14, believed feminism to be an older, won battle
despite my body’s multiple invasions and the natural silence
expected. The silence was a tautology and I needed its shape.
Everyone loved a winner and to speak was to lose. So I touched
my naked parts to the safety of a flat screen. I fantasized
posting, amazing the community with my firm figure.
I learned I was desirable when a stranger at the mall threw me
over his shoulders and ran with me screaming to his sedan.
My friends stopped him. Everyone laughed. I was 13
and knew to cry meant I was a prude. I swallowed terror.
I knew I was desirable when Ryan, 21, kept grabbing my butt
in the food court. Everyone laughed. When he found out
where I lived. Got me into the car and led me away.
I show my students Mary Ruefle’s essay, “I Remember, I Remember,”
and she has written “I remember saving everything” after
saying she never did like to save things. Last night I dream
my apartment suffers an electric fire, the second fire of my life.
My landlord screams that I’ve ruined her beautiful house
and she is right. I mastered cateyes. In HS, wrote Chuck Palahniuk
fanfic. My best friend returned from college and said L
drugged and raped him. He slid his hand up my knee, in a gesture
I’ve never allowed myself to understand. My other best friend
fought three women at the mall, ripped out a hoop earring
and kept it on her nightstand with her bracelets. I learned
I was desirable when I used textbooks to cover my butt
in the halls. When S taught me skinniness required a finger
and vigilance. A student comments on Bhanu Kapil’s “Text
to Complete a Text” that she is having difficulty articulating
its genre. Risk is a kind of twin of permission, says Bhanu.
I woke up this morning stunned by the confidence we have
in our houses. There is a belief about houses that is in line
with our capacity to live, that they are upright, secure, impenetrable.