mercurial: a definition
the mirror of mistakes
looking back at you
kissing the kiss
you kissed into a childhood
kissing through you to the mirror
no mistakes then
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
The look of things
How do I teach a class when my mouth
Is full of dreams I cannot share.
When a girl in class says “there’s a devil influence” in
Sherman Alexie’s Reservations Blues.
She won’t read it. Doesn’t want it in her head.
I look out the window and back at the nodding class.
They love the love, but can’t take the badmouthing
About religion on the rez.
What do I tell them to read to compare? Shakespeare’s Caliban
Morrison’s Beloved, Ginsberg’s Howl, to help them get it? To see
That once there were others with dreams in their mouths
But those dreams happened on top of what was already there.
And the landscaped turned into the novel Sherman Alexie
Wrote and came to our class in my feather hands.
How does history get told anyway from the loser’s perspective.
I would think a devil, and a gun, some frybread, and maybe background music
Would be involved. And on a reservation, a night creased by winter’s blade
Where babies freeze to death and are buried on top of another sister’s grave.
Where full-grown men cry into whiskey bottles for lost love. For being lost.
Those men whoop and holler at their women; at the moon. At god.
How do I tell my students, eyes new and waiting, I remember that.
Monday, April 2, 2012
Palms sticky sweetmeat in her black swan hands
hands calloused from sword’s hilt, fingers delicate as feathers, sore.
Feet naked and darkened like the boys, but not like them.
They jostled each other, young bronze lions, but kept a distance
Between her awkward body and themselves. Across the cold stone.
Wary of her sloe eyes. Her kohl wings, learning men things.
She was always hungry, her birth father said
Born with mouth open but silent, one eye on wet breast
The other towards the coming sun.
Palace walls expanded with each breath.
Flocks of blackbirds stacked like pyramids in sky.
Shadow crossing the moon. Hittite mothers weeping in their sleep
While babies smiled, ready for the kiss. A perfect Nile dawn
Not seen for one hundred years. Hathor’s temple stairs wet where no one had
Poured water. In the daylight, the girlchild only swam on her back.
At night, her father spelled leader, king, pharaoh on her chest,
Gilded her ears with charms, protection spells: whispered, it will hurt.
Leaving always hurts.