Rocket Man

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I.
the mango skin unsheathed at first touch, under his veined hands,
awash in stardust. its ripe flesh: the first sign of life in a space wasteland.
that was the first time she fell in love with her Rocket Man,
who taught her to stare at the sun without blinking, promised
to fly her away under shooting stars. claimed that mangoes grow faster on mars

and she believed him.

II.
in her thermal suit, her knuckles were cold, but the atoms inside her body were still
moving, even at zero kelvin: the state of perpetual stillness. he held her hand
as they stared heavenward, stared at the celestial bodies, stared at the stars beaded by silver ribbon,
then he took her inside his ship and made love to her under a thousand galaxies of unknowns.

III.
three facts about space:

  1. it is very cold and very dark
  2. the speed of light is faster than the speed of falling in love, just slightly
  3. mangoes can’t grow on mars

IV.
when stars die, they glow brightest: a supernova
consuming its host galaxy in its wide mouth. she watched it bloom
bright red, before swallowing the sky like kindling.
then: a black hole, a rip in the time-space continuum. she knew it was dead
even as it burned. 

V.
the truth is: you are never supposed to look at the sun without blinking;
you should shield your eyes before it blinds you,
or risk crashing into it altogether.

From Grace

Graceful throat, my lungs are hollow,
On thrones, I sing, on Earth, I wallow.
Swollen tongue lead and battered lips mine—
The faith of men,
in man divine.

Snowy peaks and mountains red,
pure lust has turned the life I’ve led.
Repent, resent,
good souls fall fast
the descent.

My king’s gone mad.

I’d fry my bones
to hear them crunch,
burn my flesh in flames
(I, a humble
lunch).

Flighty Bird (A Villanelle)

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Yes, in another life, I’ll be a bird in the sky,
born and bathed in sunlight and dew.
I’ll be singing love songs ‘til the day that I die.

I hum sweetly to the ears of those passing by,
and bask in the sun ‘round I flew,
Yes, in another life, I’ll be a bird in the sky.

When the clouds draw close, darken, and sigh,
I shut my eyes and dream of you.
I’ll be singing love songs ‘til the day that I die.

Wiser men have lived lives far greater than I,
though they surrendered their songs, from their lips I drew.
Yes, in another life, I’ll be a bird in the sky.

I could never silence my love, unholy sweetness of mine,
to your wildness and temper, I cannot bid adieu.
I’ll be singing love songs ‘til the day that I die.

God will see to my wings, He will let me soar high,
He’ll shape my wings from marble, wide and true.
Yes, in another life, I’ll be a bird in the sky.
I’ll be singing love songs ‘til the day that I die.

* writing exercise, ENGWRT 0530

Worth

Catharine Mackinnon wrote:
“man fucks woman; subject verb object”
but I am not an object, something to be filled.
Old me: focused and driven, all sharp suits and eyes
straight A’s and big dreams (they call it ambition
in men.) But I was told that that brain of mine is just an organ
and not a personality.

I am an hourglass, a time bomb,
I am Marilyn and a china doll all in one;
I wanted a quick mouth and strong words,
to be a lion and a dove—how awfully and utterly confusing!
So my sisters, tell me—should I be ashamed
for the way my body curves? should I apologize
for the way I was created? for having hips and an ass
and breasts: signs that I am a woman?

My face is rippling and his reflection stood still
and all I did was love, like Lucifer loved God too much
See where that got him: kicked like a dog.
Fallen, black, and sooty
and here I am just trying to regain my grace:
my wings, my dignity.

I’m as bitter as my coffee
but then I remember: I am not an object his palms can warm
and my brain is my personality, practical and quixotic;
perfectly paradoxical and fantastic.
I took the other path this time—
the one dictated by my head
His me: quick tongue, skin,
all flesh, and hot words that heat his bed
So sometimes he will come back, head hung,
an apology clenched between his teeth.
Alas, bulls in a china shop; that’s all.

6:30 AM Arrival

There are beaconed street lamps down a long pathway
because the sun has not set, or risen, or both—depends
on yesterday and today. The ghosts of sunsets past have not left
to impede the sunrise and keep the colors from spreading,
keep me from floating to you.
My gale filled palms slipped on my skin,
loosely, weary for a new day. Sun, or moon, or both—depends.

Take a woman wailing under the moon, without home or with,
wrapped in white cloth, ratted and dirty, wailing, a moonstruck lunatic.
If you feed her some sparrow’s tongue, toss her in the woods, maybe
she’ll start singing.

If only I had heard the sound—
that whoosh of dust and empty space, rumble
like something great is happening, like the earth is beginning to rupture,
like my skin will burst open to reveal a network of veins,
linked and patterned like shedding snakeskin.
But I walk in and silence stalls. Just old men glued to their papers
and me, wool coat and silken pockets.

Monsoon rains and salted wind—I feel the trees trembling,
but I don’t hear the rumble of your arrival. And then the lights come on
bright and furious, a roar. I see wool and silk and a silhouette of a man,
and I am not alone.

l i n e s

I do not know what is responsible
for the wrinkles of my infant self,
if the air is to blame
or the shallow bath I took after emerging. perhaps
it was the water from inside my mother’s womb.
but how could I, a child of one hour,
be as wrinkled as the fleshy skin of a roasted pig? Maybe one day,
when I am eighty, I will love my lines
like the lines I was born with.

I do not know what is responsible
for etching the lines on my palms, but I am grateful.
my mother always said that deeper lines are deeper lives
and deeper lives are lives worth living.
she said to me,
I would travel far and my life would not be cut short,
but my health is a dainty being. Maybe one day,
I’ll be scraps and bones, and you’ll see my brain still alive and well
from outside my empty sockets.

* writing exercise, ENGWRT 0530