Pussy Poem


Oh tender pussy,
hollowed out sacred chalice
holy crimson witness to being female in this world —
Attractor of atrocities 
target of patriarchy 
It was time.
To the door that was open and the door that is closed
I bid farewell

To the one abortion that wrecked me for years
To the dear deified and despised lady parts
Farewell to the rapes, to being a victim
farewell to hearing that I wanted it
To all the dicks, real and imagined
all that misplaced fear of strangers
To the rape anxieties taught to me by
my grandfather and my friends’ fathers
my father’s friends and the man I babysat for
and the date rapes, a surprise every time
and the incest fading now, but not ever, not really

To every finger, breath and thought that was shoved into me
To all the things that have gone inside
to simply vanish there
trapped inside me
that I calcified 
in my wisdom 
to bone.
Take it all.

Yahweh and Adam and Abel and Caine
all of you and your damned sons
lining up and taking turns with me and my sisters
who acted like we all forgot, and went on
so sure of ourselves, never
only the stumble, the places we tumbled
into smooth stones, to fossils of bone
as if all that shredded embedded trauma
were a bad dream, a bad move
and it was
and it is.

Carted off now as medical waste 
turned to stone like memories
turned to bone like some funky pearl in a stinky shell
Only this grit, this gate, this thing called rape
legitimized by them and swallowed by us
We who never had power in their world
their desire is not our power.
Women so strong that we can carry these acts
inside this tiny pubic Bermuda triangle
to our graves and beyond
to our daughters’ graves and beyond 
slogging a lifetime through
Hey girls, why don’t you smile?
Why don’t you like me?
Why don’t you act like you’re enjoying it?
and it will all be over

Hormone means Messenger
Who will be my messenger now— 
Just this chemical squirt from Walgreen’s?
All the messengers on their tiny bicycles
speeding from this brain
down that steep hill
they were never really going anywhere
never gonna meet anybody
Central switchboard smoking, telegraphing taps and spaces
what a lot of fucking work!
Will the loyal messengers abandon their bikes now
just a flesh garage full of twisted wheels, rusting pedals and gears
and no further communication?
Just an empty room, uninhabitable, but safe
while some receptors wait for communication
that will never come
for a mission
that was never wanted
Wait through this sunset time 
taps blowing softly across the old pink sky

Farewell to all that tender infrastructure, patient and poised
going through convulsive replications and preparations
like the mechanics of a bowling lane
pins knocked down and set back up
tirelessly through strikes and spares 
over and over
the ball sent back through mysterious subterranean tubes
on and on 
like a pep-squad, like cheerleaders, like an army running laps
All that effort of purpose!  All these years!
And so, nostalgia is the least that I can offer up
for invisible processes, for an empty rose room
maybe those laparoscopic hands will
belong to a female robot
who won’t mis-cut, mis-clamp or miss anything
or a pink-clad womyn’s volleyball team
spiking, diving, passing the balls, the eggs, the blade.

I walk the long lines of rigor
with a clipboard and a checklist
noting functions, wanting poetry like wings
to lift me out of this distant mystery, this body cavity
this echoing bowling alley, volleyball court, bike garage, train station
this stadium of pink clad gladiators
where womyn do push-ups on chairbacks
and jog round the morning track

I write leaning this paper on my abdomen
trying not to think of 4 deep punctures
that will enter my gut like swords and
after the knife-fight that I’ll win
with my army of pink girl robots,
cheerleaders and volleyball champs
I can say
Farewell to the Red Energy
no rookery, no nest or bud, just
a different fertility, as it ever was in this body
Womb as sense organ
just Me,
beyond all lunar possibilities
simply this ruby-jeweled enclosure

With what will I replace that space?
Only give me power to express
how fertile I am, still
with myself
I fill me in with me
and then more
spreading in time
like the moon
as I replenish
that pearl
to full

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Suspicious Behavior


Please report any suspicious behavior —
The warning repeats, robotic as Satan’s heartbeat
I approach concourse B
swimming through another recording
music piped into this airy arc of skybridge
as disembodied as that warning
surreal as this landscape
Indians’ recorded chanting
flutes and drums swirl, voices keen
savage irony of Native American exploitation arrows forth
straight as the progress they say we can’t stop
Maybe it’s an auditory trojan horse
and warriors prepare to leap into our pink heads
through our silvered ears and conquer us today
re-take this land, starting with DIA skybridge?

Dark sudden grip of Homeland Security.
The lines, the paramilitary uniforms, the recorded warnings —
It’s like a freshly conquered nation here.
Within the fascist shadow, I remove
coat, scarf, belt, shoes, computer
many plastic bins hold my life sliding away.
Stripped down in an endless lineup
faith-based commuting
we watch helpless
as belongings disappear
through the evil conveyor belt of radiation
Big Brother thinks he can see inside my heart —
no fucking way, or he’d never let me fly.

“Miss!” some guy is calling, “Miss!”
I look around and there, inside a glass box
like a giant Barbie on display
a middle aged white dude
shoeless and beltless
taps to get my attention —
“I think my cell phone’s in with your shoes.”
Behind him, uniformed goons
are running wands over another freedom loving body
He speaks to me as if nothing — him in the box, me in my socks
the radioactive wanding, or his words — are strange.
I check — “Nope. Not with my shoes.”
I silently wish him courage and move on towards the skybridge
the dematerialized chanting voices.
Indigenous spirits hover amazed
What won’t these fools put up with
in the name of safety?
They must be cracking up, wherever they are now
as if this ridiculous theater can keep us safe
from millennia of karma coming down like poison rain
Everywhere around me people are re-lacing their shoes
putting their shit back together, comforting their children
waiting in wheelchairs to be scoped and wanded
A display of adaptation — our most dangerous superpower

Under the video, “The Extreme Ice Survey”, I stop
my habit, to pay homage to this nightmare unraveling
No one ever watches this show, it seems, but me
and I watch everytime
breathing my mortal breath to this insensate pixelated loop
the glaciers of Antarctica, time lapsing, collapsing
no way to adapt to this
but we do
On the screen, glaciers crash down
travelers pass, eyes averted
as they do with homeless on every corner —
Don’t look.
The threat level is orange.

I stand there
shut my eyes
sink into my root
bend knees, shift weight into the left leg
Tai Chi — a counterbalance
Distant glaciers surrender to the urgent flow of music
gateway of wrists, shoulders, elbows open
beside the ice-fields-dissolving screen
Relax the elbows. Shift weight. Turn.
At the lowest left hand corner
a tiny human figure in an orange anorak
faces the vastness, like science
I hold the world, like a human
Step out.
The music flows all round me
Relax, I say inside, relax
face the ruined fields of ice, step
follow my hips swinging slowly to the corner
face airplanes taking off and landing out the wall-tall window.
Nobody stops. Nobody slows. No one dares
to watch me trace
this ancient pattern of gratitude
here before the shredding world

Airplanes zoom off with the speed of glacial collapse
time lapse, the madness of motion
just grasp the sparrow’s tail.
Music tumbles as ice tumbles,
urgent as planes speeding off
as instantaneous adaptation
as unseen departure times near
a barely contained panic oozing in the air  
I slow it all down
the melting poles, the latte-inhaling people
the jets blasting off and landing
Lift. Turn. Single whip.
The terror alert has been raised to Orange.

But the ice is clean as prophesy
this story unfolding, our only future
our response— air travel.
The sign beside the streaming video images says
We believe that global warming is a non-partisan issue
How the fuck did they get to put this video display here
facing runways—did they win an Irony Grant
win in a tie
with the chanting tribes hovering over the sky bridge?
White crane spreads her wings
brush knee
shift weight
Stand in the middle like this
invisible, like they are—
the convulsing ice, the native spirits, the endless war, the irony

I’m standing inside a bubble of freaky otherness
it’s the only thing bold enough to survive here
I’m moving on, sideways through the world
past cameras and badges
incessant uniforms & warnings
Please report any suspicious behavior
I’m looking for a public phone, a public clock
how suspicious is a human body lacking a cell phone these days?
My phone book is an actual phone book
I have to ask strangers the time
stand fearless in my skin without a screen to shield me
make eye contact
here, in this public space
absent of public clocks and public phones
The threat level has been raised to orange.

Fucking liars—it’s been orange for 9 years
Suspicious means you don’t blend
I don’t blend
also, I’m invisible, and how suspicious is that?
Another oxymoron to toss on the irony pile
looming taller as glaciers shrink to puddles
floating balloon-like above the disgrace
of race relations & a melting planet
& the guy in the box
& the lines of passengers who live inside
unquestioned security
as giant billboard images of happy shiny people bear witness
to all the stressed out, miserable crowds rushing past
as the Dow Jones flows past on tickertape
How do we just keep going forward?

This culture is a blender
engines of denial
cruelty of privilege
worship of ignorance
whirs us all into brutally indifferent blades
and if you don’t grab hard
hold fast to the ragged edge of the farthest wall
you’ll be shredded by the jagged teeth
— homogenized
I'm holding fast
the roar is all there is
it substitutes for our screams
If only we could run
all our machines on cognitive dissonance
cos that shit'll never run out
our hearts stilled to obedience
waving our flags with our shoes in our hands
Please report any suspicious behavior
i really don't know
where the fuck
to begin

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Once upon a time, there was a Space
not warm, not safe
and an exhausted dyke
—a kite that had chewed thru its string
who ran wild among the stars —
and sometimes she wrote it down
but mostly things happened and she forgot them
because life was enormous
it was endlessly windy and there was no tether
and she dreamed of rooted things
of being saved
tied down or sprouting wings
to fly home from all that Away
in another story she builds a home
she only wants to go home.

Once upon a time
there was a weird paradise called Florida
and in her mother's house
things can be so soft and lulling
the bedding, her mothers’ skin
the way time flows
but it’s a trick
and she learns to duck and cover
from the bloodied edges
of the jagged traps
and so misses the authentic softness when it comes
when it comes, she is not here
she is a suit of armor
a sort of anchor
a red light flashing in and out of consciousness

She hasn't breathed for days.

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Beneath The Prayer Shawl


all day making out
with the phenomenal world
one bird
bowing before nature
one scholar
endlessly reading
flat & busy pages

i wish i believed in god
any god
in the voice moving like a chord
over the land
heavy with answers
avatars of vishnu
woodland fauns and corn spirits
teach me
lakshmi, pan, artemis
tutelar holy dogs
enormous shadows of divinity
stalking us
the word made flesh, made mine
persephone, kali, morgana, all y'all
the madonna and all her vampires in heaven
‘o father of lies — embed me above your perverted bed
zion, avalon, nirvana
my mother's house

the sacred center
i levitate into space
drop the masks
cover my face
a simple gesture
thumbs to my cheekbones
fingers to my brow
hands tent my breath
eyes shielded i
calm my explosive frontal lobe
the walls shatter
the books are glitter raining down
words fly
into the blue black air
as i am

i pray
as my Mother prayed
as her Mother prayed
hung like Inanna
for the sins of our power
sepia faded lives of ancestors
ribbon like rivers of rain
across continents and centuries
inherited bandwidth
accompanies me
in that perennially dripping
forest of do-overs
where the world is
green, red
and endless

zooming over illumined thresholds
back to the magical caves
ancient painted temple walls
—not god, not really—
the sacred mammalian longing
to Be with your kind
the clapping, the swaying
the familiar-foreign language flickering
on the threshold of my 6th decade
separate at last from mama's body
like that astronaut treading black space
air hose dangling
tumbling like that for years
i say i've been making up a religion
to fit my life and this world
i say it's empowering
and lonely as hell

next day
taps blowing softly
across the old pink sky
i return to the shul
inside a knowing
that i'm forgiven by angels
mingle with the fasting masses
find a laddered rack of prayer shawls
blue on white
find behind language
the serene departure of the veil
the recessed retreat
in full view of everyone
into my hearts' garden
the untouchable solitude
inscrutable silence

you cover your face
sway and
into the colors of your own exhale
just surrender
is this where mama went
when she left me
and the world?

beneath the prayer shawl
an inner sanctum
you stand like a pillar
a holy ashera tree
the weight of the fabric sinks my roots
how it curves over me
folds me in like batter
how i flow
an upside down waterfall
how i am pushed deeper
backwards through space
through rivers of stars
beyond exalted thought
one distinct jewel
in a string of beads
one shard of the pot
someone who's never done this before
someone who's done this forever
the blue blur of forever
how many shards of desire
years of beads spent swooning
wheeling like spray in the milky way
holy breast milk
feeding all the lonely astronauts
this linkage
one gesture, one prop
archetypes weep from their hiding places

next morning
sitting in sunshine
I face her grave up the mountain
something high
and fresh-ancient circles the land
lifting me
to the Shekinah
this hill
a desert sprouting green promises
across the open skies of me
my fingers all over it
on the inside

the one sky exhales one bird
& arriving

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