I was born dry out of a cognitive womb
All our beginnings are wild but I consider mine
That of a keep most blasphemous, a plague rat
In the subcranial sewer of billowing steam
With no need to repair the vulvar frame
My powers grew out of stolen sleep, sweet
Traumatic tissue, I am a wolf beheaded and
Embedded in the bloodstream, rustling alongside
Platelets and erythrocytes
Dear Mrs Dinner Lady,
My little son doesn‘t like eggs.
So please don’t make him eat any,
Or he’ll get spots on his arms and legs.
Dear Mr P.E. Teacher,
My growing son doesn’t like sport.
So please don’t make him play any,
Or his face will swell up and contort.
Dear Mrs School Headmistress,
My teenage son doesn’t like tests.
So please don’t make him sit any,
Or he’ll get a rash on his tummy and chest.
Dear Mr Big Boss in charge,
My grown-up son doesn’t like work.
So please don’t make him do any,
Or his body might just go berserk.
There was a war in old Ireland and the headmistress of Dublin was a very rich woman indeed with her husband General Dunkirk. It was once again the potato famine and so her family she often told of were made up of the finest musicians with violins and pianos, she went out to Scotland to see how the war and the plague were and to track down her family.
Earlier two springs ago....Her maidens loved her so and one day, she found one of thee old queen's daughters saying "You rarely talk about them much. Why don't you go and visit?" Just then the duchess, or the head mistress as they'd call her in Ireland was troubled for there was a great plague in Scotland and soon to be a war trade in Dublin for slaves. General Dunkirk it seemed had went against Ireland and its nation for Irish slaves, and the poverty never vanquished.
Now there was a fine young man and woman who had a daughter. Her name, was Gloria Hardt. They were the finest in all the land before the mexican slave trade for the potato famine. Dunkirk the first had finally told all the Mexicans to go home. Thus the famine.
There was a big pounding on their door and the duchess of Dublin, Ireland was knocking. The moment he saw who it was he took a great violin and thrust it upon her head after screaming after her and so she left.
She was dressed as an old maiden. Yes, poorly dressed and soon the old man who took up the broken violin looked out the window and saw her giving the poor round pieces of gold. So he took his violin, threw it out the window and never played it again. Ever....
The door is locked. Good. Means Woodrow’s not tried to get in as he did last week. He said he’d be back and this time he’d beat you more than black and blue. You unlock the door with the key and push it open a little just in case. You pause and listen. No sound. You stand on the landing three floors up waiting like some schoolchild outside the headmistress’s office for her to call you in. Miss Fort. Yes, that was her name. Mean looking woman with dark eyes behind large lenses. Headmistress of your last school. She could lay a hard smack; sometimes she’d lay a ruler across your palms six times. You peer through the gap of the door and frame. You call out timidly, Woodrow, you there? No answer. You squeeze the key in your right hand until the knuckles whiten. You push the door open a little more and look along the passage. No sign of him. Mrs Crenshaw comes down the stairs from the landing above and stands and looks at you. Your husband was here earlier, she says. Where’s he now? You ask, moving back from the door. Don’t know, she replies. She walks by you, along the landing, and down the next flight of stairs. You hear her mutter to herself until she’s gone. Lot of help she was. You put your right hand on the door and push it open further until it touches the wall behind. The lounge door is open letting light come into the passage from the window. You can hear jazz from along the passage. That’s that Abbot man, always playing his jazz record loud. Woodrow went and complained one night and for a few nights the jazz stopped, but since Woodrow’s been gone, the jazz is back and loud. Some nights he has small parties; women and men come and there’s a lot of laughter and talking and of course the jazz. You enter the passage, but leave the door open for a quick escape if needed. The door to the kitchen is closed. The door to the toilet is also closed. You get to the doorway of the lounge and peer in cautiously. He’s not in there. Seems as you left it. Neat and tidy. You look back along the passage in case he’s come in behind you. No,the passage is clear. You enter into the lounge and look around the room. The door to the spare bedroom is closed. Then you see the door to your bedroom is open slightly. You walk backward down the passage until you are out on the landing again. You are sure you closed all the doors. You breathe hard. He’s in there waiting, standing behind the door. Call the cops, an inner voice says, go down stairs and ring them. You stand, uncertain what to do. You fiddle with your fingers, the key going from hand to hand. He said he’d change your looks for the worse. Last time he broke one of your teeth, split your lips, and blackened your eyes. You bite your lower lip and stare along the passage. Is he back? A voice says behind you. You turn around quickly and it’s Mr Rowland standing there with that James Cagney looking face, a cigarette hanging from his lips. I don’t know, you mutter. He was here earlier on, Mr Rowland says, I saw him hanging around the landing pacing up and down. Where’d he go after? You ask, studying the Cagney looking features. Don’t know, I had to go off uptown and when I came back he’d gone, Mr Rowland replies. He gazes at you for a few moments. Your hair look nice like that Doris, he says, his eyes on your hair, the cigarette moving as he speaks. Does it? You say. Yeah, real nice, he says. If you ever want someone to talk to anytime feel free to come up to my door and knock and we can talk and share a coffee and listen to some Chopin. Thank you, I’ll keep that in mind, Mr Rowland, you mutter. He nods and walks off down the stairs and is soon gone. You can imagine what else he has in mind apart from the coffee and Chopin and talking. A trumpet hits a high note from a jazz record along the landing; it hangs in the air like a bad smell. You can’t stand out here all day, the inner voice says. You walk back along the passage slowly until you reach the lounge doorway. You look across to the bedroom door. It is still slightly open. Maybe you left it open yourself, the inner voice says. You try to think. You imagine Woodrow standing behind the door waiting, his big fists ready to beat. But there is no sound, nothing to indicate he’s there. You move across the lounge floor on tiptoe until you come to the bedroom door. You in there Woodrow? No reply. Woodrow if you frighten me I’ll scream the darn apartment block down. You feel as if you’re about to pee yourself. Your hand pushes the door open more, but it feels heavy as if someone is behind it. You move away from the door and stand in the lounge. Woodrow I know you’re in there, now come out and stop this playing around. No reply. Go in, the inner voice says, see if he’s there. You go back to the door and push it harder. The door opens slowly. You enter in timidly and look around the door with your eyes half closed expecting Woodrow to thump you. But he doesn’t, he just hangs there behind the door, his eyes bulging, staring at you, his mouth open, the tongue poking out the side, his feet dangling puppet like a few inches from the floor. You go to scream, but nothing comes, just a choking sound, a tightness around the throat, a tightness in the breast. You jump back from the door and fall onto the bed behind. You lay there staring at Woodrow’s eyes, sensing urine easing from you, dampening the bed and you and through the wall a saxophone plays loud and clear, an arpeggio of sexy sounds, high and low and high again like a hot summer and an unexpected rain.
My car-my vessel-my body, in dreams
driving up from a dusty parking lot skirting a glassy blue lake,
up, up up the hill
to a mansion as ridiculously grandiose as the white was stark and cold.
As I stepped out to look for my love, I didn't notice
that a faceless someone drove my car back down to the lake.
Perched atop a perfectly cut, sloping green lawn stood tables laden with a feast fit for
Gods and Goddesses.
He sat away from me, back slouched - hands busy - eating eating eating.
I spitefully grabbed my own flimsy paper plate, loaded it with everything I saw, and before my eyes
the plates turned to porcelain with golden edges,
the table sagged with glistening pot roasts, triumphantly layered lasagnas, crisp, beckoning salads.
I ate ate and ate.
The lawn was dotted with men and women, sculpted in their cruel beauty.
My love was nowhere to be found.
I went inside;
past the crowds of gorgeous young women giggling in the vast kitchen,
up the creamy wooden banister, ivory-carpeted stairs, the bathroom
was white and pristine, the toilet seat baring its ceramic lips.
The door burst open with the presence of an enormously fat white man,
blue eyes bursting from a red ruddy face, gut spilling out of his crisp-ironed shirt and
pleated beige trousers, which he unbuckled
and proceeded to split me open, mercilessly I was shoved against the cold
ceramic, sacred flower throbbing with pain, body-screams erupting from my wide-open mouth
He finished what he started and disappeared. I crashed;
charged down the stairs, screaming for help in the faces of women lounging
on expensive sofas, they grinned knowingly
and began whispering.
I ran outside, where the lawn was now empty, yet some of those girls in the kitchen
tasted my fear and remembered their own, ran with me
into the wall of the Headmasters and Headmistresses,
dressed in slinky fabrics and fresh from new haircuts, their cruel
There was one of them for each us, they grabbed our shoulders
their triangular brows plummeted, and their eyes turned yellow;
hungry, their mouths opened wide and,
like a horror movie our souls were sucked from our gasping lips, their cruelly beautiful bodies
shivered in orgasm, their faces illuminated with our spirits. I felt empty, terrified and then- immediately
as if I was devoid of a soul this whole time, and the calm that entered in its place
glistened like steel.
I was back inside. Weeks had passed.
We lounged in the elegant parlors, and the barbarically handsome men teased us;
"Show us your sexy face, ladies," and we took turns batting our lashes and preening,
trying our best to seduce the merciless wrought-iron of their smiles.
"You've got a good one," they said to me, "it would look fantastic with a cigarette."
"Can I have one, then?" I asked coyly, and they gave me a Slim and lit it for me, and-
carefulofthelipstick- I dragged it long and slow, plumes of smoke rising above me
in the soulless air.
I looked down to see that I already had one-pale gleaming paper poison-in the other hand
which I carelessly dropped
and ground into the ivory carpet.
More weeks passed. We lounged
in parlors, chattered like hens in the vast kitchens,
watched silly films nestled on those lush sofas,
strutted in our red lace panties down the furnished halls,
and to be constantly followed
by men, slammed against the walls at any moment
clothes ripped off, petals ripped off of those flowers until they were nothing but stems,
wham - bam - done, finished. Go get some clothes on, Sweetie, you look like hell.
Months haughtily sashayed past us before we knew it.
Lounge, chatter, slam, wham, bam, get some clothes on.
We smiled without a care and swung our hips on our way out.
The first time I tried to escape was a bust. Perhaps it wasn't long until my soul
tentatively tried to crawl through the layers of caked powder.
We scrambled over the rocks and roots of the surrounding forest, and they followed;
eyes yellow and starving.
We didn't make it.
There were more barbecues and bonfires, lazy smoke curling up towards the sky.
They got my sister, too, I'm sure it was her
though her waist had shrunk and her hair bleached blonde.
We are each others' last straws, nothing
will ever happen to her
when I am around. Nothing
will ever happen
Together our souls had a chance to
feed off of one another, to gain their strength
to keep trying through every slam-bam-wham, to keep growing.
One day it was enough, we could feel it
rippling through the sinew of our legs, burning through our fingertips, we walked
through the kitchen, the chatter and the giggles,
walked down the hallways, praying silently
to make it without a SLAM-WHAM-BAM
to our huge, extravagant bedroom,
closets bursting with boasting clothes-scraps, huge bed cushioned
with down comforters and beaded pillows.
We grabbed the foreign fancy suitcase from beneath the bed and stuffed a few things in, and
I saw the corner of an Alpaca green shawl I had come across in Ecuador.
I remembered-grabbed it, stuffed it in, we headed out the door
walked down the dusty driveway
walked, walked, walked down to the lake.
Our cars had vanished.
I woke up.