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Kara Rose Trojan Jul 2015
I don’t write about my Dad or God so
I will write about how
Moses told all the Jews to slay a lamb, take the blood, and paint its blood around the doors
so that the Angel of Death may Passover the marked houses.

The story goes that Dad (or God) was
Wobbling down the street with heavy breathing like a deflated walrus washed on shore,
kneaded jowls bouncing beneath his jaw with each bouncing step,
Because he had to order special shoes for his diabetic feet.  
When he stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and collapsed beneath
The L train and curious stares blurred against a man’s fight to live.
Fiddling with either his rosaries or toolkit or pants or
Phone or newspaper or lungs or shoes or inhaler
And I’m sure they’ve seen him before,
But I’m sure this time it was different –
They would have a story to tell to their co-workers and loved ones
About their walk on the sidewalk by the hospital
Where an old man collapsed
And they would echo the words, “Count your blessings,”
But have no idea what that means.
He was dead for two minutes and had bleeding on the brain.

This is about more than just myself
And him
And the way he made me feel.
This is also about the man next door to him
And how I came to learn to never talk about my Father or God.

It is a Saturday morning with snow on the ground
And there is guilt frosted on my back
I have not moved in a few hours (perhaps years)
And there are tubes like translucent octopus straddling his mouth and mounting
His chest
As it rises – and breaks – rises – and breaks (so romantically)
With each second beep of the heart monitor.

In the general waiting room, some men and women arched in their seats with gleeful excitement
And balloons and footies for newborn babies
to deposit
Something hopeful and crisp into the umbilical residue.
So as to mask the horrors of what human health really is.
Staring at what is truly written as if the “I” myself
Is too special to suffer.

And, then, there is the man (stranger) with a smile
Too transparent against the masks bouncing robotically in the foreground
The man (stranger) –
he asked me if he was ready to
Make count with his major failures and major contradictions,
Thereby ready to vacate (physical) body (earth)  
up to the Lord. He spoke to me about The Lord as if I never knew him,
never knew his stripped promises of salt statues
never knew the bent knees and heads during Mass
stripped away the infallible memories of people
of people
who knew no better
yet checked each other
to thank him for their
chosen suffering.
never knew the responsive sweat dotting HELP along new mother’s brows
never knew the elegance of bliss/love during *******  
never knew the muddy feet of a wretched child clambering between belts.
never knew the frantic swerve of hurried fury from a coat’s hem.

my brother said he was going to
time how sporadic, chaotic, hypnotic
My three-year-old haunches switched up the stairs –
Animal-like, on all-fours,
swiveling from one grimy patch of
cement-splotched carpet patch to
the frozen barbecue-sauce colored tile at the front door to
another grimy-cement colored carpet patch to

the tacky, stuck-together carpet-hairs hardened by dish-soap calligraphy –
combed the S.O.S. message I crafted one hot, sticky June evening
after slapping the ***** of my feet into mud
then tracking pawprints through the kitchen door,
transcribing my help-yelps as Dad’s belt cracked –

Climbing then freezing at rage’s zenith,
His face contorted like gargoyle-wrinkles deepened with sweat
broken peals of thunder-skin splitting like a river’s delta through the house
Flooding pockets of silence then bursting with a child’s sniffs
since crying never helped me, anyway;
undeniable red-shame pooling split skin after each crack-smack
doubled back then cooled its buckle on his thumb.

With comfort, Aunt Joan assured me: “Love is
the second most mispriced of human goals.”
What’s First? “Liberty.”
So I’d lie amongst the dishsoap-doodles
     like Alice in the daisies
Limbs outstretched --
          like DaVinci’s Millenial Man
           Jesus on the cross  
           hopeless girl losing her virginity
          Ma reaching towards the door lock
          McMurphy post-lobotomy
          Santiago dreaming of Lions on an African beach
          fireworks blossoming against an emptied sky --
And trace the cracks in the ceiling with the blue veins on my arm,
       roads on a map;
I'd mouth the names of places I'd never seen/heard of but
       I would go in my mind –
The mountains I’d climb steady on all-fours, switching my haunches
As if Escape was the warm, fuzzy world only children would dream of -- then linger with their eyes shut to return there -- hidden beyond the garden of Love and Liberty –

No, sir,
        No, man,
        No, stranger,
                I never knew there was such a way.
-- how could I go undone?
He hogged the conversation – I hogged the facts
Everything I’m leaning toward is a cut in the conversation, sir. How could I go undone?
He asks me what his name is and I tell him, Ken. His name was Ken.(Or God.)
He asks why he is here and I tell him
You don’t need to know that. I don’t know why I am here. Why are any of us here?

He then prays for him and invites me to as well.
I tell him,
When you come undone, I come undone
We’ll all come undone in the end
We were doomed to die the moment we are born
So who will pray for you in the waiting room, sir?
No thank you, sir, I’m just fine, since who
Knows the way or what somebody says
All I know is that I can put you away. But, I will not.
So why don’t you sit your excited *** down?
If only he could understand the joke.
May the man learn the dead man’s float and seek solace in the cadence of Charon’s poling of his ferry.

What valor. What courage. You all turned out so well.
The leading man is dying.

Escape is the erased movement where the sinewy lights and colors behind dark eyelids stand steady long
after the first disturbance, then usher those that were hurt
into Charon's ferry
because anything feels better than everything that was taken.
Kara Rose Trojan May 2015
Au(Or)al Tune
When (O)ppo(u)rtun(e)ity knocks –
            Ah, pour that tune into me
just write or speak
                        --teral mut--
            --ter yarns

Half-grown seedling ([her]bal:e(X)ssen(10)ces)
                                    into sm(O)ke
adolescent (O)re worn from being p(o)(o)r—
                      it was nE(X)CESSary for:

sm(O)ke-rings w(ear)y with surr(end)er      
thr(OU)gh the yawn: (O)nly

              … foll(O)ws

You’re w(or)th-knowing-ONLY-(O)nce
            type of l(i)ke.
            type of l(i)ke
                        for (u)s

it’s the worst type of verse
                        when it’s

likewise -- (O)r worse --
it should really be about//
      a bad in (u)s: Y(O)U:ME

(O)h after a
(O)h after a
for worse – it’s an
                        type of verse.

            ringing e(X)cesses
                     ear-worms to
                     hear words to
                     heat hearts.

Ah::rest that mouth-verse onto me.
Ah::rest that mouth
soulless gall(O)w r(u)ng
lipless v(O)wel sl(u)ng

           Y(O)u//like hanging
                        your dipTH(O)NGS
on (O)pportun(e)ity’s d(O)(O)r
                        (O)h. n(O).

            n(O)(O)se big for (u)s

Kara Rose Trojan Dec 2014
My Second Letter to Allen Ginsberg
Dear Allen,
Almost five years ago, I wrote you a letter, and in
That letter, I purged my drunkenly woeful cries
That seem so first-world now and naïve –
The things I grimed over with luxuries I didn’t
Realize that rubbed against my plump limbs
Like millions of felines poised at the
Tombs of pharaohs.

Oh, Allen, I’m so tired –
These politics, and poly ticks, so many ticks that
Annoy my tics. Allen! I smear your name so liberally
Against this paper like primer because the easiest way
To coerce someone into listening to you like
A mother
or predator
tugging or nibbling on your ear –
Swatches of velvet scalped from a ****’s coat
Are you and I talking to ourselves again?
Candid insanity : Smoky hesitance.

Dear Allen, I’m so tired –
Yes, I love wearing my ovaries on the outside like
Some Amazonian soapbox gem glistening from beneath
The iron boots of what the newspapers tell me while
I cough at them with the hurdled delicacies of alphabet soup.
Give vegetables a gender and call them onions, Allen.
Sullied scratch-hicks pinioned feet from slapping
Society’s last rung on the ladder.
Ignore the swerve of small-town eyes.
Scapulas, stirrups, pap smears, and cervical mucus – now do you know who we are?

That fingernail clipped too short, Allen. We’ve all got AIDs
And AIDs babies, haven’t you heard? Hemorrhaging from the political
****** and out – they haven’t reached the heart.  
Since when have old white men given a **** about some
13 year old’s birth control? I’m riding on the waves of the
Parachute game and I swear this abortion-issue is just a veil outside Tuskegee University
Being further shove over plaintive eyes, swollen and black.
Pay up and
shut up.

I still remember my first broken *****, Allen.
Can you tell me all about your first time?
The vasodilatation that made veins rub against skin,
Delirious brilliance : unfathomable electricity.
I made love during an LSD experience, Allen,
And I am not sorry. I see cosmic visions and
Manifest universal vibrations as if this entire world is
A dish reverberating with textiles and marbles, and
All are plundering the depths of the finished wine
Bottle roasting in the sink like Thanksgiving Turkey.
The patience is in the living. Time opens out to you.
The opening, between you and you, occupied,
zoned for an encounter,
given the histories of you and you—
And always, who is this you?
The start of you, each day,
a presence already—
Hey, you!

Ah, Allen, if you are not safe, then I am not safe.
And where is the safest place when that place
Must be someplace other than in the body?
Am I talking to myself again?
You are not sick, you are injured—
you ache for the rest of life.

Why is it that I have to explain to my students that
sometimes what I'm spouting is prescribed by a pedagogical pharmacy --
but all they want to know is "what do the symbols on the television mean?"
I am completely aghast against the ghosts of future goners --
I am legitimately licensed to speak, write, listen like some mothers --
I am constantly cajoling the complex creations blamed on burned-out educators --
I am following the flagrant, fired-up "*******"s tagging lockers --
Pay up and
shut up.

Yes, and it’s Hopeless. Allen.
Where did we get off leaping and bounding into
The dogpile for chump change jurisdiction, policing
The right and the left for inherent hypocrisies when
Poets are so frightful to turn that introspective judgment
Upon ourselves?
We didn’t see it coming and I heard the flies, Allen.
Mean crocodile tears. Flamingo mascara tracks
Up and down : up and down: bow – bow – bow – bow
Buoyant amongst the misguided ******* floating around
In the swirlpool of lackadaisical introspection.
What good is vague vocab within poetry?
Absolutely none.
Would you leave the porchlight on tonight?
Absolutely, baby.

Dear Allen, would you grow amongst the roots and dirt
At the knuckles of a slackjawed brush of Ever-Pondering Questions
Only to ask them time-and-time-and-time-and-time-again.
Or pinch your forehead with burrowed, furrowed concentration upon those
Feeble branches of progression towards something that recedes further
And further with as much promise as the loving hand
Attempts to guide a lover to the bed?

Allen, I wish to see this world feelingly through the vibrations of billions of bodies, rocking and sobbing, plotting and gnashing like the movement of a million snakes, like the curves collecting and riding the parachute-veil.

Ah, Allen! Say it ain’t so! Sanctified swerve town eyes.
And everything is melting while poets take the weather
Too personally
And all the Holden Caulfields of the world read all the
*******’s written on the walls and all the Invisible Men
Eat Yams and all the Zampanos are blind and blind
And blind and blind and blind and blind
Yet see as much as Gloucester, as much as Homer,
As much as Oedipus.

Oh, Allen, do you see this world feelingly
and wander around the desert?
Colored marbles vibrating on the curtailed parachute paradox.
Lamentation of a small town’s onion. Little do we know, Allen,
That what you cannot see, we cannot see, and we are bubbling
Over in the animal soup of the proud yet weary. I can see,
However, how the peeled back skulls of a million
Workboots and paystubs may never sully the burden
Of an existential angst in miniscule amounts.
Pay up and
shut up.  

My dearest Allen, there is always a question of how
The cigarettes became besmirched with wax to complement
What was once grass, and
What was once a garish night drenching doorknobs.
The night's yawn absorbs you as you lie down at the wrong angle
To the sun ready already to let go of your hand
As you stepped, quivering, on to
The shores of Lethe.
Kara Rose Trojan Dec 2014
What’s the difference between hate and love
When they are two sides of the same blade.

Sharpened brandished waving wildly in ghost columns
against the disfigured, burning-white face of abrasion.
march home with square, taut shoulders – slightly bony –
Body swelled and puffed with
the blood-red energy of something desperate to naked pairs
ramming themselves against each other in an effort to
These colorless concepts, abstract words
that hang in the air the same as
smoke-rings – ghost columns.

Could it give You a religion;
a belief that there is some guiding force in the universe
binding the two of you together by
touch, smell, scratching, grinding --
And he and You quelled
each other’s pleading prayers within
the folds of each muscles
the steeple of each elbow,
the hollow of each throat.

Some spiritualists call this the Kundalini – feel this world through a material base
A Love religion – fixing body and body together
because it’s the one thing that seems to make sense in this crude moment
when the ashes settled to fossilize inside
His and Yours brains.

“My God. His chest, his belly,
the riding and the falling, the moans.
How he clung to me, how he struggled --
Life and death! Life and death!”

The circle of arms is the gateway
to some emotional dry-heave:
the swelling, purging, and crashing
of grief, rage, love, and comfort
those same abstract, colorless concepts
teetering on the edge of a beaten-down slave gospel.

We can give our vegetables a gender:
Female onions. Peel only when ripe then
ferment in a closed plastic bottle.
Color sensations that can only pass between illuminated palms on an
angry evening.
Shakespeare’s Gloucester could only see this world feelingly, woman:
How will you cope after being blinded by his tears?
And when the ream is spent, write a poem on the back.

After your limbs searched for each other after years gone, searched underneath the covers for a comforting hand that could save the loneliness from shaking your souls out of your bodies?
When limbs stretched forward to hold both bodies together,
the backbones that ****** you both pressed against the skin --
The very skin that ****** you, too.
That dream baby bearing the handprint of his ghost --
his skin on your skin on baby skin
Against undifferentiated dark, it may glow beneath the cradle’s mobile.
“Another illegitimate black baby.” Let’s call it Smoke and Mirrors for maybe just a second.
Don’t pay attention to the swerve of small-town eyes.
Then, we can see the light through the parenthesis.
Call it the ghost of his Love. The ghost of meat love. Delirious brilliance.

Ghost of mouth-on-the-screen-door Love.
The same taste of nickels, of iron, of blood --
Leave the porchlight on if you want him to find his way back.
Hang the water-filled jar from the tree to ward away the evil ghosts.
Light it, love it, leave it. Light it, love it, leave it.
Who’s going to guide the insect-feelers
to the light
on the nights
When words split, scatter, and sift
into labor-streaked pyramids between these fingers?

Now do you know where you are? We see a little farther now, a little farther still.
Staked in fury, can we recognize red ants on a red ant hill, now?
Shrouded in a glory-cloud, at least you knew you fit somewhere.

As Women, We know the gospel well. A little farther now and a little farther still.
The maddening dances around *** and Song – it is possible for the rest of Us to understand
and know how You’ve been bleeding.
*The quotations applied in the poem are drawn from James Baldwin's play Blues for Mister Charlie in order to expound on the ambiguously defined struggle that Juanita, one of the Black students, encounters after Richard Henry leaves the bedroom in Act 2 and during the courtroom proceedings in Act 3. Faced with Richard Henry's impending doom, she mulls over how the lives of all the characters begin to intertwine and, ultimately, demonstrate the lyrical quality of grief individuals voiced during during and after the ****** of Emmett Till -- each with its own score, tone, and measure.

Blues for Mister Charlie is James Baldwin’s second play, a tragedy in three acts. It was first produced and published in 1964. It is dedicated to the memory of Medgar Evers, and his widow and his children, and to the memory of the dead children of Birmingham.“ The play is loosely based on the Emmett Till ****** that occurred in Money, Mississippi, before the Civil Rights Movement began.

While they’re out and dancing, Richard confides in Juanita about his time up North and how he became a ****** after encountering the jazz scene. Juanita and Richard share an intimate moment full of innocent nostalgia for their romantic history and cathartic awakening to the tumultuous circumstances for Black individuals in society.

After Richard is killed, Juanita testifies to Richard’s character in court. However, since Juanita has been to jail (for non-violent protest) and has had *** before marriage (with someone she loves), the racist white townspeople defending Lyle suggest her testimony is of no importance.
Kara Rose Trojan Dec 2014
My personal déjà-vu-time memory-prompts that frame
The blurring patterns of today’s hubcap-wheels, spinning
Kaleidoscope flashbacks of bathtub playtime.

A gaggle of giggling girls babbling about
What used to matter : umbrella-popping chewing gum
With gallivanting jargon laced in crushes-hushed : boy-talk.

Pillows : Comforters morphing, swarming like
Womb-entranced, half-cupped palms calmed
Palpitating mouths motoring off self-pitying rumble-grumbles.

How the clopping ball of opted-birr was a bent-mouth birdcall
Over-relished, over-zealous imploration : a round robin
Jumblemix of a jejune bombast for high-brow, White-men polemics

By-and-by polysyllabic buds bloomed, baked, and wrinkled
Past-Gas’s long-gone jokes : those balmy snug-hugs guarding
Based-vulgarity amongst the begrimed-teeth-******* and homegrown-Jive.
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