We who wore tights to school
to wok in high heels
with a book on our heads
to never wear mascara
on our bottom lashes
red lipstick = harlot
red nails = *****
wearing jewelry = sinful
to be proper
to mind our manners
the three monkeys mantra
So we still
Go downtown in our good clothes
Wearing high heels carrying a matching bag
We have expensive taste
Reputations to uphold
All of that Indoctrination
Oh! The high heels of heartache!
How those cruel shoes constrained us
the worship of deities can uplift ones soul or contaminate and desolate it.
Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva -
sit eternally on lotuses.
Shiva loves to destroy the universe.
He has as many arms as it takes.
Plus one, to hold a mirror.
Brahma rebuilds it all as needed.
He has four heads and four arms.
That seems about right.
Sitting between Big Bang and Big Finish
is blue Vishnu,
who symbolizes energy.
Iris and Murray Klughart of Yonkers
don't symbolize anything.
Neither do their children.
All their marriage the Klugharts have saved
for a trip to the Taj Mahal.
Each one secretly fears
the other will be disappointed.
They pray their kids will have more.
Iris lights up the place when anyone calls.
Murray lights up a dreadful cigar,
sits back like a living room ornithologist,
and fully hears her song.
The creature is in full cackle.
He'll tell her about his bad MRI -
They are no one,
and their aching backs
prop up every axis,
and out-of-work deity.
Iris cries when she reads Emily Dickinson.
Iris laughs in her sleep.
The Klugharts loved the Taj so much,
Shiva dropped his mirror.
(originally published in Red River Review.)
Jack Ritter www.houseofwords.com
rose gold heartbeat
alternate endings tracing cheekbones
like broken glass
your sawdust jawline
a mouthful of metaphors
daisy chained couplets
some purple skylines
hushed loving between
grapefruit and coconut sugar
deities not quite worshiped
purple jolly rancher
dress and tie
hips swaying from side to side
love or truth
now or never
full of life
revolve around the sun
summer is approaching but the weather is cool
Lonesome in the moonlight
thinking only of your kisses
missing the levity, missing the pivotal moment
where I open eyes to two who stare in mine
and return to Earth as ash as we both burn up
as we turn to stars mimicking, a little bit,
the husks of human flesh we were
And I'm surrounded, and I drown in
the affectations of a denomination out of touch or too in tune
Pull me ever down
Under the riptide
To be so suffocated
Between the dead--
Before you came of age
Rotten pallid arm wings
All of your green monster soup breath
You were quiet. The little arachnid.
Surprised to have been the queen
In the windowless room.
she colored space-time
into her hair
using only a paintbrush and patience
strand by strand she formed it:
the glistening planets and stars that are
of her own mind
neurons shooting like rockets
envisioning the galaxies that, built from her hands,
exploded from nothing into everything,
tangible but free, whispering red gold light
she wrote out the oceans
using her hands
lakes rivers and streams, and the lands along the edges
word by word she poured it:
the life of each puddle turned into clay creatures
that breathed reality
existing like trees on the vast new savannas
living freedom that, carved from her fingertips,
developed happiness and sorrow,
careful but real, eating their new knowledge
she gave birth to gods
from her parted lips
speaking out deities and auras
making the small assertion:
that life came from her and all things by her
but the life she loves had long since forgotten
the green of her eyes
and the red rock of her skin,
her writings and whispers
floating throughout the summer smog
so she roared in the thunder and the rushing waves
for her children and worlds to listen
but they could no longer hear, and she was left
lost and awaiting, wrapped
in her own space-time hair
— The End —