fell

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“Does it help you to have a place to go?”
I had just lit all of the crossroad prayer

candles; just said, “I love you,” in their glow
and dusk fell and I glanced up to find her

walking into their light. “Where should I take
my mom’s ashes?”
I hope that what I said

helped. We are all haunted with raw heartache
but few come to graveyards to ask the dead

for help. I don’t feel cast out in twilight.
It helps. In here owls love me and I burn.

Out there? I’m numb. I didn’t see her leave
or fade. She was just gone. Perhaps tonight

she will return with her ashes, return
to where we’re not forsaken when we grieve.

offhand

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two figs testicle fat sat in my hand
come I offered there is a cunt inside

run your tongue all through it I said offhand
come back here after school you’ve been hogtied

before waiting through classes for misfit
kisses that’ll split you wide like fruit you bruise

when played with so carelessly but once split
all that soft sweet meat with plum and pink hues

tastes just like yours right before you climax
before your homework bites hard this hardcore

meaty sweet comes urgent takes what we need
with spice and ginger with cum and hot wax

comes with what’ll help you through this sophomore
year lots of butt-stuff you said lots of weed —

“sho’ good”

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I have no trance-technique to sync sections,

those phat lobes, in my brain. No third wondrous

eye. No prolonged visions. Just perversions.

Just my name, tattooed between curvaceous

hips. Just my taste, etched on tongues. The gods’ thirst

for faith is upon us — “It feelsh sho’ good …”

you groaned when your root and sacral gates first

opened — return to that feeling. Childhood

scars. Good wounds. Was your first out of body

experience your first orgasm? Now,

just like then, lust is the key. Lust’s havoc.

Lust’s faith. We’ll cum as one. Our souls’ juicy

journey: it’s not just shamans who know how

to roll one hell of a shamanic fuck —

fleshy ends

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Still, my offer stands. Whispered in passing
when your husband gets up to pay the bill.

Followed to the bathroom’s third stall, clicking
the lock as you look up and smile. The thrill

of the glance. Ogled at the meat counter
as you stand with your children, eyeing hind

loins and fleshy ends. Eyes talk. The offer
sounds like a riddle: “well nigh twined” “drain blind”

“the fount of your cunt.” In a gaze, a glance,
a grok: fount and fountain, sigh and siren,

love now, be still, listen. If you’re shameless
you’ll be praised. If you’re bold you’ll get the chance

for bliss. All that in a glance’s question:
this can only progress if you say yes.

][][

note:
In the ancient myths what was Eros’ dark side named? So much of erotica is based around spontaneous, impulsive action, embracing passion wherever it appears. Yet without consent all that we treasure turns toxic and brainsick. There must be a name for that dark wind that flows through certain souls but not others.

gaakaabishiinyag

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Storm owls, “Gaakaabishiinyag,” the mated pair
in the rain tree by the crossroads — in eight,

mud-caked tire tracks, crisscrossed to make a square,
I turn to the four compass points — and wait

for the storm shadows to stir. It’s been flood
season all year. Something’s in there: the stormhead,

in the stormcloud, the cloudburst of my blood.
Blood that I’m deaf to. Speaking blood. In dread,

in dreams storms brew and something is revealed,
though when I wake it’s all gone. But those owls,

“Gaakaabishiinyag,” they dwell where all else flees.
I’m no shaman — just dream deaf and unhealed.

Dream that wounds each time. Dream that disembowels.
Dream that leaves me in such confused frenzies.

NOTE:
I must be careful here. In Anishinaabemowin (the Ojibwe language), gaakaabishiinh is the name for the Eastern Screech owl, and the -yag of gaakaabishiinyag indicates the noun is plural, in this case two owls. I’m not Ojibwe, my ancestors came from the Ukraine, Italy and Ireland and it’s not lost on me that when Anglos want to try and grasp the spirit world (as what keeps happening in the New Age movement, for example) they fall back on ripping off Indigenous cultures and calling it their own. It’s for that reason (and many others) that I would also never call myself a shaman, since that describes a spiritual healer who works on behalf of her community and I have no community and cannot even heal myself. I’m using this Ojibwe term, however, because on the last full moon in April I built a little altar at the southeast corner of the cemetery crossroads that I live near and each night at dusk a pair of small owls come and visit. I am also slowly trying to learn to speak and listen in Anishinaabemowin and the more vocabulary that I use in my poetry the better understanding I’ll have with how the language works.

cypress

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After you swallowed you told me to wipe
my cock in your spectral hair. A spirit

bound to the swamp, you’re both pungent and ripe,
horny and dead. It’s queer how your corset

and silk bloomers can still slide right off. Queer
how I can skull-fuck your throat, that somehow

all which splatters on your neck and brassiere
might have brought forth life once, but never now.

“I long for love’s wet heat,” your tombstone read.
“Debauch me quick, spirit sweet.” The whole, ‘weak

flesh, weak soul’, is bullshit, you said. Pious
get pissed that sex doesn’t stop once you’re dead.

Nothing stops. You grind your swamp on my face;
tree of your lust shaking, your cunt’s red cypress.

smitten

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At the last school dance I held you closer
than I should. I wasn’t versed in moppet

just then: with shoulders slouching, with moister
on our lips, with each faint but deliberate

brush we made against our hips. Puberty
remains a foreign language but that itch

that you felt is still in me — I’m itchy
like that all the time. Every throb and twitch

when the body wants something too awkward
to ask for. Lust without satisfaction

is still lust and lust is good … even when
songs end, lights come on and shy and flustered

you go to rejoin your friends. I’m smitten,
you think, and I’ll never feel this again.

caper

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I fear this souvenir, this keepsake, this
dismay. I still crave. Growing up, both lewd

and shy, it twisted me; that heft and hiss
of wind at sea, that crudeness. Drunk and nude.

Lovesick and naked. Others made it feel
easy. What I got went deeper than scars,

deeper than flesh unwanted. — Sex appeal
overflowed, but not here. Girls who loved Mars.

Boys who loved Venus. What I took away
was a need for both … or neither. Dunno.

Their gift to me, to you, to us. To all
of us who fall in love alone. Dismay

is still a poor substitute. Where they flow
I still drip. Where they caper I must crawl.

heyday

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No, I tell you. Our myth. Our love. Each night
after all, after heyday, after change

(sun spent into flowers) and dimday’s bright
chorus (swallows and bats), after our strange

chorale (split-ears, stump-fucks: let the chaste scoff),
we’ll go on all fours (think: rouge, ink, fishnets).

We’ll ball through mist. For some we’re a turn-off.
They turn us off, click-click, like TV sets —

Others want what we have. Hot hours drop. Cool
throated stir. Moonshine and hollyhock blunts.

Grass stains in the dark. Our spluttering mewl.
You can’t turn us off. We’re what the chaste hunt.

We’ve cocked seething coals, cunted our love myth,
cauterized with discord, with dark world, with—

sissyboy pale

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After your parents kicked you out, you hid
all month long in my dorm room. “Feminine

wiles ain’t me th’n.” Yis. After your dad forbid
you from seeing her all that we called fun

came down to cashed bowls, beer cans and bi porn.
“Na vat aghjik e,” your dad said. “She’s bad.”

Some nights we got to smuggle your lovelorn
girlfriend in. — It’s hard to have a triad

with just two. In the shower: her toffee,
your bronze, my sissyboy pale. Nothing lasts,

though: just footnotes. Sister? Lover? Other?
What were we? Best friends. That’s enough for me.

Twenty-eight days. Lilith, guide to outcasts,
at long last, did your daughters find shelter?

][][

NOTE:
There is a special ring in hell for abusive parents who cast out their queer children. Know the words that will get used against you so that they have no power. In Armenian, “she’s a bad girl,” gets translated into, “na vat aghjik e” (նա վատ աղջիկ է), as in: “bad girls are more fun/ vat aghjiknery aveli zvarchali yen” (վատ աղջիկները ավելի զվարճալի են). My broken broken vocabulary.