Haven’t they moved like rivers—
like Glory, like light—
over the seven days of your body?
And wasn’t that good?
Them at your hips—
isn’t this what God felt when he pressed together
the first Beloved: Everything.
Fever. Vapor. Atman. Pulsus. Finally,
a sin worth hurting for. Finally, a sweet, a
You are mine.
It is hard not to have faith in this:
from the blue-brown clay of night
these two potters crushed and smoothed you
into being—grind, then curve—built your form up—
atlas of bone, fields of muscle,
one breast a fig tree, the other a nightingale,
both Morning and Evening.
O, the beautiful making they do—
of trigger and carve, suffering and stars—
Aren’t they, too, the dark carpenters
of your small church? Have they not burned
on the altar of your belly, eaten the bread
of your thighs, broke you to wine, to ichor,
to nectareous feast?
Haven’t they riveted your wrists, haven’t they
had you at your knees?
And when these hands touched your throat,
showed you how to take the apple and the rib,
how to slip a thumb into your mouth and taste it all,
didn’t you sing out their ninety-nine names—
Zahir, Aleph, Hands-time-seven,
Sphinx, Leonids, locomotura,
Rubidium, August, and September—
And when you cried out, O, Prometheans,
didn’t they bring fire?
These hands, if not gods, then why
when you have come to me, and I have returned you
to that from which you came—bright mud, mineral-salt—
why then do you whisper O, my Hecatonchire. My Centimani.
My hundred-handed one?
They decide to exchange heads. Barbie squeezes the small opening under her chin over Ken's bulging neck socket. His wide jaw line jostles atop his girlfriend's body, loosely, like one of those novelty dogs destined to gaze from the back windows of cars. The two dolls chase each other around the orange Country Camper unsure what they'll do when they're within touching distance. Ken wants to feel Barbie's toes between his lips, take off one of her legs and force his whole arm inside her. With only the vaguest suggestion of genitals, all the alluring qualities they possess as fashion dolls, up until now, have done neither of them much good. But suddenly Barbie is excited looking at her own body under the weight of Ken's face. He is part circus freak, part thwarted hermaphrodite. And she is imagining she is somebody else—maybe somebody middle class and ordinary, maybe another teenage model being caught in a scandal. The night had begun with Barbie getting angry at finding Ken's blow up doll, folded and stuffed under the couch. He was defensive and ashamed, especially about not having the breath to inflate her. But after a round of pretend-tears, Barbie and Ken vowed to try to make their relationship work. With their good memories as sustaining as good food, they listened to late-night radio talk shows, one featuring Doctor Ruth. When all else fails, just hold each other, the small sex therapist crooned. Barbie and Ken, on cue, groped in the dark, their interchangeable skin glowing, the color of Band-Aids. Then, they let themselves go— Soon Barbie was begging Ken to try on her spandex miniskirt. She showed him how to pivot as though he was on a runway. Ken begged to tie Barbie onto his yellow surfboard and spin her on the kitchen table until she grew dizzy. Anything, anything, they both said to the other's requests, their mirrored desires bubbling from the most unlikely places.
From Kinky, Orchises Press, 1997. Reprinted with permission of Denise Duhamel.
Tonight all the stars are just celestial swag
in the moon’s handbag, flashy & overpriced.
All the angels are pinheads, & not even pinheads of light.
Here’s what I know: I am good
at déjà vu but bad at karaoke. I am good
at Magic 8-Ball but bad at bicycle-built-for-two.
Axiom, from the Greek meaning “No rebuttals,” meaning “Whatever I say is true.”
For instance, the heart is shaped like a Hungryman dinner,
indestructible as Styrofoam & always divided.
Somewhere in the cosmos this moment
the ghost of Jack Webb is asking the ghost of Harry Morgan
for “Just the facts,” & Morgan is laughing his ethereal ass off.
Axiom, from the Greek meaning, “No facts, ma’am, only interpretations.”
When the smooth, voluptuous moon falls into the ocean,
like bait on fishing line, I see her for the yo-yo she is,
& God, who is learning to walk the dog.
Speaking of dogs, I decree they all shall be mutts & all named Fido.
All shall have spots & ride starboard, at least once, on a flaming-red fire engine.
Joni Mitchell shall play on all the jukeboxes in all the coffee shops, especially
at the Axiom Diner, from the Greek meaning “greasy spoon,” meaning “tops in food.”
But getting back to that moon, who can be such a diva sometimes,
who only ever buys her triple-shot mocha frappuccinos from Starbucks.
It’s a hard job keeping her up all night, that moon.
The baristas are grouchy in their green aprons, swigging their Ethos water.
Now the weatherperson predicts one hell of a zeitgeist arriving on Tuesday.
There is talk of losing all the apostrophes in a bad grammar meteor shower.
Sometimes the sky is calm & white & pleated with cirrus clouds.
Sometimes the thunder sounds like God driving his old Zamboni across a starlit, skating rink floor.
The moon has only a few good moves & is never going to nail that triple Salcow.
Axiom, from the Greek for “stick the landing.”
The moon doesn’t mind. The moon is already a gold medal.
As for my guardian angel, it’s a toss-up:
I’ll take Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha from Bewitched,
or Nietzsche, as himself, exactly.
Copyright @ 2014 by Julie Marie Wade. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on August 4, 2014.
3 cicadas exist; chicory, chromium citrus trees; cicadas exist; cicadas, cedars, cypresses, the cere- bellum 4 doves exist, dreamers, and dolls; killers exist, and doves, and doves; haze, dioxin, and days; days exist, days and death; and poems exist; poems, days, death
An excerpt from alphabet by Inger Christensen, translated by Susanna Nied. Copyright © 2000 Inger Christensen; Translation Copyright © 2000 Susanna Nied; Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.