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Preservative Woman

twisted wires & loose connections

13
May
Comments
13
May

skittles

barefoot florida 
when i was five hot sand 
mixed with tar black dirt
andlacquered stickers waited
just under the surface
to slip dark spines deep 
into my pink soles

my mammaw on that side believed 
in fake lashes and make-up mastic
and a rainbow jesus
sealed in yellowed plastici played sky and scratched vinyl
on brown shag carpet
our shades pulled down 
to keep the kneegrass out

mammaw had stories about kneegrass
with figured armor and wings wide
their eyes rolling
with heavy lips slavering and obscenethe kneegrass were bold
came close to the back door
hiding in sharp sun
their weapons flashing signals

between detergent commercials
whiter than white
she told me of their buffalo-haired hides 
and muscled thighshow they would steal cars
and drive
rubber pulling up tar and crushed coral
under paved florida skies

she talked of killing
them and all they had wrought
she even had a chrome gun
a boyfriend had boughtone concrete morning
whitewashed bright
i pressed against the 
screen door sulfur smell

at ten o’clock am
sunlight was already acid
mammaw at the sink 
told me to look”see them kneegrass
walking weeds with trash
my how they must smell
gotta be someone i can tell”

i looked for shoulder’d wings beating
armor and buffalo hide
black skin and rolling eyes
a beast of great sizebut she pointed at two girls
my age
holding a pink doll by the legs
one blue eye flapping open

they were slow as gray sand
thin bodies out of sweat
i wanted to give them water
to bring them into shadebut i could only stare
at mammaw 
red hands and polyester dress
eating the window glass

and thanks to you i know
how to make monsters
we have only to refuse 
to see them as they arefrom on the other side
of our flyspeckled past
:separate
:other
:unhuman

— written for toylit, april 13, 2012
related news story: "Racist past haunts Florida town where Trayvon died" Orlando Sentinel, April 8, 2012

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13
May

…and here be tygers

in the mountained mouth of northeast asia, an empty gray tooth marks north korea
one red pin marks a model city, painted clean without pity, the lovely pyongyang
stuffed with concrete girls and empty tilt-a-whirls smelling of blood and dark urea
fringed ‘round with wooden spooned schools, where watered women in hanboks sang

i have watched the young man mountains surrounding pyongyang’s potent potted smile
holding silted rivers sleeping flanks with their banks free of boats neatly curled
in roofless shopping cart valleys stamping out the arduous march for another mile
pocked ‘round with unknown holes, dead wells perforating their white paper world

in another map i found a name for the wooden saint plastic paint model railroad town
and named collective farms, plaster dams and coalmine arms, all drawed out in blue
prison camp lines sketched famine fine and where they lay the tin missiles down
i drank of jet fuel and submarines, and climbed the steppes of golden mount baekdu

there these sleepy-limbed sons of korgyo kings spoke in fury and threatened hell
from a republic of none and nuclear sun, red revolution in a boot on our neck
yet in rare photos i saw, a child playing in straw, an infant grasping a pale shell
two girls giggling pink at a sink, and a grand old man with a donkey in check

i knew them in one bright flash, and furious, i ask, how could it be the case
we could have forgotten there are people living and laughing in this place?

—written for toylit, march 23, 2012
related story: North Korea Rocket Launch Could Affect Humanitarian Aid - UN Chief
the rocket crashed shortly after launch.

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23
Mar

…and here be tygers

in the mountained mouth of southeast asia, an empty gray tooth marks north korea
one red pin marks a model city, painted clean without pity, the lovely pyongyang
stuffed with concrete girls and empty tilt-a-whirls smelling of blood and dark urea
fringed ‘round with wooden spooned schools, where watered women in hanboks sangi have watched the young man mountains surrounding pyongyang’s potent potted smile
holding silted rivers sleeping flanks with their banks free of boats neatly curled
in roofless shopping cart valleys stamping out the ardous march for another mile
pocked ‘round with unknown holes, dead wells perforating their white paper world

in another map i found a name for the wooden saint plastic paint model railroad town
and named collective farms, plaster dams and coalmine arms, all drawed out in blue
prison camp lines sketched famine fine and where they lay the tin missiles down
i drank of jet fuel and submarines, and climbed the steppes of golden mount baekdu there these sleepy-limbed sons of korgyo kings spoke in fury and threatened hell
from a republic of none and nuclear sun, red revolution in a boot on our neck
yet in rare photos i saw, a child playing in straw, an infant grasping a pale shell
two girls giggling pink at a sink, and a grand old man with a donkey in check

i knew them in one bright flash, and furious, i ask, how could it be the case
we could have forgotten there are people living and laughing in this place?

— written at request of khakjaan wessington who wanted something in the news & different from my usual.

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30
Jul

Grace #poetry

quietuntil she remembered you
then her eyes
looking off to the side
her voice would slip
out sideways
sliding to her tv
where glow-in-the-dark
plastic hands prayed to jesus
all night long
her wire wrapped stories
would spill pink-tongued
from her mouth
full of indentured servitude
her arms fluttering too fast
for her worn cotton house dress
imprinted with
an almost memory
of ripe cherries
and mildewed newspapers
while she worried worried
that she smelled
to high heaven
washing her hands again again
hot water running over
such secret stories
told between the petals
of her painted flowers

when i was five
she collected prints
children and
dogs and kitty cats
all with empty eyes
brimming with tears
and she wept
when my daddy said grace
at thanksgiving
her coat hanger shoulders
shaking shaking
shaking
rhinestones flashing
in the frames of her glasses
oh
the lime jello day
she died
nothing more
nothing less
why didn’t i tell youone day
i too
will feed
invisible cats
and fill notebooks
with the names
of people
i love

(Written for CombatWords on July 22, 2011)

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