An apartment child; Dragon; Johannes Vermeer – Girl With A Pearl Earring; Flamethrower; Crazing Cracked

An apartment child

doesn’t have a backyard
to her it’s just out that we
go, our daily sojourn to the 
hills, there are no seeds pressed
to loam, no uncurl of slip n slide, 
revolver of sprinkler tag, but 
she knows the names of the 
trees, to thank them, we
have our potted plants
our rooms within rooms
she knows how to go inside 
how to light a candle
in case of emergency

the banister 
of grief as I fall 
down the stairs of  
living without your 
touch, your laughing 
tears hot on bacon cheeks 
wheezing, dimpled with the 
stars of mother love that make us
all feel shiny and best. The special gifts
left at the feet of knowing like a lasso hunting,
strong with the pull of memories bathed in recurring
deaths, selves shed while ebullient births midwived by 
your hands wriggled wet as truths, fresh to my young eyes.
Zodiac dragon and I, your egg. You watched me as the sun rose
in my hair like lavender tulle, all taut and gathered by your sewing 
machine to make a tutu for dancing pas de deux. Your scent was round
like a watermelon and we ate the seeds too. Your favorite form of charity 
was giving blood, and I wonder who is walking now, with you inside their 
veins. A roiling emptiness from lash to tip growls between my muscles. How will
you tell me? Tell me, how can I be a mother without the grandness of your heaping heart?
Johannes Vermeer – Girl With A Pearl Earring

How overstimulated and highly irritated that mollusk must have been
Did some playboy slurp it? Eyebrow raised in come hither Aphrodite
then fondle the pearl with tongue tied confusion, only to spit up
a jewel the size of a cherry tomato, was it Vermeer? and did he attach 
a fish hook to lure an oyster-eyed maid with a watery stare? Piercing 
the ear and the bosom at once, he wrapped her in a turban projecting 
something more (exotic) onto her, and folding layers of conquest
in wheat and water, taking extra care with her whetted lips, sharpened
by the stone. Do we admire the crack lacquer and praise the light 
because he was male, and because he was white? 

The perspective of conquerors pervades the canon like cannon fodder, 
the gaze heavy on the round who’ve been iron-forged and pressed by 
test after test, balls for blasting and blowing and throwing 
over, unhuman but blessed with breasts. He was born in a bubble 
of tulipina mania, two lips to the bulb. Beauty worth more than gold 
in Delft he was deft at teasing riches from lead-tin yellow 
what’s good for the gander is good for the guilder. A life spangled 
with gilt, unknown surfaces lurking underneath ultramarine underpaint
obscura by faint flurries of pearly light, chromatic aberrations like halos 
bestowed by papal decree. Decry the master! Muster your forces of daily 
shucking, paint yourself among the barnacled beds made untidy and leaning
by love and by dreaming.

I read a meme 
that said If in Texas 
they’re going to put you in 
jail for having an abortion, you
might as well kill your rapist. Do 
you think Medusa cast men as moments
in time, plastering them in a rage of tiny 
figurines, action heroes with which to play 
out her trauma? Did each snake remember 
every time that she was slighted, passed over, 
passed on, or punished unjustly? Did they whisper 
in her ear

You’ll catch more flies with honey / Honey, you were asking for 
it / It’s just what men do / Do you want to die alone? 

Do you feel the flame swelling, do you notice how 
the blue burn of pain quickens and fans into red fury, 
then sputters and dies down again into embers of sharp 
splinters that we swallow grudgingly? Who doesn’t 
have a body full of matchsticks, kindling bits 
latent under thunder, ready for the dry 
flash of lightning that will ignite a 
reckoning blaze, and what 
is wrong with them?
Crazing Cracked

They tell us to *fight aging* as if 
we should punch (our own) faces, cocky 
for a schoolyard fight with a winner and a        
loser.        As if the wrinkling time and wizening        
signs are something to hide behind a faltering 
youth, as if the        only         thing worth showing 
is the smooth dumbness of 	baby skin. 	But 
the arm of life that      unwinds         with heavy gifts 
each year, fingers finally revealing the kernels 	
like 	opal seeds	 in the palm, is not 
a thing 
to tie 
your back. 
Is it 	not 	a tremendous triumph to     
make it     to old age? 
Walking still on bent legs? Despite the stiff back, sore 
from all the bending?
Despite all the hitting and kicking and wind 
        knocking out        like a robber at the door? 	

To make it. It being
and nothing more. 

Maybe aging is more like a bath. It feels hot 
at first, it burns the bum and sitting feels prickly and 
squeezing, a sponge of sweat, effort. 	But oh, 
once you lean in, the wrapping water washes all the care 
from tense shoulders wilting with expectations. Lavender and salt        
swirl        fat with fucks shed from fleshy arms and thick middles. 
The scalp lathers with loosened fear. And the 	perfect face, 
both puffed and hollow, crazing with the crackles of a 
pottery glazed and well-fired				the face floats.