update post

hi there potential reader(s).

two things:

  • I know I haven’t been posting much lately.
    • I’ve been revising a lot rather than writing new pieces.
      • I’d post revised pieces but they’re a lot like the unrevised pieces I start with.
    • I’ve been working pretty much constantly.
      • In spite of my great boss, like half the people who work at my job quit a few weeks ago.
        • I’ve been working every day.
          • is there such a thing as being too dependable?
            • t.b.d.
  • I’m going to be reading at an open mic or 2 coming up.
    • if any(/the one) of you happen to live in western mass/near the five colleges
      • I’m planning on reading at the black sheep in amherst
        • their open mics are thursdays 6-9
          • I might be there tomorrow
            • if not I’ll be there next week
              • I might be there both of these days.
                • it’s a mystery.
                  • not a compelling one.

 

love,

jenny.

my shoulder is a justwrite

My shoulder is a cradle for the sore part of your head, my collarbone a grand canyon to hold the secrets you couldn’t tell back then.  I always see October in your eyes.  If I told you this, would you hear?  The sky is parting and I can almost see beyond it.  My hands are parting and you can fit between them.  My lips are parting and you ask if this is silence still.

Did I ever tell you?  Have I ever told you?  Your body is home and so is mine, my head a roof unpainted, my eyes an attic window.  There are bats up here unfolding themselves into the night air, the same color as the horizon at dusk, and I wonder how I can feel so invisible and so big at the same time, a pane of glass across a busy sidewalk.  When I was small sometimes I found birds who had flown into our kitchen window, the guilt like pennies in my mouth, bloody copper taste, one grey feather still stuck to the glass, nausea settling, a stagnant pond in my belly.  But sometimes when I was small I’d be sitting on the porch steps and a hummingbird would stop inches from my knee then be gone, a streak of green fading.  My heart hovers in my chest, humming, never resting, always, always, always.  Here it is, for you.  There it goes, for you, for you, for you my friend.

If I told you these stories, would you see?  If I say, “red,” do you picture a tulip on the third day in May, throat opening?  Do you picture blood blooming crimson on my thigh, body opening?  Do you see the red insides of my mouth, jaw gaping, words almost here?

Place yourself in my open palms, place your body in my open doorway on the afternoon I least expect it, my shocked hands dropping a half-washed bowl, our hearts quickening, disbelieving, voice almost a dream.  If I wake up tomorrow and you’re beside me on my white sheets, I would think this might be every day, that the time you were gone was a memory mistaken, like the peacocks in the yard when I was five, the feathers they left behind, the years that passed before I realized they were never there.  How could I imagine a peacock if I’d never seen one?  Did the turkeys in my memories take on the color of the June blueberries, the pictures of their feathers stained by the color of my sister’s eyes?  Is any of this real?  Where have we been?  Where are we now?

I am a September night with a breeze for you to come home to.  I told you this once and you looked at me like you were seeing me for the first time and not at all, like your eyes were somewhere else and maybe I was there too.  I look behind me and don’t see the ghost reflected in your irises.  I pull on my grey sweater, suddenly chilled, my arms like birds plucked naked, the winter a memory frozen to my tendons.  I’ll wake up tomorrow with icicles on my cheeks.  They’ll melt into ocean water on your tongue.  When you tell me what you see, I promise I’ll try to listen.

notebook entry this date 2009

8/25/09

 

After it rains I spend hours pressing my palms into the mud and wondering what color I was before I was born, if I was always destined for this

body.  I form the clay in my mind into faces to talk to when the grass is so dry it breaks beneath my feet and falls into the cracks in the earth.  Even the wind is lonely.  I pretend my skin is see-through so my heart can watch itself beat.  I’ll stand in front of the mirror for a lifetime before it believes

I am not corpse.  My grandmother’s hands

are waiting for me and I know they’ll surprise me in sixty years when my face is framed in silver and a pen is trembling between my fingertips.  I hope my grandmother doesn’t know this.  For now I count flower petals, wondering whether or not you love me and not knowing exactly who you are or really caring because I’m pressing flower petals between my fingers and watching them become

invisible.  On the street, a stranger tells me I smell like blueberries and I want

to vomit.  The stranger’s eyes pass through me and I want to grip my claws around his throat until his face is so pale I can’t see it.  Darkness is something I crave as much as fresh bread.

For now I watch the mud dry and crack on my palms, opening, my skin underneath.

replacement parts justwrite

I have always been a replacement part–spare tire left on the side of the road once my father found a new one, rusty gear holding together my mom’s grandfather clock while she waits for the repairman with his shiny, unused things.  My heart is an old spring that creaks, moaning “Please love me,” “Please stay,” even when my voice begs it to stop needing.  Be a broken plate.  Be a wet and faded newspaper.  Be good for nothing, wanted for nothing, always alone.  In my dream last week my stepmother pointed a gun at my chest and I was surprised, always surprised although she has been a bullet tunneling through this body for years, bouncing off the steel walls of my skin, ripping trails through my insides, never finding a way out.  She was always something shiny and full of movement, a well-maintained part that would never stop.  My father can use parts like that.  He knows how to make so many things.  His hands can tile a bathroom, frame a window, break a deer into steaks, pull an oak tree down piece by piece until it’s splinters fallen in the yard.  I built a porch swing when I was 14.  He said I had to.  I didn’t sit on it much, was always hiding between the walls, listening to my father’s sledgehammer tearing through the drywall.  No one’s ever noticed when I’ve disappeared.

feeling boring justwrite

Do I have anything to say today?  Nope.  I might have something to say if I were a poet, or if I were a man, or if I were a man who was also a poet, or if I were a dog because dogs are so infrequently asked if they have anything to say.  On the walk to the bus this morning I saw a spider with dozens of tiny spiderlings on her back.  When most people see spiders, they don’t think of motherhood, but everything has a mother, even tadpoles who hatch into an open pond with nothing to name parent but the jelly they squeezed themselves out of, a labor that no frog saw.  Today I can’t remember my mother–I can’t remember my birth, only know what someone told me so long ago I can only remember the feelings and not the words.  Today I can’t remember how to build stairs, find myself standing on the ground with planks across my arms and nails between my teeth, never changing anything.  Today I have nothing to say, nothing at all except sweat I don’t want, skin so hot I can’t feel it.  How boring, how boring, I’m boring.  I’m a boring beetle, mouth full of wood, body full of splinters, stomach tight with bark, boring beetle, boring, boring.  I’m so boring.  I’m boring so I’m born, born soon, leaving soon, cycles, everything coming around again.  I’m yawning and it’s summer.  I’m summer and it’s night again.  I’m night and summer will never end.  Summer is ending and I’m here.  I’m here.  I’m still here.  I’m still.  I’m quiet and small and need to say something but don’t have words for it.  I’m huge and quiet and slow.  The air is thick molasses, too sticky sweet to breathe.  I’m quiet and breathing.  I’m breath and still.  Still breath pausing on your neck.  I’m here.  I’m here.  Here.  Here.  Hear.  Hear me, hear me.  You can’t hear anything.  Are you here?  My mouth is full of wood chips, dry and impossible to chew.  I lower my lips to the cold clear creek water on the mountain.  At the sandy bottom I see a tadpole just starting to grow legs.  I don’t have anything to say.

replace i with my body/part

replace i with my body/part

replace i with my body/
part

replace my body with parts
replace part with i,
part i from body,     just       parts.

if i was a body, it would be in two    parts–
small head body over
tall slender body

replace i
place and re-place i
in this body,
in these parts.

i am a body.
i am a body.
i am a part.
i am a part of a body–
body in parts,
i in body, just parts
just parts
just i, just body,
just.

if i had a body it would
part the ocean with its tongue
and curl the lip of the shore around
itself like a sand blanket–
so many parts
all of them small
each one a rock
a grain
one part of a body–

body of land, ocean body–
what is this?
which part?

replace my body
with an ocean, place
my body in the ocean, re-
place my body here, a part
missing, one part
still ocean, all parts
ocean but one.

replace i with my body/part
under a torn line trailing to the corner.  who wrote this?
who left this here?  why?
i wonder if you remembered
to replace i with my body,
if part of you remembered
to replace i.
where is your body?  is part
of it here, with this paper?  is your
heart made of paper?  can anyone
write on it?  is it folded into
chambers, an atrium with doors opening
and closing into other parts?
where did you put i afterward?
did you use my body, or just part?
or both?  do you write?  do you have a body?
do you have a body that writes?
does i write?

replace i with my body.
place my body next to yours,
unfold me on your white sheets, one
body, two bodies, so many parts–
just i alone waiting to be replaced.
replace my body with another,
replace my body in part, replace i,
place body, body
next to my–
my      body.

my body and i
feel like two different parts.
if my body and i were the same person
would i be able to sing?
could i play the piano? would i stop
moaning into the darkness about this body,
stop searching for the missing part, for my,
for i, for                 body, whole body–
my body.

if my body and i were the same person
would you still replace her?
would you carry her
in your open chest with her palms
against the walls of your ribcage,
your pulse a part of her?  would you
replace your eyes with my body, with my eyes maybe–
do you want to see what i see?
do you know what it is
to replace?
to be replaced?
to be my body?  do i?

this page is almost empty, full
of body/part.
what is the slash?
what is between body and part?
the slash is a silver tendon
holding muscle to bone, holding
flesh to self, body to i, parts
together becoming my body.
my body apart
slash body into parts,
body parting like the ocean,
everyone ready to drown, running,
expecting a sea of bodies–
(if they had asked the ocean to part it wouldn’t.  god
likes to test his people, says replace your body
with one part, just love, and if you welcome death i will
keep you from it, will give you my body as yours, the flesh
of my child as bread, say sacrifice what you love before
i break the knife at the last second)
blade against tendon thin
as spider’s silk, all that you love
falling to parts,         almost.

mirror in the sky, what is love?
love, are you the sky?
love, are you a mirror
where I can see my body, or replace
a part with you?
if my body were a mirror
you would never see me or yourself,
replace this mirror with a black sheet,
break glass into parts, place next to body,
replace i next to part.

body/part
body
slash
part
is the slash a linebreak?
is the slash a femur
bone, just one part?
replace i with my part,
my part–
just mine,
just i, just body,
just one part?–maybe
a knee–dot capping bone, small head
of i, one part of body, knee–
(left knee leaning bare against cornmeal for hours, pain like blades
but when i stand again there’s nothing but one red part
on the pale body of i and my father’s voice toneless
like one part of a shredded photograph, sweeping
the cornmeal back into the bag for the next time i speak
without enough fear, without thinking about my body
and what she goes through when i speak.)

i would replace my body with i
if i could, take
the static from her cornmeal-dusted knees, take
scissors from her cramped fingers
the day he makes her cut the lawn with them, take
all of her from the bathroom floor
in her nightgown, face sweaty, brain fading, replace
her with a part, leave
behind my baby tooth, no–
the missing grown-up tooth i inherited
from my father, this empty space
in my skeleton, part missing, my body
unfinished.  my body

says she would replace i with her parts, would offer
her wrists to grab and break if it’s enough
to be seen, offer her nose
to smash in if the blood meant we could
re-place ourselves where the soil isn’t toxic–
(digging in the garden, i think i broke into a hive of red ants, their jaws
leaving cross-stitch patterns on the hands of my body, but i open
my eyes and there is only black dirt, pale fingers, and
the memory of you, one toxic part i can’t pry out,
try to replace)

with someone else’s voice saying want
or beautiful or
stay
but i still beg to be replaced.
please don’t love me.
please don’t leave.
please don’t love me, don’t
see my body, don’t
part me with your hands and replace
the flesh i’ve lost with your lips, don’t
come near this body, don’t
unfurl her parts on the grass in the park and lie down beside them.
i don’t want to feel what’s missing when you’re gone.

(god is a loving father
who places a knife in your hands, says
slice what you love into parts
because i gave you this body, i
gave you this i, you
owe me this, every part mine,
you owe me.)

haunted justwrite

Today I feel haunted by the way your bones folded
like wings under skin, no feathers, dimpled
and pink, a bird plucked naked, body
empty, eyes ever growing, your voice in the dark
closet of my ears echoing again and again–

I want to disappear.
I want to disappear.
I’ve already disappeared.
I will never disappear.

I feel like I’m losing you
still, like I don’t trust your shadow to stay
on the ground, everything flighty
like maybe you’ve never been here.
But sometimes we lay on the grass waiting
for a storm to come, wishing
to be soaked through, wishing
to be cold and together
under this open sky
clouds closing
rain opening
sun going down
moon up
clouds over
so much above me, so little weight.

I keep waking up at 5 a.m.
to a voice that calls me beautiful.
I question if this is a nightmare or a dream
or just you and me and
the rock in my stomach.
I want to pull it out through my throat and
throw it through your window, glass
shattered, shards raining, broken window, broken
window, broken,
broken.

Pull me in, please.  Can you
touch the glass under my skin, the gravel
still inside my knees, churning
so the sound of my joints keeps me
up at night.  I tell my ears to stop
listening, but they hear everything
but me, are dried pears pressed
against the window pane,
are two little girls with palms up
and open, mouths and eyes closed, hearts
an open attic stairway full of October apples.
When did these get here?
Where do we put them next?

I have three of your letters heavy
in my breast pocket.  I have a map
that won’t unfold and might not be a map,
might be a window, might be your bones
sharp in a dim room, might be your laughter
and is maybe all of this or nothing, ash
breaking into clouded air at my breath or fingertips–
this is all I have.  This
is all I have.  My palms

are opened and stained and yours,
not yours, not mine,
mine, yours, yours, you,
you, you.  Without you
just me and this dim night of clouded noise,
air thick with moths like women
in dresses made of ash throwing themselves back
and forth through the light.