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Mass for the Moon

Posted on 2004.04.15 at 18:01

With both hands I have crammed the moon into my throat, and vomited back its chalky milk. I have scrubbed this white bile from the walls, astronomical gristle, the ground bones of its ruined face. Diamond slag drips from my lips ravaged by canal-cracks and the scars of past mornings spent hunched over the floor, heaving the sky into the drain.

When I was born, the moon was in Virgo. Perhaps I was meant to be a nun, and blister my fingers with tallow, sew up my cunt with copper wire and scour the nipples from my breasts with a paste of consecrated nettles. Perhaps I was meant to be as blank and unpenetrated as a statue, no terrifying black crescent grinning in me to swallow men like wriggling fish. Perhaps I was meant to have a rosary of severed eyelids, blinking against my throat at vespers, and plant the dross of infant foreskins in the churchyard, to feed the slack jaws of dead sisters.

But I ate my vows on a silver plate, and the plate was bright as the moon. They lurch in me, swinging the weight of the body I was meant to make of this hot flesh, and when I open my mouth to sing the matins, they fly out in a rush, a rattle of lunar horrors. My body is a hammer, and with it I mutilate the holiest of lights. 


Directions for Burial

Posted on 2004.04.13 at 20:57

Paper my coffin with poems that look like the hands of beautiful women. Their pages should shroud me like Laertes, edges curled brown and sweet. When the dirge is sung, black and sere, if it is too much to ask that my mother claw her arms and tear her hair, at least cut my father's throat and shovel him in after me. Cover us in hyacinth and rosemary (for remembrance) so that the stench of our debauched passage through the valley of death will not stain the fungal cathedral-ceiling, our putrefying psalms wafting up into the soil like the smoke of a grey-bellied censer.

There must be a mass for the Freudian dead. A requiem for Electra and Oedipus with a swan chorus, braying out a moon-hymn, a menstrual canticle bubbling in the bone-chalice. Sew his eyes into her cheeks, sever her tongue and wash his feet with the foaming stump. What a chapel it would be, what walls and what splintered pews, whose altar birthed that surgery.

Scratch all that--bury me at sea, I cannot bear all this noise, all this earth piling its mother-memory onto my skull. Jocasta hung herself so that we could all forget her, shove her wrinkled breasts into a gold box and hang it up in St. Peter's. She did us a favor, cow-haunched and mute. Where can I go to escape her, to escape him, the gnashing parent-golems, offering the linen noose and the bathtub with grimy grins, teeth sliding in their heads, grunting their own nicotine-paean in 4/4 time?

Nevermind. Burn me. Beasts fear fire, it has always been so.


The Dreamlife of Travellers

Posted on 2004.04.12 at 10:29

My forearms irradiate the room, scalded skin pressing on the air, cell whispering to cell, subdermal communiques husky and dim. Confessional flesh, wet and kneeling even when I stand. When I slept, my body ran off my bones like sweat, and the bedsheets woke smothered.

I dreamed once that a man stood next to me on the train, and his eyes were made of spoons. He put his sunburned hand on my breast and caught the nipple, bronze as a helmet, between his fingernails. Blood seeped like milk from the twisting wound, and a child tugged at my skirt, begging to drink. As I wept he put his mouth over mine and spoke into my throat:

There is no 'I,' the self is perpetually finished and unfinished.

It is a pun only in English, the singularity of the letter I and the body held upright, limbs solid, a caryatid caught between man and child in a creaking carriage car, head thrown back, illuminated by flourescent coronae, alternating flashes of shadow and glass. If by some clandestine alchemy I could metamorphose the blood of my breast to gold, I could appease, I could be forgiven, I could loose his thorny hand from the skin which crackles and peels back, meat-black, and falls away, to cover the child's lips like sugar.

In the beginning, it is always dark.

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