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other-worldly

sluice

i was born to chill you

lastingly

you’re good at this,

i think post-rinse

my own cold surge turns me tepid

as your nudity swirls for eternity—

contact quick lingers in my membrane;

the filth i came for—all parts out of my purview

the charge is long and clear at last

black suds

deep scents

mingling with your sliced hair

thick but fair unwanted parts

i am nothing but a puddle

set to drain


possible geometrics

the dark triad

makes a pointy triangle

we’d all like to avoid.

Narcissus, Machiavelli,

and your everyday Psychopath

all facing outward—shadiness backing

malignant male intent.

their blades blunted by those circumambulations;

the warrior women

inscribe around you, rotating your crooks

in our rounded chants.

we witness, we weaken: your corners

deadened in our curves.

what would Ovid have to say today?

still each enclave, cavern, cove

recalls the melted bones of Echo.

women now would hardly be

mythologically relevant once resolved

to sobbing into rotting.

 

still nature’s incessant longing:

lingering speech acts, howls, screams,

and moans recall a Nympha forever

dejected on all remaining forest floors.

 

as we with screen glance at self

in either black reflect reality, or checking

mechanistically the virtual imprint

of words we chose more carefully—

knowing the staying power of impact.

 

how would Ovid poetically differ

these reverberations, too, out of physical reach

from those he morally cautioned of a metamorphosis?

 

how is Narcissus any worse than us?

if not in mirror blankness, then in social

media portrayal, avatar, or influencing verbal

thrusts toward eternal self-conscious inadequacy

devolved to ego stroking lust or hashtag competency?

 

just because our reflections fit in palm,

on desktop, and in lap, does not make our

stance and angles chose any better than the rot

and flowers they’ve been warning us about

for centuries.

a family story

there’s the time angela’s

body was seen as a ghost;

the living breathing toddler in one room,

quite another haunting

top of grandma’s stairs.

 

there’s the shillelagh,

having fallen in such a way

to defy

childish notions of physical understanding,

parroting for decades your uncle’s tricks

by remembering plastic pink flashlight to mandible nightcries,

and your aunt’s kitchen faucet

sink upstairs

refusing all repair.

 

visiting the great-aunt’s convent once,

more holy water to temple touches;

knees pink with navy synthetic embossing,

burgundy leather beneath ties to ritual creaking;

the prayers and the scent 

of processed body

of christ

the grape juice will transform if you pray for it strongly

and mean it more than you wished evil into playground pagan crossings.

 

the christmas tree stays up too long now that grandma’s dead

the plush carpeting under the ornate rug

hides the secret fake snow threads

you’ve pushed under

in gazing out south shore

hexagonal windows

blocked by hopes of more magic

in july

paisley upholstered chairs never felt more livable

than when you're returned

to mom's city apartment late sunday nights

 

the ashtray with the metal button on the marble

lazy susan, kitchen table, near large window, grandpa's here;

this seems like the most simple way to keep down complaints,

push it down to the bottom, emptied later in the trash bin

please let this be the ritual to keep everyone

soft and transparent alive.

ursula

putting on lipstick redder

than the sunburnt flesh

of those above her,

shading in cold

eyelids darker purple

than sea organs slated

to be ingested

up there too

 

readying herself

amongst the kelp,

slithering her bouncy

breasts on seabed

floor

in crawling her resolute sense

of contractual abuse

nearer to her naive victim

princess in pursuit

 

she remembers suddenly:

her medicine for ADHD

is ready at the pharmacy,

and she needs sensitivity toothpaste too—

 

she’ll pick some up on her way

across atlantic avenue

before they close at 6;

then better equipped

with concentration

and mint scrubbed tongue and gums,

her evil can continue—

flippers traded in for

mute mouthed runs