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There Is a Devil Inside Me
—After Ana Mendieta
Did you carry around the matin star? Did you hold
forest-fire in one hand? Would you wake to radiate,
shimmer, gleam lucero-light? Through the morning
would you measure the wingspan of an idea taking off—
& by night would you read by the light of your own torso?
Did you hear through the curtains a voice, through folds &
folds of fabric a lowdown voice—How are you fallen
from—How are you cut down to the ground?
Would gunpowder flash up in the other hand?
Were you the most beautiful of them—the most beauty,
full bew, teful, bu wtie, full be out, i full, btfl?
Did the sky flutter & flower like bridal
shrouds? Did a dog rise in the East in it?
Did a wolf set in the West? Were they a thirsty pair?
And was there a meadow? How many flowers to pick?
And when no flowers, were you gathering bone chips
& feathers & mud? Was music a circle that spun?
Did you spin it in reverse? Was your singing a rushlight,
pyre light, a conflagration of dragonflies rushing out
from your fire-throat? Did you lie down in the snow?
Did it soften & thaw into a pool of your shape?
Did you whisper to the graven thing, whisper a many
lowdown phrase: How are you fallen my btfl?
Would they trek closer, the animals? A grand iridium
thirst, each arriving with their soft velour
mouths to drink your silhouette?
Copyright © 2018 by Carolina Ebeid. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 12, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem:
“I am writing a series of poems centered around the video works of Ana Mendieta. In one of them, Mendieta faces a blank wall with her back to us. She bends down to dip her hands and forearms in a pan that is filled with animal blood and begins to draw on the wall a narrow arc the width of her body. With more blood, she writes at the center of this tombstone-like shape, ‘There is a Devil Inside Me.’ My poem imagines the artist as a kind of Lucifer, the messenger bearing light, before falling from grace into the underworld.”
in their eyes.
– dicho nevadaño
Nativity by Li-Young Lee
In the dark, a child might ask, What is the world?
just to hear his sister
promise, An unfinished wing of heaven,
just to hear his brother say,
A house inside a house,
but most of all to hear his mother answer,
One more song, then you go to sleep.
How could anyone in that bed guess
the question finds its beginning
in the answer long growing
inside the one who asked, that restless boy,
the night’s darling?
Later, a man lying awake,
he might ask it again,
just to hear the silence
charge him, This night
arching over your sleepless wondering,
this night, the near ground
every reaching-out-to overreaches,
just to remind himself
out of what little earth and duration,
out of what immense good-bye,
each must make a safe place of his heart,
before so strange and wild a guest
as God approaches.
New work in print in Volume 44 of Alchemy Magazine. This issue also has some great photography. Cover design by Olga Khristoforova.
Once I saw a fox leap inside the morning light and made the same shape of myself.
Homecoming Cistern Alien Vessel
Oh, my planet, how beautiful you are. Little curve that leads me to the lakeside. Let me step out of the sack of skin I wore on earth. It’s good to be home. No more need to name me. No more need to make the shape of a machete with my mouth. Pushing up up up the tired sides that want to drop below my teeth. Lord, I’ve missed you. The streets covered all day in light from the moons. I was confused all the time. I wanted so much. My hole felt like a gut with an antler rammed through it. So lonely and strange and always trying to smile. Coin of the realm. And my arms open and my life coming in and out of the “ATM.” Once I saw a fox leap inside the morning light and made the same shape of myself. Once I watched the boats and also rocked back and forth. How does every person not cry out all the time? Yes, it was good to eat doughnuts. Yes. I was blessed by many days of joy. A rabbit in the driveway. A rosemary bush with a sorcerer’s cloak of spider webs. Brian Eno. The Hammond B3 Organ that never asked me who I knew. But that body. Like a factory. That mind like a ship built to pile in other bodies. Skin like a sow without any of the sow’s equanimity. It reflected nothing. Pink skin. Blue eyes hard as an anvil. Like a window with covering that refuses the passerby’s gaze. I loved the bully power some days. Oh my pleasure in not causing harm. My pride. I’m not like so-and-so. My pink skin preaching, my pink skin yawping out my other hole, “I did not choke the man with my elbow!” “Would never!” “I let all the boys in hoodies walk through dark streets.” “I did not shoot them with my guns!” The ship rising up inside me. As if the fox felt pride for not tearing the bird to pieces. As if the owl’s heart grew large from not wrecking the squirrel’s nest. My pink skin a sail full of indignation. My eyes pitching across the feed. It is so good to be home and yet. I have a ship inside. How can the organ welcome me? I’m not a sow on her worst day. Which would be what? Breaking from the barn? Eating all the acorns and rolling in the mud? No. Her worst would be at my hands and on my plate for supper. Grow like the tree, the man who heals the bodies said. In every way I became the ship rising in the harbor. How can I be welcomed after that?
Copyright © 2018 by Gabrielle Calvocoressi. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 9, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
“I am attempting to look frankly at the damage that echoes through me, the grief that evokes, and the possibility for change. I am trying to quit thinking of simple human decency as a form of heroism, both in my poems and in the world.”
432 a logos indebted to the father
Pater (in Greek) the chief, the capital, the good(s)-means all 3 at once
435 In all the cycles of Egyptian mythology, Thoth presides over the organization of death
Thoth extends or opposes by repeating or replacing- this messenger-god is truly a god of the absolute passage between opposites
“This god of resurrection is less interested in life or death than in death as a repetition of life and life as a rehearsal of death, in the awakening of life and in the recommencement of death.”
Brigit Pegeen Kelly
God sends his tasks
and one does
them or not, but the sky
delivers its gifts
at the appointed
times: With spit and sigh,
with that improbable
burst of flame, the balloon
the cornfield, bringing
with it, bringing
from a long way off
those colors that are at first
the low sound
of a horn, but soon
are many horns, and clocks,
and bells, and clappers
and your heart
rising to the silence
in all of them, a silence
so complete that
the heads of the corn
bow back before it
and the dog flees in terror
down the road
and you alone are left
at three solemn visitors
in a golden cage
beneath that unbelievable chorus of red
and white, swinging
so close you cannot move
or speak, so close
the road grows wet with light,
as when the sun flares,
after an evening storm
and you become weightless, falling
back in the air
before the giant oak
that with a fiery burst
From To the Place of Trumpets, published by Yale University Press, 1988. Copyright © 1988 by Brigit Pegeen Kelly. Reproduced by permission of Yale University Press.
4 to be truthful means to employ the usual metaphors. thus, to express it morally, this is the duty to lie according to a fixed convention, to lie with the herd and in a manner binding upon everyone.
8 There exists no word for these intuitions; when man sees them he grows dumb, or else he speaks only in forbidden metaphors and in unheard-of combinations of concepts. He does this so that by shattering and mocking the old conceptual barriers he may at least correspond creatively to the impression of the powerful present intuition.