doesn’t self promotion bore the fuck out of you? me too.

That was the town where the houses loomed precariously right up to the road, a high speed ribbon with loud tractor trailers blazing by every morning, coked up truck drivers or maybe the reds of yesteryear, maybe just meth, the only shortcut through those spread out and slow moving towns.  Some of the driveways were so short that they were only big enough to fit a compact car tucked right between the front door and the asphalt, the back tires barely out of the road with no sidewalk scrolls to speak of.  When I was younger we would walk one part of the road after skinny dipping in the woodland lake behind Snyder Park, dark hair dripping down sun streaked bodies, and it’s a miracle we didn’t get hit.  Later we found out that the water was polluted from leaky sewage, literal shit.  

We went to the ayahuasca church like everyone did in that decade.  It appealed to repressed recovering Roman Catholics like myself.  The Mary statue at the bottom of the hill was a miracle that was softer, and both of us knew it but neither spoke of it.

I lived in a high house as wide as a Soviet block, the building smelled of many different colored molds, but was painted an assortment of pastels like an Easter egg.  This was common practice in that town, a mix of elderly hippies and also some college kids who had majored in liberal arts like I had, they came here to die.  The street was littered with decent ideas which had never manifested for whatever reason, too soon or too late, too small or too great.  

There was the community apothecary where I had helped clear space for a garden and performance space out back the summer before, a rare moment of volunteering my time, unless you count listening to people talk about their problems.  I lugged sharp branches and weed tornadoes out on my bony shoulders, feeling prouder than the brief exercise really called for.  But that’s the way it was in that town.  Doing anything, you felt pretty useful, as anyone could easily get high and watch television for hours, a habit I never got into, the latter I mean, not the former.  Most of my life I was high, I just changed how I did it, and for many years it was only on mania and some sort of gripping spirit fever that tended to affect the females on my father’s side.  

April is aggressive, showing off too soon, pretending to be willing when she’s really still cold to her core.  She smacks you with wind and sheets of endless rain.  Sends patches of sunlight out to fool you into showing her your thin, pale skin, almost blue on the bottom, the rivers that keep you wanting to move.  You shiver with your face tilted up to the fiery ball so far off and (as though) alive.  But you’re the one who’s really alive, the one with the pinpricks and sharps in your belly, the constant sharps in your heart.  Anything dried out and dead can be set on fire to curl up and out into a quick burst of light.

I’d already spent a year or three as a comet, my darting mind would travel down any charged pathway it found, and every path was charged in those days, I was in love with anything and everything, even my fear, especially that.  When I was a comet I thought I could solve a thing by thinking about it, I would heat up the circuits too hot and every few days or weeks a regular meltdown would happen, and on those days nothing I said would make sense, so I’d try very hard to stay as quiet as possible.  The ways I flew were sometimes horizontal, when connections were still helpful and logic could still be called upon when needed, but mostly vertical and straight up through the roof.  My heart would get to pounding, time began to tighten up, inflamed and red as something running from death.

Continue reading “doesn’t self promotion bore the fuck out of you? me too.”

his tawny listening at the water’s edge, shy antlers in pooling green light

 Magnitude and Bond Nicole Terez Dutton
More than anything, I need this boy
so close to my ears, his questions
electric as honeybees in an acreage
of goldenrod and aster. And time where
we are, slow sugar in the veins
of white pine, rubbery mushrooms
cloistered at their feet. His tawny
listening at the water’s edge, shy
antlers in pooling green light, while
we consider fox prints etched in clay.
I need little black boys to be able to be
little black boys, whole salt water galaxies
in cotton and loudness—not fixed
in stunned suspension, episodes on hot
asphalt, waiting in the dazzling absence
of apology. I need this kid to stay mighty
and coltish, thundering alongside
other black kids, their wrestle and whoop,
the brightness of it—I need for the world
to bear it. And until it will, may the trees
kneel closer, while we sit in mineral hush,
together. May the boy whose dark eyes
are an echo of my father’s dark eyes,
and his father’s dark eyes, reach
with cupped hands into the braided
current. The boy, restless and lanky, the boy
for whom each moment endlessly opens,
for the attention he invests in the beetle’s
lacquered armor, each furrowed seed
or heartbeat, the boy who once told me
the world gives you second chances, the boy
tugging my arm, saying look, saying now.

Artist Residency 2020

If your own private house up in the woods and down the road from Hortus Arboretum and Botanical Gardens sounds like a good place to spend your Spring, today is the last day to apply to their Visual Artist Residency.

The time I spent there as the writer in residence was invaluable, and I know will continue to inform my work for years to come.

photo by TK David

gardenconvervancy.org

did you hold forest-fire in one hand

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?

Credit:
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.”
—Carolina Ebeid