I want in a circle: want back to my own wanting,
the wanting of others: I want to own
things I throw away: hair I cut and
wrap lovingly in a paper towel in the trash,
clothes I buy only for specific occasions,
even the memories I leave in a poem –
I don’t want to give anything up
but I don’t to store it either, I am struck
by my wanting, by the need to capture, own, release,
make things play by my rules;
I want to own everything I’ve ever owned forever –
What I want depends on what
I have wanted before or forgotten
I wanted and given away: I want a man who does not want
other women when I am not around, I want to be
remembered right before the bodies touch,
and now, to control my own body in the after they touch.
In this way, I desire the intangible.
Driving home, I want to hit the bird
walking in the road, miss and say sorry
into the rearview mirror to it, unscathed –
I am nauseous, if I make it home and get sick,
maybe the bile will be blue dye no. 1 – “brilliant blue” –
or the bagel I ate will come out whole,
cradled by coffee and 2% milk. I want to be
asleep but it is afternoon – I message two
men who do not know me the same question:
How’re you today? when today I am not I.
The gardener outside hits pavement with his lawnmower,
I see blue roses on my sheets, not sparks, but feel them
in my eyelids. I snake the drain
of the bathroom sink, pull out all the hair:
I want it back to feel attractive, wonder about
extensions made of snaked hair – I want snake hair.
I want my hair snaked, want to snake men who want me in my hair
or push them down the drain after inevitably, I do not want.
Tell the future I have no time
for speculation – when I see children
in a store or screaming in a parking lot,
I tense: my body does not know if I want
or if it will let me; I do not want to spend time
wondering, though – I have to know & feel it so deeply;
I am told I am indebted to America
but I have become it: I can take
what I haven’t even seen yet,
declare it mine, and discard it
at will. You can’t discard a child. I am showered
in my convictions and things I consume: dollar store candle wax,
new cotton sheets to silhouette my body,
a brass framed mirror to look at
my pretty face, crystals strung into
bracelets to suck out all the sad.
I want and I want and forget
I wanted until I want them again.
I want control, not some brief moment of catharsis –
what is the power in powerlessness?
There has only been one man who I thought
would hit me – we stood in his kitchen,
I kept drinking through and in
his anger, thought if it happened, at least I would not feel
it, I would only have to taste
peppermint liquor until the morning.
I have only considered this option once,
hitting a man, and I am not proud of this 1:1:
one man raises his arm / I imagine raising mine
and yet I cannot ignore the appeal and the urge
to speak tangible violence that becomes
a welt on the face of a man who does not understand
the momentum required to raise a hand
or the sensation on the back of it afterwards –
the electric pins and needles, the swell
and throb of wanting the uncertain release.
Give me something for witness,
for every dead body I have ever seen:
on a first date I talk about the animals
but on accident, like the cat petrified
on the median. He says there are dead cows
in the countryside – they’d swell, he shows me
with his hands, I say Light conversation
but I have more to say – later, he smells the tulips
in my room, says they just smell like flowers –
I want to say I smell like flowers or maybe inflated
hamburgers, or a dead cat but I don’t,
just imagine bodies swollen or still
in a bed with two granddaughters watching
like me and my sister & our grandfather,
the only person I’ve ever seen dead that way –
what do you get for that? What can be exchanged
for witness, how can it be unwitnessed / undone? Deflate
the cows, unhit the cat with someone’s car, unsee the cold body.
I burn sage in my house to feel light again,
turn on a table fan to accelerate cleansing;
I want to drive out the things that hurt me
but know they are as intangible as the rest –
I want back time I waited for a man
who did not wait for me. I want to uncry,
to respool tears spilled before he’d leave;
I need any new or old sustenance,
I hardly eat now in the after
and in these clothes, I look smaller already.
I want to own what I’ve already lost
and it isn’t so simple: he is not the same,
I am in flux, I waited time, cannot
uncry or unsmile unkiss unsex –
I want what I cannot reverse & I just want to be
in my body – build a house there that looks like a dollhouse
I used to have, construct it with
the two strong hands of my hardworking want.
In the stairwell, a silhouette of a bird
concealed in the somewhere. I hear the shape
above me. I cannot see the body but know it.
The silhouette : the sound :: the body : voice.
The silhouette chirps and sings
and I hear it shift, debating flight.
The shape of bird bounces off the walls,
permeates to each sharp angle
and swings on each high beam.
When I shape talk out loud,
it fills space outside of me with shade
If the shape hears me, I wonder the shape
that I take in mid-air. Tell me
how it sounds to overlap
and what it sounds like to shape talk simultaneously.
Tell me what shape a name is.
Tell me what home feels like lodged in the throat
or how grief finds its way
into each corner of the heart. The words fall from the somewhere:
bird feels heavier than rain, lighter than mountain –
in my hands, bird feels like tender, like quiet.
I want to know how my sound feels in hands –
how it lands on the ear and demands,
how I feel when I arrive from the somewhere.