I am not a girl
I am not
nor a boy or a man or a woman
but a knot of them,
my heart like a tangle of arms, elbows, breasts, and thighs
there is nothing so bare as the beginning of a dream
or the beginning of a death
a cough, a bright pane of moonlight, the short flame of a night light,
a dull pain in the bottom of the belly.
With death, like dreams, it’s hard to figure out where the itch began.
I am not a girl, I am not a not. I am am
and a wife
and a thane who plays the fife.
Those pressing nights when the walls drooped and the ceiling stared back
and all I wanted to do was wake up in a different body
A: “A wife?”
B: “A wife.”
A: “That’s not a job for a boy.”
B: “I am not a boy.”
A: “I don’t like it when you say that.”
B: “There is no other way to say this.”
It is a kind of black magic,
these witching clothes,
the late hours where I watch the night
and prowl in heels,
my cigarettes beacons in the dark
that must be lit, lit, lit.
Oh, these spells of wishing I was well in another skin
with a higher voice rolling my tongue.
There are lookbooks and magic mascara and polish the color of suns.
My secret hands like small galaxies,
their varied colors,
their varied nails—the hume and spume of a cosmic mix
and what of love?
Does it save? Can it keep me clapped to my bones?
The answer is unknown.
The answer is a puzzle, a box, and riddle spoken by a fox
with my long red hair, my long lean legs.
What’s a girl to do?
But I am not a girl, am not a girl, am not.
So my black magic in the end is only black magic paper hats,
a card trick packed in a box,
my sold out luck.
My brain’s scrambled like a rubix cube,
like a squirrel’s brain in a hunter’s pan in early spring.
The grease popping and licking back on the walnut rolls,
before being mashed with onion and pepper
and served as a side.
I need my magic tricks and backyard broomstick,
my orphans and their newspaper flowers,
my rags, and pearls, and the old eye.
Shall I cast my luck?
Shall I roll the bones?
What is I is I is I?
I do not wish to confuse, or terrify, or amuse
but rather fix my skin to course, to direct my sail
and strike drum a new voice, a new timbre.
For nearly a decade I gave up on lipstick
only to find my fingers fiddling their slick shells
as I collect their sheen, their silk, thunder beaches in their hollow tubes.
And what of men? I know their triggers as well as any woman’s,
their itches not so far apart,
it’s really only the amount of pressure one places on the skin
before one fires off.
Why can’t one love without a frame,
a guide, a white painted bride?
Once there was a man whose testes turned against him
and the good country doctor cut them out
and replaced them with beans.
A sack, a sack, a sack of beans.
Many are those who awake to find themselves in another room,
in another country.
And this man woke to find himself stripped of his sex,
his penis like a forgotten rubber toy
at the bottom of a child’s playbox.
The sack of beans between his legs
keep him swinging
but the pills, pills, pills,
and patches, patches, patches
and his breasts swelled like a plump bride
and his body hair thinned, and his thighs grew juicy as spring chicken.
What to do, do, do
when your body repels you? Do you cut off the warts,
and make soap of the fat? Do you turn inside out
to escape your reflection?
And our man in Amsterdam
slipped into the wood,
his wife was shagging the butcher,
and had plenty of bloody bones,
and his children had already neutered him with their credit cards
and their independent pods, and ear-buds,
so he did the only sensible thing there was to do…
listen to the woods, the low drum of a hummingbird in flight,
allow the body to be the body
to be itself