Editor's note: these poems originally appeared in the old/previous Luna Luna
They were twirling frills, learning their bicycles,
And had discovered that opening up little buds
With their sticky fingers,
Gave them pleasure.
They only played free in their gardens,
And looked at the unaccountable outside the bars of their whiteness
It was their truest medium,
And brought out the wit in them
For years their muses had rolled their eyes,
Exasperated at having to serve such spoiled little prodigies…
But taking the white idle hands, and putting them to the paper,
And saying “Write.”
When I next saw them
They were slow dancing under soft lights
With the men who had beaten the shit out of them the night before.
It gave me a warm feeling.
It made me want to divvy up some macrobiotic rice.
As if I were Mother Earth,
And had shifted my genitals to cover the face of Atlas.
The Old City
I jumped, when I saw it.
It had been sitting there all those years,
Mesmerizingly beautiful with scales.
But it had been asleep for a long time,
And it hissed at me.
I walked into the restroom
And looked for the old graffiti.
It had been painted over.
But underneath, like veins
The blue letters I had scrawled
When I was less than a quarter century
Still there, quietly
Dispatching blood through a network of channels.
The birds were cawing in the trees that day.
I couldn’t believe they were going on.
I saw people passing, in the streets,
In broad daylight.
I couldn’t believe they were going on.
I couldn’t believe I couldn’t feel it anymore,
That the smell had gone away.
Descendants keep through every season
But we begin to turn.
In the incarnation where you
Finally have, again
Access to my age
I may be a gator or a mouse.
Or I may have already been born
50 years earlier
And be a hag.
Whatever you are now
A new tree
Ready to live for another 2 centuries,
Readying yourself as a shoot,
All your human intelligence
Packed folded away for you in
A secret sac somewhere.
And then a girl
Or some absent little animal
Comes traipsing through the forest
And pops it
And your gooey humanity
Or what was left of it,
Spurts into the world.
I did not dare go
Out into the garden, at night
There was a male tree
Waiting for me to step off my daddy’s porch.
In nine months, he said,
You will turn a noxious green.
The land is shrunken and silent and shameful
Then, like a sewer
The smell of Girl.
Persephone & Compson’s heir:
“I send you spring, but I never get to see her”
The land smelled of honeysuckle.
And the rivers.
If you notice a lack of passion
It’s because time has put it there-
But if from that stone
I rub to bring something flicking upwards in spray,
Then settling downwards again,
As some child from the bow points at it in delight
And a doting governess laughs indulgently,
Pats him on the head,
And goes from drink and cigarette
To a stone pilgrimage in Europe,
Where there are people who
Still love you, you know
Like Lenin or a child-saint that never rots in its grave:
A flash from the deck, and we are face to face, riding each other.
I can’t see you anymore, dear,
Though somehow, I know
Through my blindness,
That there is real sorrow there…
And often I’ll put out a finger to catch
What streams from your eye-
Quizzically, sadly, puzzled-
I hear you trying to describe color to me, but I can’t remember it…
And though I understand, technically,
How I must have loved you,
You know they’ll say of you
He was like Christ in his fate,
And could only kill himself with a golden razor.
It’s terrifying how bodiless they are,
As when one takes one side or a parachute, one the other
And spoofs a soft spore over their heads-
It seems wrong to be inside tents at day,
Where light streams in through the cells
And everything is dull,
A muted gold, that keeps out the wasps,
Not the sweet delicate netting,
That admits stars or adorns southern porches
But a filter that
Blocks God, like an anti-psychotic drug
How the world looks to those up for three days-
The oddness of the sun, the hiss of people brushing by,
Everything sounding like whispers, and rustling
They keep looking to the door every time it opens
And scanning the faces-
Someone is fucking in the corner; they won’t notice.
Someone is hacking something up in the corner; they won’t notice.
They are hollow,
Aware only of the wind that moves through them.
In the Ponderosa Trailer Court,
We had been shooting up all night,
When the junkie in the other room suddenly appeared in
The doorway, eyes
Black as saucers, twitching meth,
And said, “I did four years for rape. You’d better leave.
I can’t be trusted
Around gurls when I git like this.
If you don’t git out soon I may do somethin to you
You’ll both regret. ”
Under the stars, in the dirt road,
Someone turned like a cat, in circles
Praying and crying, before settling down,
His heartbeat surging ahead of him…
His mind surging ahead of itself towards God
The little trailer was like a ship’s cabin,
Shut up against the sea
Only a small hole
A little haphazard window,
Like a tent.
“Don’t move…stay down,” you said to me,
In the dark
And put something up against my throat
I couldn’t see-
“You shouldn’t have come here. I…
I killed someone a year ago,
Dumped their body in the river
In Biloxi, Mississippi.
It could have been anything-half an hour
Before you laughed at me
And let me up, saying ,
“You didn’t really believe that, did you…”
The rising dead,
Filled with Wonka’s fizzy lifting drinks,
Unable to belch,
In the buoyancy of salvation,
The libidos of saints
Beating angrily upon the Light with their wings
Now you look up
And there’s a flash of metal
And a whirring over your head.
On an inverted Solaris,
A gaggle of young people loped by,
One dragging their intestines before collapsing.
The same light came up
On another Greyhound station,
Another desperate last minute arrangement,
But it was the light of ten years before,
Still rising, as if on cue.
The road had rolled itself back up into itself
Like someone spooling their intestines back in
And stuck a neat little asshole at the end
As a breathing tube for you.
I don’t know the “normalcy” of 1885
Or the dark ages
And though it whittles a road runner head around from me now and again
In the wake of someone else’s vapor
From olfactory surplus discarded with the dead. .. and their memories.
The transmigration of fairytales into metaphor-
A colon half filled with Now in a shitting gingerbread house
Though I have this fear of waking up
To a life
That will shortly have nothing to do with me
And a house
Still in its hope that you will return
Until it dies
Unable to take care of itself.
Children assume everybody is another child,
So do the lonely.
Sometimes … only sometimes …
I know how really good you are.
A drug called “Christmas” crushed into your mirror,
That gives off tiny lights
Dancing to the left and right of temples
Coos in the voices of old hormones,
Stirring around, dulled,
By having had to survive rebirth,
Rearranging themselves into a new synesthesia
so that the formerly dark red M, at first unrecognizable as royal blue
Arched into a learning curve
That led to the blunt side of a white holy wall
Behind which half synesthetic and half autistic children sat babbling.
All approximations have been stripped
What was once a perfect luminosity
Is coming from an earthly sun
Not—anymore—The Light of the World.
The real sea is starting to lap at me,
The first actual wetness since the plastic waves of Fellini.
A blue Disney is filling the room
With other children…also alive
Falling back to earth
Crowding the toyshop windowsills with snow.
When I stop lying about still being dead I will be…like Pinocchio…
A real boy.
Lisa A. Flowers is a poet, critic, vocalist, the founding editor of Vulgar Marsala Press, the reviews editor for Tarpaulin Sky Press, and the author of diatomhero: religious poems. Her work has appeared in various magazines and online journals. Raised in Los Angeles and Portland, OR, she now resides in Colorado. Visit her here.