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photo

Metta Sáma




I TAKE WHAT I CAN GET

LESSON ONE

 

Tango. To refuse

 

the dance of

 

patriarchy, we dance

 

the dance of

 

patriarchy. Tango. A mess

 

of heels, suit up

 

jackets, deliberate

 

black. We (Tango.)

 

skirt & slip.

 

In public, we hold

 

hands (Tango.), terrorize

 

the public, &  (Tango.) switch

 

hips like (Tango.)

 

strategies, like

 

tornados, like Eve,

 

& (Tango.) eyelashes. Our

 

mothers ship gold-

 

plated wedding cake silver-

 

ware, unsolicited

 

advice on men, linen,

 

hearts. How to be

 

mastered. Tango. Our

 

fathers' voices

 

remind us of algebra

 

& seduction. Entangled,

 

we refuse to be

 

(Tango.) lipstick, buckled-down

 

butch. Strap it

 

up, tie it down,

 

figure an eight.

 

It's all in the feet,

 

Tango, love, it's all in

 

the tilt of

 

a wanton foot, &

 

sometimes the mouth, love

 

sometimes our mouths. Tango.

 

 

 

 

THIS IS THE LONGING THAT SOUL BUILDS

 

1.

poems scribbled blindly

in my girlfriend's journal;

the boys from Sudan never travel

alone; sky demands

of wind: chime.

 

2.

I fill my lover's side of the bed

with longing: a remote control,

composition books, green

pens, leaves of sage, lemons,

a halved moon.

 

3.

ladies in burqa and abaya float

down the street. boys ride

bikes in circles, ghosts hover

in baggage. languid fog & terse

language. trees shed their lasting

leaves. I've not been with myself.

 

4.

three girls demand more

than the sun, divide light, teach

each other to jump rope: pluck

water from the sky's edges, desire.

 

5.

the runner, a homeless black

cat; a man thumbs my way, winks, &

castrates the road's side. I do not

recognize this white man's gestures. a blind

man and his sleepy friend, reluctant

clerks, hurried winds castigate the south.

more reminders of the not familiar.

I do not belong.

 

6.

the very floors are caffeinated. language

hovers, slips around the neck, digs

in skin, chokes back and vomits

forth the rot that is action.

 

7.

this bedroom, overstuffed

as it is with surrendering,

miniature deaths, familiar

urges. an acquiescence,

a rage of wind circles,

knocks against the fan's blades.

the cat backs into the hall.

 

 

 

 

I TAKE WHAT I CAN GET

 

                                             I take

Salt

            (Spill it      floor the damage)

Artichoke

            (Peel until nothing but heart              examine)

Water

            (Boil until vapor touches skin

                                    until vapor opens pores

                                             until vapor opens

                                                                                        me)

 

                                             what

Flesh

            Yes, cursive

script & line

                         pensive   See how this

body bends expands contracts this

Flesh

            Yes it holds

                                    the what

 

                                             I can get

A bowl

a blender

one desire or two

Busy me with oil  & caress

                                             I can get

A sieve

& sift through finger's print

& thigh & knee &

Love

            I can get any object & lay it

                                                                        out

here  on this kitchen table  for you

                                                                        I count

quarts  pints  tablespoons  tea

measure what

            I can get  all of this

            I can get  & you  I take