on an island of love poems
he plays with her side ponytail, as though
he is playing with himself—
with knees spread apart
lips swollen and fingertips dipped in bee stings
she watches skinny, tattooed legs pass her by,
attached to a woman wearing two partially shaved
heads, curls down the middle
she wants to tell him she’s remembered she’s gay
never forgot, exactly—
she just really dug the way he dug into her
until until it just wasn’t enough
two lovers on a bay
all the dead horses mingle with shards of green, husky blue, white and brown glass
two lovers wearing incongruent shapes hunt for history
pre-cell phone malignancy
1920's ground up animal bones
while now, landfill leaks like one lover's removed womb
& the other’s loosened biological cues
they collect the soles from heels of the lost
a camel, used to remind lungs the benefits of tobacco
linoleum from a home several decades ago—
where bruises replaced bouquets of flowers
what is it Hélène Cixous said?
I, too, overflow;
And I, too, said nothing, showed nothing; I didn’t open my mouth, I didn’t repaint my half of the world.
On this bay of sharp glass & tire flesh & translucency
one lover searches for matches in order to get high
studies each granule of sand as though it is a lecture
can one become a scholar of refuse?
a spherical spill in need of a revision
is scheduled for a lobotomy
each crevice of land, revised like a novel—
gutted of its gore
later, one lover’s brain seizures from twelve years plus two and some
unconfirmed months of disturbances
[childhood in new jersey]
while the other lover washes away beach crumbs
catalogues the distance between crystal and hours
& Virginia Woolf reminded,
There was a star riding through the clouds one night,
& I said to the star, 'Consume me.'
So, the lover caught up with the other,
whose knees were pressed against
the stain-glass earth
& confessed to every shell
what it means to be forgotten or
not perplexing enough
a kiss of mouths, tasting of artificial cheese and
a garble of sky, where stars reside
once the lights are flipped
& the weight of a stolen past
collected on a beach one day
reminds two lovers, it’s time to go
I spend most nights thinking about how I want you to kiss me. Not like Leonardo, with his number two pencil thin tongue. Nor Renata with her angel-dusted lips and crystal meth teeth folding inside her mouth like little accordions. I want my shoulders to be manhandled when you kiss me. Ripped open cartilage and carrier pigeons or whatever else hides beneath skin. Not like Andréa with breath of whiskey and stolen childhood or even Hunter who would peck at my lips like a finch, stealing invisible crumbs hanging off the chapped flesh. What I want is for you to remember how to light my organs on fire just from putting your tongue in my mouth. I want your chest to break me open as though my ribs are a cage housing rainbow-winged doves with beaks made from fireworks. I want our lips to remember how elastic they can get. Rubbery half-moons. Pink and slippery. I want you to want to kiss me. Kiss me. Remember how.
Dear Richard Brautigan,
I blacked out. Sternum and thumbs to the ground and when I woke, I found a puddle of these words beside my hip:
of mothers & placenta
patches of women harbor.
Richard, have you ever been sober and disemboweled one of the boxes on your body? Or participated in a live auction for your genitalia? Or used ground up toenails and chalk dust to outline the rage of your youth?
All of this was in that puddle along with those words, plus thirteen candy wrappers, which I could feel some evidence of lodged in the whispered cavities in my teeth.
You did not believe in names. Or you refused to sound them out and the ones who felt compelled to lineage you, you called cannibals.
No one hoards secrets anymore, Richard, because we are afraid to live in silence, away from outlets and applause. But I clog doorways and dresser drawers with all of my mysteries. Even my clothing finds itself confused by the limbs I present.
It is far more interesting to be swallowed when much of this skin is pretend.
Aimee Herman is a performance artist, poet, and teacher with two full length books of poetry. Aimee has been published widely in journals and anthologies including cream city review, ADRIENNE, Cake Train and Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. In addition to writing, Aimee also curates and hosts a monthly series at Dixon Place called Queer Art Organics featuring LGBTQ writers and performers. For more, go to: aimeeherman.wordpress.com