Fall 2009, #16
       "Woodchuck vs. the Hank Williams Zombie"

Four Poems

     by Amy King


Not quite as chilly today
as it is tomorrow—
Upon your return to the city where
you slay me, you slave me,
and I begin to wait. I wait on you,
your every necessity
and dream-stone romance.

Ed Berrigan walks jobless
to eggs at Blue Bella diner,
Ana visits her last grandfather
in Croatia, they eat annual
lamb on a spit
while I lather here, up and down
stairs, serving you
crunchy treats and cleaning
your limbs from their sap.

Ben Evans makes New York
plays from his lake-side hotel
in Muskegon, Frightened Rabbit sings
for the kindergarten class,
who dances a religion
only kids still grasp, and I wait
for the mail that never
comes to pass. You stay,
ghost pagan present.

Next day, Tracy and Julian
supply us all night
with an endless horn of salad
and banter, plenty of wines
and vibes to ferment
perishable grey matter.
We speak in dog voices.
We leave, home-full & spent.

Now, a year before
the end of the war, Claude
Cahun began
her literary studies. She
wrote the very first
lecture she heard, Lucy Renee’s
"Essence of the Tragic,"
attended in the company
of fellow students,
all of them persons
with war injuries.
She used her amputee notes.

The suicides stood
experiments; we became a part
of the walking
background, wallpaper mists
of who held what
body cut with what flesh
desired and parched in the name
of what fascist cause in this day
and country would allow that brand
of you must be the better
me fundamental song.

She found in her studies
wanderlust and through the lens
of never betrothed,
"I belong: suffer, double,
molding my other one."
Kerry and Miller wait with wings
for the gusts of slaves
discovered to descend
that we had intermingled two
different settings: mask & friend.

Cindy, Nan, and Diane brought
the humming photographs
to beds, window closets,
that the seeds of the kingdom
come from the pupil. Prison dilated
Cahun’s alter she, ushered
chameleon people of the female
to cradles, through kitchens
and the iris, backwash the tomb.

Frida saw they wanted
the sun by the angle of our table,
our desire to be parents
—of any living thing— slipping
into bamboo backs
through soup puddles: we ladled.
Do you have an ending
to call, “Why the wetness of a cup?”
Gazpacho goes warm,
sangria hits lips, and we stand
to leave by the outskirts of town:
Malaga, New York, Tehran, or Budapest.

Longer by land, we follow the counsel
of sundials’ advantage:
through the backlit terrain of ear canals.
Half inner bubbles, we make
melodies that ring
along the scalp of dirt lots and sand
shells fixed on translation to that
which is palpable: sirens who hold
a kind of quartz with strong toes,
audible diamonds that cut.

Until we walk with the spine
of poster-child drift,
suck dew drops off pewter, sour
the wine, shake fists at
your harbors’ sinew, kick crumbs
from pale shoulders,
and shoot hollow bottle rockets
of faltering love.
We swell and precede,
lit to age the coming America.



A bone-crushing-bone device, that’s how you’ll remember
me: as a wicked entourage, complete and steady
in your wake, ready to demand whatever
your gross heart investigates. Pillow fights,
prostate gland commodities, such items to fill
your gas light spaces and sell on
to the advertising world. I crunch at the joints.
I play along. The elemental ink that pumps
its way in my vein, sold long ago when your syringe
drew its long tongue from my planetary stain.
You said without meat makes a wimpy soup,
a pea-strain your police presence electrified the gps
of my inverted compass and smote the June bug me.
You fed on Peach Bellinis, tomato salad, Crostini di Funghi,
washed with chalky lemonade. I sparked, the eye
with its little twig alive. Poked the laws of physics,
altered every body part – we laid alone, acts of day went by,
I turned your light on just to reminiscence and sense
molecules that linger, despite your present-perfect passing.



Buried by midnight
I am a warm
fly in amber.

A reflection buzzes
in my wings
ghosting this window square
above the Atlantic,
leading me down the lane
by moonlight’s hand
beneath the shadow’s sun
in black water,
a darker planetary hug
of crooked limb with hand.

You have not listened
to the tones of trees,
our branches, our trunks,
calm as axes,
gathered roots beneath
a sheer drop of twenty stars,
at least.

We flicker too,
white skeletons
modeled on the earth’s
black-tar blooded heart,
her skinned bones
that make circles
of the universe.

We go around in them,
meeting ourselves
behind our backs,
knocking the boney
knockers of spines;

One side of my brain strikes
the other: language cheapens?

We speak where all symbols
want with power
such as a door which
takes flowers to its lover,
the other side, to no knock.
We can’t remind the lover
to love any more
than we can love ourselves
without the lover.



And who wouldn’t? A burning arm holds an olive pit
and laurel leaves to her menstrual cycle. We were meant
to avoid discussion. They still have them then? I mean,

The mythology goes a branch took root
and gulped the sleeve of the planet in a signature orgasm.
Eve, she wrote. Big bang, he noted.

She turned into me, one vine in swamped-out marshes,
drying on a clothes line, crusted with love in a lunar eclipse.
A twinned hand asks of his entrails sloppy directions. But then.

A hook nose and I’m forgotten. The lesser multiplication.
I eat black flesh and constitute dementia.
The sore in the mouth that crunches, who owns another?

A bruise that stains the teeth. I am a kettle that holds
only water that boils. I whistle and spew, “Give me wind,
some part of words.” When you pour me over fire,

Forever I am the worm by the ember that glows.