Maybe Famines, As Well As Fireworks, Orbit The Muladhara Chakra Like Klimtian Moons
Six women lounge
like balled and risen dough in the coloured stomach.
One woman straight as a dried crust
jabs her yellow shoulder into night.
It’s clear that Klimt considered late virginity
a form of starvation.
Just look at the figure of his virgin,
locked out from the sighing flowers,
their lazy, finished, wet, skin-touching fecundity,
and trying not to stare,
behind the Ugolino gnarl of her curled fingers,
at the butcher block and empty black
cone of her own life.
Look at the aching sound-tunnel of her abdomen,
roofed in the straining beams of her visible ribs.
Look at the blooms like barn mice
keeping their small distance
from the dry and cat-stained hay of her hair.
Thinking in this way it’s easy to pity her,
but then again,
the after-stains on bedsheets are not always a joy
and they hand out ribbed condoms now
in the family planning clinics.
Never less alone, said Cicero, than when alone.
How the soul can make a diet out of solitude.
It’s the old double bind: the soul and the body,
unaware they’re the same thing, pulling
in two opposite directions.
Whichever way you go
starvation is almost inevitable.
Think of Meerabai rejecting
all the best suitors in Rajasthan
making a sari-chain and scaling down
from the walls of her family palace;
washing her guru’s feet to taste
Krishna in the dirty water.
Now think of those nuns in medieval France
who, while illuminating the scriptures,
behind dark walls of cold stone, depicted each
of Christ’s wounds as an open vulva;
making his blood glisten
like patches of ejaculate.
art by Caroline Alkire
Beauty In The 21st Century
It’s not your place to be cowed by beauty.
Remember that Shakespeare’s sonnets
never had very much to say.
Okay, so death is certain
and words are safety boats or burning ants
lofting eggs of promise to the safer ground.
Catullus never tried to be beautiful.
His poems are often nothing
but an angry letter to a friend.
You won’t believe how
this frilly leech was drawn
out of the body like a hot length of wind.
The smell of marjoram
has a hint of nowhere’s ocean.
Everything looks green and stippled
through bottles of green, stippled glass.
Homer, opening his brain like an accordion,
waits in lungfuls of silence for the first sound.
No wonder Plato wanted him
severely enough to want him
to be exiled from Athens.
art by owlwise12
This feeling is receiving a letter
of forgiveness from a stranger.
After years expecting nothing
everything like a running dog
rafts in and shakes off rosaries
of deep river water from her hair.
That which doesn’t kill us needs
to end before it makes us…