Want & Ritual

Helmut-SPREAD-6FI grew up fetishizing

the nubile antonyms of beauty

Helmut Newton’s exploitation

penis behind camera stroking

sloe-eyed girls with tired mouths

smoking yellow papered Gauloises

nipples grazing peach crinoline

men’s eyes like dry stones, seeking squeezing

I grew up thinking

contortion and bondage was

an art form not

excuse for masochism

as unsupervised child, I’d look through

graphic design manuals

that inexplicably had vulvas and

perky breasts

to illustrate Pantone

it was after all

the seventies

what did I know? Except

women on beaches without tops

giving me francs for not spilling their dirty martini’s

Mon sucre d’orge, sois gentil, va me chercher mes cigarettes

always gentleman watching

the rise and fall of female throats

nicotine mouths, stained vermillion

long tan legs swept beneath chiffon

men taking them to hotel rooms

children

smoking the leftovers whilst adults

fucked behind closed doors

wondering

when I grow up

how can I lie beneath

a girl whose sweat glistens

like marzipan

and if she should

sip on me I think I’d scream

all my silver bracelets falling off

like metal flowers on hotel carpet

after all

life is a film

where we tie ourselves up

with want and ritual

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The truth of you

20160916_103101~2Thinking you know your composite

banoffee pie or key lime

little kids crowd the glass of new American themed

diners in foreign land selling to idolizer

thinking themselves fancy if they sit

on high swivel seats in dark cherry

just like Rumblefish though you

could never afford the real thing

I liked an American boy in my class

he made baseball jackets with patches of indian profiles look good

had green eyes that held the secret of the desert

a mouth as pretty as a girl’s curling up in O

he couldn’t spell his new language

which I found, reassuring

 

to be far-flung

exotic comes in all guises

mine the continent of dreams

we drank our first root beer float with

long-necked spoons reflecting our mirth

talking about juke boxes and 50s matinée idols

the green-eyed boy said

you will be disappointed at the reality

and they will be underwhelmed with you

too pale for the California beach

too shy for new York

too weak for the vigor of ice hockey

and alpha females pick on each other in our high schools with growing

alacrity

you have no native American blood alas

you don’t feel white-guilt for slavery when your ancestors took no part

you’ll never be an American you don’t wave a flag at our glory

we have to compete and win whilst you prefer to scale a tree and read

hearing the roar of the crowd on friday night’s lights

you’d have made a lack luster cheerleader with

your neon arms and matchstick legs

but oddly and despite this

it was my destination to earn a golden ticket

ever since I read in translation

Eloise

The lonely little girl in a big new York hotel

with Skipper the pet turtle on a leash

 

Eloise

may have had native American DNA and grown up to be a good WASP

I only wanted to touch

the soft leather sleeves of a spectator coat

or see

Peanuts, in action as

box-cars raced down hill, stopping at soda fountains

those glittering children of fortune and freckles

 

back then I thought I was genetically

someone different

then DNA testing became mainstream

and by the story of my results I am no longer that person

but someone quite changed, a different race

as if the me who was me

slipped out of herself and through a door

that was both opened and closed

 

walk like an Egyptian I used to

speak diluent tones with French notes once

now the I of me is false and those

parodies of what I was, are not who I am

telling kids in the playground that’s why my eyes prefer kohl

they come from faraway where the sun demands

devotion

old stories without substance

revealed stark in test tube result to be

fanciful

 

not a pale African lost in tamed jungle of cruel world enveloping cultures

instead, the trespasser told generational falsehoods

paving yellow brick roads with fool’s gold

as saffron and tamarind friends with their rightful legacies

twirl in blazing color

silken sari and Rastafari, Persian eyes, Nairobi fingers

everything told was not so

ordinary and dull was your fear

so it becomes real

and what life bequeathed you

the DNA of inconsequence

 

a tendency toward left-handedness

an albino arm and dark heart

the emptiness of knowing

yourself

staged and girdled

for light fantastic

oh how it feels on your lying skin

like submerging into ancient lily ponds

reflecting bronze moons glow

into a hundred cupolas

 

you want to believe someone will love you irrespective

of your mitral valve weakness, your keratitis and first varicose

just like that boy who

seeing you hobbling in your veruca sock and bad haircut

when your father ran out of patience and cut along pancake bowl

just like that boy who

swam straight for you

sitting over the murmuring jets in the shallow end holding hands

until he left with his parents

staring out the back of a messy car with two dogs slobbering

and a peace sign pealing off the bumper

watching you diminish in rear view

as if you were the most precious saphir he ever knew

and just for a moment you felt

like all the lies in the world could not subsume

the radiance of being adored

for the truth of you