Ilse Bendorf — Catch a Body
Salinger, I’m sorry, but “Don’t ever tell
anybody anything” is a string of words
I would like to wrap up in canvas and sink
to the bottom of the Hudson, or extract
by laser from the ribcage of all of us
who ever believed it, who felt afraid
to miss someone, to be the last one
standing. “Tell everyone everything” is
not exactly right, but I do believe that if
your mother looks radiant in violet
you should tell her, or when a juvenile
sparrow thrashes its wings in dustpiles
and reminds you of a lover’s eyelashes,
you should say so. We are islands all of us,
but we are also boats, our secrets flares,
pyrotechnic devices by which we signal
there’s someone in here we’re still alive!
So maybe it’s, “don’t be afraid.” We can
rewrite Icarus, flame-resistant feathers,
wax that won’t melt, I mean it, I’ll draw up
a prototype right now, that burning ball
of orange won’t stop us, it’ll be everything
we dream the morning after, even if we fall
into the sea—we are boats, remember?
We are pirates. We move in nautical miles.
Each other’s anchors, each other’s buoys,
the rocket’s red, already the world entire.
He keeps me quiet, I think,
because he sees creation in my eyes.
Maybe a man can build, maybe a God
can destroy, but someday
the rain will stop and doves will come
and I will make a world.
That is not a power
he can take from me.
For all your talk of revolution
there is truth in this:
I was saved by being secondary.
If you have been made to love and nurture, do.
It does not make you weak.
—Letter From The Wife Of Noah To the Mothers Who Follow, Clementine von Radics (via clementinevonradics
A bearded lady is the only thing society should fear.
She does not see ugly in the mirror anymore.
She adorns her glorious mane with blood red bows
and braids in the broken promises of her father.
Razors were once used to chop herself down to size,
make it easier for men to chew her up.
For her thirteenth birthday she was given a pack neon Bic’s.
He started to call her beautiful
but the kisses always stopped at the stubble.
It only took a few weeks for the blade to find it’s way
to collar bones,
It took her a few years to realize
her demons could not be shaved away.
She learned eye contact is essential in taming the beast.
Everyday, it became easier to love her scruffy face.
The pink guillotine has now found its way to the bottom drawer.
The scars are starting to look like kindred spirits
and her beard now reaches down to her belly button.
It is a testament to how many days she
has survived without your grace.
A bearded a lady is lady saved herself.
to my lover i will say, if
we come across a god, burn
your eyes right out.
for i will never compare
to that cold sheen of power, to
that blaze of immortality.
but in your darkness, my
skin beneath your hands, i
could be the whole of heaven,
gods and angels and everything
that exists in between. understand: i
just want to feel divine.
We have not touched the stars,
nor are we forgiven, which brings us back
to the hero’s shoulders and the gentleness that comes,
not from the absence of violence, but despite
the abundance of it. The lawn drowned, the sky on fire,
the gold light falling backward through the glass
of every room.
—Richard Siken, “Snow and Dirty Rain” (via honeychurch
and I am only nerves, strung on constellations,
meridians and vectors quivering.
I said to the sun, “Tell me about the big bang.” The sun said, “It hurts to become.
I do not think
we were meant to burn the world
the way we did.
They always taught us
that to destroy is to sin and that
you will never be free once you have killed.
They misread human nature,
my love. We have destroyed and it has
made kings and queens of us.
We are stronger now
we have sinned so mightily.
(Eve ate the apple, that’s where this started.)
Hold me close against you,
and strike the match.
Tear down the last gods.