Death Styles 8.27

daughter style

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Now we have a secret and it’s your secret
difficult to keep as the clasp on a vinyl diary
you snap off
when you’re angry in your tenth solitude
We love the story about poison daughters
growing in a poison garden
whose kiss would kill the suitors
so don’t even try
live with me forever i’ve changed my mind
I want to take you outside and photograph you among the Rose of Sharon
still holding on to its good looks
in the narrow, overgrown lot
because its hothouse vibe reminds me of you
and the colors you favor this season
and the lot itself reminds me
there’s an opening still
but it’s narrow and blocked with weeds
maritime sightlines of the landlocked
middleaged goth mom mystic
When we wake up for school in the dark
something sick and green is flashing
above the crowns of trees
and behind them
the smoke that trails from fireworks
more beautiful than fireworks themselves
hangs around, a glaucous glut
of fist-shaped marled chrysanthemums, the gut
of a middleaged goth mom mystic
When I open and shut
your drawers, your neat laundry
dawns and dusks:
petal, orchid, baby blue,
flamingo, candy, lavender, dove-hued
galactic dust but pour milk on it
like some revolting nebula
shot in stop-motion and sped up
I lift you up amid your peach and blue materials
Your father cleans the ink away with alcohol
In the photograph with your pink mask on
you lift your white-wrapped paws

Death Styles 9.1

daughter style

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So odd like a gun and
has to go off
with you, to unlock the next level
to unlock the drain
to uncap the expensive purple marker
and smell its hue drain
each vivid molecule unzipping
like a train
simultaneously leaving and arriving
like gin on the tongue
at some auspicious seaport of the brain

Will you
retract the dewclaw
rewrap each silhouette
for maximum
frivolity and shrewdness
and land
like a cat on the lawn
sure as a lawn dart, a spear and a bee bee
which all have the same life purpose:
to make a bee-line
to point to the eye
to punctuate
improve it
a bankshot from childhood lawlessness
thrown into all possible futures
preserved in the aqueous humor
like eggs preserved in the pickling jar
or a cat in lemonade
what’s barking in this scene
that’s not the dog
it’s the cat
that’s my gift to you

I will ride the Fragonard
-pink-slipper down the Fragonard-
throat of the frog
separate the black flies from their wings
I mean from flight
yet bring them into the true beauty
of their Latin names
musca domestica and drosophila
wingless but arm’d as if with beauty
maybe it’s beauty maybe we can’t tell
the large shell with a goddess in it
i hate that limp print–
roll that up and drop it behind the fridge
ugh it might combust — fish it out again with a yardstick

flatten it out
put it somewhere safe
which is somewhere away from the eye
a further basement of a further banishment
the farthermost cornice of some farthermost room
inside inside
the corneal blue
your bridegroom rides away from and leaves you with
that key to the room that is your doom
let me lift that key from you

the reticulated scales of the spyglass
fit one into another
the more inside you go
the more gold and smaller
the golden fish
dunked in the river for her vanity
well, fish her out
too while we’re at it and also
fish out the river from its bed
fish the sleeve of the river out of the river
rinse it in vinegar
and pin it on the line with navyblue pins
— the pink
scale of the fish, the bride white
internal river, and the navyblue woods
which close their fishmouths at the scene

close their eyes at this the pins
clothes their jaws at an eye
clothes their eyes with a hinge-pin
lock it– lock the eye itself
clapping for itself
with one hand with the other
clapping itself shut
on the tiny telephone stand
a hutch, notch or knob
to rest a printless finger on
under the shellpink
interior of the brain–
to think pink and wait–

the clock can’t talk
because its mouth is full of pins
it looks on cross as a cat
gin and fizzy bitters
rise all around the green plot
the pilot rides his by-plane by in the sky
clean as a nursery ceiling
and while the sun thinkens in the yard
I’ll take a yard of this
slit it with your eggtooth
I’m so sick of this place

but it’s the only place

Death Styles 9.2

daughter style

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to order the black sneakers
to keep the late appointment
to convince the lady hygienist to see you
even now, even now when we’re so late
large, glossy, and made of power
like Europa pulled away by cow to drown at sea
who comes back every morning as her avatar, Dawn
she leads you off to the white interior
your grin is spreading

it’s so American to hurt you like this
for the sake of your own white teeth

to send the old pair back
to order the next size up
to study your toes, how they line up
shell-pink and auspicious
as romanovs in snow

when I’m your age I sit in the schoolroom
and contemplate wheel of fortune
the cardboard globe tilts in its metal brace
if you pull it out of the brace it has two holes in it
and is easily dented
which is what the brace is for
but you have to dislodge it to learn this
so it’s already too late
as we stare at the door
try to melt the afternoon with laser vision
tap at smashed screens with sore fingers
(you’re with me now)

Will you
take back
what you said
if I swathe you
in denials
thick as a
sneaker tread

my own inutility
gapes like a snake in the stars
flashes fangs
writhes pointlessly
and swallows nothing
I don’t bother to look up anymore

but grope under your pillow for devices
under the datestamp, a tsunami
battens then retracts from the amusement park
thinking better and leaving
a huge eye of wheel in the mud
in my mind’s black eye,
an old nerve winks like a lost fortune
an old possibility goes gill-green
sneakers wash up along the shoreline

in your sleep you repeat the motion
of advancing, retracting
of flinging wide your nets to net the moon
but like every tide you fail
like a pulsing star you signal
like a star you fail to hide behind your signal

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