I Get Overwhelmed by Dark Rooms

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Power by Audre Lorde

The difference between poetry and rhetoric
is being ready to kill
yourself
instead of your children.

I am trapped on a desert of raw gunshot wounds
and a dead child dragging his shattered black
face off the edge of my sleep
blood from his punctured cheeks and shoulders
is the only liquid for miles
and my stomach
churns at the imagined taste while
my mouth splits into dry lips
without loyalty or reason
thirsting for the wetness of his blood
as it sinks into the whiteness
of the desert where I am lost
without imagery or magic
trying to make power out of hatred and destruction
trying to heal my dying son with kisses
only the sun will bleach his bones quicker.

A policeman who shot down a ten year old in Queens
stood over the boy with his cop shoes in childish blood
and a voice said “Die you little motherfucker” and
there are tapes to prove it. At his trial
this policeman said in his own defense
“I didn’t notice the size nor nothing else
only the color”. And
there are tapes to prove that, too.

Today that 37 year old white man
with 13 years of police forcing
was set free
by eleven white men who said they were satisfied
justice had been done
and one Black Woman who said
“They convinced me” meaning
they had dragged her 4’10” black Woman’s frame
over the hot coals
of four centuries of white male approval
until she let go
the first real power she ever had
and lined her own womb with cement
to make a graveyard for our children.

I have not been able to touch the destruction
within me.
But unless I learn to use
the difference between poetry and rhetoric
my power too will run corrupt as poisonous mold
or lie limp and useless as an unconnected wire
and one day I will take my teenaged plug
and connect it to the nearest socket
raping an 85 year old white woman
who is somebody’s mother
and as I beat her senseless and set a torch to her bed
a greek chorus will be singing in 3/4 time
“Poor thing. She never hurt a soul. What beasts they are.”

Audre_Lorde

Day I Die by The National

I don’t need you, I don’t need you
Besides I barely ever see you anymore
And when I do it feels like you’re only halfway there
Young mothers love me even ghosts of
Girlfriends call from Cleveland
They will meet me anytime and anywhere

The day I die, the day I die
Where will we be?
The day I die, the day I die
Where will we be?

Don’t do this, I don’t do this to you
Don’t expect me to enjoy it
‘Cause I really don’t have the courage not to turn the volume up inside my ears
For years I used to put my head inside the speakers
In the hallway when you get too high and talk forever

The day I die, the day I die
Where will we be?
The day I die, the day I die
Where will we be?

The day I die, the day I die
Where will we be?
The day I die, the day I die
Where will we be?

I get a little punchy with the vodka just like my great uncle Valentine Jester did
But he had to deal with those people like you who made no goddamn common sense
I’d rather walk all the way home right now than to spend one more second in this place
I’m exactly like you Valentine, just come outside and leave with me

Let’s just get high enough to see our problems
Let’s just get high enough to see our fathers’ houses

The day I die, the day I die
Where will we be?
The day I die, the day I die
Where will we be?

The day I die, the day I die
Where will we be?
The day I die, the day I die
Where will we be?

Opera House by Cigarettes After Sex

Built an opera house for you in the deepest jungle
And I walked across its stage, singing with my eyes closed
I’ve got a love for you I just can’t escape
All of my love for you cuts me like barbed wire

I was meant to love you
And always keep you in my life
I was meant to love you
I knew I loved you at first sight

If I abandoned love, I’d be a man without dreams
I’d rather be out there staring death right between its eyes now
And I can still hear the sound of you crying through the night
There in the opera house with no one else for miles

I was meant to love you
And always keep you in my life
I was meant to love you
I knew I loved you at first sight

Slack Jaw by Sylvan Esso

I got all the parts I wished for
I got everything I need
sometimes I’m above water
but mostly I’m at sea

oh, slack jaw me
can’t you see
there’s so many rhythms and harmonies
and I’m walking the dog back

it’s not like I got hurt or broken
or ruined along the way
it’s an aching it shines through me
a swallow in a cage

oh, slack jaw me
can’t you see
there’s so many rhythms and harmonies
and I’m walking the dog back

is it a sign or just a landmine?
or a feeling roaming free?
it’s overtaking me

gonna hold it til it dries up
or pocket it for another day
if it’s me I cannot give up
I’d rather that it stayed

oh, slack jaw me
can’t you see
there’s so many rhythms and harmonies
and I’m walking the dog back

I got all the parts I wished for
I got everything I need
sometimes I’m above water
but mostly I’m at sea

oh, slack jaw me
can’t you see
there’s so many rhythms and harmonies
and I’m walking the dog back

Story by Guia Nocon

for Cesar Vallejo

When the day and the daylight
have dropped out,
when I have let it go by
unseen,
there is a moment
looking for me in its hand,
finding me, every minute,
in worn down, brown leather shoes.
Does it know that I am going
backwards,
deceived into forward thinking,
running foolish into night?
There is a heart buried
in Philam,
in Capitola—next to the foot shower,
in Prague—where a maimed woman,
with hair the color of lightning
sang opera,
in every kitchen I’ve ever danced in.

I know there is a person composed
of my rocking muscles, creaking
against bone,
to whom I fuse
when I gallop, jagged
but it is not home.
I see inside the skin—her life
and the things that comprise it—spreads
like cancer,
like spilled ink
across breasts, knees, thighs—tight,
like suffocation. Blooming.

I know the road,
but my feet have escaped me.
I know the feeling of things
when they recede into distance.
How the blood flows, waving
tiny white flags of light
in veins.
Fulmars, winging into soft tissue.
The moment so small
it is already disintegrating
into dust, but our bodies will remain
for a while yet.

A Modern Woman in the Suburban Wild by Guia Nocon

(for Anne, for Sylvia, and for Tennessee)

It was 4:37 in the morning stepping out.
With no natural light, street lamps
curtsied each to each golden gowns
pooling around their feet.
I walked in shadow.

Feeling small, I traveled
a block and suddenly
Jen touched my shoulder
and we were playing at Anne and Sylvia
in Portland.
We talked of long cures
and all the boys we failed to manipulate
into loving us.

We couldn’t remember
the way home, so
we hid in some Oregon Grape bushes
while the rain misted our faces
just loving each other.

The past is so clear sometimes
it hurts to look at it. Memories
slip through the blood vessels
like a million bits of glass.

Even now I can smell the oil and steel
of the Santa Cruz trestle
that connects the Beach Flats to Seabright,
feel the sleepy drummer beat behind my eyes
as, single file, we followed
the lights of the ferris wheel
into this granite place in our hearts.

Now older, we look like our mothers
and turn away like our fathers.
We have become sadists, cheap
serial daters, boozers,
hopeful, shining, still beautiful.

Losing most things now: friends, brothers,
direction, dignity – whole jet planes
disappearing into greedy, indifferent oceans.

I am afraid.
For godssakes, where is that part of me
that thought everything was funny?

Not laughing now, just searching,
rounding a corner, arms outstretched
to that granite place in your heart,
throwing hallelujahs into the air,
remembering Satie’s mournful piano
during our long cab ride to the basement
in San Francisco, towards Justin’s death,
our dear friend, that beautiful boy.

A stranger’s laughter reaches out to me,
I startle and turn for home.
Searching through motion what I lost in space.

It’s unsettling to realize that there are
wild parts of this world
where you can still get irretrievably lost.

This Earth,
it is such a big, blinding place
full of things we can’t ever know
and we are such small, bewildered
creatures.