I gave four prompts to collaborating poet Arminé Iknadossian. She conducted three minutes of “fevered writing” with each prompt. Here are the results. These words comprise the lexicon I’ll use to create my dis•articulations poem.
How to Have Grapefruit for Breakfast Without Crying
Crying is for sissies everybody knows that the real reason we cry is because we are hungry thirsty scared or hurt so grapefruit must be quite thrilling for it to bring about such emotion for a seemingly mundane piece of citrus. It’s orange, after all. And grapefruit is my favorite flavor for sodas and cocktails. I bet you didn’t know that it simply tastes and smells clean, like any citrus but grapefruit has that slightly bitter arrogant clean that means awareness of the antiseptic bitterness of a clean life. Clean is also bitter. Clean is also stringent. As astringent as animosity.
An HIV Check-up in a Prom Dress
Walked into a bar, held up her right arm and said, “Today is Gwendolyn Brooks’ birthday. Did you know she died with sugar on her tongue? Sugar that sad sweet and turned over sharing of shadows in the tea, that momma water, that blood that drips into the lantern of love. We love our own blood, the blood given to us from our parents, the blood that flows into fountains and rivers of remorse. Death came down the alley and decided to spill its flower petals into the street.
She Spent a Year Hallucinating Birds
She spent a year hallucinating birds and nobody came to her rescue because she did not need rescue. She needed witnesses. But the people were all to busy hallucinating their own wild animal. One man saw lizards everywhere he went, doing their push ups in the sun. One young girl of 12 kept seeing rattlesnakes in trees shaking their tales to the tune of Rebel Rebel by David Bowie. Nobody cared about her birds. Even the swallows and larks told her to get used to it. Everyone kept seeing the animal they most feared, until the fear subsided.
Legally, I Can Kill Him, said the Queen
Legally, I can kill him, the Queen of England said as she put the final touches on her hairdo. She likes doing her own hair despite the team of stylists her status affords her. She likes the feel of the comb in her hand, the cool ivory of it handle smooth to the touch. She knows how to twirl it in her right hand, flip it up into the air and catch it without even looking. I can do it, she repeats. I can do anything.
Arminé Iknadossian gave four prompts to me. I conducted three minutes of “fevered writing” with each prompt. Here’s what I came up with. These words comprise the lexicon that Arminé will use to create her dis•articulations poem.
It may be unhealthy to drink tears
When did my grief become toxic? When did my rage settle like cancerous stones in the pit of my belly? I have feasted on sorrow, stood before a buffet of bitterness and piled my plate high. Where is the bulimia for culture? I want to purge myself of violence, empty my life of its history, stop swallowing tears and instead sip from the nectar of calm, heal myself of expectations and find the moment of breath. Let me sing a little prayer for those undrinkable tears.
Polite moose falls into family basement in Idaho
We’d grown accustomed to the elephant in the living room. He didn’t take up that much space, and often made insightful contributions to the family dialogue. But the moose made the house feel crowded, polite as he tried to be. He carried with him the scent of wet dog and he would eat all the eggs in the refrigerator. My dad agreed with his political opinions, but they drove me up the wall.
Miniature brain and skull found inside 16-year-old girl’s ovary
Men never give any credit to women’s intelligence, say we shouldn’t be president because our hormones make us crazy, but now I’ve proven that my ovary has its own brain. And not just me. It’s true of every woman. That brain is programmed to create life and to nurture living beings. That brain is thinking about how others are faring, remembering the stories of the ancestors. That brain understands the flow of cycles, understands our connection to the stars.
Mother told to “prove lactation” in Frankfurt airport
If your body has never rounded and swelled to grow a baby, if your breasts have never filled with milk to feed that infant, whose need is so urgent and will not be mollified, then you do not understand why that mother, waiting to get on an airplane, would unbutton her rose-colored blouse and lift her breast out of its bra and press the child to her nipple. She could do nothing else, and those who refused to understand or chose to misunderstand revealed themselves as brutes.