Monday
Jun022014

Tribute

By Anne Germanacos


Rescue Press
May 2014
978-0988587342


 

Kissing

 

Negative transference?
Positive?

 

*

 

Sisters are born each with the other's tongue in her mouth; the two duel for ascendancy over everything tasted and said.

 

*

 

She moves her head to flip the hair, a chosen color, and looking at you—but not quite seeing you—she says: I bow to no one.

 

*

 

messages

 

*

 

this state of almost-bloody vulnerability and surrender, a baby in its (adoring?) mother's arms

 

*

 

She, of course, usurped my place, but we've been in this thing practically forever.

 

*

 

sun a smudge behind the clouds

 

*

 

Side by side on treadmills, I told my sister that I'd always known our mother's death would require recompense.

She looked at me; I wasn't sure if I read awe or distaste, maybe a little of each, or neither.

 

*

 

Once, for my sister, I picked up a hard little mouse.

 

*

 

With the world raised to your lips, you'll give your sister anything, any piece of yourself that will bring her closer than the close you already share.

 

*

 

(keeping a thing in the dark doesn't necessarily keep it alive)

 

*

 

I covet the crow's click, more human invention than bird.

 

*

 

stayed up past midnight, filling small bottles from larger ones

creating essences?

 

*

 

(I hear myself saying the words aloud as I type them. Incanting?)

 

*

 

A husband, at least as much as a wife, contains.

But my husband, container, spills the contents of our mixing.

 

*

 

(together, we spill)

 

*

 

A cloud of ash between us, as well as an ocean and a sea. There's no taking a train from here to there, no bus or taxi to him.

 

*

 

I love her small "uh-huh," more note than word, both prod and touch.

 

*

 

She picked up the piece, began.

She handed it to me.

 

*

 

Then we went back into the material.

 

*

 

The plum tree in the front—quiet. The lavender—insatiable. The lilac, almost hostile it's so beautiful.

 

*

 

My mother laughed almost hysterically, in a happy confusion over the volcanic ash in the sky and my mother-in-law's ashes, in an urn.

 

*

 

When we stood to say goodbye, she put her hands behind her back. They are tied, I suppose, by the rules of her profession.

One day, perhaps, we'll touch hands in honor of what has passed between us.

 

*

 

lighter than air and weighted as the earth

 

*

 

How much hunger can a person stand?

 

*

 

There are times when you avoid chocolate to make way for more absorbing pleasures.

 

*

 

(desire adores a vacuum)

 

*

 

Then I launched into the island story about the dynamite going off at the wrong time, killing four.

 

*

 

a kiss without touching?

 

*

The only way to tell a story is by taking time and slicing it.

 

*

 

A sister's body may catch between you and any number of motions; her gestures may kill.

 

*

 

Notice how you've become a volcano, always spewing. For now, it's the hot lava of longing and desire.

Later, ash?

 

*

 

Spewing? Or offering up every good thing I have to the only deity I know?

 

*

 

Wait, I tell my sister. Listen!

 

*

 

She says: You're on fire!

 

*

 

I keep getting caught between a sentence and a kiss.

 

*

 

I ask him: Do you think you're the only one with a little lava on your sleeve?

 

*

 

to go beyond perfection

 

*

 

This is my body?

 

*

 

streetcar just came to life

 

*

 

holding onto everything you want to let go: (archery?)

 

*

 

She may not be doing it on purpose but the fact is, it taunts.

 

*

 

Every time I fall just short of sleep, a mouth is there to meet mine.

 

*

 

two open mouths breathing warm currents

 

*

 

Sitting does it, breathing insists on it (my body insists on breathing), eating, thinking about eating, waiting for the water to boil, looking out the window, lilac, washing lettuce, sitting down, standing up, walking—everything a signpost upon this door, my body.

 

*

 

the tongue's tip, searching for a path

 

*

 

(defining it)

 

*

 

Her mouth held my words; she offered them to the world on the breath of her.

 

*

 

A mouth, and another mouth, each a perfect everything.

 

*

 

She says: You're the exhibitionist, I'm the voyeur.

 

*

 

I tend to be gathered in the arms of one excitement or another.

 

*

 

(often squeezed breathless)

 

*

 

There are ways of talking about secrets, ways of telling them.

 

*

 

naked, flipping our skin off, and on again

 

*

 

My mother is in the water of the Bay, though she never learned to swim. She's in the hills that set our vision at an angle as we look toward the water, sparkling in this April day's sun.

 

*

 

A week ago it was pouring—we were at the cemetery.

 

*

 

Does a shared secret remain a secret?

 

*

 

(A secret gains potency by being told?)

 

*

 

That scenario: he dies of pleasure, I kill him with love.  

 

*

 

I share the fact and object of my love, unable to contain it.

 

*

 

She said: Like, once a day?
Yes.
A little shy to add, at least. Or: No, one hundred times!

 

*

 

Every time I think of her, I bloom, then wilt.

 

*

 

(How did she make it happen?)

 

*

 

She is some perfection.

 

*

 

(He could take a lesson.)

 

*

 

the terror of losing her and every woman contained in her, including the her of me

 

*

 

No wonder my stomach hurts.

 

*

 

Everything out there—siren, streetcar, lamp, plum tree—penetrates my fear, giving birth to me.

 

*

 

She remains the world, increasingly.

 

*

 

The wind, hardly a moan, tortures a window of the house, and me inside it.

 

*

 

I told her: She was fine today, herself, normal, amazing.

 

*

 

(My sister said: You've brought her back to life!)

 

*

 

Tapped at the source, this thing won't stop or be stopped up.

 

*

 

this writing—pure sickness, or health

 

*

 

sideshow, freak, fact of nature, phenomenon

 

*

 

The deaths of the fathers were nothing compared to this birth-giving life watched fading, glowing, burning brighter than

 

*

 

Your ears fill up with tears—you take them for the sea.

 

*

 

an impossible combination of grief and love

 

*

 

With no you, I, alone, write myself against the plane that holds me.

 

*

 

half a Xanax for terror?

 

*

 

She and I are not the same patient; we are not the same girl.

 

*

 

(Sex and words spew from me, alternating.)

 

*

 

on the bed in the house in the city whose streets are abandoning my feet

 

*

 

When did she get so beautiful?

 

*

 

We reeled, we waltzed, we sashayed.
We shouted bright code across the apples and pears.

 

*

 

En route to LA. The sun is up.

 

*

 

to confess the secret and still be thundered by its power

 

*

 

(Secrets, revealed, may turn river.)

 

*

 

Sisters, with their good legs and aging beautiful faces.

 

*

 

He has nothing against letting me surround him.

 

 

Flight

 

The plane is still asleep, but I can smell syrup.

 

*

 

Certain of her, I can proceed.

 

*

 

Learning to be explicit about panic?

 

*

 

This flight holds me, this flight contains her.

 

*

 

Waiting for coffee, tea. Anything.

 

*

 

Tomorrow, we sprinkle her ashes. Sprinkle? Bury? Dust?

 

*

 

midnight espresso?

 

*

 

We're all a chemical sluice that will one day turn to ash.

 

*

 

Tomorrow, down on earth, she, all ash, will mix with earth, less pure but quick.

 

*

 

the sky, filled with ash, filling up with mothers

 

*

 

Maybe she's right: poetry.

 

*

 

language: edible

 

*

 

They're folding the blankets.

Window shades are up.

 

*

 

Turbulence.

Is that ash?

 

*

 

my bright Scandinavian-colored sister!

 

*

 

Crossing the boot—breakfast?

 

*

 

Be well!

 

*

 

gaining on Greece

 

*

 

Forgiveness?

 

*

 

Odysseus's islands. Aimed now toward Troy. Passing Crete.

 

*

 

I cry a little, 35,000 feet up.

 

*

 

(closer to the God we claim we don't believe in)

 

*

 

language, an ecstasy

 

*

 

not even a smidgen of a headache, not a particle

 

*

 

turned on by grammar, too

 

*

 

Is this perversity or just a life?

 

*

 

(Mediterranean beneath cloud)

 

*

 

She wrote: I was afraid.
I wrote: So was I.
She wrote: Of what?

Of myself in relation to you.

 

*

 

To end hostility in the being of you: no banking small hurts or tiny woes.

 

*

 

Wherever here is, I am also there.

 

*

 

How to navigate without drowning in a hostile sea?

 

*

 

human quills